Category Archives: Journal

Language school

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The thought of studying a foreign language sounds thrilling to me. Until it’s time to do it. When you are thrown into a place where the only way to survive is to start from the bottom up, It’s romanticism dies pretty quickly.

I’ve tried to enjoy it, but honestly as a mother, there are more important things on my to do list. With our first language school experience I was fine, definitely not a straight A student, After all I was expecting our first baby girl! I learned well enough to be pretty comfortable in the language.

When we moved to a Spanish city I was challenged with some changes, but pretty much understood it all. I even improved a little. Then it was time for Arabic. Ugh! the thought just made me want to run and hide! I started classes, but our language school system was pretty rough. I changed my style of class 5 times and I just couldn’t retain much going from Arabic to Spanish etc.. I didn’t get much practice during the week and on Sundays, oh those were rough days. I can’t even begin to explain the discouragement. I would want to leave the room and cry when it was time for interaction and finding books in the Bible Ha!! That was a whole different ball game. I felt like a child. Just an FYI, if you’re pursuing humility you could probably start with language school. When it was time to move I was comfortable enough to get around but honestly, I was less than stellar.
Arriving here, those first couple of months, I was brought to tears on multiple occasions, realizing how far I had to go in this new dialect. Frustrated with having moved and set up so many times, we had to learn it all, all over again. I was quickly realizing this would be 7 years now that I’ve been in different language schools and I wasn’t about to let it get in the way of my family any more. Thinking “I want to spend time with my kids now, I’m going to just take it slowly and some day hopefully I’ll get it.”
Six months after yaelle was born I was able to really start classes again. I was advised to try to do an intense two weeks and just plow through the first 100 hours of the course. So we did it. One thing I have prayed for was the desire to learn the language, Something I didn’t have much of. After getting through these classes I was so encouraged I can’t even explain it. I was learning words I didn’t even know in Spanish and retaining them. The Lord gave me the perfect teacher and It has changed my entire perspective on learning this language. I was a lot further along than I thought. Just needed some help in a few key areas. I’m ecstatic, about moving on to the next phase. I’m so grateful for a husband who, might I add Seems to LOVE to learn languages and cultures, (I promise it’s not annoying most of the time) has encouraged me and helped me to get through these many years of fighting with language. I definitely have a road ahead of me, I’m sure it’s full of ups and downs. Seeing this glimmer of hope has opened my eyes to what The Lord can do for someone who has no desire. I knew I had no choice but to take it one day at a time, and His grace has truly amazed me.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4)

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Be still my soul

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Listening to this song today brought back lots of memories. Memories of a time when our family went from hurt, to discouraged, to completely at a loss for words. The Lord comforted me with this song; I would listen to it over and over. We were going through some very stormy days, very unknown changes, and not by our own choice really. The feelings of “us against the world” were pretty tough. Yet as we got through that awful time, the trying transition, the Lord began to show us the light. We visited our new home and 4 months later moved here. And though this is not the end, It’s joyful. The Lord has given us so much more than we will ever deserve. The best part is to see how the Lord used that stormy way and brought us through it. He had much better in store.

Honestly if you looked at our city you wouldn’t ever say “what a wonderful place!” However, if you knew the people we do, the potential, the boldness, the genuine love and care between believers – you would understand. I know there will be more stormy days and more unknowns. I hope to one day look back and see what God once did, he’ll do again. I hope to have more faith this time around. And to know how to still my soul.

“Be Still, My Soul”
by Catharina von Schlegel, 1697-?
Translated by Jane Borthwick, 1813-1897
1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul, though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrows and thy fears.
Be still, my soul; thy Jesus can repay
From His own fulness all He takes away.

4. Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

For Those Stressful Times

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There are phases in life that are just plain old stressful. As a mother this stress tends to spill over onto my sweet children. Or usually not so sweet at that moment. Isn’t that a nice way to put it ? “spills over”, more like explodes all over. And all I am left with is guilt and nothing changed but worse off than they were moments before. I see it affect my relationship with my husband and the sweet understanding we once had is turned to sad indifference or frustration. To the point we just can’t connect very well at all. I’m sharing all of this because I want you to know you’re not alone. As our third child arrived into our family during a tough time as it was. We were overwhelmed by some stresses that I know can make or break a marriage and family. Some days I felt like I didn’t know if God was for us or against us. Sometimes the feelings and frustrations just overtake you emotionally. When something went right I was almost indifferent to it.
But God always gives grace just when you need it. He gave us a little break and allowed us all to reconnect and enjoy life in general. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle life again. Sometimes we just need to talk to a friend, get away or find a babysitter. He always gives us help in our time of need. We are not forgotten though it may feel that way. My point in sharing is really to encourage you. A real marriage has bad days. A real mother has moments she regrets. A real life has stress and there is no way around it. It may feel like this is going to be the way it is from now on, but don’t let yourself think that way. It is hard especially in the midst of life’s changes. Even good changes are hard.
Don’t let it consume you, His grace is sufficient.

All Grace

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Where do we come up with the idea that we deserve all that God has blessed us with?  So many times I wonder as I am truly grateful for the three healthy pregnancies I have had so far, but what about my sweet friends who have had some pretty tough days losing babies before they could hold them or holding them only for a short time?  My children have been pretty healthy, but what about those mom’s in the hospital holding their babies all night who are fighting for their lives?  I recently have dealt with someone who has expressed this idea because of their wealth and healthy children they have worked hard for it and deserve it.  But I have to ask what about those who have had loss or poverty?  Does God just love them less?  are they less deserving?  Obviously the idea is ridiculous.  Most of the people I have witnessed go through some pretty tough roads in life are pictures of strength from the Lord.   They have been used by Him to shout to the world of His goodness,  even in tragedy.  The problem with the idea that “I have worked for all I have and deserve it” is when things go wrong, then what? where do you turn?  Some turn to their past and try to shift the blame on someone else, it was my mother’s fault for not hugging me enough or maybe my dad wasn’t around.  It’s just never enough to blame shift, because it never fills that void.

There is no answer for why God chooses for some to struggle in certain areas and others not, I believe He gives us glimpses as to why, but we’ll never truly understand until we are with Him.   Looking at the cross we can see God’s goodness no matter what we go through He has been there.  He loves us ultimately and blesses us far beyond anything we deserve.  I think we all know ourselves well enough if we are honest we don’t really deserve much.  This world has created an “I deserve the best” mentality, but truly we are dust, the very air we breath is a gift from God.  When we approach all of life that way, the little things don’t get to us as easily, and the big things are given to us through the loving hands of our Savior with a plan to use it to gain maximum glory.

As I sit up late thinking about and frustrated over this “I deserve better mentality” I am humbled to realize I have had the same attitude in a different way.  If I am not careful I begin to take the amazing blessings I have been given for granted.  Instead of looking at the things that seem to be so frustratingly out of my control as burdens, I can begin to see that ultimately He has our good in mind, and I am never in control anyway.   So as disgusted as I am with those who use the gifts God has given them to shake their fist or use it to hurt others or even against God himself.  I realize any pride even if it’s not that blatant is still pride.  It is all His grace that we make it to another day.  Any blessing we have is only by His amazing grace.  If we all got what we deserved, what about Jesus?  Didn’t He deserve better?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Thank you Vision

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As we have packed up our temporary home this week we said goodbye to our home church. I hope everyone loves their church as much as we love ours, but it makes it painful to have to leave. Our furlough has been so packed, but amazes me how The Lord can give refreshment during anything. It’s been wonderful to have time with our Pastor and his wife, church family and other missionaries as well knowing they all understand our life better than most.

My only concern is the frustration of coming in and going out so quickly there is no time to repay those who sacrifice on our behalf. I wish we could do more to help in their time of need, But when it comes down to it. I can only pray The Lord keeps them encouraged to keep going and continue to serve Him. It’s not really service to us, but unto Him, and He will bless them for it, more importantly His name will be glorified. So thank you Vision, we are grateful for you.

The work of God

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There are days when I completely understand Peter in Matthew 14 where he steps out in faith to walk on the water with Jesus. Now I am aware Peter expressed much more faith than I have probably ever had. But the part where He starts to look around him and the reality sets in about what he is undertaking, he starts to sink. I have had that feeling more times than I like to admit. We make a decision as a family in faith knowing full well this is what we need to do, and then it hits. Wait a minute how are we going to do this financially? How are we going to work out the details? What were we thinking? What if? Etc… I start to look at all these obstacles and every time I think of Peter.

My biggest struggles are not with the big things, like stepping out of the boat. Sometimes the big things are so big I know I have no control anyway, so why waste time worrying. It’s the little things, its all those little “waves” so to speak that I think I need to maneuver around. I need to figure it out for myself, when in reality it’s all too big for me. I recently read “If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief…atheism” (Ann Voskamp)
Many times stress is thrust upon us, Jesus himself had stress but choosing stress over trust is where we should draw the line.
So if we call ourselves believers and trust him for salvation, yet can’t trust Him for every day can we truly call ourselves “believers”?
This idea stuck with me. We all like to think we live in complete submission and trust that is only where true joy is found but that usually requires stepping out into the unknown, where we can’t have any control. It seems scary but it’s where real peace and joy thrive.
If we trust Him with our eternal soul I think we can trust Him for today. After all it’s not our work it’s His.

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29)

Sometimes you need reminding

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Got into a car accident yesterday, praise God it was little. My first reaction was sheer frustration, stress, how much is this going to cost? But The Lord quickly brought me to the reality of the fragility of our lives. Grateful for his mercy, and holding my family a little closer.
Thankful for this reminder as inconvenient as it may seem. It’s extra sweet to wake up to Norah and Judson whispering to each other “I like you all day”.