Telling stories ..... Advent Day 16

I'm a language student.

Just saying that makes me laugh. In my fourth decade in life, I'm attempting to learn in quasi-studious form my fifth language. I'm afraid language learning abilities decrease with age, so I'm thinking there is little hope for me in this language with 5 tones, 44 consonants, and at least 28 vowel forms. Sigh.

My neighbors humor me as I stumble through conversations. I am anxious to speak words that really matter rather than just yes, I'm going to the market and I am a student (smile), and no, I am not Thai. (They couldn't tell from my lack of language?) I ask my teacher today how to say words about the heart- for the Thai are all about the heart. The word impatient is described by "a hot heart". I find that to be a perfect description of what happens to me when I am waiting for a web page to load. It's how I feel about the rate I'm learning this language. It's heat that overtakes me. I tell her in very broken sentences my family's story of grandparents who fled their home country and God's hand of protection as each family both my husband's and mine chose a new place to call home. All ended up going to yet a third home where  they established their families, and we were born, and now we have come to a new country where our kids will call home. Our story. Understanding our story can help us see God's amazing love for us. My teacher nods as if she understands me and I hope she does if only a bit. I tell her that reminding ourselves our story can help us have a thankful heart. We get stuck on the thankful heart bit. Some words just don't translate the same. I am hoping this will lead to sharing more about the One who is my Hope.

Each of us have a story to tell. Our larger story is filled with many smaller stories of God's grace and faithfulness. We may not feel we are great evangelists, but our story is wrought with the gospel and we tell others these things because we are most familiar with ourselves.

Story is a powerful thing. I attempt to practice my language today with our landlord. Besides asking if him and his wife can keep an eye on our home while we're away the next two weeks, I tell them that my husband's mother is really unwell and my husband is recovering from serious back injury. They look at me and tell me it will be okay. The Thai are just as uncomfortable with pain as the rest of us. Their attention picks up as I tell them it is okay because God is taking care of us and while it is very hard, I know God is with us. I speak to my own heart as I hear my words. I'm not sure what that means to them, but I trust Father will grow the seed as we are faithful to plant.

Christmas is about a Story. A love story. Each time we tell it, we understand the greater truth of what Christ's coming really means. It's possible that we can come away with a deeper comprehension of the depth, breadth, and height of God's love for us. We just have to believe it. 

Tomorrow we leave to be reunited with my husband and Lord willing, visit Grandma one last time on this side of heaven. My youngest asks me tonight what will happen when Nai Nai (Grandma) goes to heaven? Tears roll down his cheek and I wipe it away with his tattered blanket. God gives me inspiration tonight and I speak of heaven. A beautiful place we are told. Where all sadness, and darkness, sickness and tears are gone. We don't have to fear heaven because we've been told truths in the Scriptures and stories by people who have glimpsed it that it is the most amazing place. In heaven, we'll sit around and tell stories all day, I tell him. Not sure if that's true, but time won't be a factor, so for me, heaven is where I'll get to hear all of your stories.

I'm unsure how my son will respond after I go on probably too long about this place I know little about, but that brings him just the comfort he needs.

Tears still fall, but he squeezes my hand and tells me thanks. 

Nighttime talks are the best. 
One perspective of our family by J 




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