Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wake Up and Grow

One of my favorite verses is Lamentations 3:22-23 "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness." 

Sheila reminds us of the new opportunities God gives us for growth.

Wake Up and Grow
By Sheila J. Petre

When I was very young, I thought people grew at different speeds. A girl who was younger than I was in March could be older than I in August. 
 
This would make a good explanation for my having a seventeen-year-old daughter now when our oldest child was six last summer. Another explanation is the correct one: we are hosting an exchange student from Azerbaijan this school year. 
 
We’ve learned so much in the months Nigar has been with us. Azerbaijan is a country about the size of Maine, located near the Caspian Sea. Nigar’s family lives in the smaller of the two pieces of Azerbaijan. Few people, from the lady who sold us the single-bed mattress, to the teller at the bank where we set up Nigar’s college checking account, have ever heard of the country. We hadn’t. 
 
Now our children roll the word easily from their tongues, almost as quickly as they rolled the tasty onion tomato egg dish back into their plates after Nigar fixed it for our breakfast one morning in August. Nigar expressed surprise. “In my country, all the children eat this,” she told her host siblings. “And when they eat, they grow. Two centimeters.” The children looked skeptical. She added, “Is true!”

She didn’t convince them. 
 
She should have practiced her sales talk on me. To what else can I owe all the ways I have grown since Nigar arrived? For strangely enough, though we’ve learned quite a bit about the differences between America and Azerbaijan, Muslims and Mennonites, and even more about their similarities, I have learned the most about seventeen year old girls…and myself. Namely, how little I know; how far I have yet to grow in my Christian life. It has been an education which has consumed incredible swaths of time. 

The harvest season had already been busy. As everything converged on August, The King’s Daughter took a temporary back seat. The King’s Daughter is a magazine I edit for young girls. A feature article in the fall issue ended at a dawning. Though the centimeters may only show up after breakfast, often the impetus for growth occurs in the darkness. Short stories, limited by magazine margins, cannot always show the extent of that expansion. But real life always goes on. Hope can continue, for this reason: “In the world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer,” Jesus told His disciples, “I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

For the followers of the One who overcame the world, new mornings come frequently. No matter how dark your surroundings may seem at the moment; how strange this country in which you sleep, you are sure to be standing at the brink of some new day. May the new day you are facing now be one of Christian growth. 

Not measured in centimeters.



 Sheila is in love with words - and children of all ages. As if five children age six and under were not enough in her household, this year Sheila and her husband Michael are hosting a foreign exchange student from Azerbaijan. Sheila is the author of Transplanted and From Joy...to Joy, and a regular columnist in the Ladies Journal. Somehow she finds time to edit The King's Daughter, a small quarterly magazine for young ladies. You can contact her about her books or The King's Daughter at sjpetre@emypeople.net.

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