…and then she danced
It’s been a trying season of change, and it seems as though we have just scratched the surface when it comes to learning and transitioning. There are many months left of training, more goodbyes, and moving to several locations before we reach the country where we will be in language school. I’ve written of the way church looks different now for us – that we have “house church” with several other families on Sunday morning. The first week was quite a shock and I think we were all a little unprepared. Yes, we’re still in the U.S.A. but because we are being prepared for life overseas, we have taken on practices that are not the norm in America. I never expected to say this, but even here, I am experiencing a bit of culture shock! The second week, we knew what to expect and even the kids started joining in during worship! This last Sunday, our third attempt at our new setting of worship, seemed to flow and feel more natural – a big praise! One challenge was when one of the other girls and I took all 9 children into one of the bedrooms to have “Sunday School.” I do not have very much experience in teaching Sunday School and we definitely didn’t have all the resources that my children are used to from back home, but we did the best we could! I felt out of my comfort zone, but if we don’t teach these children, who will? And so, I followed my friend’s lead and prayed in the moments of frustration (those moments when my kids were the only ones disrupting and not taking me seriously) for the Lord to help and speak regardless of the chaos.
I left house church feeling pretty defeated. I didn’t hear any of the discussion on scripture being done by the adults, and I felt like I didn’t do a good job handling the children. I was missing being back home with our home church, who has had the privilege of grieving the recent loss of one of it’s own as a community, and not far from everyone like we are. My oldest tested my patience as he acted out during the final closing song, causing me to really get frustrated. I was exhausted and discouraged.
Later that night, as always, all the missionaries in training and the staff (made up of former missionaries from the field) come together for Family Cultural Worship. Each week, the worship service is conducted in a completely different language (from the moment you enter the room until you leave, no English is spoken). Last night’s worship service was just like it would be in Southeast Asia. We took our shoes off, entered the room quietly, and sat on the ground in the dark. I struggled to keep the baby entertained as I tried to also read and pronounce the worship song in a language that is completely foreign to me. I kept thinking “how will I ever worship overseas in another language?” I also kept thinking about my kids, and how would they adjust in the months before we know language to worship overseas?
Amazing Grace started and a missionary sang words I have never heard before. I glanced around to see where my daughter had run off to. What I saw took my breath away. She was spinning and dancing without a care in the world. She was so happy as she twirled and danced! She ran over to me and said “look mommy!!” as she lifted her leg and spun once more. “Oh baby girl, Jesus loves your dancing” is all I could say in the moment of joy.
I had been so worried about how we would adapt to church in another culture and language, all the while forgetting that if God has called us to this new style of worship, then there is true joy to be found in it. I was so distracted from my lack of ability to understand the words, but my perspective was shifted as I saw my princess daughter twirling in freedom, fully embracing the moment of praising the One True God. She was present and living fully alive…..and it wasn’t until she danced that I was reminded to be present and fully alive in what the Lord has given us as “church” for this season. I was encouraged and inspired to embrace this new idea of what worship and church will look like for our family!
God is so good to continually strip away all that is hindering me, but it isn’t always easy. One of my friends back home calls it surgery. The outcome is going to be beautiful, but yes, the process of getting there can be painful. I appreciate your continued prayers during these months of training! Slowly but surely, He is redirecting my heart from a place of only seeing lack and what is missed, to a place of embracing all things new and different! I am confident that He who calls us is Faithful, and He most certainly is doing it! We are SO THANKFUL for the organization that the Lord has chosen to send us with. The training we are receiving is invaluable!
My beautiful daughter’s dancing to Amazing Grace changed everything. She danced in the dark, and to another language, but the joy that radiated from her face as her freedom-dance continued is a picture of the kind of heart I want. I want to freedom-dance, guided by His grace, no matter how dark, difficult, or foreign my situation may be!
Freedom-dancing in His amazing grace….thank you sweet daughter for this picture!
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.