Dear Kezia: I pray you’ll go deeper

Dear Kezia,

Welcome to our big world, little one! You are here with every ounce of darlingness imaginable, and only heaven knows the fierceness of the love you’ve evoked in us these past seven weeks of knowing you in person. You were wanted and prayed for and from the moment we knew that you were; that moment when two little pink lines were never such a big deal, when I was so surprised by joy that I could barely squeak out your daddy’s name – you had yourself all tangled up in the deepest parts of our hearts.

There were months of anticipation, waiting, and longing; forty weeks of you nestled under my heart and leaving no question about the fact that you were there and that you lived.  As you are today, you have been from day one: wildly, assertively certain of your existence.

I don’t know how to be your mom. Truth be told, I vouched for a boy, because I know the hard work and high maintenance of a beautiful relationship between a mother and daughter, and thinking about you scared me. It still scares me. But after your birth, while you squeaked on my chest, and time stood still while our tears, laughter, coos and exclamations serenaded those first minutes of your life, I’ll never be able to describe the giddy anticipation I felt when we realised we had forgotten to check out your gender after five minutes, or the overwhelming gratitude and sheer elation that welled up inside me as soon as we flipped you over and we knew. Our daughter. 

Little girl, I dream big for us. More than french-braiding your hair, baking cookies with you, reading you stories, singing with you, and walking together to the patisserie down the street. I dream of all that and a hundred things more, yes, of meaning the world to you, of being your best friend- but mostly, I dream of giving you glimpses of your Creator. There is nothing now that pulls me down onto my knees more than seeing your big brown eyes stare into mine with all the trust, dependency, and wonder in the world. I dream of you always needing me like that, but I will let you down countless times, so I pray you’ll go deeper. I am deeply flawed. I’ve pursued things that brought repentance but scarring, and I pray you’ll never believe those lies from Satan-the ones that tell you there are deeper pleasures in life than knowing and being known by God. I’ve been well acquainted with the grip of insecurity, teenage obesity, and depression and I pray you’ll never have a doubt in your mind that you are beautiful; that your worth is more precious than gold. I know rebellion and ugly relationships from the inside-out. I don’t know what we’ve got ahead of us, but I pray you’ll aim higher, and I do know this: I will fight for your heart. In a world where being a little girl is defined by ruffles, embarrassing amounts of tulle, tacky glitter, gold amd enough Frozen paraphernalia to make me nauseous, I pray you’ll know the difference. That you’ll know the true grandeur of womanhood, modesty, graceful beauty and charming femininity in ways I could never grasp. I’ve played it easy too often, sacrificing relationship & vulnerability for a safe heart, and I pray for you a wilder imagination and bigger risks.

Jesus. You hear His name a lot these days, whispered in the dark when it’s just you and me, your heavy breathing, wide-awake eyes, and the clock striking midnight. Mostly, I must admit, I pray to Him about please getting more sleep. But I tell Him too all about you, what I dream for you, how my fears blind me, who I hope you’ll become, how much your dad & I need grace on grace for being entrusted with you.

I want Him for you too. But I pray you’ll discover and know Him beautifully in ways I never even brushed the brink of.  I pray you’ll go deeper.

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Hi, I’m Needy.

I sat quietly on my hard chair this morning, in a room full of noise, sweat, smoke, and strangers. Next to me, a bedraggled kid with spaced-out eyes pushed against me to get through the crowded aisle. I pushed my nose further into my book to quench the nauseating combination of cigarettes and body odour. A minute later, my toes barely escaped being backed into by a severely overweight and bearded woman. I felt my face flush when the man in charge started handing out the flyers—the ones advertising a free dinner under the railway bridge tomorrow night.

A friend of ours once told us about a church down the road which collects leftover stock from all the local grocery stories–perfectly good things that are on the verge of expiring or have some slight cosmetic damage. The church then sets up its own market with truckloads of produce that come through every week, and gives it all away to anybody who comes through their doors. Free groceries! I suppose that’s enough to make anybody’s ears perk up, and I thought I’d check it out. (Disclaimer: I’m not one of those die-hard bargain hunters who’s always digging for the next freebie, but my background is Mennonite. And I am the wife of a med student. I have yet to meet somebody else of this enchanting combination who won’t go to a few measures to save a couple of dollars.)

I went, cloth bags from Aldi in tow. I got there a bit late, so I was number 73 in line. I walked past the 72 other people to get to the back of the queue–some of them grinned toothlessly and cautiously in reply to my smile, but most suspiciously squeezed a bit tighter together as if I was going to dare to butt my way in. Number 74 came up the sidewalk, and decided to stand in front of me, holding her head high as if she was completely unaware that she had just jumped the line. The man beside her swore under his breath. I just shook my head because one number’s difference isn’t enough to complain about. The guy up at the front with curly hair and rings under his eyes proudly held up his “Number 1” card and told everyone there how he had come at 10PM the night before to camp at the gates, so he’d be the first through the door on the morrow. I felt myself shrinking against the fence. What kind of place was this? I stared straight ahead, into a sea of backs. Tattooed backs. Dirty ones. Backs half-covered with frayed singlets–three sizes too small.

It started raining. We were finally allowed inside. There was a mad rush for the chairs in one direction, and a reckless stampede in the other towards the free cappuccinos and chocolate muffins. The pushing, the shoving, the undignified, less-than-human behaviour: it was too much, and I slipped quietly inside, becoming more embarrassed by the minute. I would just stand up to wait, and I did. For one hour. And then two. My feet and back throbbed, and I tried to push my pregnant belly out as far as possible. But the front row full of capable men didn’t budge-they sat with arms crossed in front of them, holding down their treasured seats as if it was Life’s Most Serious Business. Then the numbers started being called, the piles of fresh bread and shiny fruit began slowly dwindling, and I collapsed into a now-empty chair to wait some more.

And while I waited, I let repulsion, embarrassment, and frustration fester deep down inside me. These people–these homeless, needy, simple people–were the kind that I imagined serving. Ministering to. In my imagination, I’ve been the one with my arm around them, praying with them, showing Christ to them. I’ve imagined before being a person in that same sort of room, only I’d be behind the counter giving, not waiting in line to get. But I was sitting with them. Surrounded by them. One of them. Me in my maxi dress and coral shoes, feeling so out-of-place, and desperately hoping in my mind that all the workers there weren’t associating ME with the others–as one of the crowd.

I sat, feeling more self-sufficient and righteous by the minute, thanking God that I had a cozy home, a clean-cut husband, a reasonable income, the decency to shower daily, and the ability to live above government welfare programs, when it hit me. A tidal wave of shame and regret like I’ve never felt before.

I’ve always imagined serving people like the ones I was sitting with, because there’s safety and a secure identity there. I am The Giver, stooping to their level to meet their needs. It keeps me just slightly set-apart from them. The idea of “reaching out” appeals to me, because it naturally assumes one to be a couple rungs higher than the needy to begin with. It’s clean, it’s safe. People will see me as a godly, humble servant, but will of course know that I’m different than the ones I try to help. It’s predictable, it’s expected. And it’s dangerous.

I sat quietly on my hard chair this morning, in a room full of noise, sweat, smoke, strangers, and a mysterious, overwhelming feeling that Jesus was there. I closed my book, (which I hadn’t really been reading) and looked up with eyes on the verge of filling with tears. I could see Him–in the hands of the people giving food and blessing people, yes; but mostly, I knew He was there. On the uglier side of the counter. Waiting in line too. Among the swarming masses of tattered shirts, mismatched socks, tobacco-stained teeth and the lost souls behind the beautiful eyes of each one of those people. That’s where I felt Him, and that’s where I sat: ashamed, embarrassed, defensive, and then ashamed again. In my quiet, proud apathy and silent, smug resentment of the people who I was being associated with this morning, I let my Jesus down.

There, in those ten minutes before my number was called, I thought hard, and I repented hard. I’m a person slow to accept help. I get things done more quickly and efficiently on my own. Today went against everything inside me: sitting in a room full of people who actually depended on that free food for survival. Being far from homeless or deprived or disabled, but being seen as one of them.

And there, in those last ten minutes, it was okay. Okay to need with them. Okay to accept those 10 potatoes and the soft loaf of bread and glossy plums being dropped into my bag. Okay to admit that we do need to pinch our pennies and that these countless food items really will come in so handy this week. Okay to close my eyes and let the worker there put her hand on my shoulder and pray for all my needs to be supplied. Okay to be where Jesus would’ve been too: on that same, uncomfortable, embarrassing side of the counter. 

I am needy. Much more so than the people I was surrounded by this morning. They lack the physical–a roof over their heads, hope for next weeks’ meals, and a predictable tomorrow. I lack something much deeper.

I don’t want to reach out to people anymore, because reaching means distance. I want to find Jesus in the arm-to-arm, the gritty, the dirty, the being right next to. In seeing the beauty behind the puffs of cigarette smoke, grungy hands brushing my dress, and the grey beard of a woman. I want to know Him by becoming one of them too.

May the dirty, worn floor I waited upon today become holy ground.

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Today

I met God today by the sea. We clambered over the rocks and I found a crevice cut just for me at the edge of a cliff, where I perched and wiggled my toes over the edge and scraped my heels along the curry-coloured rock. While the biggest waves crashed below me and let me taste their salty mist, I lost a bit of my heart in the pages of Strangers and Sojourners, and the sun painted a shadow of me on the rocks below. A seagull squawked here, a sailboat bobbed there, and over there children gathered around a giant Rubik’s cube while the wind played with my hair.

Today I grew smaller there above those turquoise and teal depths that swelled into breakers, then exhaled into pools with scalloped edges like lace and spread out white like coconut cream. I read, I watched, tilted my head into the sun, and I listened. The sand verbena crippled in the breeze, I shivered in the not-quite-spring air of dusk, and in the roar of the waves, I found rest. The steadiness of the breakers, the wildness, and the pure majesty of it all calmed me back into wholeness.

I met God today, hungry for the pleasure of intimacy with Him, and desperate to discover His voice. And there in the jagged cliff edges and toes buried in sand and endless horizons of blue, I heard Peace Be Still.

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on identity and meeting Jesus outside my burrow-hole

I used to think that my personality would somehow magically change when I got married, that I would have a new air of confidence, that I’d be that cool newlywed at whom all the young teenage girls stared googly-eyed (like I used to do), that I’d be that hostess who’d give those guests hugs and I’d know how to tell them with perfect graciousness  to fill the water glasses or fluff up the salad, and then we’d all laugh merrily and they’d stay till all the taper-candles smoked and dripped their last wax-tears somewhere down close to the tablecloth, and then they’d  leave and wouldn’t even feel like they had to offer to wash all those pretty dishes. I used to think that maybe, just maybe, I would slowly find myself recharged, not drained, by being with people.

Instead, I fairy-taled my way into my new world, and after all the confetti had floated away I discovered there were no magic buttons to push after all, and I was still that person. That person who confuses you because you don’t know if I’m snobby or just shy. That person who you think you should take out for coffee but you invite somebody else too, because you think it’ll be awkward with just you and me. I’m that boring person who wants to go to bed early, and you’ll roll your eyes because you don’t understand that I used up all my energy sharing food and a movie with you and laughing at the appropriate places in your constant bantering with the other outgoing people (I did try to insert my little comments here and there), and I’m sorry, but now I require a little alone-time.  I’m that person who loves having a baby to jiggle on her hips because when we’re talking and we run out of things to say, having something to coo at and play with is a mighty fine solution. (Okay, and I do SO love babies too.)

I used to pray that God would make me more outgoing. I used to pray all the wrong things, and then I got tired fretting over my personality, and I stopped.

I started praying that Jesus would make me more like Himself.

In the past few months, I’ve known change and weakness and inadequacy like I’ve never known them before. A new role, a new home, a new city, a new State, and a new church. Sydney’s narrow roads are enough to frighten anyone, and I suddenly had to brave them. New friends meant raw encounters with their pasts and deep hurts, and I could only murmur Oh Jesus. Other friends pumped us full of cheer after a weary week, and other friends rang our doorbell or phone every other night and we learned to giggle and say Come For Dinner instead of grumbling about the fact that nobody should do that to newlyweds. Living with my closest friend day-in and day-out means making my heart, words, and actions vulnerable , and I thank God it’s a safe place for me to learn that art. Still other friends misunderstood and sent ugly texts and suddenly I was an adult and had to fix it by myself instead of running away, and other friends called for advice on homeschooling or baby C’s gluten-intolerance and spilled family issues that were just TMI and I was wiping my forehead, alternately whispering “Me?” and “What Would Mama Do.” A new church brought a whole meaning to prayer and lots of it, and I found my walls crumbling in the constant whisperings to Father.

“She has changed like crazy!” someone whispered to my sister the other day. She, in turn, whispered it to me, and I sorta stared into the distance, acting like I knew just what she was talking about, but really I was shocked and just utterly grateful in realising that Jesus’ work had crept up on me, and suddenly, here I am, and I’m still that same person but yet I’m not anymore.

I’m still an introvert. But I think I laugh a little easier these days and know a bit more how to pass on grace by making your favourite hot tea and talking about what delights you. At a friend’s wedding recently, I was still overwhelmed by the feeling of people at my elbow no matter where I turned, and the dancing, the loud music, and the people shouting to be heard over it. (And I might have asked my husband to hold my hand and keep me with him all evening.) But, I also smiled incredulously to myself the other evening when we were discussing date-night options and I asked if we could go somewhere where there were lots of people, because I wanted to feel alive. Now that’s a first.

I suppose I’ll always need my times of hibernation, but I’m slowly learning to get my focus off of that and on to Jesus. He’s made me awkwardly uncomfortable and grated me down to the core until sometimes there is no Me and only Him, and only then can I see His all-sufficiency and know where I am truly defined.

I’m still an introvert, but I’m being hurled head-first into the grace of Jesus, and that, I suppose, is all that really matters.

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In Him is Gladness

I saw the look in His eyes, heard the fist pound on the table, and the venom and his voice as he declared God’s hatred for a certain country and its people. From another corner I watched her eyes, bright and alarmed, telling her story of fear better than her mouth spoke it. Conspiracy after theory poured out, and she wondered how in the world we’ll survive when the U.S. government controls the whole world?  We hear the words evil, sin, unfairness, and justice spoken constantly. I wept this month as a dear family traded in brotherhood and community for escaping from the world, and are choosing to live alone and disconnected from the economy-in preparation for the end times and its tribulations. Graphic news articles and the many stories of innocent people suffering are enough to cloud any day with darkness. We’ve all heard dont’s and should not’s all of our lives and have heard about consequences far more than heart issues. I spent my tender, childhood years believing that salvation was a ticket to heaven and an escape from hell, because those tones were echoed across the pulpit. I know what it’s like to be curled up in bed sweating, with a thumping heart and wide eyes. I know what it’s like to come to Jesus because I’m scared.

And negativity closes in around us, controls us, defines how we look at life and live it. But it’s not the spirit He’s given us. There’s a better hope, a living freedom, a perfect peace through Him. He’s not something to be escaped to, a security blanket to make it through the world’s darkness. His mercies are new every morning and He promises grace to thrive in this world, not a survival kit for hiding from it.

This week,  once I plugged my ears and shut my eyes, I wanted to hold my head high, to prove that I’m living and breathing in beauty all around me. My world: it’s full of it!

I saw it on Sunday, in the old grandma next to me, who begged her Lord to come back soon please, and had to take off her glasses when tears started rolling down her cheeks. It was in the love of Jesus pouring through the hands of His people as they handed food to the hungry and needy. (It was especially in that particular lady who laughed and clapped and danced and sang catchy tunes in between the parcels she held out with wide-open arms.) One day in the mall I was thrilled to see tables full of legos and wooden building blocks, with children, parents, and grandparents of all ages laughing and playing together around them. The lady at the markets told me I looked sweet and stuck six brilliantly coloured roses into my bag. Beauty was in the breathtaking loveliness of the lookout nearby, where my sister and I shared coffee and tears. Later, it was in the abandon of sucking in the crisp air and throwing arms full of red and orange autumn leaves into the air. My favourite moment was passing a car on the highway, which held an old chinese grandma doing the cutest duck-lips and jamming to her music. Today, I laughed and laughed because a little 5-year-old girl was following me all over the library, up and down the many aisled, and hollering out to everybody on the way to “Come and see my new BEST friend!” I was having too much fun to be embarrassed. Best of all, beauty this week was Jesus Himself, cleansing and doing repair jobs in the deepest parts of my heart, replacing bitterness with forgiveness and compassion.

Jesus is joy, and His joy is my strength, but I know He intimately understands suffering and pain too, and I’m glad He does. I know that His weeping people move something deep inside Him. After all, He promises He has enough bottles on hand to store all our tears in. I believe His heart breaks too as He holds the baby who went home far too early in one arm, and its weeping mother in the other. He had to know pain to be the healer of it.

That’s our God. Papa God. I’m so glad to know Him and His peace, no matter the state of the world.

In Thee is gladness
Amid all sadness,
Jesus, sunshine of my heart.
By Thee are given
The gifts of heaven,
Thou the true Redeemer art.
Our souls Thou wakest,
Our bonds Thou breakest;
Who trusts Thee surely
Has built securely;
He stands forever: Allelujah!
Our hearts are pining
To see Thy shining,
Dying or living
To Thee are cleaving;
Naught can us sever: Allelujah!

If He is ours,
We fear no powers,
Not of earth nor sin nor death.
He sees and blesses
In worst distresses;
He can change them with a breath.
Wherefore the story
Tell of His glory
With hearts and voices;
All heav’n rejoices
In Him for ever: Allelujah!
We shout for gladness,
Triumph o’er sadness,
Love Him and praise Him
And still shall raise Him
Glad hymns forever: Allelujah!

Johann Lindermann, 1958

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In answer to what everyone’s asking

“So how’s married life?” one of them asked. “Well, I suppose you’re just busy frying pancakes now!” the other one said. (The one with the perpetual angelic smile.) I chuckle my polite, fake little laugh and tell them it’s great. And it is, but it’s not everything.

Someone else tells me I have it all now: loving and being loved, playing house, travelling with a man who holds my hand when we fly, and using this new era to hunt out jobs, do crafts and babysit hyper children. I suppose if you look at it like that, it’s not fair. But neither is where you’re at and what you’re doing right now.

Sure, it’s jolly. I know I’ve never talked or laughed or given more contented sighs than I do now. We read scary stories to each other and sing Old McDonald Had a Farm on the way to church, with one of us singing the lyrics and the other doing the appropriate, irreverent barking and quacking noises. I suppose we do the romantic things like jogging along the river and sipping chai lattes at Gloria Jeans, but sometimes there are tears that drip into the coffee. On any given day I feel all wifey–packing lunch for the husband and sending him off to work with a kiss, and other times I suppose we’re just two spoiled children living under the same room, letting all those new habits and traits of the other perturb us. He sees blue, I see pink, but we also get to sit up till midnight laughing and crying over ourselves, because the differences we let define us are pathetic and fantastic.

The first week we moved, we set up our handsome secondhand bookshelf, and couldn’t wait for the familiarity of our combined books in place on the shelves. David had them unpacked from their boxes within an hour, and when I came to investigate the progress, he called over his shoulder, “Don’t worry, I’m not finished yet!” Good, thought I, because it certainly didn’t appear that way. Tall books on one end of the shelf. Even taller books on the other end. And every other shape and height arranged in no particular order on the rest of the shelf. The next day is his first day at the hospital. Wife takes it upon herself to help him out by arranging the books nicely for him as a thoughtful surprise. She categorises the shelves: churchy, theological, storyish, music and arts, languages…and for the next 30 minutes there is clanging and banging as new stacks are made and everything is rearranged to look pretty to the eye–by height! Husband returns home and asks with a slightly-dismayed tone what happened to all his work the night before? Wife did not know that he had already arranged everything by  much-more-detailed subjects within each shelf: nonresistance, biographies, fiction, history, creation, apologetics…through her glasses, she had only seen disarray.

We both sputtered, but we also burst out laughing at each other. I suppose that’s the nice thing about living with someone and knowing you better get along or else. Really, marriage isn’t always some glorified, extraterrestrial experience. It’s just one of the ways God chooses to mature selfish human beings. There is death: I lose my right to hibernation and hiding in my little dens. He chose to live with someone far less-educated than himself to whom he’d have to constantly be explaining medical and scientific terms. Sometimes we’re on a slippery bank, desperately trying to grab on to the remnants of individuality.

So to you, my inquiring friend, yes, marriage is great but it’s only something, and no, I’m not just cheesily frying pancakes. We love fiercely, giggle I’m sorrys, and get lonely if we ever think that the other can replace the need for Jesus’ fulfilling passion. I guess it’s the way God decided to make the two of us more like Himself, and we worship, because it’s doing the job.

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now you know

that against all appearances, I haven’t actually rolled off the face of the earth. A dear friend of ours sarcastically told my sister the other day, “Be sure to tell Carolyn how much we’ve appreciated all the recent updates!”

And I know

  • that spring does come, the sun does still work, and winters don’t last forever after all. I’ve never anticipated and celebrated it as much as I do now, coming here from the place where every day is a barefoot day! I made it a point to grin at a garden full of yellow pansies the other afternoon, and they smiled back.
  • that it’s painful calling down kids in class when they’re so stinkin’ cute
  • that the grim stares on the streets and conversations-that-stop-when-you-walk-past kind of looks don’t need to be taken personally if you don’t want them to be
  • and that sometimes there are  happy somethings on the dark streets, like a shuffling, toothy old lady who smiles in a grandmotherly way, a baby who pointed at me with an teensy finger and nearly spit out her pacifier because she was grinning so hard, and passing students who recognise you and grin & wave, and suddenly the world isn’t quite so hard after all
  • that I get to squish my little sister in SIX days, and I almost don’t know what to do with myself
  • that I can’t be everything to everyone, and that what one person sees as a strength is a huge weakness to another, and it’s ridiculous to fear & preoccupy myself with those facts
  • that sometimes it’s a lot more fun to go to a private lesson just to talk with the mother beforehand than it is to sit with her wriggling boy who’s obviously preoccupied thinking about computer games and the weather outside. Because sometimes you can only take so much spelling out letters, reading Pooh stories, and talking about the opposites, of cold, stop & hard, and need to discuss feminism, mother-roles, and gay marriage instead
  • that you can talk to God better & more efficiently under a full moon at the park than anywhere else.
  • that knowledge-expansion of vocabulary usage can come in unlikely ways, like my hyper teenager who barely knows how to stumble through the answer to the question “What did you today?”, but said she was angry yesterday because, “My little brother debauched my homework.” Yay for non-native speakers!
  • that sometimes the biggest encouragement comes in a simple thing like the envelope of fruit tea from a close friend every two weeks
  • that maybe “Polish lessons” aren’t actually so much about learning as they are good talks, tears, hot tea with a tired mom, and crooning over pictures of her children, so it’s nothing to get frustrated at after all

And to close, a paragraph from Mike Mason, written to me I’m sure. I don’t have a clue how to live with grace & mercy sometimes instead of clinging to truth, and the self in myself is very alive.

” Our natural tendency is to treat people as if they were not “others” at all, but merely aspects of ourselves. We do not experience them as the overwhelming, comprehensive realities that we feel ourselves to be. Compared with us, they are not quite real. We see them as if through a haze, the haze of our own all-engulfing selfhood. We are constantly filtering others through the fine electronic mesh of our own private system of perception, so that what finally reaches our awareness and registers there is not usually a real person at all, but a sort of computer image, a reconstruction based on our own personal programming and biases. We live in a heavily screened, body-guarded reality. Not much gets through the barbed wire, not much gets by the great bulldog of the ego!” 

a re-think

Remember this post from over a year ago?

Let me take some of that back. It’s jolly fun making fun of high-heeled ideals, but that was then, and you know, sometimes those completely unrealistic, from-a-movie moments actually happen after all.

So here’s to my Valentine, to real life sometimes being just as perfect as I used to criticise, and to loving. Even today from a distance.

heard in class

First, was the day when we were learning the names of relatives, sounding out the difference between “grandpa” and “grandma, talking about what a cousin is, and how a sister-in-law is different than a sister. Following the worksheets, was a family-tree game, with discussion questions on each block. One little girl took her question and described her favourite relative with enthusiasm. “She live in Amerrrica. She not work, she at home. And she has one small boy, my cousin. He two years old. And the other child….umm…is still…um….in woman body!”

In the same class the following week, we talked about countries, and each student wrote a few sentences or a paragraph about why they do or don’t like living in their home country. J, who doesn’t want to live anywhere else in the world said, “I loooove Poland because it’s super, and so fun, and so good, and sooo nice and lethal!” New vocabulary definition coming up.

Among the more advanced students is the boy who tries to be all macho, loves fighting, and wraps his world around computer games. On the aforementioned discussion game, was a question asking the students, “What makes a happy family?”  K answered the normal things I was expecting—an Apple computer for everyone in the family, big screens, a new version of Minecraft…and then he smiled and said, “And I think a little baby sister.” There was an audible “awwww!” from me.

On another afternoon, one little girl followed me into the teachers room to wait on her mother after our class was finished. She stood beside me, grinning for all she was worth, and then- never mind that we had just been together for an hour- said loudly, “Hi! How are you today? Do you like cheese?”

On another note, FOUR people smiled at me on the street yesterday. Four! When the sun comes out in Poland, miracles happen.

 

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These Lasts…

  • fitting my take-along life into 3 suitcases, and the rest onto a closet shelf full of tightly-taped boxes
  • tight hugs
  • unexpected tears
  • frappes with Heidi in the Aldi parking lot, our favourite place to talk & watch people at the same time
  • long naps, because sometimes sleeping is more effective than packing & getting everything done
  • baby sister & the way she melted me with one adorable giggle just in time for me to hear it before leaving
  • card after card slipped into my hand
  • wondering why I left stuff like tax-return files, banking, and closing other accounts until the last few days
  • seeing my favourite male face every day this last week-and enjoying the time, but feeling the pain already
  • little brothers counting down the days and reminding me of it every morning
  • realising that my high ambitions of sitting down for 2 hours every day to learn Polish were rather humorous. Someone asked tonight how language-study is going. Let’s just say, it’s not going at all.
  • knowing that on the other side, are wonderful people who will make the transition enjoyable
  • a daddy who sings sappy, nostalgic songs just to make me cry
  • support. Beautiful verses with God’s promises given to me over & over. prayers behind me
  • parents who struggle to let go, but send me off without questions, because they know the Father’s will.
  • just sitting, relaxing, watching- because there’s no point in stressing about last-minute stuff or freaking out about forgetting something
  • the sunshine & bare feet & ocean and wondering if I’ll really need that furry stuff in my suitcase
  • journalling
  • wondering & praying about meeting the souls that God will ask me to touch

 

This is it! I entered into the idea of this experience, feeling wildly like Maria on The Sound of Music-running recklessly and belting out  “I have confidence, confidence in me…” Now I’m at the gate, wondering what in the world I’ve gotten myself into, or what I think I’m doing. But I take the deep breath, put my head down, and go–because I’m under almighty care, and in the hand of the One who knows why He put me here in this place.

And mind me with each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine…