When I think of the Old-Testament followers of God, I realize that many of them were “old” by today’s standards when God readied them for service. God took many years to mold them and make them into what He intended for them to be. I am by no means comparing myself to them, but the question must be addressed: what makes a 58-year-old woman with a comfortable life, great kids and grandkids, and a great job chuck it all to move to the Middle East? Has she has totally lost it, or has God has gotten hold of her in a big way?
Even after my husband and I obeyed and followed God here (two years ago now), there have been moments I did feel I had lost it. Did I hear Him right? Does He really expect this mind to grasp and even attempt to learn Arabic? To become like a child again, dependent on those around you for every kind of help imaginable, is taxing. So much so, that yours truly stood in front of a sidewalk vendor and completely broke down, tears and all, because I could not make the man understand how many sandwiches I wanted and what size. The poor man got so flustered that he used hand motions to get me to stop crying. Some days even the simplest thing is enough to send you over the edge in a fit of tears, and that was one of those days!
Then, to be embraced by a people who bend over backward to help you, who invite you in for tea even though they do not know you from Adam, is humbling. I experienced this trying to visit an English student in a refugee camp. We had directions and thought we were in the right place. We greeted the lady at the door and asked for our student by name. She invited us in and proceeded to serve us tea and sweets, but our student never appeared. We asked again, and she said, “Oh, that is MY name!” This sweet lady had no idea who we were, yet she brought us into her home and served us. After a good laugh together, we went on our way, eventually ending up where we needed to be. The hospitality of these people of such meager means takes my breath away.
God takes my breath away.
This life is an adventure, and it is meant to be exciting. By stripping every ounce of my capabilities away, God is making me into someone new—someone who not only listens, but hears; someone who seeks even when He is elusive; someone who tries to see through His eyes. Do I always cooperate? No. I have times where I throw my fit before Him.
Why God? Why here? Why can I not even remember the word for “park” when I am inviting my neighbor and her son to walk with me there? Why do I look like a “deer in headlights” when I struggle to understand the simplest sentence? Why do the women here never question their ideas of God? Why do they resign themselves to life without hope? Why is this so hard? Why do they listen politely as I tell my “story” of you and then simply go right back to talk of cooking or what-not? Why are they so deceived? Why?
I will never answer some of these “whys.” Then again, I can reflect and understand that this is more about my obedience than anything. Do I believe that He can give me everything I need (including language) to carry out His plan? YES. He really is doing that. While I struggle every day, He has given me the ability to tell my story in Arabic and be understood. He has “connected so many dots” for me and allowed me to meet so many women of all ages, shapes, and sizes—AND He is showing me how to love them all.
Each day as I wake, I ask Dad to change me, change them, change this place. I know He IS doing this; I see glimpses of change in me, in the women I know here, in the waves of unrest surging beneath the surface. He is working. I know it—so I go on, one day at a time.
© 2013 Thrive.
Question to Consider: Have you ever wondered “did I hear Him right”?