Thursday_Jun 2, 2016
Hey guys! It's Ruth again. The last time I spoke to ya'll it was on the topic of praying that the Lord would let me be someone who spent her moments "soarin' & flyin'" as I figured out what "adjusting to the altitude" looked like here in Romania. Lt's just say, it's been one incredible adjustment after the other. (And I mean that in the absolute best possible way!) It's been both a challenge and a blessing to be on the look out for the Jesus lessons throughout all of the days I've been here. Which. I mean, I've only been here 9 days. It's bizarre to me how it feels like I just arrived and somehow also feels like I've been here at least a month. :P But enough about that, I'm here today to tell you about what I've discovered is my main adjustment to the altitude. And the best part is that it's also been one of the main lessons the Lord has been speaking to my heart! So, what's the main adjustment? Hopefully you've gotten a hint from the title, but just in case you haven't, I'll tell you.
I have been overwhelmed by the simultaneous beauty and confusion of the Romanian language. I know how to say the basics - as in a greeting and a how are you. But other than that, I've been pretty much in the dark. I spent the first day... who am I kidding... I've spent the first week stumbling around and desperately trying to pick out words that sounded familiar. You know, it's a humbling experience to be an 18 year old who can't carry on a conversation with a 5 year old. To be quite frank, I don't think I truly recognized the true value of words until I couldn't use them. I got super wrapped up in just trying to understand - or figuring out a way to somehow carry myself in a manner that would make me look like someone who knew what was going on... when the reality was that I didn't have a clue.
*Cue embarrassing story that Jesus used to teach this broken servant about language.*
So, Maria and I were at the mall yesterday. We had been completing some intern challenges around the city and decided that on the way back to the apartment we'd stop for some shawarma. *Side note: I'm pretty sure I will become a shawarma addict... words don't do justice to how delicious that stuff is.* As we're going up to order, I asked Maria the right words to say to place my order for the shawarma. She told me exactly what to say and I made a point of repeating the phrase in my mind a few times before getting up to the counter. I kid you not, the moment that the woman looked up at me for my order I forgot everything expect my name. I opened my mouth, but no words were coming out! Thank heavens Maria was still standing there and was able to complete my order for me as I stood there. I paid for my food, was handed a tray, and then was asked to move down the counter. It was in that moment that I realized that shawarma is a process... and you have to tell the people the various ingredients that you want in your shawarma. My heart sank again. I looked at Maria and asked what the word for "tomatoes" was in Romanian. She smiled and answered me. This time for sure I was going to say the right thing! It was one word. One word. Just to be safe I practiced it in my head a few times and then whispered it out loud. The man turned to me and asked what I wanted on the shawarma... and before I had even realized it I had pointed and said, "Tomatoes!"
What. An. Idiot.
It was one word! Maria had just told me the correct word and I had even practiced it a few times before he asked me. But the moment that I was actually asked what I wanted, the first time I was tested on the information that I knew, I responded in my native language. Now, as much as I enjoy telling stories about my stupid moments, there really is a Jesus lesson tucked into that shawarma tale.
I was born a sinner. My native language is the language of the flesh - and I speak it embarrassingly well. I'm fluent actually. Whenever I'm faced with something new or something that posses a challenge, my automatic response is to reach for the reply in the language I've practiced and know best. Man, this is harder to write than I was expecting. But I guess it's because I'm attempting to write this in a language that isn't my native tongue. I'm attempting to write this in the language of the Spirit.
That's why I'm here after all. I'm here to learn how to speak another language. A language that is beautiful and sometimes confusing. A language that leaves me clinging to the basics. A language that I've stumbled in the dark trying to find. A language that leaves me more humble than an 18 year old that is unable to carry on a conversation with a 5 year old. A language that gives true value to words and doesn't give me the option of pretending.
It's not the Romanian language though... it's the language of the Spirit.
Wow. I'm pretty disgusting. But I finally get what I'm supposed to be studying! Lord, I want to reply in the language of the Spirit! That's what you have for me. I want to put into practice the language of Your heart that is pure and not the language of my heart that is gross. I want to become familiar with Your phrases. Gracious, what a glorious day it will be when the language of my heart matches the language of Your love. I doubt I'll be fluent this side of heaven... but hey, a grammar lesson now and then wouldn't hurt? Haha, I love you Lord. Let me be attentive to Your voice - let me be attentive to the language of my heart. The language of my Spirit.
Day by day,