I turned 36 this week. My love spoiled me with fresh-squeezed orange juice and a hand-made table that looks like it’s straight from the pages of Restoration Hardware.
My boys showered me with all sorts of cards and wrapped up treasures. Jude even gave me my very own lip gloss! (which happened to be the same tube I gave him 4 months ago 😉 )
My parents brought me a crockpot! And smiles and memories and help and fun…
The staff ladies here surprised me with “happy birthday” in english and gluten-free cake!
Something about this birthday seems different. I don’t feel any older, except when I make the trek up the hill to our house in the heat of the day. Then I feel every dozen-worth of years. And maybe a few too many dozen-worth of pão de queijos too 🙂
I just can’t help but think back to how different things were a year ago…
when I was able to drive wherever I needed to go. By myself.
I could invite ladies over and hold conversations with them. About heart matters.
I knew where to find the best deals. On anything from rice flour to shoes.
I could take my kids to the doctor. And I could visit the female doctor…without a translator.
I had a quiet house for a few hours a day.
The ability to form intelligent sentences. Share deep thoughts.
I got all of the mail that was mailed to me. And people got mail I mailed to them.
I like feeling confident. Competent. Capable.
Honestly, some days I feel more crippled than anything.
While that’s not really comfortable, I’m finding it’s not the worst thing.
I’m inspired by these guys who don’t either.
We were getting to know a group of students in our home a few weeks ago. Andre asked us all to share one thing that’s essential to our being – one thing that if it was taken away, you would not be you. My mind went from being crafty and thrifty, to enjoying cooking and time with close friends…
What happens when those have been taken away? (I still like to cook, but not having a dishwasher takes some of the enjoyment out of it, if you know what I mean.)
What happens when what used to seem “essential” to my being is not yet in bloom in this season of life?
As I was stumbling over what to say, it helped me see that having those taken away is not the worst thing either. Because it is peeling away layers of false competence. Superficial assurance.
I know I’m not the only one out there who feels at times like they are limping along, for whatever reason. I just want to encourage you…you are not alone!
This song has become precious to us these days. I can’t listen to it loud enough. Maybe that’s because deep down we all need this shouted into our hearts sometimes:
Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Savior’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all
This too shall pass. We will look back on these days and laugh about all my communication blunders, like when a lady offered me ice cream this week and I told her “No thank you. I only eat.” (Instead of “I already ate.”) Ok…maybe we’re laughing now about it 🙂
We’ve been here 4 months.
Until I get the hang of this language, it’s gonna feel crippling, limiting, weakening.
But 36 years is long enough for me to have learned that if His strength is made perfect in weakness, then isn’t this season from the kind hand of our Father?
For when we are weak, He is strong!
And HIS strength is exactly what needs to be essential to my being.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
((even though sometimes my kids feel like they don’t have a friend here OR
some days I have no idea what I’m doing homeschooling AND trying to learn a language))
YET I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.