We took a little break from all things raising support and moving. It was time to pause, take a breath, and give thanks with our family. We stayed in this darling little waterfront cottage. This place was actually a B&B, but the “cottages” were separate and private… an added bonus to prevent that sense that you are hanging out it a stranger’s living room, but quaint, cozy, and all the charm of a privately run B&B.
We were there, courtesy of my dad (thanks dad!) and spent most of our time at their place visiting family. This was a real treat because my cousins came… and it has been a long time since we have all been in one place. Have you ever noticed how as much as we think we grow and change with age we really just stay the same? I swear… I was with folks this weekend that don’t look any different than they did 20 years ago.
It is an experience hanging with the Jensens, all their better halves and their children. First of all, you must be prepared for debate because you will be in the presence of brilliant people who know something about some things, and to keep it interesting the available topics to discover as you work the crowd are as varied as can be. We have educators, military personnel, a chemist, photographers, engineers, musicians, architects, students and now Rob and I can add to the list… missionaries. At least 4 different languages are spoken, at least 4 different instruments are played, art collectors, world travelers, athletes and of course all the kids … they keep us all on our toes.
Initially, you might be put off just a bit when you attend your first Jensen event. We tend to be somewhat of a group of wall-flowers, giving a cool first impression, (What’s really funny here is that I say this and immediately recognize it in myself!!) but break the ice and watch out! You will be discussing everything from Beethoven to wind farms. We are a pretty goofy bunch if you think about it, but the truth is, our family is way more entertaining and interesting than most. It is a lot of fun at the Jensen’s for sure.
Since we are talking about Thanksgiving, here is something I am thankful for: I am thankful that I don’t get to pick my family. That might sound a little rough around the edges, but hang with me for a minute.
Standing in the living room of my parent’s house, I looked around and could not believe just how different we all were. No, we aren’t your average family, we are all over the charts, and I think if I were allowed to choose my family I might default into choosing people just like myself. How boring is that? And not just boring, almost even… disgusting… how into myself can I really be?
I suppose this is a good reminder across the board. I ought to enter into each relationship I am faced with in thankfulness. Our natural family, church family, work family….they all offer us people we wouldn’t immediately choose. All too often in my life I have aspired to befriend someone I wished I was, or looked for friends who somehow raised the rung on my own social ladder. (Ever feel the need to hang with the “cool” kids?) What? Did I just publicly admit that? I am hoping someone else out there wears the same shoes as me!
The ridiculousness of the whole thing is that people are surprising. You really never know what you are going to get and the truth is, some of my best friends have come from this mis-mash, odd-ball group of folks that are nothing like me. Forest Gump and his box of chocolates just popped into my head.
There is something really rich about being thankful for family and friends. I feel richer knowing that my friends and family accept me (and keep me!) despite my oddities. I’m thinking this would be a good year to focus on making the most of relationships that appear out of place at first glace. I want to be looking out for those folks that the Lord places in my life despite the fact that they aren’t like me. In what better way can I demonstrate the love of Christ than in friendship? A good challenge to us all to let go of the need to be friends with the image of what we think a friend is and push for the one that is a little rough around the edges … you never know when you might find that diamond!
I am supposed to be using this blog to write about my experiences preparing for our big move, and here I go… writing about my Thanksgiving. Not surprisingly, everything these days relates to moving to Swaziland. I’m sure you can put it together how being thankful for the odd-balls that the Lord places in front of me will work well for this missionary, but perhaps this space is best used today to give thanks for you… especially if you are rough around the edges! HA!
PS. Our support raising is humming right along, we are packing and preparing the house for the next owners, and making plans for travel. Let us know how you plan to support what God is doing in Swaziland… prayer, financially, or otherwise… we’d love to hear from you. We are looking specifically for people who wish to partner with us in this work with monthly contributions. Currently at about 65%, our goal is to reach 100% before we leave Washington. Won’t you consider partnership today? Visit the”Antioch Partners” link at the right, and while you are at it, go look at the “African Leadership Partners” link. We now have a page under “staff.”