We had such an amazing time today at the picnic at Lake Sherando with our own wonderful Living Word Deaf Church, in fellowship with two other Deaf churches!
No, neither one of us is "fluent" in American Sign Language. Sadly, we're not even what you'd call "conversant," yet!
We are mere babes in ASL and Deaf Culture; majorly dependent on others to "voice" for us, and on the graciousness of our new deaf friends as they exhibit such enduring patience with our fumbling attempts.
To be painfully honest, the past 14 months have been SO hard and exhausting, with grieving the loss of our precious Levi, saying goodbye to our career ministry and the life and home we've known for 26 years, dealing with the major health challenges we now face in our firstborn, Carissa, along with our own Lyme disease and Danika's and little Elliot's, the BIG move to a new state (they say the first year or two of severe grieving is the very WORST time to make major life changes!), the abrupt adjustment to the problems and pitfalls of owning our own (50 year-old) home for the first time in our lives, etc. . . . outside the Lord and my family, there has been precious little in life that has afforded me joy.
Things that used to really perk me up often just rate a sad, weary nod lately.
Being with these lovely Deaf saints, learning their culture and the language of their heart (albeit EVER so slowly!), witnessing their amazing transparency and incredibly uninhibited warmth for each other, and just following the Lord's leading in terms of future ministry possibilities . . . I suddenly became aware of this strange sensation welling up inside; a sensation vaguely familiar from long ago, and yet . . . Oh, yeah; hey, I remember you!
This is JOY!!
Hanging out with these guys is giving me the sense of pure JOY!
Don't fully understand "why," exactly, but you won't hear me putting up any argument, either.
Olympic runner Eric Liddell used to say, "I feel the Lord's pleasure when I run."
I do believe I feel the Lord's pleasure as I just go with this passion He's placed on my heart.