About six years ago I had just finished moving into my new home next to the church where I thought I would be working for the next two years. (two years became four, and I lived there for a total of 6!) After a few weeks I had started to get used to the teaching routine and had started exploring my new area on weekends. I did a lot of walking. After a month or two, I realized that while I wasn't suffering from overwhelming loneliness just yet, I could see that I might in the future. There were two English speaking church members who I spoke with, but they were both older than me by close to ten years. I wanted friends closer to my age (or younger) who I could hang out with, do things with, and learn from. So somewhere around there, I decided I should be pro-active, and I started praying that God would provide friends for me, my own age, who lived near by, so I could meet with them easily (the other missionaries being in the Tokyo area and over an hour away one way, which makes meeting more difficult and less spontaneous.) Around 3 months I prayed this prayer whenever I thought about it. And then God answered my prayers in ways I never expected.
You know, I was thinking one or two girls, close to my age who I could call up, hang out with etc. God provided a band, complete with friends EXACTLY my age, plus younger and older thrown in.
The answer didn't come right away, but it came, and when it came it was beyond anything I could have dreamed of.
Fast forward four years. I've just left the VYM missionary program and have started my new job as an ALT. I have little money, little time, and little patience. I still had my old missionary friends, and the band, but still, coming home every night to an empty house was taking it's toll on me. I had been thinking for a while how I didn't really find living alone an ideal situation. Of course, when I came to Japan I was insistent that living alone would be best for me. I'm messy, opinionated, lazy, and I like to be able to have a place where I can just be "ugly" for lack of a better word, where I don't have to put on a face, and be nice or anything else. I can just be me with my hair down, make-up off, and in whatever ratty clothing I happened to put on. Roommates require consideration, compromise and other stress-inducing things like that. So I was originally very happy to have my own little space to be self-centered in. But after 4 years, and some growing, I felt that living alone was no longer in my best interests. I was becoming set in my ways, and too self-absorbed. Having a roommate would be a good way to help me get out of that, right? Besides, I would also like to get married one day, and it would be good to live with someone and work out the kinks before jumping into marriage. Right?
Well, those were some of the thoughts anyway. Plus it was just lonely coming home every night to an empty house. So I mentioned the issue to God and talked about it a couple of times with Him. In about the same time frame of three months or so, God clearly answered my prayers by dropping a roommate in my lap. Due to her own personal circumstances she needed a place to say, and it ended up being with me. I cleared out some of stuff and tried to make room for her.
And I discovered how much of a blessing she was to me. She accepted me, put up with me, listened to me, tolerated the crazy things I did... It was a perfect match. (for me anyway, I continue to feel sorry for her, and I still kinda think she got the bad end of the deal.) She even came with me to the band.
Somehow life still revolved around me. Haha.
So then I prayed also for community. Christian community that supports and lives and shares together. And this year God plopped roommate number 2 in my lap. (the day she moved in was the 3rd time we had met.) She has been here since the first of May, and it feels like it has always been this way.
And I have found yet another person who tolerates me, and laughs with me, and has mock arguments with me, and is some how willing to live in the mess that just seems generated anywhere I go.
When God answers prayers, He answers well. My Father has smiled upon me and has delighted to give me good and wonderful things. And has brought to me, so many wonderful, accepting and affirming people to bless me.
I'm not sure this is making me any less self-centered. ;-) It certainly does bring more joy into my life.
So looking at this pattern, I noticed how much above and beyond what I pray for that God provides me with.
I'm not sure if I should be nervous or highly expectant since I have been praying for a husband recently... ;-)