When I (Ely) was overseas during the summer Independence Day was difficult because I am so used to it being a big event and its not a holiday celebrated on July 4th in other places. Christmas is a similar situation for James. His family goes all out making it a special time; they sent us presents and we sent them some, but all the family wasn’t gathered around with us this year. We weren’t in another country, so it seemed as if we should have been able to be with them, but it just didn’t work out. We don’t have personal family traditions established yet, so this Christmas was one of learning and growing; of sharing and asking questions, getting to know each other and what is special to each of us. And I am very pleased with the way it has turned out.
Communication is important in marriage – also in business and life in general, for developing friendships and keeping them strong. I have had the desire to reach out to my friends in Wisconsin, but just haven’t. Why do I get the thought “It won’t be a good time for them and then we will be in telephone tag and it will be awkward…” and so many doubts that arise in my mind? I know it’s not of God. He is a huge fan of communication! The Bible is His communication to us and He wants us to talk to Him about everything. Yet there is always this fear of rejection or insufficiency that comes out in me when I talk to others. This past Sunday, we went to a church in Orlando which has a service in Portuguese. We went once before so we had some idea of how things work, where to go, and so forth; but I felt those same feelings of “I have been learning this language but now its showtime;” “What do I know under pressure and not in the classroom?” All the people we interacted with were very polite and knew some English so we could communicate but also we liked for them to talk in Portuguese so we could get some practice learning to hear actual people communicating. Oh well. The plan at this point is to go the first Sunday of the month for the next few months and see how it goes and adjust accordingly if needed. After the service we went out for lunch and worked on a marriage journal that has a devotional, calendar and questions to reflect on for every week. This is a way we have decided to increase our communication and it was very good to do so; Even though we live in the same house, we don’t always talk about the big picture ideas and what our expectations are. This is a way to keep that on the front of our minds.
This doesn’t fit neatly into a newsletter, but it is what’s on my mind recently, so I hope it was an encouragement and challenge to you. Now go do something you are nervous about, letting God be your strength and comfort to start, and give the praise of the results to Him.
Thanks for praying for us and our relationships at work, church, in the community, and with each other. Keep an eye out for our video update that we are putting together for one of our sending churches Awana Kids program.