Failed Opportunities

We all live with regret, don’t we?

I had lunch today with a new friend of mine, a lady from England. Our children are the same ages, girl, boy, girl. The kids swam in the pool and then we had pizza. It was a lovely lunch, one I am grateful for.

So what’s all the regret about?

American missionaries have a reputation here, and it’s not necessarily a positive one. We’re viewed as lazy (as in “what do you do all day?”) and transitory.

So, I asked my friend what I could do to change this. “You need to speak in French to the women at the school,” she said. “You need to become part of the community.”

I nodded, feeling convicted. Yes, it’s been a very hard time at transition here. But in that hard time, I’ve cocooned myself somewhat. Speaking French has been just another thing that proves my inaptitude, so, often, I’ve avoided it. I’ve existed in silence for ten months–not a good thing for someone who processes things verbally.

I’ll see a woman I’d like to become friends with and then shrug in my heart. Approaching her in French just seems too hard, so I move on, all the while cementing a negative view of American missionaries. Patrick’s been doing so much better with his limited French because he has been taking risks. I admire him for it.

So, please pray for me. That my brain would once again understand French. That my heart would take the risk of looking idiotic. That the Lord would peel away the misconceptions in our community. That He would build His church here. That we would be humble learners. That I’d figure out this time thing, how to organize my life around motherhood, housework, writing a lot, church planting, relationship building, worship leading, exercise, and my spiritual life. Sometimes it feels like too much. I’m often quite overwhelmed.

And I’m sad that I missed an entire school year of interacting simply because I’m afraid.

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