Every Sunday, Tim and I work with a small Spanish group in our church congregation. Have I told you that? On average, 7-15 people attend weekly. Sometimes, only 1 person comes. When we were first assigned to the group, I felt completely overwhelmed as to what we were supposed to be doing, especially on the Sundays when only 1 person attended. Would we really give talks/prepare lessons for just 1 person? It turns out we do. We prepare and give talks/lessons, even if only 1 Spanish-speaking person attends church.
I'll admit that the first time we gave talks I felt really silly. Here I was trying to speak and yet not stare directly at the 1 person in the room. I kept looking around the room at the empty seats, and I pretended the room was filled to max capacity. It only mildly helped; I still felt silly. But after the meeting, as I was collecting all the broken crayons my girls had so graciously thrown all over the room, the 1 lady (whose name means Peace in English) approached me with a timid smile, thanking me for speaking to her in her language.
And it got me thinking about God, and how good He is to each of us, and how He speaks to us in our own language and in our own time. I believe He does speak to us in ways only we can understand.
It's been five months since we were first assigned to the group, and my original feelings of inadequacy and fear are all gone now. I look forward to Sundays, knowing that the people I visit with feel loved just because I am willing to sit and talk with them in their language. How difficult and humbling it must be for them to even go to church when 90% of the congregation can't speak to them because of a language barrier! I feel incredibly lucky that I can. These people are amazing.
Today, for example, one of the women teaching a class said something so profound, and I felt she was speaking directly to me. In Spanish she said, "All my kids are now gone. They are getting married and starting their own families. And as I think back to the days when they were young, I cannot remember the bad times. I try to remember them. I really try, but I can't. I can only look back at those times with fond memories. That's how it must be for God. Once he forgives us of our weaknesses and sins, he does not remember them anymore. He cannot remember our bad times."
I learned a little more about God this morning. What this woman said about God gave me hope. Just as she can't remember the endless piles of laundry, the nonsensical bickering, the dirty looks at the dinner table, the rebellious moments of childhood, God will not remember all the things I repeatedly do poorly. I can be so hard on myself, especially when it comes to motherhood. I try to do the right things as often as I can, but I often come up short, and it frustrates me.
Today, I was grateful to speak Spanish. There were only five women in our class, including the teacher, and I was lucky enough to be a pupil of a woman I would consider a master teacher.