Lessons From Indo (Part 1)

Ok…so I know I promised to tell you all about Tobin’s fabulous birthday gift. And I will…tomorrow. :)

Today? We get to go deep.

It’s about time.

Th is

is something that’s been burning in my heart for awhile now, and a conversation with a friend last

night kind of sparked it again.

I don’t pretend to have this all figured out…it’s just w here

I am for now. And I would love your thoughts if you feel like leaving me a comment or sending me a private e-mail.

We have often said that the things we took away from Indonesia are almost impossible to put into words.

Tobin and I know how much we changed in so many ways, and we probably aren’t even aware of some of the changes still. Yes, it has been a year, but a year to “re-enter” after five years of being gone is not so much time.

But here are a few things…

We’re aware of the “stuff” mentality. That doesn’t mean we don’t struggle, but we do know that we need to be aware. After three years of marriage, we sold our house, cars, and most of what we had. Other than storing maybe 1/4 of what we owned, we got rid of everything else.

And the amount we got rid of? Ridiculous. In Indo, we accumulated, but not nearly as much. We ended up bringing home about the same amount that we took plus a couple extra suitcases…not bad for five years. But last August, when we went through all the things we had in the States, we were overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we still had. That’s kind of our new goal… to watch how much we accumulate.

And to not let things pile up. I still don’t have it figured out perfectly…just ask me and my purse closet. 😉 But after being around people who had so little, we are continually reminded that we don’t need a lot to be happy.

We value relationships more.

Or at least try to. Again, not pretending here. I’m still workin’ on this one. We spent years around people who had so few material possessions…and yet they were some of the happiest people I knew. They were part of a “community” of families and friends who would do anything for each other.

There’s a richness in that selflessness that I don’t see as often here, though it does exist…and I know people who completely value their family and friends and will do anything for them.

I have struggled through this lesson because of the dynamic of the family in which I was raised, but I am learning to value the relationships that I have with friends…and to be as selfless

as possible when it comes to them. Them first, me last. Like I said, workin’ on it. Not there yet.


Home is temporary. You’ve heard me talk about this before on the blog…about how much I’ve struggled to feel like I have any sort of home at all. Living in transition will do that to a person. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I know that my true home is Heaven and that anything else is just temporary. But while on earth, our human nature is to want that place that is ours. And it’s ok to feel that way…as long as we don’t get so attached to a place that we’re unwilling to leave if God says, “Go.”

Along with that, I’m learning to keep my hands open with the future.

We are in the middle of I-Love-It-Here-Let’s-Stay-Forever mode.

Truly, Illinois was a gift to us, one that we did not understand the magnitude of at the time it was given. Here we have found healing, growth, a chance to start over, amazing friendships, a great church…the list could continue. But this is life for the here and now.

God could send us again…and we need to be willing to go if that happens. To be completely human and transparent, that thought breaks my heart in half right now. But we also know, from seeing it over an over again, that if God sends us, He will give the strength to do what we need

to do.

Possibly the biggest thing we took away from Indonesia was that GOD IS BIG. He is not some being who fits into a tiny box…He’s at work all over the place, and having the chance to actually see what He’s doing in remote places changed our lives forever. It gave us a different picture, a different understanding of the world and of our Father…the same One we learned about as little children. Society, in general, today seems so focused on whatever-works-for-you-is-good.


That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

There is only ONE God.

And He’s BIG enough for everyone.

And I could keep going, but I think this is a good start. I’d love your thoughts if you’ve got something to say or something to share.

Thanks for reading. :)



  1. Nicely written my friend! And well lived, I’m sure!

    I was just telling my husband last night that I don’t want any material thing to matter to me. If it were to be taken from me, I would want to be fine. It’s a struggle! It goes against everything in the culture around us. But, I’ve found in these recent years that living a more simplistic life is better on families and marriages too. Again, many won’t understand it.

    And God IS big! He blows me away. Truly! It’s humbling to know the God that cares so deeply for me, cares just as much for you and Tobin and those in Indonesia. Yeah…..humbling.

    It’s pushing 100 degrees the past 2 days here, the heat zaps my energy. I’m off to la-la land! G’nite, sleep tight :o)

    (((hugs))) And prayers regarding that home situation! Your name has shown up a few times in my journal! His will, not mine. I’ll screw it up everytime! ha ha!

    • I agree on the stuff thing…but it’s so hard to not care sometimes. In so many ways we think being in a place like Indo was so good for us because we COULDN’T afford a huge TV there. We COULDN’T buy two cars. There were a lot of things we just couldn’t GET, either. :) I think it’s made it easier coming home and only having one (small) TV…and only having one car and being ok. Anyway…yeah, just me thinkin’ aloud.

      God is BIG…and really, I didn’t even touch that one on this post…that’ll be an entire post (or several!) in itself.

      Hope you are doing well…stay cool! 100 degrees? YIKES! And thanks for praying, too.


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