Over the course of the last 5 or 6 years, I have been stripped of many things materialistic and superficial. My family had been prosperous and wealthy, living in beautiful homes, driving luxury cars, and running in influential circles. That has since changed.
For me personally, it has been quite the journey, and one that I am still undergoing. Last year I experienced being separated from my family for a whole year. As I interned with TeenPact, my parents were serving overseas on Guam (a U.S. protectorate located between Hawaii and the Philippines). Now I have rejoined them. It is a joy to be back with them and go through this adventure together. I see a difference in them since when we were separated. Of course both I and them have had so many experiences (life-changing), and it's hard to explain all that we've learned to each other while we were separated.
One area in which we've all grown is that of gratefulness. This reminds me of a prayer of Maria in the movie The Sound of Music: when Maria prayed over dinner her first night with Von Trapp family, she prayed something to the extent of, "For that we are about to partake, may the Lord make us truly thankful." What a prayer! I don't know why anyone would pray such a thing, for what you are inviting into your life is a time of want. The best way to grow in thankfulness is to do without, and who wants to go through that? I sure don't, but here I am, in a state that a nightstand and paper towels are a luxury.
I have no reason to complain (I have all that I need), though to be frank, it's not the kind of lifestyle I'm used to. What a lesson in humility.
Another thing to Lord has taken away from me for a time in something rather superficial. At my place of work, makeup and jewelry are not allowed. Now, to guys, I'm sure you think, "big deal." But to a girl it sort of is. Especially if you're used to wearing these things everyday. And though I like to keep my adornment on the modest side anyway, it is still a big change! One doesn't realize until they have to do without. So, during the week I look like Miss Little House on the Prairie. Last night I was asking the Lord a common question from myself to Him- "Why?" I know it is for growth, and I have an idea of where He's getting at. Arg, growing in character is no fun.
The Lord is my Teacher, and I trust Him. This time is for His purposes and glory. If only I were a saint, and didn't find myself wondering why or praying for certain things (challenging times) to be taken from me. I'm glad the Lord loves and is patient with imperfect people.