This is part of a series exploring some of the things I learned an experiences by living in Australia during the summer of 2007.
It was our first Sunday at New Hope Brisbane. We made the trip to Australia and had settled in our home. Brisbane would be our residence for the next 2 months. New friends, new church, new surroundings. It was a bit overwhelming. OK, it was greatly overwhelming.
The band was finishing the worship set with "Blessed be Your Name." As people began to sing the bridge, I started to cry. Lucky for me, the singing covered up the snivels from my snotty nose.
You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will chose to say, "Blessed be your name."
Those words described our experience. God had given us an incredible opportunity. He had also done something I had not expected; he had taken away many things.
- Our home was taken as we lived in several new places (some for a night, some for longer).
- Our closets shrunk. We had to live out of one suitcase per person (for 2 1/2 months).
- We left familiar stores, currency, and culture.
- We left our friends and family. This was probably the most painful. You cannot fully realize the depth of your friendships until walk away from them.
In the middle of a different country we would have to look at each other as if to say "It’s just us, guys." I’ll be honest, there were times when it was lonely. There were moments when I was ready to grab a plane back home. But it was what exactly what we needed.
In the stripping away, we found more than we ever knew. It makes me think that a simple life is a full life. It would prove to be the summer of less being more.
It drew me to the simple life and made me wonder why I chose to live with abundance.
In the stripping away, we found much more.
Here is to the God who gives, and the God who takes away.