Of French and Me

French stares at me from my computer screen.
InDesign panels cover my desktop.
The French Truth 4 Youth style manual rests in imposing silence on my desk.
I’ve never done anything like this before. I don’t know French. I’m not trying to learn French.

When I started this project I was supposed to be checking the French edition of Truth 4 Youth for disk errors: missing slides, English slides where there should only be French, French slides where there should only be English, slides that should play a video but don’t, etc.

But this project has intensified daily in complexity and it wasn’t long before I started noticing issues with the script and inconsistencies with the French punctuation. And then somehow, I moved from comparing to examining, and then to entering the corrections for the issues that I found.

I now know why I was told a month ago to “start mentally preparing” myself to check this DVD.

This is far outside my comfort zone.
I’m deep into conditional text and all sorts of stuff that I’m learning as I go.
If I miss one thing, if I make one wrong correction, this DVD goes to the duplicators just like that. And we’re not just printing a test run of 100. We’re printing 5,000… and they’re going straight to Africa.
I’m amazed by the trust and confidence these people here at YD have in me. I wonder why they even would give me a project of such far-reaching consequence when I’ve only been on staff here since January, and how do they know I’ll give this project the carefulness and attention that it needs.

This is butterflies-in-stomach kind of nervousness.
This is stomach-tied-in-knots kind of scary.
This is Kezzia-comes-home-at-night-and-is-so-stressed-she-doesn’t-make-much-sense-and-she-definitely-doesn’t-feel-like-eating-anything kind of stress. (My housemates can attest to the truthfulness of that statement.)

There have been days that I’ve sat there at my desk and double-checked, triple-questioned, everything I’ve done.
There have been days I’ve stared at those screens and cried out to God to please help me understand; that I can’t do this; that I’m hanging onto His strength.
And there have been days when I’ve felt like I’m being torn in two, when I’ve chosen to laugh instead of explode.

You see, I’ve been chained by my believed inadequacies.
And while my heart has screamed that I’m not good enough, will never be good enough; my brain has told me that I’ve made it through how many days and I haven’t wrecked the program yet, and it’s actually getting better. It tells me that His strength is perfect; that His grace is sufficient; that I need to trust Him.

My mind and my heart argue continually. It feels like a war.
This is war.

I know that my heart believes way too many lies to count.
And what I’ve told my brain, and what I believe intellectually, is only really believed when my heart believes it too.

I repeat it over and over again to myself:
God is faithful. His strength is perfect.
I am believed in, otherwise why would they have given me this task.
I may not know French but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what I need to know.
I can trust God.

But still, I hang on tight to my fears, my doubts, my ‘what if’s’, my lies.

I haven’t really cried in weeks months years.
But my heart cries tears my eyes cannot shed.

Because I’m afraid.
Because I want to believe that I’m not really broken.
Because I left my comfort zone behind days ago and I don’t feel safe.
I don’t want to admit that I can’t do this on my own… that I need Him.

And as a friend says on his blog, “Pride is a prison.”

I believe it.

There are many things that can keep me in prison, chained by lies.

But as the same friend says, the keys to those prisons are in my possession.
God cannot set me free unless I ask, unless I turn those keys over to Him, even though He wants to set me free.

Freedom is attainable.
I don’t have to sit here being torn in two any longer.

I learned this two days ago.
That day was the most emotionally turbulent, most stressful day yet.
I was literally sitting there at my desk, repeating over and over in my head,
“Glorify God in the fire.”
It certainly felt like a fire.

But halfway through my day the blog post referred to above was made. (I love the way God works.)

I read it on one of my breaks.
I returned later that day to read it again.
And it changed everything.

The past two days have been stressful. I’ve still been terrified.
But my heart is learning to believe, to trust in God’s faithfulness, to choose to allow God to set me free.

I’m starting to enjoy this project again.
The French punctuation makes more sense each day.
I can recognize words here and there. I won’t understand it if you speak French to me. I can’t carry on a conversation. But I can tell you if a question mark needs a space before it or not.
(They all do.)

But what I love best is knowing that my King is standing by my side, and that with Him all things are possible.

And I’m filled with gratitude to have been given the opportunity to do this work…
I only pray that I learn the lesson that God is seeking to teach me through it.
And that I let His love transform my life.

(Friday, November 16, 2012)