That is an acronym, which I'll get to explaining in just a minute.
One of the best things I ever did in high school was go on a missions trip. I grew up in a small, independent Baptist church. During a time when our church did not have a pastor, we only had Sunday school on Sunday mornings, which was led by my dad. So in the evenings we would go to a nearby Southern Baptist church. I joined the youth group there, which was separated into boys and girls (Acteens). The Acteens Activators were going on a summer mission trip, I soon learned, and they had a spot available. I jumped at the opportunity to go. It required training and meetings, to which I happily attended. I have SO MANY fond memories of this time. I grew spiritually in many ways from the exercise. At one weekend training, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, our leaders taught us this acronym: F.A.T. Flexible, Available, and Trainable. (I later heard it another way with the same meaning, Fixable, Adaptable, and Teachable.) To test how flexible we were, they put us through a grueling test. We were all hungry for lunch. But as we went through the lunch line, we were told to draw numbers from a basket. As we went through the line, we were only allowed to get those items which we had a number for. I could get noodles but no sauce. A drink, but no cup to put it in. I probably didn't have a number to get a fork. Many girls grumbled (understandably). I sat puzzled, anticipating something to happen next. Of course, the grumbling grew louder and elicited a reprimand from the leaders. Is this how we are supposed to act? Do we think that life will always be fair? What do we do out on the mission field, where we are doing what God called us to do, and it gets tough? This lesson made such a deep, deep impression on my life. I wasn't angry, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Eventually the ladies announced that seconds were available, and the girls figured out that we could all do some trading. So in the end, we ended up with full meals. Some of the girls even on my team still were holding a grudge. They didn't think it was too funny. Many other girls (me included) really "got" the meaning of F.A.T.
I'm thinking a lot about F.A.T. these days. My days are so packed full of learning. In the peak of my busiest season ever with Pampered Cheeks, my darling little daughter with curious fingers broke a part on my serger. It is in the shop, and I have promised orders due with very little room to wiggle. Ok. I can be flexible. Kristin came to my rescue and I was able to do some needed serging at her house (with a small miracle that her serger worked as well as mine!).
Homeschooling is hard, but the hardest part about homeschooling is giving up my own desires. Before, when the kids were at SCCS, I looked forward to sending them off each morning then spending the day working on my own things or focusing on the little ones. Now I feel sort of trapped. Torn between what I want to do, and what I know I must do. Deep breath. I am available. It's not easy--but they need me. Not some ghost of me under the same roof barking at them to get to work. No, they need me there and engaged and working with them.
I am a self-sufficient, strong person. Sometimes I equate not knowing something with weakness. I don't like to not know or not be able to figure it out on my own. I like to be perfect. I like to pretend that I don't sin. Sigh. But I'm teachable. And God sure does have my attention! He is teaching me more and more every day. I wish you could hear the sermon I heard today. It was from 1 John 1:8-2:2. If you go read it, don't let yourself get hung up or stopped at 2:1. Make sure you read all the way through 2:2. It is beautiful.
We are leaning on Jesus. I really don't know any other way we would be making it through. Mitch's hours at work are really long, and he is very run-down. The depression is curling it's ugly black fingers back into his life again. We are praying for God to lead. I am so desperate for a solution. I want him to be really free from the depression. I'm so thankful for his devotion to God and for his unrelenting desire to provide for his family. He has been through so much. I only hope that God has a purpose during this period of life to strengthen Mitch's endurance. I can't wait to see him using his gift of working with children again!