Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Same old, same old...

One thing I love about my job is that it allows me to have long breaks in the middle of the day. Last week, I met a friend at my favorite coffee shop here in Ahwatukee. We had a couple hours to talk, and we covered a lot. She, like me, has an interest in doing mission work in Europe, and we could talk for hours on end about different places we've been, what we've experienced, what we hope to experience in the future, what we're learning while we wait, and how God is working through different people and places to accomplish His purposes. So last week we talked about these things and more, and for awhile it didn't seem like I was in the middle of a work day. My mind and heart were in far away places. I stopped by her house briefly before heading to work, and then as I drove away thought about what an interesting challenge it is to refocus on work itself after a few hours of thinking and talking about other things. I still had more than 5 hours of the "same old, same old" to deal with before the work day would end.

So I arrived at the house of my first afternoon kid. And as I walked down the stairs into the basement, where we have his therapy, I was struck by the fact that there really IS no same old, same old in my job. I can walk away from thinking of amazing things like the way that God is at work in people and in nations across the globe, and then I get to walk down the stairs and greet a little boy with Down Syndrome. And he says, "Hi, Krista!" and my heart is warmed. And as he eagerly runs over and sits down next to me at the keyboard, I'm reminded that my job is an incredible gift - that it keeps me thinking of amazing things - how God is at work in this little boy, in 30 other kids that I work with, how I get to be a part of seeing kids learn to talk, to walk, to listen, to express themselves, to interact in a meaningful way with other people. And as much as I long in many ways to move on to a next chapter in my life, this chapter is so, so sweet. My work exhausts me, but it is work that means a great deal, and it is work that reminds me daily of the goodness of my God and His unique workings in little lives.

And on that note, today's coffee break is over - time to get back to work. :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

discontent, discipline, and the goodness of God

Last night, my discontent slapped me in the face with such great intensity that I was pretty near being literally paralyzed by it. There were a couple factors that went into that, which I won't discuss publicly, but by about 9:45 I ended up just laying on my bed and staring into space, trying to pray but just feeling so distant, so frustrated. I was frustrated with myself for having put my hope in things other than Christ without having even realized it, AGAIN. And, being a sinner, I was frustrated with God, too, for not doing things in my timing, and for not keeping my heart stayed on Him as I'd asked him to.

I am a person who thrives on schedules. So while it was one of those moods where part of me just wanted to curl up and try to sleep and ignore the world and my regular routine, the larger part of me knew that ignoring my typical routine would only make me feel worse. The last part of my nightly routine is reading part of what I read in my English Bible in the morning, in Romanian. Our small group is going through Hebrews right now, and in the morning I'd read Hebrews 11-12. So I dug out my two Bibles and started to work through the translation of the first few verses of Hebrews 12, then ended up reading the whole chapter in English before I moved on to Romanian. Such a sweet chapter, and I wept as I meditated on the God who disciplines BECAUSE He loves. I was feeling "weary and fainthearted," and was counseled from God's own Word to consider the One who" endured from sinners such hostility against himself." My sin does cling so closely, but I am encouraged to lay it aside, look to Christ, and run this race with endurance.

Having read the chapter through in English, I read it then out loud to myself in Romanian. When I got to v. 6 the tears fell fresh. Something about the Romanian word for love for some reason hit me harder than the English word on this night. In Romanian, the first part of v. 6 reads, "Caci Domnul pedepseste pe cine-l iubeste" (For the Lord disciplines the one he loves). Pe cine-l iubeste - the one he loves. My identity as a sinner was so clear to me in the moments leading up to that one, and when I got there, I was so so sweetly reminded of my identity as a one whom the Lord loves! I don't think I have any Romanians reading my blog, so I'm sure no one else is affected by "pe cine-l iubeste" the way that I was, but let me just assure you that it is immensely sweet. Plus in Romanian this verse is full of rhymes, which makes it prime material for song lyrics or a poem in the near future...

Whether or not God ever sends me back to Romania, I continue to be immensely grateful for the gift of worshipping Him in a language other than my own. I think it's hard for English words to affect my heart rightly sometimes - the word love, after all, is one I use for such trivial things on a normal basis. But God used His Word to me in my beat-up Romanian Bible to touch a calloused heart with the assurance of His proimises. This discipline is fruitful discipline flowing from a God who loves sinful me - and I am able to endure because of the One who endured the cross on my behalf.