Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Year

She wasn't too sure about this cake!
Today we spent the day with some of our best friends, Janel & Matt.  Well, I guess they are more like family, but there is no technical family connection in the genealogy.  We were celebrating the first birthday of their precious daughter, Sayde.  As I was getting dressed this morning, I was thinking about where we were a year ago.  A year ago as my best friend was heading to give birth to her third child, Tim & I were in a conference in Waxhaw, North Carolina.  Just as this sweet baby girl was brought into the world helpless and totally dependent on everyone around her, we, too, were entering into a new world that was foreign but left us feeling helpless and totally dependent on our Father to guide us. 

That conference was the Check-IT-Out Conference hosted by Wycliffe. Very few people knew what we were doing that weekend. Those that did know were praying for God to show us clearly what we were to do.  We were looking into the possibility of using Tim's IT skills in the mission field.  We weren't sure how, when, where, or what, but we knew God said to go, so we went.  I sat in these meetings that were really geared toward those with an IT background with not a clue as to what they were talking about.  All I knew was that there were over 2,000 languages in the world that still needed a Bible in their language.  These people groups had no way of reading or completely understanding the Bible.  I remember thinking, "Wow, you'd think all languages would have a Bible by now."  I was amazed at how Wycliffe was using the God given talent and intellect of these gifted men and women to greatly increase the translation process through the use of computers.  I was amazed at how the linguist would use shoeboxes of index cards to translate words and sounds as they learned them.  As a mom with kids, I'm wondering how many times those boxes were dumped out or had something spilled on them or colored on or....well, you get my point.  Now they have a program called Shoebox that enables them to translate without all the index cards to store their words they have learned.  Where it used to take 30 years or so to complete a New Testament translation, it now takes 12-15 years. All because of the technology God has provided.

What a difference a year makes! A year later, we are now in full preparation to join the translation work in Papua New Guinea with Wycliffe.  We've completed our initial training and begun forming our partnership team.  We hope to be in Papua New Guinea in less than a year from now.   Just as our kids learn so much in that first year of life, we, too, have learned tremendous amounts about ourselves and about our continued dependence on our Heavenly Father.  Although as kids get older, they tend to become less dependent (hopefully) on their parents, this is where the analogy ends.  Today, we are even more dependent upon our Heavenly Father.  Only He knows what our future holds, and it is an exciting journey to behold! 

Disclaimer:  Please do not ask me (Tara) any technical computer questions from Check-IT-Out.  Not only was my mind several hundred miles away thinking about Janel as she was trying to give birth to Sadye, but the conference certainly wasn't in my mother tongue!  I don't think it was in English, at least not good ole' Southern English! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Most people think of Florida has a tourist destination and fun spot.  We think of Florida as home.  It is where we grew up.  It is where our family is, well at least most of Tara's family.  It is always nice to go back home.  After being gone for 10-15 years, home doesn't feel like home anymore.  This trip home has been spent doing some reminiscing.   Last week we drove past the home that Tim & I first knew as a married couple.  It hasn't changed that much, but it wasn't the same place.  We also drove past the place Tim spent his childhood.  The neighborhood and home aren't the same! Yesterday my mom & I drove past the house I grew up in.  It looks nothing like the home I knew as a child.  We drove past the home where my mom grew up.  It is where my grandparents lived until God called them home.  It is now an office for one of the Strawberry Farmers.  Things have changed- A LOT!

The kids make the backseat "home!"
This has gotten me thinking about what really makes up a home.  We've all heard the old saying "Home is where the heart is."  What does that mean?  Clearly, home isn't a particular place that is permanent for a lifetime.  I don't call the house I grew up in "home".  At one time I did, but not now. As we've been traveling meeting with different people and visiting the last week and a half, we've used the phrase "Time to go home."  But, we weren't really going home because home is in Atlanta.  We are still here at my parents' house in Florida.  It's not our home.  So, what is home?  I have some theories, and my favorite right now is "home is where you are most comfortable to be you".  I think back to the time when Tim & I first moved to Atlanta.  We left our home in Orlando and moved into a cramped extended stay hotel while waiting for our house to be completed.  It wasn't an ideal home, but it was where we could go to escape everything, except for maybe each other.  Last week, we stayed at a couple of different hotels.  They were a brief "home" because we were able to just relax and be ourselves. 

Celebrating Nini's birthday at her home.
After being gone for over a week, I miss home.  I miss the routine and normalcy that is associated with home.  I can see how God is working on my attitude and heart.  This type A personality is learning to be more flexible with schedules and people around.  I'm learning to find my own place for home, no matter where I am.  Yes, I think home is where you are free to be you.  Even if that isn't correct, that is what I need to cling to through the next chapter of our lives.  If not, I will always be longing for "home".  I think about the Israelite people as they left Egypt after 430 years of captivity.  Home had become a miserable place of slavery and hard work.  Yet, when they were free and in the desert, they complained and longed to be "home".  God had a plan to deliver His people from the Egyptians and to show Himself as God.  The Israelites chose to complain.  God still provided a path through the Red Sea.  As we begin our transition from the home we've known for 10+ years to the new home in Papua New Guinea, we must remember that God knows exactly what is going on.  He is to be glorified.  He doesn't promise comfort.  My attitude and my reaction to all the changes is what will determine how I view the change of home.  It will also make an incredible difference to my family, as well. 

Although I still don't have a great definition of home, I do know that one day my home will never change.  The day I am with my Heavenly Father is the day I will be forever home.  In the meantime, I'll follow His leading to bring as many people Home as will come.  Will you join me?