During their early married years in Fiji, Kevin and Sala Sanders felt blessed. They owned a successful business and a house with a pool and were enjoying being financially comfortable. They connected with the FamilyLife ministry in Fiji (FamilyOne), and began participating in topical marriage studies with other couples. Having mature Christian couples around them helped by grounding their faith in God, knitting their hearts as a couple, and cementing their commitment to their four young children. They didn’t yet know that God was preparing their lives for the upcoming testing of all they were learning.
The Sanders moved from Fiji to the US and experienced a shift from living with abundance to getting by on practically nothing. The sale of their home and business, which they had counted on to help with the move, fell through at the last minute. They lived with Kevin’s parents for months while trying to settle and looking for work. Sala, a very social people person, found the adjustments particularly difficult. In the US, she had to be a full-time mother, wife, and homemaker with no friends or family. She was lonely and frustrated. Attempting to adjust to her new life, she tried to hold on to all she had learned about God’s goodness and faithfulness. The Lord had pulled out all her props and comforts. All she had was Him.
Yet her frustrations continued to get the better of her, and her young children and husband became targets for her emotional outbursts. The family was confused and hurt—Sala was not the mom nor wife they had known in Fiji. Finally, without letting any of her family know, she packed her bag and planned to fly back to Fiji.
At that moment, God used a Christian radio program to redirect Sala’s attention back to Him. The message was that in all our menial tasks and difficulties, which no one sees, we perform them as unto the Lord, who is right there supporting and encouraging us. Sala went back home, cried, put her passport away, and began to serve her family as a mom and wife. The task was not easy, but the payback was much!
Kevin and Sala eventually were able to move into their own house. Now Sala is enjoying making their home a welcoming haven. God has also called them to work with engaged and married couples within their church. They see now that a lot of the difficulties they went through were a preparatory ground for God’s call in their lives. Kevin and Sala identified three lessons they learned from their experiences:
- The Lord Jesus promised us crosses to bear so we can help others with their crosses. There is no crown without our Gethsemane.
- The only stable prop that withstands all testing is Christ and His promises.
- All that we do, we must do unto God, who is there to encourage and help us through—particularly in places of loneliness and pain.