I remember one summer my Dad decided to plant kiwis. Yes, kiwis in Wisconsin. He did all the research, ordered the plants, built a gorgeous trellace for them to grow on (as they are climbing plants) and was completely prepared for the work ahead. When the plants arrived he put them in the ground just so, and began to water and cultivate them in hopes of having fruit in about 3-5 years. The kiwi plants grew, slowly, but as my Dad pruned and watered them they took shape climbing up the trellace like an experienced climber scales a rock wall.
But 3 years came, and there was no fruit. We weren’t worried. Kiwis take awhile to bear fruit, so Dad continued to care for those plants. Five years came, then eight, then ten, and finally we moved to another home….still never tasting one of those kiwis.
What my Dad found out later was, you must have one female kiwi plant and one male kiwi plant to cross pollinate with each other in order to bear fruit, and we were sent two plants of the same gender. All those years of work and time, and there was never going to be any fruit.
Do you ever feel like you are putting so much of your time and effort into something, and your wheels are still spinning taking you no closer to where you want to be? It’s been that kind of a week for me. There is so much to learn when you are trying to have the ability to communicate God’s heart in another language. There are days when I feel like I’m communicating well, and then the next I am overwhelmed with just how much I still cannot communicate.
Yesterday, I was chatting with a missionary friend who is serving in the states at one of the missionary training facilities, and she asked me, “How are you staying encouraged in the Lord while there on the mission field?” It got me thinking, how am I…or am I just allowing myself to become discouraged because I think I’m not learning fast enough, or well enough to be a good missionary? Am I leaving my personal relationship with God as a separate entity from my language learning, and relying solely on my ability (or inability)?
In a discussion with Pete a few days ago he also reminded me, God brought you and I here, this is what God has for us right now, whether we learn language fast or slow, whether we feel like we are spinning our wheels, whether or not we are picking up the details or communicating the way we want to, we cannot be and we are not outside of God’s will for us. We need to press in to Him, because who are we to question why He would bring us to Mexico…does He not know what is best for His children, does He not have our best interest at heart? Then I read in Romans 9:20-21 “But who are you, oh man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him that formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes, and some for common uses?”
How often I spend time and energy wondering, or even arguing with God about my abilities. Why? For indeed, He knows them already, after all He made me with the strengths and weakness that I have. And He made me to show forth His glory and will not allow me to fail in that regard. Being reminded that He wants me to strive to know Him, and trust Him with my abilities has encouraged me so much this week. It’s allowed me to become less overwhelmed with all the things I don’t yet know, and focus on my relationship with Him. Allowing Him to show His glory through my life whether that means that I’m an amazing language learner or not. I am encouraged today because God cares about me. He doesn’t care about what I’m good at or what I struggle with, but He loves me for who He made me to be, and He directs my life and brings me to all the places He wants me for the sole purpose of molding me into the image of His Son because this is what brings Him joy.