Monday, October 27, 2014

Jon's accident and empathy

If you’ve been seeing my Facebook posts, you have heard the background for this post.  Jon, a pilot with NTM here in PNG has been training to fly the new Kodiak plane that will soon be the workhorse for us.  He was involved in a serious crash on his motorcycle on the way home from the hangar October 15th and fought for his life that night before he could be evacuated to Cairns for treatment.  He had a compound fracture on his right leg and the left leg was pretty banged up too with three ligaments torn and a smashed foot.  Reports now indicate that the car even ran over his left foot.  Details are still sketchy on the accident itself but it was evident that Jon shouldn’t have even survived the accident.  God spared his life at the moment of the accident and through the night as he lost almost all of his blood.  Missionaries with the same blood type were donating blood for the transfusions that were needed to keep him alive.  This is all information we received much after the fact.  The first email came out and all I knew was to be praying for him as he’d been in a bad collision.  Now that you know the basics, I wanted to share some of the things the Lord has taught me through this journey of prayer, to date anyway.  There’s more for Jon to face but for now, I thought I’d share this. 


I’m not sure what it is but ever since I heard that our pilot’s leg may have to be amputated, I’ve had this incredible sense of empathy for him, which only increased as the doctors ended up having to amputate.  I just felt so bad for him, even so far as almost ‘hating’ this for him.  One minute he was training to fly the new Kodiak plane for New Tribes Mission to help missionaries get around all over PNG and the next, he would have to work through so many changes for his own life and family, much less ministry and flying.  I just felt so sick for him – thinking about how often men define themselves by what they do and that being a missionary pilot was now in question.  All of the things that a young active guy is used to doing that would now be a challenge to do.  He could certainly do so much – it wasn’t the end of his life by any means, but he would certainly have to learn a new way to do tons of things that he has done without thinking up until now.  I kept thinking of all the hard days ahead for him – physical therapy and all the adjustments to life without his right leg.  And please understand, I know all of the truths that I myself have hung onto the last couple years – of God’s sovereignty and grace being sufficient.  I get it – He has another plan for Jon’s life – another way to use him for His glory.  I know that He will get him and his family through all of this.  But I also know that there will be hard days ahead when that grace is there while he pushes through pain to get on his feet again.  The hard days ahead when he wants to be flying but can’t – the hard days of facing a loss of ministry as he knew it.  Perhaps he’ll be able to fly again but not sure if he could fly mission flights in the middle of the jungle anymore.  It’s a physically demanding job on uneven ground much less the safety side if there were mechanical problems inflight.  So what he knows today has all been changed and he’ll have to mourn the loss of all this – the leg, the ministry, perhaps the job itself and all of the ease he knew when he had both legs.  So while he hangs onto his gracious, faithful Savior, there will still be hard emotional and physical days for him in the future.  Many of us will move on with our lives and perhaps his recovery will fade away from our minds and the prayer support that he feels right now will fade away a bit too and he’ll have to face these things with a smaller prayer support network than he has currently.  And yes, he will grow in his relationship with the Lord but the reality of the pain that will be involved in all that is still real.  We all grow through adversity but that adversity hurts.  And I couldn’t help but feel his loss and pain somehow.  I know all of the truths about how God fits into this – that’s without question.  But what about the realities that he faces?  The losses that he’s now feeling and will in the days ahead?  The Lord will be enough for those too – I get that.  But I was just overwhelmed about the hard days that go with that trust and growth.


I kept wondering why I was feeling so burdened for him – why so sad for him.  I even asked the Lord if I was doubting the truths that I know about who He is – or tired of believing those things or something – why was I so very sad for him?  Then I finally figured it out – or rather, I think the Lord revealed it to me.  Although the loss I’ve mourned and walked through the last couple years is not in the same league as what Jon’s facing, I have had to mourn a ministry and loss of teammates just as he will in the days to come.   Even if he can fly mission aviation again, it will be years before he’s ready to do that again.  He’s had several surgeries already but they’re going to let his amputation heal before they do the big surgery on the 3 ligaments in his left leg that needs to be done – and the surgery on his foot that needs to be screwed back together.  They won’t even start the one surgery until six weeks or so from now so he’s got a long haul before he can even begin working on walking/standing etc. with a prosthetic limb.  He’s got to let the remaining leg heal before he can start that process – all that to say that even if he returns to mission aviation, it’ll be a long while before he can do any of that.  I was reminded of how I’m waiting on new coworkers and while I may get back into Wabuku, I’m still having to trust Him as I wait.  And some days are easier than others.  Some days it just stinks to not be in Wabuku where I was involved in a ministry that He had given me.  But now I’m waiting on others to get back into the tribe and ministry that I was expecting to do.  Yes, yes, He has other things He can do through me until then, etc. but I have still had to face the loss of my home, friends, coworkers and ministry.  There have been easy days and some days that have been hard – while I also hang onto the truths of who He is and how He’s right in the midst of all of this. It’s that strange bittersweet mix of being content to wait on Him while tears run down your face.  The trust is there while the heart mourns.


So I could finally put my finger on it – although through very different circumstances, I was forced to face my own losses again as I thought about all of those ahead for Jon and his family – with even more far-reaching consequences and much harder days than I have had.  I don’t have to deal with any physical pain to get back on my feet – so to speak, while he will.  But we both have to choose to rest in His grace through the easy and the hard days.  We both have to mourn a ministry loss before we can rejoice at the new one He’s given.  Some days are just hard – no other way to describe them.  That doesn’t mean He’s not faithful or that He won’t use it for good – that’s all true but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be extremely painful the first time he tries to walk.  Having gone through loss, I suppose that is why this hit me so hard.  It’s not a matter of doubting His goodness or that He’d sustain them and get them through this – or being tired of believing Him to be who He is.  It was a matter of empathy – of understanding to some small degree of the hard days ahead that while drawing Him closer will also be just plain hard. 


I share this with hesitation to some degree lest some of you think that I’m discouraged and mourning all the time.  That is far from the truth.  I was just struck by the realities of what’s ahead for Jon and reminded again that spiritual growth in us and sometimes glory for Him means hardship and suffering.  Christ left us an example of suffering but how often do we actually embrace it?  God is good, He will take care of Jon.  He will get him and his wife and three kids through all of this.  That is absolute truth.  The pain and hard days are a reality too though.  We all face different struggles in our walk with Him.  He allows suffering to make us more like Christ.  We are not greater than our Master and if He suffered, then so shall we to become more like Him.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Little bit of background noise

So I’m wondering what you picture in your mind when you hear me talking about recording a chapter of I Corinthians.  What do you think the recording will actually sound like?  Tyob doesn’t ‘um’ and say ‘you know’ or ‘like’ the same way that Americans do when they talk.  He sniffs a lot or coughs or clears his throat a lot – often starting each recording with one of the above.  Or he’ll repeat the same word over and over as he tries to think of what comes next so he has his own ‘um’ word I suppose.  The part you wouldn’t expect to hear if you’ve not been here would be the roosters crowing in the background, or the dogs howling or yelping, or the kids crying or the adults talking next door or the guy working on a new pig spear by hammering a piece of metal into just the right thickness and length, or the cat meowing or the ladies yelling at their kids at the house just next door or the laughter of the men talking at that same house or the PNG music that is now playing at that same house or the chair squeaking that Tyob is sitting on or the adult or child now banging on the sauce pan like you would a drum or the very loud people that are distracting Tyob and I from what we’re doing shushing the children that are now sitting just outside the office so that they don’t disturb us but you can’t hear the kids for the adults that are now yelling at them.  This is all the background noise that was ‘playing’ as we recorded two chapters of I Corinthians.  I don’t know how he managed to tune it all out – but I’m glad that at least he could!  There were times it got too much for him too and I had to ask the guys to turn the radio down – or he’d had enough and shushed the kids too.  Listening to the recordings to transcribe them almost took me back to that place of sensory overload with all the noise around us but at least I could edit some of it out and skip some of the rooster crows or the ladies yelling.  I did manage to get it all transcribed as Tyob’s voice was strong enough to drown out most of the background noise.   Just thought you might appreciate an accurate picture of what translation work can really sound like.  I can show you pictures but it’s so hard to bring the sounds and smells of the jungle to you.  So read this again and picture yourself sitting in a small office with screens, no windows in the middle of the village with a house full of people just about 10 feet away.  It’s hot and humid and it’s been raining so the humidity is even higher than normal.  You’re trying to listen to a guy speak a different language than your own and keep an eye on the text he’s speaking from memory to make sure you’re both following the original text and not meandering down the wrong path – while all this noise is going on around you – the entire time.  For about four hours, this was our background ‘white’ noise.  It wasn’t so background most of the time but we did get it done.  Four hours with all of the above playing in the background……no exaggeration…..far too normal out here.  No cell phones or internet but plenty of ‘distractions’ all the same.  LOL!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

You deserve

I know – I’m supposed to be dishing out the latest Wabuku news and I’m getting there….but another thought hit me really strongly this morning that I can’t very well fit into my next update.  I was listening to music this morning in preparation for my quiet time, singing along (as loud as I wanted since I live in the middle of the jungle and no one could hear me).  This song came on by Natalie Grant, called You Deserve.  I’ve sung along to it before and the line, “You deserve’ has been running through my mind off and on for over a week but I was really humbled by this one line today.   Here’s the basic song, minus all the repeats of the chorus. 


How can I come with only this

You are the Lord, wrapped in holiness

But here I am, before you now

Here I am


  You deserve

every mountain falling

  You deserve

Every ocean reaching

  You deserve

All creation crying out your word

  You deserve

All of heaven singing

 You deserve

Every nation rising

I have heard

What you want most is my love….


How can I be the one your heart aches for

Still can’t believe you say that I am yours

So here I am

Before you now

Here I am


  You deserve…

What you want most is my love….


The chorus starts talking about all that He deserves.  He is the Creator and Master of everything – above all and deserving of all worship, honor, praise, glory and exaltation.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords…..and yet, what He wants most is my love.  I was humbled to tears to think that the God of all creation love me and is worthy of complete subjection and submission and yet what He really wants is my love.  Who am I that He should even know my name much less desire to be loved by me?  Pretty powerful truth. 


So then I got to thinking about the truth and ramifications of this.  Is it really backed up in Scripture?  Why would He wants that over anything else?  I could write a thesis on this probably but here are some of the things that came to mind this morning.  If I love Him, then I will keep His commandments, according to Jesus anyway.  If I love Him, then I will love His children – and all of those for whom He died.  If I love Him, then my heart will be broken for what His heart is broken for.  If I love Him, then I will submit and yield to Him.  If I love Him, then I will even obey Him, wanting only to please Him and never hurt or disappoint Him.  If I love Him, then I trust Him.  If I love Him, then I will seek His company often – and thus become more like Him.  If I love Him, then others will see that love too and be drawn to Him.  If I love Him, then nothing else will tempt me to ignore or become indifferent to Him.  If I love Him, then I will be much about His work, serving in His strength.  If I love Him, then I will choose fellowship with Him over anything else, such as sin which would break that fellowship.  I’m sure I could say more but I was quickly convinced that my love is really what He wants.  And even in that, it’s actually for my good that I love Him too.  I am loved by Him and I receive a ton of benefits by loving Him, it’s in my best interest to love Him.  And I need to get to know Him in order to love Him.  The more I know Him, the more I will trust Him, the more I trust Him, the more I will love Him.  The more I love Him, the more I will obey Him.  And then the cycle starts all over again so that the knowledge, trust, love and obedience go deeper and deeper.  And the more that I know, trust, love and obey Him, the more others see Him through me.  Sounds like the author of this song knew what they were talking about… absolutely amazing and humbling to think that the Great I Am, Creator of All, Almighty, Holy God wants my love.  Unbelievable!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

High Water

Perhaps for my first post since the Gospel presentation here in the village, I should be writing about the growth in the church and such and I will write about that.  But today as I listen to the water crash against the shore here in Sinow, I’ve been thinking about who God is and what He’s trying to teach me through high water.  It’s rainy season here in Papua New Guinea and the main Sepik river rises and falls based on the amount of rain up and down the river.  We expect it to come up over the air strip in January or February or even March, but not usually this early in the season.  I just moved into Sinow at the end of October so I’ve not had a cargo flight since I came in.  It’s not like I’m running out of food or anything but I have run out of fresh vegetables.  I can get greens here in the village and I even have some taro and sweet potato at the moment.  But no lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli or anything.  I have one more container of fuel to make my next run up to Wabuku and back, but then I’m out.  The water kept rising over the weekend so that the strip was partially covered on Sunday.  I was planning on a two-night overnight up in Wabuku, leaving Monday morning.  Sunday night, the rain just kept coming down.  The river came up even higher, so much that the guys taking me to Wabuku preferred to only go for one night so they could get back and get some necessary work done with water in the village and around their houses and gardens – totally understandable but that cut short my visit.  So we went up to Wabuku with beautiful weather and it almost looked like we might get through the night with no more rain…..but no, a good thunder/lightning storm and lots more rain came down.  The water actually went down a couple of inches in Sinow but not enough to help with the air strip situation.  I also found out when I got to Wabuku that my main taper wanted to help me and had left word for me but we had to leave before he’d get back.  So I missed out on a translation opportunity – because of high water.  So we came back and the rain came down again the next night….would it ever end?  I can’t imagine it raining for 40 days and 40 nights like it’s been raining the last week.  Yikes – I have new appreciation for Noah!  Anyway, it was official – the strip was under water by a good 12 inches so today’s fuel flight was cancelled – it had already been delayed from Tuesday.  And the flight that was supposed to happen tomorrow to get my blood taken to check my thyroid levels isn’t going to happen either.  So not only will I not get the fuel I need to keep making trips up to Wabuku, I won’t get the packages that I’d sent myself with medicine and other things in them….and we may not get our cargo in on Tuesday as we’d planned.  The pilot heads to another town for meetings on Wednesday so if the flights don’t happen Monday or Tuesday, I have to figure something else out for the blood draw and wait until December to get more supplies in.  In addition to all the food items, I’m waiting on a 9 volt battery so I can use my oven.  (It’s the igniter for the oven’s pilot light.) There’s no local store to run to for that around here.  So although it’s been a month since the last supply run, I’m not entirely sure how much longer before the next one.  There’s a part of me that would like to get frustrated but how can I?  Part of this is just the reality of living in the jungle.  But apart from that, if I say that I believe that God is good….that He is sovereign….that He is gracious and merciful….that He will take care of His children….that the righteous will not lack for any good thing….then it’s in the midst of high water and no flights and a shorter stay in Wabuku that I have the opportunity to live out what I believe – or not.  Do I just say this with my mouth or with my life too?  If I really believe that is who God is, then how can I complain about His plan and what He has for me right now?  I can but then what do I really believe about God?  My life – my actions say far more than my words what I believe to be true about God.  And I believe He is good and sovereign, able and all the rest, so I just can’t let myself complain or get frustrated.  Sure, my flesh wants to but what good does it do me anyway?  Rest is found in Him.  Walking in the Spirit has rest, joy, peace and all the rest of the fruit with it – so I think I’ll trust Him.  And ask Him to work it out for the flights to happen before Wednesday.  J 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kisses of grace

I've been back here in Wabuku for all of ten days now but it seems like it's been ten times that somehow!  Coming back with a stealing incident to face right away sure made the first few days melt into one long day!  I shared with you of the incredible journey the Lord took me on to Memphis and back – and how tired my old body was as I got back to Wewak.  I stayed a few extra days to rest up and my coworkers, Elias and Jose Struik came back in on the Tuesday.  I had packed up a bunch of stuff and sent it in with them to help cover the weight I left  in not going in.  J  Then on Thursday, my other coworker, Matt sent me an email to let me know that one of the kids had stolen one of my boxes – hiding it under our dinghy (that leans against the back of the fuel shed).  Then three other boys joined him after dark to tear into all the treasure in there.  It was especially hard as it was the box filled with the gifts and purchases from the US.  Parents of the kids from ECS had purchased some things for me and then the parent teacher fellowship had given me $200 to go shopping.  The lady who does my mom's nails had sent nail polish and a pedicure kit to me and my mom had brought some Mary Kay stuff I was running out of.  And the majority of those things were in that box.  There were some really nice things in there – three bags of Starbucks coffee, chai green tea, three bottles of nail polish, hot tamales, a spa kit from one of the moms so I could pamper myself in the jungle, note cards, Croc flip flops, dried blueberries and then things like shower curtain liners and big storage-sized Ziploc bags.  I'm not the first person in the Sepik to have tribal people steal from them.  Many have had much bigger things stolen from their houses or boxes missing on the trail so I'm not alone in this.  And that made it almost harder for me. It was just 'stuff' – it was not anything that was going to keep me from functioning in the tribe – but everything in that box basically was a gift.  And it was all from America – and couldn't be replaced in Wewak or anywhere in PNG. 


I'd like to say that I handled it with grace and joy but that was far from my reaction.  Many have been there – the stages of anger, hurt, betrayal and all the rest that goes with it.  Hope, a missionary living in Wewak was the first person I saw after reading the email and I felt a bit numb at that point but then shared with her what was going on.  She was really sweet and encouraging while I was just mad the more I thought about it.  I cried often that day as I thought of it – more about the fact that these ladies had been so insistent in getting these things for me and now they were gone.  Then knowing that these kids get candy from me every cargo run as they help carry our stuff to our houses – and now they'd stolen from me.  I was going to eat lunch with two couples, one of which had just arrived on the field soon after I found this out.  Hope came over with a shower curtain she had – to replace one of the ones taken – so sweet and it just made me cry all the harder – as I shredded carrots for the salad.  It must have been some sight – tears running down my face as I shredded carrots with more gusto than perhaps ever before in my life!  Hope was encouraging and such a help to me at that moment!  So I dropped the salad off at Tara's and went to the radio – to see if anything had been returned or if it was all just shreds of bags and such.  Yep – pretty much gone, wrappers had been returned!  Anyway – I felt ridiculous as I headed up to Suttons – tears in my eyes and obviously having been crying – just in time to welcome the Georges to the Sepik!  Can you picture it?  So ridiculous – but they were gracious and at least acted like they didn't notice.  Tony was talking with the new couple in the living room as I snuck in the door and cried on Tara's shoulder for a couple minutes in the kitchen and explained what was going on.  No one died – it was just a dumb box that was stolen.  Oh – why can't I just accept it with a song instead of tears?  But again, Tara was super sweet and was ready to hang some boys up by their toe nails for me! 


Anyway- made it through lunch and the rest of the day but I was no longer so anxious to get back into Wabuku.  My brain was still trying to make the transition from the US to Wabuku and this sure wasn't making me feel loved and welcomed back into the Wabuku fold.  I also knew that the believers were upset and not happy about this either. I knew that there were some folks that were looking forward to my return but as mad as I was about this too.  I was mostly sad that we would all be talking about this stupid box instead of all that God had done through my trip.  I was so excited to share with them about these kids and their parents' reaction to hearing about Wabuku and the believers – and how excited they were with their little string bags, etc.  It was so fun to be able to share with these kids that there were ladies in Wabuku praying for them – and now to be able to share their responses with the folks here was going to be so cool!  But instead the first thing we'd be talking about was stealing.  Ugh.  The enemy seemed to be still trying to derail all that God wanted to do through this opportunity. But I knew that God would prevail – He would still use this for His glory!  Then I read this devotional on Thursday night, with tears streaming down my face.  It said something about saying to yourself, 'All is well,' no matter what difficulty or hurt you find yourself in – not as a mantra but as a healing balm and to say it until it had pulled the poison out of the sting.  I went back to that thought several times in the next couple days – it did seem to pull the poison and its sting out. 


I knew that God wanted to do something through this – in my life, in the lives of these ladies that supplied everything and in the lives of the Wabuku people.  I knew that He could enable me to not only forgive these kids but continue to love them.  Another missionary made me cry again as we met in supply Friday morning and he prayed for me and the Wabuku folks in this – I was fine at that point but his compassionate plea for God to undertake for me and these kids was so encouraging and helped to heal the hurt a bit too.  God was using His people to minister and encourage me in so many ways! 


We landed in Wabuku and Imi, my sister and perhaps the strongest female believer in here hugged me and we were both just about in tears by the time it was all said and done.  It was a bit strange and as my coworkers all said how good it was to have me back – I wasn't quite ready to say I was glad to be back.  That wouldn't have been completely truthful at the moment.  J  One of the missionaries in Wewak had shared some great stuff on Easter Sunday – how Christ had kept his eyes on the joy set before Him as He endured the cross – and we needed to do that too.  I kept thinking back to that – and that God wanted to do something through all this.  I wanted to be able to love these kids and their parents but also knew I'd need His strength to do it.  My flesh wanted to knock some heads together and it sure wasn't feeling like loving these folks.  But God….however we responded to this needed to be with the church in mind – another incredible opportunity perhaps to display grace and forgiveness.


Anyway, I went to dinner at Struiks that night and had a good meal and good fellowship with them.  Then I came home and started unpacking different things – we were going to meet the next day as a team to decide how to handle the stealing incident and I needed to make my list of things that were in that box.  The two shower curtains had been returned as well as the Ziploc bags and a partial bag of coffee.  And don't forget all the nasty panty liners and the bits of one note card and an empty tube of eye cream and filing sponge.  But I didn't have those in hand yet – just knew that they'd shown up at the other houses so far.  I had this list of things in my mind that were in that box and was sad about the loss of things like latex-free band aids and a coffee mug and dental floss that were in the box.  The mug was a one of a kind type of thing – a random single one that would be hard to replace.  And the floss was a new kind so how could I tell my mom what to get?  And although a friend in Wewak had given me a box of latex-free band aids and Hope had shared some latex-free tape with me, I was more sad because of how much work the one lady had gone to get them – she was so afraid she wasn't getting the right thing.  Anyway – those things were in that box too as far as I could remember.  But as I opened another box,  I found the band aids, the coffee mug, and the dental floss in there! It was like the Lord had placed kisses of His grace in the midst of all this loss!  All I could say was 'thank you.'  I don't even really know how to put into words the comfort and love I felt in just having these couple things.  But I definitely felt His love and presence through them.  The icing on the cake was that on my way back, I thought I had lost one of the earrings that another missionary gave me for my birthday but as I unpacked, I found that I actually had both of them!  That was the final kiss – and it was sufficient for the moment! 


I cried my way through the team meeting  - mostly because of the betrayal I felt.  The kids are all unbelievers but it was frustrating to see that very little was coming back – parents and adults knew and weren't doing anything to show support for us.  We met with our committee guy and it was funny – he mentioned things that I'd forgotten were in the box – like a book and pen.  I'd forgotten about the flip flops until someone started mentioning to Matt and myself that one of the kids had given them to someone from Busan, another one of our villages.  In the meeting with the village the next day, we saw a mixture of both.  We saw a clear line of demarcation of those that are with us and those that want nothing to do with teaching and are not supporting us.  We weren't surprised by it – expected it actually but it was encouraging to see those that are behind us stand up so clearly.  I brought the letters these kids had written to Wabuku kids and recounted how these kids have been praying for the Wabuku people for the last year – and how the moms wanted to do something to help me since I live so far from my mom, without a husband or family to look out for me.  And the very kids that these folks were praying for had stolen those 'memory' things.  The total loss was almost 800 kina but I knew that we couldn't really charge them that full price or people that had had nothing to do with it would pay – and I didn't want their money.  We ended up charging each of the four kids 50 kina – and although we'd already decided as a team that we'd settle for that figure, one of the guys said that so we knew that it was acceptable. So Boni, our committee, tried to get some of the stuff back and the flip flops did come back, as did several empty bottles that had lotion or whatever in them.  But the nail polish was on lots of kids' fingers as well as Diksen's, one of the men and chief thief in the village.  It was sad to hear that some of the male believers had eaten some of the things along with the thieves – 'we just tasted it, we didn't fill up our bellies on it' but they sure didn't tell any of us that it had been stolen!  It was a 12 year old boy that came to Matt to let him know that a box had been stolen.  On the other hand, it was neat to see Tyob, one of my main translation helpers stand up and pay his nephew's 50 kina quickly and state that these kids had brought shame on the village and parents and that he would never say anything about having to pay this money – it needed to be paid.  It was 'right' that it be paid.  He hugged me and apologized for his nephew's behavior.  The other three kids' relatives were slower in coming up with the kina but it showed up.  Then three of the four kids and their parents shook my hand and admitted their part in it and that they wouldn't do it again.  The fourth kid and his parents didn't bother  - and that wasn't surprising really either.  The dad made the choice to even be in the village at times and refused to come to the teaching so we don't see his support and didn't that day either.  I was amazed that I was able to share all that I wanted to share in a calm voice without tears.  I figured I'd cry my way through it but again, the Lord knew what the Uriay needed and perhaps the tears would have brought more shame to those that were already feeling bad for me.  Perhaps it would have made it harder for me to share the things I shared – I just know that I kept asking the Lord to undertake – that I could reflect Him well and He could be glorified through a situation that was not good so I have to trust that the control He gave me must have been for the best.  I must admit that as I see my nail polish on kids' toes, I have to check my attitude but I can shrug the things off without wanting to strangle kids either.  For a couple days, I'd remember something else that was in the box that I'd forgotten about – like some note cards for Jose's birthday or whatever.  But I don't feel the anger or hurt anymore – just a wee bit of disappointment.  Mostly I feel His grace and support and can say, it's just stuff and it doesn't matter.   Only by the grace of God….