Yesterday as I ran around our home cleaning, writing instructions for different people, preparing little surprises for our kids and generally getting ready for my first trip to the United States in two-and-half years, I had our two eldest daughters (Dayana, 14, and Jackeline, 11) at the wooden table in our living room working on their homeschool assignments.
One of the assignments was to write one page front and back of organized thoughts about something that has happened in the last few weeks. That may seem like an extremely simple assignment, but in this culture there are teenagers in sixth grade who don’t even know how to write a complete sentence or read a simple paragraph in a children’s book. The idea was to write (and not forget capital letters, periods, comas, etc), and I left it completely open as to what they would write about.
There were numerous topics each young woman could choose to expound upon, including the music concert we held in our home about a week and a half ago in which they both sang and played at least one instrument, some funny occurrence among themselves or with one of the adults in our home, an adventurous trip to the river or mountain with Darwin, etc, so later that afternoon as I sat down with Jackeline to read her thoughts scribbled lightly in pencil on a ripped-out piece of notebook paper from one of her school notebooks, what I found surprised me.
I called her over to help me de-code her writing, as I could barely understand her run-on sentences, complete lack of capital letters, words that were frightfully misspelled or left out, etc. She came over and we went, with almost painstaking slowness, correcting the longest document she had probably ever written in her life. After squinting and guessing through the first several words, everything looking like jibberish to me, I was tempted to just trash the paper or throw up my hands in exasperation, declaring her writing assignment a job poorly done. But as she clarified each point of confusion (and as the Lord granted me patience to persevere), adding accent marks, question marks, and so on, the heart of what came forth was stunningly beautiful. It was as if her writing was a shapeless piece of stone (to me), and as she clarified each gray area, we slowly, word by word, chiseled away all that hid the true message of her words, revealing a raw yet breathtaking statue of Truth.
Saturday Christian [our 13-year-old neighbor who is in second grade in our homeschool program with three of his siblings] came and told my mom that people were killing kids and women just because they have blonde hair and that really scared me because my brother Josue has brown-colored hair. I told my mom that I wanted to talk with her, and she looked at me sadly but she told me that you don’t have to be scared and she showed me a painting that says “In anguish I cried to the Lord and He responded and liberated me. He is with me; I will not fear. What could a simple mortal do to me?” And that shocked me — what could a simple mortal do to me? For me it was a blessing, and in reality I know that I was scared but God calmed me and I asked myself: Why is my mom not scared, and she has blonde hair? Then Christian’s sisters came and they dyed my mom’s hair and we talked about God and she encouraged them, and I know that they were sad about what is happening in our world. What God is doing in my life is that He made me not just to play but also to worship His name. Glory and thanks to God.
As we came to the end of her one mammoth paragraph, I looked at her, stunned, thanked her for taking the time to help clarify and correct her grammar, and then sat back in my chair, only able to repeat the last line of her reflection as my own heart rejoiced at what the Lord is doing in our goofy, precious daughter who has been with us not even four full months: Glory and thanks to God.