Remember when I said I would update this blog regularly? I do. I remember all the plans, thoughts and good intentions of being great at keeping up to date with my blog and prayer emails. It didn’t take me long to slip back into the old habits of never sticking to deadlines. I apologise. Here is the next muddled thought about my life.
I think in a lot of ways understanding and I parted ways when I boarded the plane to Guatemala. Moving here meant giving up my comforts, the people and things I knew, the food I loved and the lifestyle I led. I had anticipated for all this. It had never crossed my mind that I would give up understanding.
Life here is full of daily confusion and things that I just do not make sense to me. Most of it is Spanish related but not all. I am forever jumping out of the way of cars, or stood on the pavement waiting to cross the road in utter confusion because to me cars and drivers do not work in the same way as they do in Britain. I do not get the need for dogs to bark at 2am, do they not realise people are trying to sleep? And do not even ask me about Spanish grammar, English grammar had a difficult enough time staying in my brain let alone Spanish grammar. In fact I am currently reading a book about English grammar in hopes it will help me understand Spanish grammar.
As annoying as some of these are – I was never very good at being woken up, especially not by dogs – they are just little day to day things that one day I may figure out but for now I can easily live with. It is the questions and wonderings that I ask daily that do not have answers that my brain can comprehend. The understandings that used to dictate life that have now disappeared. What happens then? What happens when understanding ends?
Like the daily thought of “am I ever going to master the art of Spanish or even just understand what people are saying to me?” and the fact that I am here, living in Guatemala, and about to do student work. In all my searching I have not found the answers to these questions, I come up blank. Some of you are probably thinking “God is the answer to all your questions”, and as a I have a relationship with God, I do believe He is the answer to these questions. The thing is it is easy to say that God is the answer, He will provide, He got you this far He won’t stop now. It is completely different to live it out, to stand on that answer and trust when you feel you are stood on a cliff and all you can see is a lot of sky and sea and really nowhere to turn apart from back.
BUT… there is life after understanding ends. It is not easy but it definitely is incredible. It is breathtaking to live in those moments where nothing makes sense and instantly you know God is good and is working. The moments, amongst all that I struggle with here, where I look around and am overwhelmed with love for this city, country and the people in it. I cannot explain it because it does not make sense. Life is not easy here but I love it and as much as I worry about how I am going to communicate and what I have to give to students here, I am just excited about getting to watch as God works in and through them.
One moment where my understanding and energy were failing when I desperately needed them was at my first GEU Vigilia. A Vigilia here is a basically a crazy evening of prayer, worship, a talk and socialising, all way past my bedtime – I like to be tucked up in bed by 9.30-10pm here, yes I have aged 40 years just through the simple act of moving to Guatemala. And in the early hours of the morning, I was introduced and asked to say a little about myself and how I feel about working with GEU for the next year. If I was 5, I would have cried, had a tantrum and said no but I am not 5, I am 23 and thought what a great opportunity to practise my Spanish, all while sending up frantic prayers to God for help.
Help He did! I simply said who I was, that I was studying Spanish, excited about working with them and that I would say more in January when I have more Spanish. Deep sigh, I had made it. My mouth however had other ideas and soon I was saying more than what I had thought about, saying things that I had wanted to say but just didn’t have the Spanish or brain power to say. I will be the first to say it wasn’t profound, it wasn’t anywhere near perfect Spanish and I will not be getting any awards for my first foray in public speaking Spanish style – it wasn’t public speaking, there were like 20 people but you would have thought there were 200 by the panic in my head. Sometimes I think back and actually wonder what I said. One thing I know for sure, is that in that moment I clearly saw God giving me the tools I need. In that moment all I understood was how true Matthew 6:32b-34 is. That God knows what we need and gives it to us daily. We do not need to fully understand, have a plan or see past the next step, all we need to do is look to God, see His beauty, power and love and worship Him, for in those moments that is all we can do.
In a few weeks I will, most likely, find that I have forgotten this lesson and need God, once again, to remind me how to live when understanding ends and that He provides for me daily far beyond what I could imagine. But for now I can enjoy living where there is very little understanding but there is one big God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding.
If you are reading this from GEU, please know that I loved the Vigilia and cannot wait for a year of them. I would not have traded the evening for anything! Although I was useless at everything apart from sleeping for the rest of the weekend.
Alongside this blog, I send out a regular – that word is used loosely- prayer email, telling you all that has been happening, prayer requests, answered prayers and where God has shown up in incredible ways! If you would like to receive these, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org