Can I just be honest?
The month of December was my hardest month so far here in Tanzania.
It seemed like we were having challenge after challenge and in the midst of all of our transition I wondered how much more I could handle.
Moving was stressful. It took a lot out of me. On top of that I was sick with strep throat and this particular case just didn’t want to leave me. Shortly after our move our water went out for 4 days. Our kids were acting out, partly because of transition and partly because they are natural born sinners. Every sink was leaking. Our clothesline fell completely out of the wall. Oh, and I am learning how to live without a washing machine.
And then there was that time when we thought we were communicating to our neighbor about him helping to take our trash to the next street over for the garbage truck to pick up and the next thing we know our garbage is in the middle of the street being burned for all to see. At the time it felt like our lives were exposed for all the world to see. And we were hurt and felt taken advantage of because it seemed he was looking for an easy way to make some money. Maybe one day this situation will make more sense as we learn and grow in this culture.
Not to mention it was Christmastime. Our first one away from family and friends. And it was just. so. hot!!!
It seemed that no matter where I was or what I was doing I was always on the verge of tears.
I began longing for home.
But God, in his perfect way, was gracious to dump out His love on me the week before Christmas. It started with a word study that I was doing on the word “burden” in Psalm 55:22.
“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.”
This particular word (just in this verse) actually means gift. I sat there on our couch and began to ponder what that meant for me. I knew I needed Him to sustain me, but what was this gift?!? This poem became the overflow of my heart that day.
My Gift this season comes in the form of a trial.
To refuse the gift would show my heart, so entitled.
This is the ugliest of wrappings, no ribbon or bow.
Yet one day soon, maybe I’ll know.
The gift that He’s giving will change and transform.
My heart has the need to be broken and torn.
Right now it is hard and filled with such sin.
But this gift from the Giver will change from within.
From there the Lord continued to work on my heart. The fact that this “gift” of trails came around Christmas became something sweet and precious. I also looked at THE Gift of Jesus with new eyes. I saw my need for that perfect Christ-child who was born long ago. For me. For my sinful heart. For YOU!
Our first Christmas here in Tanzania was spent with our host family, co-workers and some new friends. It was a sweet day of worship and fellowship, celebrating the PERFECT gift! Although it was hard being away from family, the simplicity of that day helped to keep our minds focused WHO we were celebrating.
Well, the trials keep on coming, but so does His grace! We know that He is up to something great, within our hearts and even here in our new community.
Again, thanks for journeying with us!
-Jamie (for the Sharpes)