We remain honest with the joys and challenges living abroad. Winter months bite, but you hibernate with friends and drink coffee.
Outside of trying to learn Polish… understand Polish… speak Polish one of our biggest struggles recently has been grieving what the girls have lost. There’s absolutely no doubt of all the amazing things they’ve gained through our move, but it’s still important to grieve when necessary. Better to do it instead of burying it as if we shouldn’t. We are blessed to have received the gift of free education through an online school. It was a gift through friends as their partnership with us. This makes it all the harder to grieve the education they had at NCA, actually, because our friends’ have made their own investment in our daughters. In so many ways, they have gone beyond what I think any other online school may have done for us. For that, we are so humbled.
Originally, we thought a year of online school would serve as a great bridge to them moving into more Polish classes next year. We thought it would be easy for them to be in art, music, and PE here. Seriously, what were we thinking? Of all people, in my line of work, I knew better. I think I was so eager for it to work beautifully that I pushed away the reality. All things are possible with God, right?! The reality is the girls won’t be attending college or university here in Poland; and the reality is this first year has just been messy with trying to work out our schedules to their schedules to everything else. Having never done online school before, we had a HUGE learning curve! I seriously didn’t expect it to be this hard on them nor realize how quickly they could fall behind in their course work. The girls have really, really missed the classroom learning environment so much more than the last time we lived here. They miss the text books, the hands on work, and the interaction between teacher and students collectively inside the classroom.
As a teacher, it grieves my heart to see them only do work dutifully as a chore rather than be excited to learn. As a teacher who has only ever had a class of students, I grieve their loss of learning through and with others. As a teacher and a parent, I feel embarrassed that it’s just been such a bumpy and messy experience.
The school year isn’t even over, but we’re panicking about what we are to do about next year. Yes, I use the word panicking. I’ve had some pretty strong anxiety about it and it’s mind consuming for sure. But let me just share something pretty beautiful in the midst of this.
I’ve prayed lots about this. God, provide us clarity. God, give us wisdom to know what to do. God, I trust you will take care of this. God, I know you hold their future and care so much more about their future than I even can. You get the picture. I’ve pretty much had silence from Him. This is normal. Not to worry. Keep praying…. yet there’s always this little whisper that I know is the craftiness of the Enemy…. and it whispers, “See, He isn’t there… He’s going to just let you continue bumble your way through this… you’ll never get the answers you seek…. He will leave you to do this alone.”
Whispers, after being whispered long enough can be incredibly powerful and devastating if you don’t recognize it. I “know” those are whispers from the Enemy and I dare not make any agreements with those whispers. Friends, there’s a spiritual battle we are so not wiling to accept.
The beautiful part of this story is I was awoken to these words: “I will never leave you. I will never leave you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Three times with the last adding forsake. Oh, God, what love you have for me to share that with me right now. Thank you, thank you for speaking in such a loving and gentle way.
If you have read an earlier blog from the summer, you know that each summer I take time to allow God to show me Scripture that I will use throughout the year to “claim” in times, just like these. Yes, I’ve had to pour into this Scripture lots this year, but this time, it is my shield and belt buckle of truth. It’s from Isaiah 58: 11
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
I also realized this morning that I’ve missed something big. I’ve been going to God only for something from Him, not for God Himself. He has reminded me that He is with me. He is with the girls. He is with Josh. He. will. never. leave. us. So instead of seeking something from God, I’m seeking Himself. The needs we have… that I have? He knows. And Scripture promises that HE WILL SATISFY OUR NEEDS and not only satisfy, He will give me strength. Maybe it’s strength in the waiting as I wait for answers and clarity, but the strength is found in HIM. I am able to function and continue pouring out to people here, because Scripture tells me I will be a well-watered garden… He pours into me and thus I can pour myself out… no matter the circumstance I find myself in. AND… He is guiding us. Always. The whispers from the Enemy have no claim over me… no authority in my life.
God didn’t just stop there, though, as I have a devotional book that I try and read each morning. Take one guess what it said. Yep, the same exact words “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I didn’t even realize how much I needed to hear it! Fear no longer drives me. I can only continue to press into Him and allow Him to permeate me in a way that steadies the rapid heartbeat. I no longer need to face this struggle or the decisions we need to make fearfully. I do not have to be terrified that we’ll get it wrong or give in to the panic. I don’t have to fear what the girls have or don’t have. He already has the victory.
No matter what happens or what decision is made, He is with me.
Not that these pictures go with this blog necessarily, but enjoy nonetheless!
It’s official! There will be a high school offered next year! Here’s one of the school busses advertising it! We will have the opportunity to teach at that level and excited to meet new students who will attend in the city and continue teaching those we already know.
Josh had a birthday in February and this is the cake he picked out! It’s the closest we could find to a cheesecake, which is his favorite. We hit it big time because it was delicious. In fact, for two consecutive weekends, we had one for our guests whom we hosted for dinner! Consensus is it’s a winner… unless they are all being too gracious!