My daughter Laura and I were blessed to spend four weeks in France this past summer. As we made new friends and worked on improving our French, we experienced an outpouring of God’s grace, and it came in many forms. This is what it is like to speak and function in another language: it is a struggle. You have to plow on ahead, knowing that you are going to make mistake after mistake after mistake. It just can’t be helped, and discouragement and fatigue are inevitable.
I experience times when I can “flow” in French, and then–crash! All of a sudden everything comes to a screeching halt! I can’t find a word or a phrase I need, or I’ve talked myself into a corner that I can’t get out of. Thanks be to God for our new friends who were ready and willing to help without embarrassing us. They listened carefully, and with good humor they guided us back onto the path.
I saw God’s grace in theirs. Here we are, making mistake after mistake after mistake, doing what we ought not to do and leaving undone what we ought to do, veering off the path and getting into corners we can’t get out of. But God leans in and speaks a word to help us, without any interest in shaming us.
Grace is an amazing gift. And it’s a gift to offer to the many in this country whose maternal language is not English, who struggle to understand and to be understood.