Friday, September 21, 2007

Pride, Control and Discontenment

The more I have been reading the New Testament lately the more confused I have become. At the end of 1 Corinthians it talks about all these great gifts and how they should be used in the church to edify one another. I think, "How wonderful this would be if we could use all our gifts to glorify God and lift each other up." I begin to hope in my heart that God would grant ME the gift of prophecy since it is suggested by Paul to desire the greater gifts. Then just a few verses later it says that women should be quiet. What? How can you tell me to desire these gifts, get me all excited about using them, then tell me I must be quiet? Something I will think on and discuss with some scholars.....

As I read on in 2 Corinthians I am taken by a few verses in chapter 3:5 "We are not saying that we can do this work ourselves. It is God who makes us able to do all that we do." I think I read that yesterday, but for some reason it only sank in today when I read it again. I hadn't planned on reading it twice, but an elder in the church took me to get an alarm system installed in our new car. He needed to do some errands as well so I waited patiently in the car and began reading my Bible. It is a good thing I have begun carrying it with me. I was actually just trying to find where I left off. I really needed to reread it though. I am feeling like I can not do this. I know I can not do this new life in Lithuania on my own for sure. I am emotionally overwhelmed this week. We have put out a LOT of money we didn't anticipate and a few more surprises here and there have just been more than I feel like I can handle well. Even though it is nice to have our 'stuff' it is now EVERYWHERE and waiting for me to get to it. Like I needed one more thing......I started my period today. Aaaahhh the extreme emotions explained. Praise the Lord that in a few days I will go into hormonal balance and be strong again. What is that about?

Another few verses that comforted my weary soul today were 2 Cor. 4 :16-18 ," So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles. We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever." I know God has it under control. It is I who looses control and I am desperately grabbing at it let me tell you.....

Why is it that contentment with where you are is so hard to grasp. This week I have worried so much about money. "What happens if we dont' have enough?" "Are we doing enough ministry to warrant what people are giving us?" "What will we do if we need more than we have?" I even began to think irrationally about how to generate more money from what we now have. ' We could pull the kids out of school, that frees up 500 a month'.....But that is not rational. The kids are good where they are and we will have enough money! I am just trying to stay in control and not give this over to God.

I am finding it very difficult to live on so much less. In the States we were getting in one paycheck more than we get here in a month. It goes farther here, but there really isn't any room for extras. It is a big adjustment. One I knew we would have to make but hurts to make it. I am reminded now that I am the Rich Young ruler that Jesus speaks of in his parable. The ruler was living by all the laws, but the one thing he could not give up was his lavish lifestyle. I wouldn't even say I was living a lavish lifestyle by American standards, but I could go to a movie and coffee whenever I wanted to, that's for sure. I am understanding why so many people told me that they couldn't do it. It is not easy....and we have it good where we are too.

Reading on in 2 Cor. I found my memory verse and the verse I think we will begin learning as a family. We can say it each day after our prayer ride into town. 2 Cor. 6:6-10 "We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God's power. (stop here for family, going on for me) We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything. Some people honor us, but others blame us. Some people say evil things about us, but others say good things. Some people say we are liars, but we speak the truth. We are not known but we are well known. We seem to be dying, but we continue to live. We are punished, but we are not killed. We have much sadness, but we are always rejoicing. We are poor, but we are making many people rich in faith. We have nothing, but really we have everything"

This is what I need to know by heart. This is the truth about my situation. I am a rich woman! What I get to do is help others live rich in their faith. I know what is going on is a spiritual battle. It is an old one. pride/ control/discontentment. It is alive and well and tries to visit as often as I will let it. Drenching my mind with the truth of God's word is the only remedy. Believing what I read and reading what I believe is a must for all of us.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Wow, what excitement is generated by the first day of school. Many schools had their first day on Saturday because it is September 1st, when school must start. Our first day was on Monday the 3rd. We did not have to be there till 11am and we stayed only a few hours. We stopped at the IKI (super market) to select our long stemmed flowers to give to each of their teachers. Hevenlee was devistated not to be carrying a flower today, but she would have to start in a few days, after her Doctor's appointment. I tried to explain this to her but she would not be consoled as usual.
We arrived at the school with plenty of time for me (mom) to take the usual allotment of "first day" photos. By the building, by the garden and in front of the school etc etc. Boaz is sure he is too old for such photos which is evident by the way he has his face set it each picture. It is funny. But this is the one time I will use my motherly status to get what I want......memories! (Plus photos for the blog. I am beginning to get teased by Pastor Saul about posting everything on the is funny.)
All the children and their parents began to merge upon the school and in time we had a rather large crowd just outside the school building, waiting for the big first day ceremony to begin. All the administration (all woman) looked lovely in their new hair dues and fresh clothes with vibrant smiles on their faces as they welcomed us all to school and got things rolling.
First we sang the School Hymn as a couple of boys brought in the School Flag. It was lovely and I tried my best to keep up with the Lithuanian words and learn the song. They had past out a song sheet. After the song, we heard from a few speakers. A pastor, shared briefly, a few things and a passage of scripture. An older woman, who seemed to be of some importance to the school also shared briefly. The odd thing about the woman was, she presented a gift of 3 jars of jam to the school. She had made them from her own garden and canned them herself. I was wondering how in the world the whole school was going to get to have some of that, but I know the thought was nice and it was received well. Each speaker was in turn given a gift of a framed piece of artwork done by a students at this very school.
All of a sudden there was a bit of looking around and my translator, Algina, told me they were looking for the teachers. They had been in the crowd only moments ago and now were gone! As a group we cried out for the teachers. The young ones were totally into it, but the older kids, 7th and 8th were being silly and saying things like," keep the teachers we don't need them." Not much of a difference in culture there don't you know? After a few more cries, the teacher's emurged tied up and being led by a Pirate (the only male teacher). He dragged them in behind him and yelled, "I won't let your teacher's go unless you can prove to me you want them!" Or something like that. I have no idea what he really said, but you start to just make up stuff that seems like it would fit when you don't understand the language:) He proceeded to make each class answer questions to get their teachers back and after all the classes had answered their question correctly they were told to come up and get their teacher if they wanted her. Sonshyne went right up and grabbed her teacher. She had no problem getting right in there and participating. Her face was alight with excitement!
The funny thing about this Pirate was that he had a gun in his waistband and kept waving it at the kids and yelling something at them in Lithuanian. I couldn't help but make the comparison that he would have been arrested for this display in any of our schools in Southern California. I laughed to think of such things. I laugh a lot when I compare this world to the one I used to live in.
After all the teacher's were back in the crowd, the first grade class was especially welcomed. (Kindergarden is not really school here, it is like preschool) The older 8th grade class (the oldest) was instructed to take the 1st grade class (the youngest) and lead them in the ceremonial march around the whole school while ringing a hand bell at the lead and into the school building to their classes! How exciting it was....and a little kaotic as well.
Boaz went off to his class. He is participating in the 6th grade class. They did not have room for him in the 7th and 8th grade. The 6th grade class is a good class. Only 10. 6 boys and 4 girls. He made the observation that," there are not enough girls to go around, so 2 boys would be out." I am quite certain he doesn't think he will be one of them;)
One girl in his class speaks English quite well and did much translating for him. He knew her from the school he attended last time we lived here. She pushed all the kids to speak English so Boaz would understand when introductions were happening. Imagine that , all English for one kid. That is unthinkable in the Southern Cal!
Boaz is really getting into school. I went into the class to check his work the other day and all 4 girls were standing around his desk. Poor baby, taken away from his home country to be surrounded by all these cuties. Yeah, don't be feeling sorry for him!
Ezra sat quietly in his class. He is in the 4th grade here. (His regular grade) His teacher is nice, but knows no English and not many kids know English in his class. It usually takes him a bit longer to make friends, but when he does he has deep friendships. He has good things to say about school each day so we are glad. There are 10 kids in his class as well. Only this class is 6 girls and 4 boys.
Sonshyne loves school. She has been ready for school for a year now. She is so enthusiastic and is learning colors, numbers and foods in Lithuanian. The teacher is really pleased with her involvement. I have had the priviledge to sit in on a few hours each day of class and am learning as well. I do seem to elicit giggles out of the teacher quite frequently though. Sonshyne had to have a Psychologial Evaluation in order to attend this school. The Psychologist was surprised at how advanced she was and gave her possitive recommendations to start immediately. I guess kids don't start Kindergarden until 6 years of age.
There are several teachers at the school that help Sonshyne and I understand what is going on in broken English. The school has been super nice to accomidate us all so well. It feel like we are home here as well.
Hevenlee got to get here flower on Wednesday and go to school. She was so excited but I was sure she would change her mind as soon as she got through the doors. I had planned this week to stay with her till lunch each day. They have a nap after lunch till 3pm. Very nice. I got her slippers on and we entered the classroom. The teacher took me back out the door and down the hall to put Hevenlee's stuff in her locker. I put it all in quickly anticipating a stressed out, door hugging child would be waiting for me to get back to her. I walked quickly into the classroom and scanned all around the other door hugging kids who were still mourning the loss of their parents recent departure and could not spot my child. I broadened the search to include the whole room (a rather large room) until my eyes caught sight of her on the other side, already engaged in play with anther child by the baby doll toys. Okay, this was my moment. I departed and ran off to join the Kindergarden with Sonshyne for the day. I picked Hevenlee up after nap time at 3 and it seemed as if she was just fine after all.
What a fantastic First week of school. The kids are all a-buzz about their new friends and the words they have learned each day. It feels like we are home! It is good to be home!