Sunday, 16 October 2016

Perspective Shift...

This time my blog will actually feature writing for a change. :) You see, I've recently had a healthy perspective change. I came to a realisation after talking to our neighbour several weeks ago. She mentioned to me how wonderful it has been to see all that God has done for us over the past two years - since we arrived in the USA together in 2014. We've been through a lot of "bad" experiences and yet we are still together, stronger and wiser than before. I've often nodded my head and agreed with this sentiment. God has done many wonderful things for us over the past few years. But something clicked during that conversation.

Over the past few months I've been increasingly negative as I reflect on our life in the USA. I've viewed every major decision or life-changing event as something bad. Something that has made a negative impact on our lives. And usually in terms of a loss of income or money.
  • We bought a truck back in September 2014 that I genuinely believed was the truck for me. We discovered this year that the whole frame was shot - rusting away. It was something that the dealership had covered up and were dishonest with us.
  • We put an offer in on a house in the middle of 2015, but then were both very anxious and pulled out at the last minute. We lost a lot of money.
  • Candace had major complications in the aftermath of the birth of our beautiful boy and she almost died at the end of 2015. Riaan almost lost his mother and the road to recovery was not easy. We had some large medical bills, too.
  • I developed pink eye (conjunctivitis) on my actual birthday (5th February) and had to go to the ER to get it sorted out since it was around 9pm on a Friday night - and we were going away for the weekend. It turns out that breast milk is a great cure, though!
  • After a year of working at the local pharmacy, standing on my feet all day, a pain in my groin area got increasingly worse. I had to have a hernia repair surgery in February this year, and that also cost money.
  • We bought non-refundable flights - for 24th September - to visit my family in South Africa. Riaan is a dual national and although he has a US passport, he has to enter South Africa on a South African passport. This was something we didn't realise when we booked the flights back in March. We rushed to Chicago in June and applied for his SA passport, but were told it could take six months to be processed - since it has to go to Pretoria and then come back here again. We prayed for a miracle, but his passport failed to arrive by the end of August and so we needed to change or cancel our flights. It was looking likely that it would be another costly expense - since changing the flights would cost around USD 700. Cancelling them was not an option.
We've been through a lot and in some ways I've viewed all of these experiences as negative, costly events. And yet this is not how God would have me remember them. We were able to sell my truck and cover what was left on the loan. We were able to pull out of the house and not be stuck in an unhappy situation having a house we both didn't actually want. We lost some money, yes, but at least we're not losing lots more money every month, being tied to a 30-year loan! Candace and Riaan both survived - and their story is one that has touched many hearts and that God has used for building his Kingdom in this area and around the world. My health issues and surgery are all in the past now. My hernia should never come back. There may be some discomfort, but it is part of the process. And then regarding our flights, we spoke to our travel agent and thanks to Delta changing our flight route in an unacceptable manner, we were able to cancel the flights and get a full refund. We didn't lose any money! This is definitely a God-thing. It's a blessing to us. And to top things off, Riaan's South African passport arrived this past Thursday and so we will be looking into rescheduling our holiday soon. :)

In all of these major life events, God has been glorified. None of them are negative. They were all there as opportunities for God to show his wonder, majesty and faithfulness time and time again. It's a pretty good, healthy shift in perspective at a time when I've been feeling rather dark and gloomy about life. So I pray that you will be encouraged and take heart from our testimony today. God is so much bigger than the biggest life event you can think of! And, as it says in Romans 8: 28 NIV:

 And we know that IN ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

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