Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Different Road

A Different Road
by Kathy Troccoli

I've traveled long
I've traveled hard
And stumbled many times along the way
I've bruised my knees a lot
And turned my back on God
And seen His mercy

I've been quick to judge
And slow to learn
So many times I've gotten in the way
I think I know so much
I've questioned God enough
But still He loves me

So now I'll walk a different road
I want to see Him there before I even go
I've run ahead and gone too slow
I've got to be still now
Wait upon His will now
This time, It's gonna be His time

Don't want to live without
The peace that comes to me
When I am by His side
I've known the freedom there
Can't find it anywhere
But in Christ Jesus
I believe He's got a plan
Everything in His time
I may not always understand
Everything in His time
Everything in His time

I have been listening to this song a lot this summer, but now that we're back home, it's taken on a vastly different meaning for me. I'm experiencing a deep peace right now and it's a huge source of strength. I honestly don't remember the last time I've experienced God's peace at this deep a level.

I think with this peace comes a big responsibility on my part. The responsibility to not fall back into my old ways and if I find myself doing that, to have the strength to quit in light of the fact that's not the way life should be anymore.

Right before we left for Sri Lanka, we had an email come into the house which was offering Mr. Cinder an opportunity to take a job back in the city where we moved from last year. It's really interesting, in terms of how you handle a situation like this one. Things are up in the air a tiny bit at work right now for Mr. Cinder and so essentially, this could have served as an "easy" way out of having to go through a potentially difficult trial in the future. It would have brought us back to friendships which were already three years in the making and pretty concreted...bring you back into a comfortable place, where you're not necessarily the "new" person or the person people don't know nearly as well.

Mr. Cinder emailed the person back and let them know that we felt very led to be where we are. As good as the job sounded, we would be staying put where we are. As hard as it might have been to face and close the door to the past yet again, I think it was the only course of action. I spent a day back in our old city this week and it was so awesome and comfortable to be back with my friends...I miss many of them terribly, even now after being away a year. But the the truth of the matter is this...God had plans for leading us where we ended up. I think Sri Lanka was only a piece of that puzzle. He has worked in our family heavily this last year and we have grown a lot and I know we are going to continue to grow in relationship with Him, with each other, in ministry and simply in life.

I need to apologize, as this post is going to fly all over the board, but that's how my head's working right now. I have written a fair bit about how I don't really "fit" in any boxes...I fit the box of my family, but to people around me, I don't necessarily "fit" the roles in their minds. I don't really "fit" when it comes to living life in this world...or so it always seemed to me. I like to work hard, be very thorough, do honest work, etc., but I also like to take breaks and rest at more than one time throughout my day. I want to share a little secret with y'all...I found a box I "fit" in. When I got to Sri Lanka, I felt at ease a lot of days, in a way I hadn't for quite a while. Some would say, "Well Cinder, you were on vacation, so that's why you felt that way!" But I was on vacation last month in our country and I didn't experience that same ease. In Sri Lanka, I was able to throw away my watch and even though there were structured times, depending what was on the agenda, there were also plenty of times where things were wide-open and unstructured. There weren't rigid timelines and deadlines which needed to be met. I was able to simply be myself. I didn't feel the self-consciousness that I experience on almost a daily basis here. I didn't feel an incessant need to please people or to meet invisible standards, because they were simply happy with where I was, at that time and place. They didn't have any hidden expectations, weren't always on the go...they simply offered fellowship and potential friendship...they showed me what I need to make important in my life and what I need to remove from the list perceived as important. Then so very quickly, the time came to say goodbye and to return home. Now back home, I'm homesick for the place where I felt like I "fit". Don't get me wrong...I'm extremely grateful to reunited with my family and to be experiencing freedom and security. What I'm feeling inside right's very weird for a lack of better words to describe it and definitely something I really did not expect to feel at the levels I am feeling.

The other secret I came back with (Mr. Cinder knows about it)...the last Sunday in Sri Lanka, when our team was still split in two, so Mr. Cinder and I were traveling in different circles, something pretty remarkable happened. I somehow managed to get a hotel room for just me, while all the other team members had to share rooms with people. I think God had a hand in making this one happen. He and I entered into a really rich time of prayer...He brought me to a place of shedding tears for my friends of Sri Lanka and for my friends back home. He brought me to a strong place of surrender. That night, while laying on a bed in a Sri Lankan hotel, I surrendered my life, my marriage and my family into the Lord's hands completely. I said that I would be listening for His guidance and that I would go wherever He leads us, without question and with a happy heart, no matter how hard it might be to pack up and leave the roots we are setting down.

We have started small discussions with our kids since being back, about the possibility of eventually going onto the mission field as a family. We're still instilling the fact to our kids that we are on the mission field everyday that we wake up and do life, but want them to know that mommy and daddy are feeling a small prompting to explore going away from the comfortable mission field of home. Do we know where we will be led to go, if led to go at all? No, but we are vowing as a couple and eventually as a family, to be that if that call comes, we'll face it with happiness and gratefulness vs. anger, sadness and apprehension.

Things are different in our house and I pray they'll continue to be...that it will grow, blossom and strengthen each and everyday!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Surreal Life

I'm really not liking technology right's bound and determined to drive me insane! I have started to post my journals at A God Journey. I am hoping to begin posting more pictures with the posts, but right now technology is not letting me, despite mountains of attempts. The first part is telling of our travel, which would usually be uneventful, but, we were privileged enough to travel into Heathrow airport right in the midst of the foiled terrorist made for some interesting journaling! You can either access A God Journey by clicking the link on my sidebar of blogs or you can click on the link in the post below this one.

Life's been extremely interesting this summer and essentially a time of extremes. There have been times of feeling assailed to the point of truly wanting to give up, simply due to the fact that the walls seemed to be caving in right on top of us. Then there were the extreme highs and joys of seeing God at work in the purest and strongest of forms in Sri Lanka. There have also been the reality of looking at mortality head-on and in a variety of forms.

You see, before we left on our trip, we had just found out that a friend had a tumor on her spine and the doctors were pretty sure it was cancer, but didn't know the type or any information. Our friend is three weeks older than it became a reality in my mind, that just as easy the tables could be turned and I be in this situation rather than her. When we arrived home, we were greeted with the news that our friend had a rare, aggressive form of cancer and would be receiving chemotherapy almost daily, which would require her to be hospitalized for the duration.

I have to admit that I felt extreme guilt...I ached inside for what she must be going through and what this must be doing to her son, but in the same sense, I was feeling blessed for where God had our family at this point in time. He had brought us to a huge place of strength and peace, which would allow us to be there fully for our friends, in whatever way they need us to be.

Yesterday, I was able to travel the 2 hours to sit with my friend and be there in whatever capacity she needed. It turned out that she's only had the first round of chemo and is still feeling fairly well, so we were able to talk a lot (4 hours to be exact) and to just discuss a multitude of things - what the future holds, how her son will be affected by this, what she needs those around her to do for her, the fact that God's by her side every step of the way and that He will be her continual source of strength, endurance, peace and love throughout this trial.

One of my other friends also ended up in the hospital while I was in town, so I was able to also go and be with them for a little bit. They were in extreme pain and weren't up for visiting, but I knew that going in. I simply sat by her bedside and was there for her...held her hand, supported her, let her know I loved her and that I would be thinking of her and praying for her, even after I got in that car to go back home.

I left very late and it meant I wouldn't be getting home until midnight. Usually that wouldn't have been a huge issue, but since the trip, I've been going to bed between 8:30pm and 10pm (a little ridiculous I know, but it's where my body's at right now). I purchased an insane amount of caffeine (an Ice Cap, bottle of Pepsi and a fudge chocolate bar). Was this a smart move? No, but it was the choice I made and almost proved to be life-changing in a horribly bad way. I was past the halfway point to home, and had turned off the music and put the news on, as there had been storm warnings where I came from and I wanted to see how bad the winds were going to blow me around on the highway. The bad thing was, that the announcer kind of droned on and in a matter of seconds, he lulled my eyes closed without me even knowing. I don't know how long I was asleep...probably only about 30 seconds...but, it was long enough for me to wake up on a curve in the road, heading straight for the ditch at about 115km/hour. I woke up just in time to correct the direction of our van and get myself back into the proper lane.

I practiced extreme stupidity last night and am know it's only by the grace of God that I crawled into bed last night with my sweetie and that I'm sitting in my basement with my kids this morning. It's surreal as to how things can literally change in a split second. God's continuing to open my eyes to many things, even now that we are back home in the "comfort" of the western world. I truly think that it's only going to be a matter of time before God moves our entire family away from the "comfort" of the western world and into a place to do His work in a vastly different way than what we are used to.

Lots of time to think and ponder that and so many other things. I'm off to do the tasks of life which are calling and to continue to reflect on life and all its levels. God truly is an amazing God and we are blessed beyond's a huge responsibility to use those blessings and gifts in the proper avenues and to put ourselves out there all the time. For me, it's a concentrated effort right now, to seek God's guidance in how to be where He needs me to be and to also be as effective as I can, especially right now as I experience a time in my life where I am feeling strength and peace vs. being completely assailed.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Food for Thought

It's funny how different life presents itself once you are back...I found myself in a grocery store yesterday afternoon, purchasing pineapple, papaya, nino bananas and simosas (a yummy meat filled pastry). I miss the tropical fruit and even though the simosas might not have tasted anything like what I had last week, I needed to eat something which resembled what my body was accustomed to. My kids are in their glory, as all these fruits that mommy didn't want to purchase before she left, mostly due to the price, I did once back. Will it become a regular event? No, it'll be a treat event...these have to be the most expensive fruits you could think to buy in our hometown!

I'm also finding that I have this inept knack to be totally functioning one minute and then to fall asleep the next. Not only that, I then wake up and a lot of time has I woke up with Little Miss joining the sleeping ring...I'm definitely enjoying those special one-on-one moments I'm able to sneak with my kids.

I don't know how to explain this, except to say that the Cinder who left is not the Cinder who came back. I am looking at life in a completely different light...I am truly feeling blessed beyond measure! God completely rewired me in many aspects of life...things which seemed so vastly important before we left, aren't anymore. Now I'm in a state of reflection, but it's in a completely different way...trying to figure out everything God is saying and also where that will lead...and the awesome thing is the complete feeling of peace and assurance which comes with this!

My blurbs are going to be small and somewhat sporadic the next little while and eventually on A God Journey, my journals and pictures will start to appear. I'm off to be with my family and just sit back and enjoy life in a very new found light...blessings and shalom!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

We're Back

We arrived back in our hometown yesterday, right in time for lunch! I can't really explain the feelings going on right now...still trying to look back and fathom what took place over the last 14 days. Things went so fast while we were there and before you knew it, you are back home, continuing to process all the things God's placed on your heart and allowed you to experience.

I am hoping to begin posting my journal entries in the next few weeks, but for now we are simply concentrating on getting back into a "normal" sleeping pattern and spending plenty of time with our kids...Little Miss celebrated her birthday the day before we arrived back in North America, so we plan on celebrating with family this weekend.

I have to say I felt completely torn and didn't expect to experience it to the extent I did! I knew I was going home to see my family and be mommy and teacher-mom again, but in doing that, it meant saying goodbye to new friends and knowing that the time will be uncertain as to when we'll see them again. A lot will change in that time and they will be missed terribly...we already find ourselves showing people our pictures and videos...I woke up in the middle of the night and Mr. Cinder was listening to videos of the Sri Lankan children singing "Blessed Be the Name of the Lord" and surfing through the 500 or so pictures we took while away.

This is a picture taken of the Indian Ocean, on the first day we were in Sri Lanka. This was taken from our hotel room - it was a beautiful hotel and you literally walked out onto the beach and down to the ocean. I'm going to sign off for now, as my family will be getting up in a few minutes and I would like to sit and rest a little while longer.

I pray everything is going well with you and yours...I look forward to getting my blogging up and going again soon and dropping by to "catch up" with y'all. Blessings and prayers to you!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Psalm 36:5-11(NIRV)

Lord, your love is as high as the heavens. Your faithful love reaches up to the skies. You are as holy as the mountains are high. You are as honest as the oceans are deep. Lord, you keep people and animals safe. How priceless your faithful love is! Important and ordinary people alike find safety in the shadow of your wings. They eat well because there is more than enough in your house. You let them drink from your river that flows with good things. You have the fountain of life. We are filled with light because you give us light. Keep on loving those who know you. Keep on doing right to those whose hearts are honest. Don't let the feet of those who are proud step on me. Don't let the hands of those who are evil drive me away.

**NOTE: Cinder and Mr. Cinder will be in Sri Lanka until the end of August...blessings!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Sobering and Hairy

It's funny how you sometimes miss things like phone calls, simply because for a few minutes, you are out of earshot. It's really sobering to think of how one message on the answering machine can change things completely! But yet this is what happened on Monday night at our house.

It's been a hairy mom is very fortunate to be alive and will hopefully be able to go home today. We are in the midst of preparations for our trip and have very few sleeps to go until we leave. We got home last night, are packing up the kids and will leave tonight to take them to their caregivers for next week.

The one thing I do know as I sit here and type is this...God's hand is firmly upon my family and no matter what comes our way, we will make it through. I will try and get something typed before we leave, but if not, we'll talk to you in a few weeks!