Earlier this week, my wife wrote a great blog about the humble blessing of being the recipients of so much kindness from others. (Seriously, it's short, sweet and worth reading!) I think Traci and I have always considered ourselves ridiculously blessed when we think about the friendships God has given us, but lately, that blessing has been almost too much to handle. In Psalm 23, David wrote, “...my cup overflows” in talking about God’s goodness to him. Traci and I can surely relate to the way God has showered us with His kindness, through His people, the last two months.
I have learned a bit about myself during this seasons of blessing. First of all, I’m learning to be a better receiver, but I’ve still got a ways to go. Over the years, God has allowed Traci and I to be on the giving end of His grace and goodness, and we have experienced the joy of the scriptural truth, “It is better to give, than to receive.” During this season of receiving, we have had the joy of allowing others to be the conduit of His grace and goodness. It is humbling, but it is special to see how God meets needs in ways we could never have imagined. Without a doubt, these stories will one day make it into a book, as will the lessons I’m learning!
Not only am I learning to be a better receiver, I’m also learning to embrace God’s plan regardless of how crazy it seems from my limited perspective. As Traci and I have followed the Lord through this wild season of change, His blessings in our lives have followed us along the way! When I first lost my job back in January, we toyed with the idea of just licking our wounds, washing our hands of the problems and packing our things to head back to Oregon. Yesterday, while taking a stress-relieving walk together, Traci and I talked about everything we would have missed out on, had we just packed up and headed west. Truly, following God despite the crazy limited perspective we have, has proven to be spiritually, emotionally, financially and relationally richer than any path we could have made for ourselves.
Finally, I’m learning how rich I am in regards to the way God showers us with His grace and goodness through His children. More than once I’ve shed tears over the gifts that have sustained us through this season of uncertainty. More than once I’ve sat dumbfounded at how an exact need was met, a meal was provided, a gas tank was filled, a debt was paid, a box of goodies arrived in the mail, a helping hand was offered or a special provision showed up just in time. Each time one of those things happened, there was another human on the giving end.
Could God miraculously drop a pot of gold into the back of our van? Yes! (And Lord, just so you know, we’re open to that idea, too!) Instead, He most often chooses to use others to be the conduit of His work. Sometimes anonymously, sometimes with a special card and note, sometimes with a smile, sometimes with a back story that only God could write and sometimes with a hug and a “God told me to do this for you.” Truly, based on the people in our lives -- from Oregon, Michigan, West Virginia, California and everywhere in-between and beyond! -- we are richly blessed. THANK YOU for your prayers, your love, your emails, your gifts, your texts, your monthly support and most of all, your friendship.
As we move into the next phase of our journey, we are confident that God is leading the way, and that we will continue to experience the richest blessing of all -- meaningful relationships with people who will share this journey with us!
Go ahead and take the plunge, the best friendships you ever have, will be forged on the water where Jesus is building His Kingdom!
If you want to learn more about the next phase of our journey, check out this 10 minute video explaining how we’re taking Overboard Ministries, overboard! If you would like to join the Overboard family thru prayer or thru monthly financial support, click the links! (For monthly support, click the link, choose one of the three options, and then select "Joseph Castaneda" from the drop-down menu. Remember, all gifts are fully tax-deductible!)