Monday, October 17, 2011

One Month and Counting....

Thirty days. One month. Four weeks.

And counting.

I can't believe it's already been that long. The time has flown by. It feels like only a week ago I stepped off of that airplane onto French soil looking forward to the adventures that would take place (and maybe a warm bed and a cup of coffee). I had a feeling that time would go by really fast. It generally does when you're in a new and exciting place.

Living in a different culture is difficult. Every moment is an effort, every day is learning a new lifestyle. Things which took no thought before suddenly become mini crises, and some things are learned the hard way. "Note to self: when going grocery shopping, please remember that everything you purchase must be brought back via bus and quite a bit of walking." Some things about France I really, really enjoy. Some things I'll never understand. Like the fake-kiss thing you have to do with every single person every single time you arrive and depart somewhere. I can't even tell you how many complete strangers I've bumped cheeks with while making kissy noises. And however awkward that might sound, the French make it so natural. And perhaps it is natural, because it's a tradition that's been passed down for centuries I'm sure.

I feel like I never really know what's going on. I'm not usually quite sure if I've said or done the right thing, or if I've done a silly American thing that hopefully everyone will forgive me for. I desperately hope that people won't speak French to me, even though I really need to practice. Even though I know a few phrases here and there, the thought of actually using them makes me a little panicky. And while I can usually pick up on the general gist of the conversation (if the people are Americans or maybe even French talking extremely slowly), I don't really know exactly what they're saying. An effort, every moment is an effort.

A few days after I got here, I had a moment of near horror as I was watching the many high school aged students walking by on the street below. I wanted to talk to them, to share Jesus with them. But then I realized that even if I did somehow miraculously get the chance to talk to them, I would only be able to speak to those who knew English. It broke my heart thinking about it. Only those who speak English....  Who is going to share the gospel with them in French? How are they going to hear? 

I feel helpless here. But it's kind of okay. Because this feeling of helplessness has caused me to lean on Him like I never have before. That's the best. thing. ever. I wouldn't trade my position in Him for anything. And I'm so glad I'm in France.

Sometimes on my walks, I watch people go by, and my heart becomes so heavy when I think about the fact that there's a 99% chance that they don't know Him, because only 1% of the population really does. And I feel like they're all little droplets of water that slip through my fingers, because I just can't reach them.

There's an excerpt from one of Amy Carmichael's books that I read recently that resonates deep within me. It seems like she looked into my heart and scripted the way I see the people here. One month into my France adventure, and this is how I feel....

The tom-toms thumped straight on through the night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked and I saw as it seemed, this:
That I stood on a grassy sword and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked but saw no bottom–only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled; and great shadowed, shrouded hollows and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.
Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding onto her dress; she was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step; it trod air. She was over and the children over with her. Oh, the cry as they went over.
Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters–all were blind, stone blind. All made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling and a tossing up of helpless arms catching, clutching at empty air. But some went over quietly and fell without a sound.
Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground. And I could not call; though I strained and tried only a whisper would come. Then I saw that along the edge there were sentries set at intervals, but the intervals were far too great. There were great wide unguarded gaps between and over these gaps the people fell in their blindness quite unwarned. And the green grass seemed blood red to me and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.
Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned towards the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their numbers started up and wanted to go do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. “Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go. You haven’t finished your daisy chains yet. It would be really selfish,” they said, “to leave us to finish the work alone.”
There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out. But they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge. Once a girl stood alone in her place waving the people back; but her mother and other relations called, reminded her that her furlough was due. She must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for a while. But no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell like a waterfall of souls.
Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf. It clung convulsively and it called, but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back at her gap thought she heard the little one cry. She sprang up and wanted to go, at which they reproved her reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere. The gap would be well taken care of they knew, and then they sang a hymn.
Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts rung out in one full drop, one sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me for I knew what it was–the cry of the blood. Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord, and He said, “What has thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground.”
The tom-toms still beat heavily. The darkness still shuddered and shivered about me. I heard the yells of the devil dancers and the weird, wild shriek of the devil-possessed just outside the gate. What does it matter after all? It has gone on for years. It will go on for years. I make such a fuss about it. God forgive us. God arouse us. Shame us out of our callousness, shame us out of our sin.
The Cry of the Blood from Things As They Are by Amy Carmichael

Oh God, convict the hearts of France.

1 comment:

  1. Kelsey~

    Thank you for sharing this post!
    Mmm. I love Amy Carmichael.

    May I encourage you? You CAN do one thing: pray --pray and plead for these souls. I believe you are, but just wanted to encourage you in it. Remember that no prayer rises before our Abba in vain. May He bless your heart as you seek to bloom where He has planted you. Thank you for sharing bits and pieces of your life with us. :)