This year we celebrate being in our town for twenty years; it well and truly makes us locals!! We have grown so much in those 20 years, as you do; our family has grown, our understanding of God’s purposes has grown, our passions and the opportunities that God has given us has grown. So much has changed. So I started to think – 20 things we’ve learnt in 20 years….
In 20 years:
- We’ve learnt to protect our marriage in the midst of a busy lifestyle – and a lifestyle that involves a lot of travel. We’ve learnt the importance of being on the same page – of heading in the same direction – of trusting each other – of supporting and helping each other.
- We’ve learnt the importance of teaching the heart (the beliefs, passions, emotions, will) not the behaviour as we parent our four children.
- We’ve learnt who we want to be as individuals and as a family; our family vision is defined and yet always growing, giving us purpose in our days – that out of our personal relationship with Jesus and the consequent desire for godly character in all areas of our life, others will know God and His purpose.
- We’ve learnt to be resourceful with the things that we do have, instead of wishing for the things that a bigger town would give us. Contentment comes from within, knowing your world is right with God, not from material wealth or success.
- We’ve learnt to build relationships and focus on the work of Christ rather than personal preferences for worship.
- We’ve learnt to trust God as our provision and God has provided at every turn. When we first arrived we often prayed for rent/electricity money – and God provided. God has opened doors for Peter to work off farm, and we have truly been blessed.
- We’ve learnt to set up home, either a caravan, a rental, or our own, so that it can be used to bless our family and others.
- We’ve learnt to say goodbye to friends and make new friends – we live in a transient town, people come and go – and yet we’ve stayed. It is easy to block your heart from new friendships but when I look back on the friends that I’ve had and the impact they’ve had in my life, I would certainly be poorer, if I didn’t keep opening my heart and life to new friends.
- We’ve learnt to step up into opportunities, and not to wait for others to do it – if God puts it in your hand, run with it.
- We’ve learnt to be responsible stewards of what we have. The farm has seen many changes over the years – from intensive cattle grazing, to seed production, sugar cane and these days Sandalwood plantation.
- We’ve learnt to be hospitable whether our space is small or big.
- We’ve learnt to dig into God ourselves – to feed ourselves and to then encourage others. The depth of my relationship with God is dependent on how much time I spend with him, personally.
- We’ve learnt to rely on God as we homeschooling – so many times I have had no idea where to turn to next. And though it is easy to jump online and research I have found myself praying first. The number of times an answer has turned up without my effort is amazing.
- We’ve learnt that we need others in our life. One such situation where we depended on others to help us was when Naomi was sick. Our friends helped us with looking after Josh and Jess – sometimes in the middle of the night, they brought meals and helped with housework, they were an extra pair of hands, they stood by us in prayer.
- We’ve learnt the importance of the local church rather than the denominational church – from the moment we came to town we built relationships with people in different churches. It has been a joy to see this develop across the town, so that now we can say there is a local church – Christians sharing life together (though we may all go to different churches on Sunday.)
- We’ve learnt to make our own fun: family nights, potlucks, camping, waterholes, video nights
- We’ve learnt to be a blessing to others as others have blessed us – The idea that often you can’t thank everyone who has contributed to your life enough but you can learn from the thoughtfulness and generosity shown to you and live that way yourself as you interact with others.
- We’ve learnt to communicate the things on our heart as we talk to other parents and as I begin to write: a blog, a website, a newsletter, a book.
- We’ve learnt to encourage others and to walk along side of them as we determine to walk in God’s ways in all of life together.
- We’ve learnt the importance of passing on family faith stories – we want our children to know that the God who has been faithful to us, is the God who does not change, and He will be faithful to them too.
We love living in the north of Australia, we love our town – it truly is home. And we expect to continue to learn these things and many others in the years to come.