I have always struggled with living in the moment. Sometimes I worry about the unknown and overthink things. Other times, I am too busy happily anticipating the future (packing bags a full two weeks before vacation) to enjoy the present. Even when the present is peachy, I can taint it with feelings of dread that the good times are sure to end soon.
Just the other night I was filled with worry and dread. What if my kids misbehaved here? What if I didn't fit in? What if I somehow enjoyed myself too much here, getting sucked in by an easy lifestyle and forgetting the needs of others? What if we didn't choose the right place to live (either too far from Aaron's work or too far from the kids' school) and were miserable? What if? What if? WHAT IF???
I cried out to God. Faithful as always, He answered me. Verse after verse filled my head. Humor me and take the time to really read these. They are life:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. John 1:17
Therefore I tell you, , what you will eat or drink; or body, what you will wear. Is more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:25
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
It was as if God was whispering, "Stop worrying, child. Look at what I have already provided. Enjoy it. Trust Me."
So I did. I looked around with new eyes. Eyes not clouded with fear and anxiety. Eyes filled with wonder and gratitude.
Our temporary residence is a tropical paradise (see pool below). The staff is ridiculously friendly and helpful. Our kids are getting along (mostly). Our never ending flight here was a huge success (thank you, Jesus...and Benadryl). An American mom of four small children who has been here for a year has taken me under her wing, showing me the ropes.
As usual, God has anticipated and provided for our every need...And then some. He perfectly timed our arrival in Singapore to coincide with the annual guest party for our residence. The invitations were elaborate. We had been watching them decorate with lovely flowers and center pieces for days. I was pretty sure our crazy kiddos would destroy the ambiance, so I didn't bother to RSVP, assuming we would just hang out in our room. However, the day before the party, a staff member approached us and encouraged us to come. Though we had missed the proper reply date, they graciously allowed us to join and sent a personalized ticket to our room.
It was like something out of a dream. The huge lobby was filled with the aroma of a mountain of fresh local fruits and the festive sounds of a traditional band. The staff were in colorful dresses and suits, offering flowers for female guests' hair. Once registered, we received tickets for fan painting (Maddie's first choice), caricature mug painting (capturing Jack's essence), henna tattoos (the length of Parker's arm), hand massages, and more. It was awesome! Our sweet housekeeper, Dora, whisked Caleb away, smiling, "Go relax, Mama!" Another staff member took Aaron and I on a tour of the various food stations highlighting the delicious local cuisine. We sipped wine and chatted with other guests and staff members.
Kids were everywhere. We allowed Parker to change into swim trunks and join a large group of youngsters in the pool. Suddenly I was transported back to The Riverwalk pool in Texas, watching a bunch of skinny little boys throwing each other into the water. Parker's smile was priceless. Looked like my crazy, rambunctious, American kids were going to be okay after all.
We didn't head back to our room until Caleb began nodding off in the stroller. What an amazing evening. How perfect are God's gifts and timing! I will do my best to show my gratitude to Him by enjoying the gift of the present.