Refocus

Settling into life here has been very draining, but good. I had a little homesickness moment last Thursday when I missed having a car to get around and being able to find things conveniently. K and I live really close to the school, but really far from everything else which means any kind of shopping trip takes a whole afternoon. I’ve probably walked about 2-3 miles every week back and forth to school and another 2 miles going into town every weekend. It doesn’t sound like that much, but it’s tiring when you’re used to driving everywhere.

But, I am enjoying the challenges more now than in the beginning. The first two weeks of mishaps had me going “seriously, God?!” nearly every day. They still happen — our oven can’t be turned on because it will blow our power out, and our brand new washing machine has to drain its waste water into the toilet — but I just laugh and roll with it. That’s life here in Poland. More often than not, what you expect is not what you’ll get. But I see where God is using these opportunities to help me grow bit by bit in perseverance and humility, and recognizing what’s most important.

I started a Bible reading plan this past week called “Awakening” based on Stovall Weems’ book about fasting and prayer. “Disconnecting from the distractions of the world through fasting, and connecting into the power and presence of God through prayer, brings a supernatural freshness and newness to our souls.” I totally need that right now. Setting up the apartment has been drawing all my energy and attention lately. Plus, I’ve always seen fasting as kind of a necessary hardship as a Christian, when really, it’s not supposed to be like that at all. “Fasting is no longer ‘do in order to become,’ but ‘you already are, therefore act like it.’ ” Distraction-free celebration of God’s mercy through Jesus because I’ve been set free — this is what New Testament fasting should be.

My times of prayer and reading haven’t been consistent, and I certainly feel like they haven’t. Spiritually, I’m running on empty. And it’s harder to love others and show grace when you need those things yourself. So, I’ll be fasting this week from distractions. More reading, more praying, more worship when I have breaks instead of mindless social media surfing. I pray for amazing things to come as a result. Zobaczymy 🙂

Thorns

“…So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

I’ve been experiencing these little bad moments throughout my stay here in Poland. Today, I jabbed my finger against the door and broke my nail horizontally in the middle of the nail bed. The day before, I kept scrapping my already peeling cuticles every time I had to open my wallet (and that’s quite often when you’re buying for a new apartment). I’ve banged my head on cabinets. My living arrangements got complicated. I had to walk in the rain with Kaitlyn, lugging about 7-8 lbs. of furniture for 1.5 miles after walking the same distance to go pick it up. I’ve been bitten by mosquitoes about 5-6 times, and the bite marks are still on my face and arm after a week. I also fell and landed on thorny brush, scratching up my arm the first full day I was here.

Needless to say, I’ve faced some mishaps. And it’s only been 2 weeks now.

However, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not discouraged by any of this. Just as Paul saw his “thorn” as God’s way of reminding him not to be proud and to rely on his strength over Paul’s, I feel more confident that I’m where I’m supposed to be. Satan can’t do anything about my presence in Poland; I’m ready to share about Jesus and live with love, pursuing grace and truth here. My Polish skills keep improving, and I see where God can use me in sharing my faith with some other teachers and to pray for those who are hurting.

I’m blessed thoroughly. The challenges I’m facing at the just the beginning are only going to reap a richer, durable character in me. I want to keep up my faithful attitude, even when the times will get harder (and they certainly will as the school year goes forward).

The sermon this morning at Tomy church was about Joshua 1, and following the promise of God courageously. The take-away at the end and I hope to keep it in mind in the months to come:

Kiedy Bóg mówi: “Naprzód!”– odważnie zaufaj Jego Słowu.
When God says: “Go forward!” — boldly/courageously trust His Words.