Friday, June 3, 2011

The First Blessing of Furlough and a Contest Winner

Thank you for playing along with my little contest last week! I hope the geography questions weren't too hard :)
And the winner is....drum roll, please.........Betsie Lewis! And since I already have your address, I'll be sending your little package along very soon!

As we've now been on furlough officially for four weeks, I've had a bit of time to think about what a blessing furlough is for missionaries. When we began planning this furlough, I was having a hard time appreciating the idea. I knew it was what we were supposed to do. I knew it would be good for our children. I knew it would be helpful for our supporting churches. But I wasn't really sure if it would be of any benefit to me. Now I know that that sounds a bit arrogant, and I'm sure it is.

Often it's hard to see what we really need, but what a blessing that the Lord knows exactly what we need when we need it!
We've been back long enough now that the Lord has been able to open my eyes to the fact that He only gives good gifts! Furlough is a good gift! It's not just about leaving our home and ministry, as I was thinking. It's about putting us in a different place for a time: a place with different struggles, and different ways of stretching and growing, and yes, a place with different gifts from Him.

Missionaries have lots of things they think about when returning to their home country...their favorite stores, their own food, a familiar culture, and maybe a different climate...and all of these can be a blessing if mentally put in the right place. But none of these are the real blessings of furlough. These are just the sprinkles on top!

The first blessing of furlough is family. Simple.
Time to let the grandparents love on their grandbabies. Time to play games. Time to teach their grandkids new skills. Time to just be with each other.

And if family time is made a priority on furlough it brings a wonderful piggy-back blessing with it....memories.
Life moves so very swiftly. A year of furlough slips through the fingers like sand.

It's so easy to waste the days, the opportunities, the moments. Too easy to look back over a period of time and realize that it's gone forever and you can't even remember what you did with it.

Lord, remind me daily of the blessing that family is. Help me savor each moment and memory as the gifts they truly are!
Hope you all make some great memories this week!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Patty! I needed that! I am going to go to bed now and dream sweet furlough dreams! :) Love you! Becky

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  2. That was wonderful! It made me cry to see those pictures of you enjoying time with those you love, and think of each day. What a treasure! I'm praying that you enjoy every minute!

    Family was what made our 3 three weeks in the US so special and memorable. Now, I'm trying to make more memories here, serving the Lord as a family. Struggling to make each moment count in the lives of these little ones.

    This week was a camping memory:) ....in a tent;0)
    BTW, love the new matching Gap sweatshirts... too cute!

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  3. So many new horizons ahead. Time does fly so fast. We made a bunch of new memories this past weekend and was such a huge blessing and so loved that you guys were here to be a part of it.
    We love you dearly! Thank you John for the awesome lesson you gave our graduates.It was so good! Thanks for giving of yourselves!
    We love you !
    Trac

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  4. Patty, your comment tonight made me laugh out loud. Your girls are soooo cute, and I've asked myself that same question: Is driving in cars and eating all that goes in the USA? lol.
    I like this post about furlough, furlough is always a struggle for me, being an MK all my life, the thought of leaving my home and living 'on the field' of the United States of America is always overwhelming, but yes, there are blessings. :)

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