We've been in Porto Alegre for 9 months today. As I look back on those months, I can see one certain lesson that God seems to be wanting me to get. It's been repeated over and over and over since we got here, not in scripture, but in my life. That lesson is "Hard things get easier with time and practice."
Blake started 1st grade here this year. This was a surprise to us since we expected him to be in kindergarten. You would believe how difficult those first few weeks of first grade were! Take spelling, for instance. He got a 10 on his first spelling test. Every Monday, we had spelling homework to make a sentence with each word. It would take over an hour, I'd have to sit there and coach him in sentence ideas. The first month he cried every Monday. I didn't know if I could face 9 months of that. Now, he makes a perfect score on every test and is writing his sentences without our coaching.
Blake is in physical therapy for his "toe-walking." Basically, we're doing stretches and strength-building exercises on his calves. Each time he gets a new stretch, he yells and cries and protests in agony. After a week or two, he's saying, "No problem, that's easy!"
When Blake saw us setting up our blogs, he decided he needed one of his own. Those first few posts were absolutely ARDUOUS! It took FOREVER for him to think up 3 sentences on a topic. Now, with just 9 posts under his belt--he writes them all by himself, I just come in and quickly correct his spelling--30 minutes max.
We're walking a lot here. We live in an apartment that's close to lots of things and close to bus routes. One day, shortly after our arrival, Parker and I decided to walk to the Blockbuster. It was SO FAR that about half way there, I really regretted the decision to walk. When I got there, I was ill. I didn't know if I could make it back. Today, as Blake and I were walking to physical therapy, we breezed past the Blockbuster and I wondered if someone had moved it closer to our house!
Housecleaning and cooking on the field were the same way. First term, I ruined about 2 out of every 3 dishes I made. Now, suddenly, I'm a pretty good cook. I thought I'd never be able to keep my own house clean. I was exhausted for the first four months we were in PoA. Now, a schedule has evolved, I work the schedule and it's done!
What's hard for you right now? I have two things right now. Blake's Portuguese homework frequently leads to tears, not only for him, but for me as well! Also, there's the whole dinner/bath/bedtime chaos that every American family knows so well. Jeff's ministry is taking him out more and more nights and I'm on my own for the challenge.
So, what do we do? We dig on our heels and do it hard and everytime we do, it gets easier. Remember how much closer the Blockbuster is now.