Thursday we celebrated our last Thanksgiving, at least for now, here in Costa Rica. We prepared a traditional American feast - turkey and all - and celebrated with our closest friends here at our home. It was a rich time of fellowship, loving on a new baby, and catching up with people we just don't ever have enough time with. In all the important ways, the day was just as it should have been, except our house nearly flooded again...
Back in late September, our house flooded the first time. There is new construction that sits above our house; that is possible because we live in the mountains. Because infrastructure in third-world countries is greatly lacking, as well as any forward planning, they did not install sufficient drainage. All of that means that all the water that is now running off of this new 5000 square foot building and its parking lot runs down our driveway, into our yard, and when its is an exceptionally big rain, into our house. Big rains are fairly common, especially in the rainy season which is May through November. So, the first big rain after the building was complete meant we had 3-4 inches of water in our home. Even so, because that day the Body of Christ rose up and did what we are called to do, our house was clean and back together in 4 hours after the waters receded. Since then there have been other rains but none large enough to enter the house again.
But Thursday we saw the biggest rain storm we have ever experienced here in 10 years time. I can't even begin to measure how much water fell in the hour or so it was raining full-force. As it was falling, Bart quickly realized our yard and all the drainage we have around the house now, was filling more quickly than it could run off. I paused my cooking, and gathered towels to stuff under the doors and picked up the few things I could that I knew we didn't want to get wet. We prayed and asked you all to pray. And, the Lord heard this prayers and stopped the water about 6 inches from our front door. He didn't stop the rain, but he kept it out of our home.
Thanksgiving Day was this dichotomy of something beautiful and something awful. The day our house flooded was as well. These two things haven't been the only times this year that this has happened. Over and over again we have seen or had to walk through something challenging but all along the way we have seen God's hand guiding and providing in a way that is beautiful.
When I think of now, I am reminded of the fallen world in which we live, and because it is fallen we have to walk through these troubles. Though small in the grand scheme of things, each of these occurrences have set off feelings of dread and anxiety. Each time it rains again I worry we are possibly facing the same circumstances. Sleep has been lost and worry creeps into my mind. I want to just wish it away but know I can't. But then there is the flip side - we see the Lord and His Body in action. If it had never happened, I never would have seen Him stop the rain the first time and keep the water out of the house the second time. I saw people come around me and my family, and love us and help us, even though we are not their family or even very close friends, but simply because we all love Jesus and know that's how He has called us to live. And Thursday, I still got to sit around the table with the people here I love the most and we filled our bellies with favorite foods, simply because God is good.
So right now, things are both really beautiful and quite terrible. We live and see the fallenness of the world around us but at the same time, we live amongst those that God has chosen and they each are a piece of the Kingdom that is to come in the end. We have to experience the awful things of this life, but at the very same time we get to taste and see that God is good and His kingdom that has not yet fully come but one day will, is worth all we walk through now.
With each day that passes, I am learning more and more what a blessing suffering can be, not because it is easy, or because it is enjoyable, but because it shows me more and more, just how completely insufficient I am and how completely sufficient Christ is. Suffering puts my place here in this world into perspective; it helps me see just how small and insignificant I am, but on the other hand, God chose me and allows me to have a place in the work He is doing.
So, the Kingdom that I am an ambassador for now, yes is here now, but also at the same time, not yet fully realized. If we now get to see these beautiful glimpses of what is not yet fully come, how much more is it really going to be? Can you even imagine? I know I can't even begin to comprehend the goodness that is in store for us when the Kingdom of God is set fully on this earth and God completely restores His creation to the glory He intended for it and us, which is only a reflection of just how glorious He is, now and forever.
Hi! I am Heather Carty. I'm a wife, a mother, a musician, and a missionary, among many other things. I see myself as a recovering "Older Brother" (see Tim Keller's Prodigal God) who desires to find God's joy in this journey called life. Which, by the way, has not gone at all as I had planned, but has turned out way better than I could have ever imagined.