I am currently reading A Resilient Lifeby Gordon MacDonald. In my reading yesterday, I came across a quote and story about Father Jeremiah, a priest living in the Coptic Monastery of St. Macarius in Egypt. The quote that struck me was when Father Jeremiah said, “I am not yet a Christian, but I have seen them.”
Here is this man, dedicated to serving the Lord, living in the Egyptian desert in a monastery, and he claims that he is not a Christian yet. The reading goes on to talk about the “process” – “the becoming” of our lives. We do not attain something by the mere fact that we have stated it in words, but by the process in which we begin to live from that moment forward and the constant mindset that we are a work-in-progress, working to attain that for which we are striving.
This reminded me of our time in missionary training. During that time, we took an intensive course on language acquisition techniques. The teacher was a phenomenal man with a wealth of wisdom and “been there, done that” in his belt. One of the
things that he really stressed to us as newly hatched missionaries is that there would be times when things aren’t going to go as planned. There would be times when it was going to be very difficult. There would be days when we would eventually, in exasperation and frustration, say things like, “I can’t speak this language!”, or “I just don’t understand this culture!” But, according to this incredible mentor, our lives would benefit greatly if we would just learn to use a very special, very small, yet highly impacting word – “yet”.
You see, if you are frustrated and you blurt out, “I can’t speak this language!”, you are admitting defeat. You have let the language and your frustration win the battle. But, if you remember to add “yet” to the end of the sentence, then the meaning changes to become one of hope. Try it… “I can’t speak this language, yet.” You see? It implies that you are still working on it, that you are in the process, that there will come a time in the future when you CAN do it.
Here, try it again… “I just don’t understand this culture, yet.” (So I’m going to keep digging and questioning, and looking for understanding. Cultural adjustment is a process.)
“I can’t seem to manage all these things on my list, yet.” (But I’ll keep trying. My life is a process and I will eventually become someone who can manage life better.)
“I don’t get why Jack is so difficult during our meetings, yet.” (I’m going to keep working on understanding him and what is behind his emotions each week. Maybe we don’t have enough of a relationship,yet, for him to be comfortable in meetings.
Relationship is a process.)
I really needed to be reminded of my language mentor teacher this week. I have been leaving the “yet” off of a lot of my thoughts and feelings over the past few days and weeks. Maybe that is why things have seemed so difficult and frustrating, and at times, hopeless. Maybe I forgot that my life is a process and that I am always on a path of becoming something
better. So I’m letting “Yet” back into my life and my vocabulary and my thoughts… I happily send him to your door as well, with my high recommendations. He’s a pretty good friend to have. Call on him often! I pray that he brings a lot of hope and encouragement to your life.
Who am I? In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a Southern Living / Martha Stewart wannabe, a soccer mom, and a short term mission team coordinator / intern director for missions in Mexico... you name it, I probably tried it!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! We have three incredible children... two adult boys who live in Texas, and the Sarah (14) lives with us in whatever country we are serving. I'm still teaching, still taking photos, still leading teams and mentoring, I just do it all in full-time service now! And I'm working hard at giving Southern Living and Martha Stewart a run for their money! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers and immigrant peoples, writing, and trying to figure out what life looks like for a Texas girl serving Christ in Southern Europe. Life in His service is AWESOME! I'm happy to share it with you here... Enjoy!