The quote may apply to us getting into medical school but I am not really sure that it applies to being robbed from. Friday night we decided to take Rahab with us to the concert on the green because friendly dogs were welcome and we wanted to try to socialize her a bit more. (Side note: I suppose I should blog Rahab's story but that will have to come another day.) When we got home we noticed that some lights were on that we hadn't left on and that sick feeling came. "Oh no, someone was in our house. I wonder how they got in, what they did in there, what all they took." Glenn saw that the back doors were both open (we had deadbolted both of them before leaving) and went immediately to our bedroom and saw that his Macbook Pro that he has just put away before we left since we never leave computers out when we go to sleep or go out anymore after robbery #2 was gone. There was also a pile of other things on our bed that they either decided weren't worth taking or were scared out of the house before they could grab them. We discovered that who ever it was came through a window that they busted the lock on and pushed the frame in.
Oh, yuck. I immediately called 911 and they told me that they'd send an officer over. Glenn texted one of his new intern friends that we had spent the evening at the park with and he and his wife came over to check on us and comfort us. That was nice. It's nice to have friends.
It feels so yucky to have your house broken into. It feels so yucky to have stuff taken from you but it wasn't the first time. That night Glenn posted this to his facebook which pretty much summed up how we were feeling:
"Somethings get easier the more often we go through them and we unfortunately discovered that having our house broken into and being stolen from is one of those things. It still feels like the violation that is and it still hurts. I think that I hurt a little less this time than last time. Though it does bring back painful flashbacks of the other times is also reminds us of God's amazing grace and provision in our lives and that as discussed last night with one of my fellow interns, it is hard to go from God will only bring/allow good into my life to God allows what is best for me and allows that into my life to what is in my life is what is best according to God (it was a more eloquent and deep conversation than this but I'm tired and still a little shocked). God is good and God's grace is sufficient for me (also so thankful for my fellow intern who came and checked on us with his wife. Friends are nice to have. Thanks God for friends.)Whenever we go through trials we get together and make a list of things we can thank God for in the trial. This time I'm thankful:
* It wasn't the previous night when I was home alone with the kids and Glenn was at his retreat.
* many other things that could have been stolen weren't (maybe they aren't worth much to a thief but they are worth a lot to us)
* Rahab adopted us and she will, Lord willing, be a deterrent in future incidents and we don't have to go looking for a dog
* We are all safe
* our memories of this past year can't be stolen even though most photographic evidence of it was stolen with the computer. (If a picture is worth a thousand words I better start writing about this past year quickly with all the pictures we lost - that's a lot of thousand words!)
* God is in control and He is good.
* faith filled words from my kids that night including: "God is always near even when you get robbed," "God is good (spoken through tears)" and "we always have Someone to be there with us."
* peace and comfort from the Comforter and God's Word.
I'm not sure what we are supposed to be learning in this third time. Here are a few possibilities:
* I need to back up my photos at least once a month so it's not as likely to ever lose 14 months of photos ever again. Oh it hurts to think about all the pictures from these crazy months of ours that we lost.
* I need to have an eternal perspective on things. The verse we are supposed to memorize this week in my Anything GMG online Bible study is 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For our LIGHT and MOMENTARY TROUBLES are achieving for us an ETERNAL GLORY that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen since what is seen is TEMPORARY but what is unseen is ETERNAL." A pretty timely verse, I think. In 100 years I'm not going to miss that laptop or those pictures at all. The only eternal things are the souls of people and the Word of God. I need to focus on those things.
* It has helped to change my perspective on the dog God gave us. Everyone else has been in love with her from day one but I have had a harder time adjusting to having a dog. She is a blessing and fun and I'm thankful for her even though she's mischievous and more work for me.
* God is preparing us for something. We got to hear a missionary speak the day before our break in and in her talk she mentioned being robbed from while on the mission field. I guess we just get to practice having that violated feeling here in the US before we get to experience it elsewhere. I can't think of any missionary friends of mine that haven't been stolen from.
My anxiety has been pretty bad this week. I've been scared to stay home but I've also been scared to leave the house. It's hard when I was initially really hoping we could just stay here all 4 years but I'm not sure if we are safe here. We've made additional precautions for safety and more are in the works and we aren't packing up right now by any means. God has been a great comfort to me this week bringing great songs and scriptures to mind to help me. He is good and does good.
I re-read most of chapter 2 "Content with Circumstances" in Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow out loud the other day. A few quotes jumped out at us:
"Our thought life - not our circumstances - determines whether we are content."
"Paul instructs us to practice 'these things [in Phil.4].' What things?
* choosing to give our anxieties to God
* choosing to pray specifically
* choosing to be thankful
* choosing to dwell on the positive.
We are to practice substituting prayer for worry, the positive for the negative - and the God of peace will be with us! For the second time in this passage we see that the peace of God follows a choice to obey."
"My prayer has often been, 'God don't let my pain be wasted. Use it to conform me to Your image. Use it to teach me how to be content.'"
During our mystery months I read a book called Sifted: God's Scandalous Response to Satan's Outrageous Demand that I'd picked up for free on my Kindle app. Reading it really made me reconsider my view of trials and my view of God in my trials. Sitting down to try to finish up this blog post God reminded me of it and I thought I'd post a few things that I'd highlighted in it.
"Jesus doesn't reassure Peter that He will not allow this terrible thing to happen-instead, He tells him that He has prayed that his "faith may not fail" and "when you have turned back, [that you would] strengthen your brothers.' This 'sifting' is going to happen, it's going to happen with Jesus' permission, and it's going to happen for a reason."I'm reminded that when we decided to live here we were, at the end, deciding between 2 different places. We felt less safe at the other place so we decided to move here. God told us that neither place was right or wrong but that which ever one we chose there would be blessings and trials, there would just be different blessings and trials at each one... I guess this is one of the trials at this house. I guess I am grateful: God revealed to me that there would be trials, just as He told Peter of Satan's demand to sift him. He tells the truth. I can trust Him.
"All of the people and books and music and films you and I love the most are encrusted, like priceless jewels, with pain. Name something that captures your heart that was not formed by pain. It's ironic, of course, that pain repels us more fundamentally than anything else in life but it produces things that are magnetic to us. Why do we live in fear of pain while, at the same time, we find ourselves drawn to its 'produce' in the people and stories of our lives? And why does all great art, and why do all truly great people, seem positively marinated in pain?"hmmm... definitely something to think about. I don't like being "marinated in pain" but I do like the end result.
"God is unfailingly kind but only sporadically nice. That's true because the nature of His kindness is radically different from its popular shallow translations. Kindness isn't measured by the act but by its effect. It's hard to diagnose an action as "kind" except in retrospect, when you examine what it has produced in you."His perspective is totally different than mine.
"Faith never knows where it is being led but it loves and knows the One who is leading." ~ Oswald Chambers
"Sifting helps us to say good-bye to the inexplicable and unpredictable god of the nursery and say hello to the ferocious, tender, playful, and shrewd Lover that He really is - one glimpse of Him this way, and we are ruined for every other lesser god."
"we wrestle with despair expressly because control has been taken from us."OUCH, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Oh yes, I like control too much.
"Sifting alone has the power to reduce us to childlikeness, because it brutally wrests control from us and reminds us who is Lord. When control is a distant memory, only then do we understand the lordship of Jesus." "Children who are convinced their parents are strong, caring, and unconditionally for them spend very little time considering their fears."Oh, God, give me a childlike faith in You!
I think that I need to re-read that book again. Maybe even read it aloud as a family. We are in another season of sifting. Sifting is "the violent process of separating the useful from the unnecesary - the crushing and sorting of something whole for the purpose of isolating its nourishing core from the trappings that guard it."
"Sifting. Beat. Separate. Reveal."
Oh Lord, third time's the charm? May what is left from Your kind sifting be something that is nourishing to those I come in contact with. Use it for Your glory. I know that further sifting is needed in my heart. I know that, most likely, this is not the last time stuff will be taken from us. Please be at work in my heart that I will trust You more. You are good. You are strong. You are caring. You are unconditionally for me. I love You.