01 March, 2016

Precious gifts

I'm feeling tired and unproductive today. There's lots to do (two magazines currently in production for example), but I'm struggling to concentrate. A friend told me last week to be kind to myself and that grief is a tricky thing. Good advice for this season. But not easy for this hyperactive, busy, slightly obsessively introspective and conscientious person to take. 
Team Marshall! Even pizza making is a team event. I make the
base and David usually does the topping.

I did have a prearranged appointment for a massage this afternoon, so that's been a good excuse to get out of the house and relax. Now I sit in a bakery with a coffee and type this on my little phone (at least the first draft)!

I'm trying to prioritise the most urgent things. I bemoaned my grubby floors yesterday and my husband kindly said, "Forget about it, the day your slippers stick to the floor instead of your foot is the day you should worry about that."

Here's another suggestion from a friend. (Edited by a
thoughtful teen.)
So the most urgent is my criteria. And one "urgent" thing is staying afloat myself as the only parent present here till Sunday. 
God has graciously given me a precious gift. Tomorrow begins an annual event that I look forward to every year in Japan. It was something I had to potentially let go of to let David go to his father's funeral. But God's given it back to me. 

The event is a women's retreat, but not just any retreat, it's a retreat full of friends who are doing the same as me: ministering in Japan, most of them with Japan as a home-away-from-home. I accepted last Thursday that I might not be able to go. But mentioned it to the two ladies in my writing group (we regularly share prayer requests with one another). One of them specifically prayed that there would be a way I could get to this retreat, knowing it is a vital part of helping me to stay "healthy" spiritually as well as emotionally. 

The next day I got an email from a family at CAJ who also have three boys. They offered to have our boys for the duration of the retreat! The remaining piece of the puzzle was for the boys to agree to this. I knew one of them would be reluctant, but after raising it first with him and then with them all we agreed on a compromise: that I would be able to go for one night. 

David and I are a team, a tight knit team. It is hard to be apart, especially at a time like this. Being able to go and spend time with friends and in the Word at this time is so precious it is hard for me to type this without tears. I'm so thankful for this selfless gift and answer to the prayer of a friend I've never met (she lives in Florida). 

There are more precious gifts:

  • someone to look after our youngest son while I take the middle one to the orthodontist on Friday afternoon,
  • financial gifts to help cover travel costs,
  • friends who I had text/Facetime conversations with on Thursday and Friday,
  • a friend and colleague of my husband's who drove him to the airport yesterday,
  • my parents who have decided to drive all day tomorrow to get to the funeral,
  • health for all (not to be taken for granted, it is flu season here, and David and I have been jumping in and out of winter and summer during February, and
  • multiple emails and messages from colleagues, friends, prayer supporters.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." (2 Tim. 6:17-18, NIV) 

Praise God for his good and precious gifts.

"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32, NIV)

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