Tim and I had a great weekend with our friend from Uganda that was in town. He and his family are missionaries there and were a huge encouragement during Tim's time in Uganda. Obviously since they live in Uganda, their life is very different than ours: all of the food has to be prepared from scratch, water has to be pumped, no air conditioning, no peanut butter, no cheese, few luxuries, etc. When I asked him how it has been living without all of that, his reply was something to the effect of: the more we do not live for this world, the easier it is......each day we focus on what the Lord is calling us to do and we just don't think about all the other stuff. I realize at this point in my life, I am not called to live the same life that they are called to live but the point echos in my mind.....contentment! I love luxuries....I love pedicures, hot water, pre-made foods, I hate being durty, I love watching something good on TV at the end of the day, I hate public restrooms and will avoid using them to the best of my ability, I love buying new things, etc. The question is: Could I be content without all those luxury things I have come to expect in life.....would it bring more joy to give up those things for following what the Lord has for me? I was recently reading a John Piper book about fasting and it makes a wonderful point about the effect the things in this world can have: "The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world........The pleasures of this life and the desires for other things - these are not evil in themselves. These are not the vices. These are gifts from God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God." The point with fasting that he is making is that you can fast to take deliberate time to fill yourself up with the Lord and not other things, but the point is definitely bigger. All these wonderful things in life can fill us up so that we are not filled with the Lord......that is definitely true in my life!
I am trying to have a little devotional time with the kids in the morning and 2 weeks ago we talked about being tenderhearted and I gave the kids a definition of tenderhearted from the book I was doing the devotional out of. One of the kids came up to me last week and said "Mom, I am strong enough to feel the joys and hurts of Piper.....thats being tenderhearted" I was appreciative of the fact that they listened and are trying to apply it!