What I'm Learning From Bangka/Belitung and Back Again

Here is what I journaled yesterday:


To Bangka and Back Again - July 23, 2011 (3:28 am – 12:28 PM, July 22 in the States)

My intention was to buy a little journal when I got here, but I forgot to do so when we went out shopping yesterday. So, I am journaling on my computer. I journaled for about 15 minutes this morning when the computer shut down to install updates, but I don’t have a wireless connection. So, who knows what that was all about! It rebooted and what I had already written was not auto-saved.

 I got up at about 2:30 am. It would be like as if I were sleeping late in the States (11:30 am). I love the early mornings that I have in Southeast Asia because of the time change.

Yesterday, God spoke to me from 1 Corinthians 12 about using my gifts to help George with the logistics of getting to Bangka. George was so open to that, but I think I overstepped it by interfering with the booking of the plane flights through Shi-Ane’s travel agent, Eunice. Eunice said her fee would be $50 Sing Dollars per person, but we might want to go to Lion Air and book directly. George was going to press the button to send all the stuff to Eunice anyway because that was the sure thing, and I said, “Stop!”  I hate spending extra money. It seemed wiser to go to Lion Air and skip the travel agent fee.

Long story short, Shi-Ane and Moses brought us to Lion Air downtown. She had to pay for parking (wouldn’t let us reimburse her), and we had to wait a long time in line to see an agent, and it was MORE and no travel agent fee! Then, we called Eunice back, and her price had gone up by about $80 Sing Dollars per person from morning to afternoon! UGH!  So, we ended up paying more, and it was all my fault. J As a result, we had to send Eunice all the stuff by finding a wireless spot downtown making us late for the start of our anniversary celebration. We also had to cancel with Prakash because we were still working out the details on the phone with Eunice. I feel bad because we inconvenienced our friends and exhausted ourselves when we could have saved money and time by just pressing the button from the wireless at Shi-Ane’s house in the morning and gone directly to the hotel. UGH!

I was disappointed in myself when God woke me up with these verses:

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning,
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. (Psalm 130:3-6)

As I recline in bed so early this morning, waiting like a watchwoman for the sun to rise on the bustling city of Singapore, my sweet, forgiving husband slumbers next to me, and I am humbled to see that after 21 years of marriage, I am still learning and growing to be the right helpmate for him. How do I use my gifting and strengths to fill in where he is weak without “overflowing”?

What do I mean by “overflowing”?  In Genesis 3:16, when God is handing out his curse for Eve’s disobedience, He says, “And your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”  I had never really understood what that word “desire” meant until I did a Hebrew word study, the word teshûqâh comes from a root word, shûq, that means “to run after or over, that is, overflow: - overflow, water.” I need to compliment George rather than run over him.

To add insult to injury to my stupidity yesterday, when we finally got to our hotel room (remember it was two hours later than we wanted because of me), he presented me with an anniversary card that read:

My dearest Carol, what a wonderful adventure these 21 years have been. You are my love, my friend, my companion, the one who fills in the areas where I am weak, and cheers me on in the areas where I am strong.”

I want to learn to “fill” to just the right amount rather than to “overflow” and crush George’s spirit and mess up God’s plan! I think when God spoke to me yesterday in 1 Corinthians 12, He was leading me to be a helpmate to George in my spiritual gifting of encouragement rather than my ability to organize and plan.  I want to grow to be more of a cheerleader than a questioner of George’s every move.

It is funny but every time I prayed in preparation for this trip, I felt God was telling me this. The uncertainty unnerved me, and He was gently reminding me that supporting George is His purpose for me here.  When there is uncertainty, especially in travel, I tend to panic and pick at George. I need to learn to enjoy the adventure. The many word phrases expressed in the artwork on my anniversary card from George say it well:
Embrace change
Love with abandon
Speak of your gratitude
Be positive
Dance in the moonlight
Surprise yourself and do the thing you didn’t think you could
 I thought it was sort of a funny card for an anniversary, but all those sayings so pertain to my situation on this trip. The goal-oriented, planner in me needs to just take a back seat and enjoy the ride and cheer on the driver.

You would think, after 21 years of marriage, I would have this down pat, but I don’t.  In the process of my time with God this morning, He also spoke to me through 1 Corinthians 13, “love is patient, love is kind.”  These are all God’s words for me this morning.

By the way, in the process of writing this, George woke up too, and I asked for his forgiveness, and he freely gave it.  He is back asleep again unphased by my ways. How do I deserve such a gem?

Now on to more uncertainty as we navigate a trip from Singapore to Bangka/Belitung and back again and I try “to do the thing I didn’t think I could” by stopping my interference.   
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