When you are learning a new language especially one as tongue twisting as French, the simplest sentences sound so good but are not that easy to pronounce. I can listen to French all day and be so moved by the sound of it but it really does nothing for my understanding. I can’t act on anything I hear or commit to a conversation. If I was stuck in the middle of Paris I would have a real problem getting anywhere or feeling like I belong because hey, I just don’t speak the language.
My life journey thus far has felt very much like a long lesson in French. I have been stuck in a foreign country unable to speak the language. Desperately trying to translate one conversation from the next. Every now and then I get a break though and I happen to stumble across an accurate translation and it feels great – I have often thought “yay” I am getting this now, only to learn that there is more to come, words I have never been exposed to, tenses I am not familiar with, rules I have not mastered and so much more. I sometimes feel like I am right back at the place I started at, and sometimes I feel like I have even less to work with than I did originally. Oh these beautiful life lessons….
If you are reading this post and have started following my ramblings, you may be reading between the lines to see that my life has been anything but boring, and nothing short of challenging. Does it sound anything like yours? Comparing my life to French lessons felt so apt. In the present tense I am actually in the process of learning to speak French and in the next few months we are hoping to be moving to France to start a new lesson, chapter, adventure, whatever word or analogy takes your fancy. But the journey began so long ago – the day my husband and I met, the day we started understanding that God had far more for us than the romantic little ‘picket fence, 2 kids and a dog life’ I had pictured myself living.
I had it all planned out in my mind: my husband and I would never fight like other married couples. My children would get on with each other and get straight “A’s” throughout school,they would compete in all the sports and always come first. My family would gather for big wonderful, joyful celebrations, agreeing with each other and always showing respect and care despite the fact that we would sometimes have differing opinions and Rob, the kids and I would live in a beautiful house like the one I had been building in my very vivid imagination for a number of years.
Yes, you guessed it, not much of it turned out that way. Now don’t get me wrong – my life is still good and I understand that what I have is nothing short of a miracle and God’s grace, but the reality of life didn’t take long to sink in after Rob and I were married. There I was believing that I understood the language and that I could navigate my way through this wonderful ‘provincial-like city’ with absolutely no concerns. I was in for a rather rude awakening and as maturity was not my greatest asset at the time, I had some very tough lessons to learn.
Sitting here, 16 years later, with a great deal of lesson learning under the belt, I feel like I have a little more perspective on what God has actually been up to in our lives. He has been teaching me, not only to speak the language, but to understand the nuances, immerse myself in the culture and most importantly to equip me to write my story in this colourful, dramatic language to understand why I am here and what the purpose is for our family of 4.
I am now able to look back and each lesson is connecting to the other, I am slowly starting to make sense of the value of each assignment and the journey is not looking as haphazard as I originally thought it was. It feels exciting putting these thoughts onto paper and to start connecting the dots – stringing the sentences together so-to-speak. Making sense of the process and being able to step back – to increase my perspective and to see the handiwork of God in every step taken.
Il faut que je file – chat soon.
© Michelle Moller