Last night, John and I spent a little time reflecting back on the month of July. We started it in Dallas, and at the time, I really thought we would have a low-key month. I even remember telling John it would be a good time to work on a pretty big project we have in the works, because things seemed relatively calm. But that is not how our July turned out at all. Instead it felt as if the nation fell apart, we had the fun/chaos of Cow Appreciation Day, lots of hard things showed up, and then lots of fun people showed up.
At the last minute, another dear friend happened to be in the country, and we got to play host to him.
He's from Rwanda and spent a year in the US, and we got to know him and his family very well. We love him dearly, and we jumped at the opportunity for him to stay in our home. It's exactly how we want to be using the space that God has given us, and we wanted the chance to catch up with him and know what was really going on back in their world.
What a joy it was to talk with him and hear stories of God's faithfulness to their ministry in Rwanda. I will actually be traveling to Rwanda in the coming months and get to see some of it first hand, and I am so excited! Joel is a man of God, and a cherished friend, and we had a wonderful time with him.
I say all of this, because it is 100% true, and this is exactly what we want to be doing with our time and our lives. However, the reality is that at the end of a challenging month, we were also tired. Having someone in our home adds joy, but it also adds another element of work - work absolutely worth doing, but it requires effort. I think it could have been easy for me to miss the joy, because I didn't feel like putting in the extra effort, and I'm so thankful that in this case, I didn't miss it.
The fact of the matter is life comes at us quickly. God has been so gracious to give us a job where we are able to influence many people, which is exactly what we would want. But in our hearts, some days are really hard. People are broken (just like we are) and require so much time and energy. It is wearing. Also, we have four young children who all need time and investment and intentionality. Again, it is what we dreamed of, but the reality is so much harder than I ever dreamed it would be.
Yesterday we closed out July at the local water park with our CFA team. I can't say that the water park was at all relaxing with four children in tow, and we did make the call to leave and have dinner at home in the air-conditioning with the kids all ready to go to bed as soon as their movie finished. That was much more relaxing.
This past week was a good reminder that there are always reasons to say "NO" to the good things - the things that really matter. But, when I look back, I want to know that we served the Lord with everything that we had - that we were good stewards of all that has been entrusted to us. It takes a lot of discernment to say YES to what matters, and I pray that God gives us eyes to see and ears to hear what he has for us to do. And that we do it even when we feel really tired, because we do it in his strength and not our own.