My daughter loves other cultures. She has been fascinated by other cultures since she was four years old. We attend a very mission-minded church, and it was there that she learned about other countries and fell in love with their diverse ways.
What I believed was just a phase, has grown into an unmistakable passion—a God-given passion, I believe. Peyton is in her second year of Spanish at school, and she is currently teaching herself to speak Japanese. There are stickers all over my house; on lamps, curtains, chairs, and even our napkin holder has been identified by the Japanese language. Soon, she’ll be speaking it as well as she speaks Spanish.
Listening to her speak Spanish, I’ve picked up a few words myself. Before, the only Spanish I knew was “Taco Bell.” Impressed you–didn’t I?!
It’s fun to hear Peyton speak Spanish and watch her interact with others who speak it as well. Sometimes, though, I feel left out. For example, after church yesterday we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I felt completely in the dark as she conversed in Spanish with our waitress. The other day, I had the same experience when we were getting our hair done. The hairdresser next to us was Spanish. Ceasing the opportunity to practice, Peyton chatted with the girl at length. She would stop every now and then and fill me in on their conversation. Without her interpretation, I would have remained solely in the dark.
It’s a strange feeling when you want to know what’s being communicated but you don’t understand a single syllable being said. Sometimes I experience this same sort of thing when I’m reading my bible. I want to understand, and I even look for a familiar connection but it all seems foreign to me. That’s when I remember, I can’t interpret God’s Word on my own. The Holy Spirit is my interpreter. Once I ask for His divine help, something amazing takes place. What seemed foreign to me suddenly becomes clear.
Just as I needed Peyton to convey to me what was being said in Spanish, I need the Holy Spirit to convey and interpret God’s Word to my heart and mind. As children of God, we don’t have to study theology or have a master’s degree in religion to understand God and His ways. All we need is His Spirit.
Often times, I invite the Holy Spirit to convey God’s truths to me through prayer. Like Peyton, sometimes I write down a verse that speaks directly to me or because I want to know more about it. I’ll post that verse, along with others, around the house. As I internalize them, they’re meaning becomes more and more clear and more familiar too. Before I know it, I’m speaking God’s language from an overflow of my heart in a natural way…just as God intends.