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  • Writer's pictureAriel M. Pace

Feels Like a New Thing

On Monday, April 1st, a teacher walked up and greeted me with a big, cheerful, “Happy New Year!” I thought to myself, "this must be a Japanese thing." Upon observation, no one else greeted others in that manner, so maybe on second thought it was a little strange. So, I asked a coworker and he also thought it was strange for someone to greet me that way. 

To give that strange greeting the benefit of the doubt, we both acknowledged that the month of April, here in Japan, is the start of a new year - the school year that is.  It’s also the beginning of spring! The sun rises earlier, birds sing, flowers bloom everywhere, and the spring rains pitter patter the windows as you sleep at night. It’s my favorite time of the year. 

April, for me, - especially April 6th - marks the anniversary of two precious moments in my life: the launch of my blog’s website and my acceptance to the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program.

Two years ago, today, God launched me into a new place with a platform to share about my life, my experiences and the lessons that I’m learning. Two years later, I can say that my heart is full of gratitude and adoration towards the loving-kindness my God has shown me! I’m so grateful and I feel as if my faith in Him has grown so much! Perhaps the Lord sent this teacher to remind me that April signifies new beginnings or maybe to signify a new season has officially begun in my life.

In reflection of recent events, it sure seems that way. Since January I have been feeling that God has been preparing to make some changes. At first I was anxious thinking - what could it possibly be? As time rolled on, I became more sure and confident that whatever the change, I will trust the Holy Spirit’s leadership. I made a vow and prayer before God that whatever change He brings, whatever door he wants me to walk through, if He gives me the strength, I will not look back and I won’t cry. I will simply say, “yes” and walk forward. 

" I noticed I was on a good roll in January and February but I hit a slump early March."

Fast forward to the month of March, I realized that what God was calling me to do would require me to level up in responsibility, intentionality, discipline and dependence on Him. I noticed I was on a good roll in January and February but I hit a slump early March. I was having trouble studying, doing work, and up keeping my life routine. I thought I need to keep the momentum going.

So I decided to pray for "mental fortitude," which I posted about for March 13th's Well Wednesday on Idomizue’s Facebook and Instagram pages. In this post, I give my summarized definition of "mental fortitude" as the strength and capacity in the mind to endure hardship with a positive outlook and grow admits the onset of adversity.

The next morning, Thursday March 14th, I woke up early feeling refreshed and determined to practice this "mental fortitude." I was clean, stylish, and out the door, headed to my visit school for work. I was excited for many things as it was the last day of classes. I would’ve been early to work that day, but the craziest thing happened!

I’ll never forget. Less than 6 minutes away from my school, I got into a car accident on a two-way road. The cause of this accident - a spider. The most horrific, acrobatic medium-sized spider - I mean, it thought it was Spiderman swinging through NYC!  I'm absolutely TERRIFIED of spiders, so the sudden appearance of it surprised me! One look away and my car tumbled and landed UP-SIDE DOWN!

When I tell people I was in an accident, they assume it was something small. When I show them the pictures, they're always shocked because I don't look like what I experienced - which is a huge blessing! I’m even more grateful that no one else was involved or harmed in that accident. Looking back, I really thank God for protecting me!

"Stella, was beyond repair."

However, the day of the accident, I felt mostly guilt, shame, and shock. My car flipped because of something that seems so trivial in the eyes of others. I felt irresponsible and careless. Also, my car, Stella, a special miraculous possession, my main mode of travel, two years ago - she was the highlight of a heart-warming story of God's provision. Almost two years later - a jaw-dropping spectacle of God's protection. They told me Stella was beyond repair. When they asked me if I wanted to scrap my car, keeping my vow - I didn’t bat an eyelash, I didn't cry, I just let her go in peace. Without a doubt, Stella was a beautiful blessing to me and a wonderful blessing to others.

Despite how I was feeling, I have to say my visit school's supervisor, Shibata-sensei and the school manager, Hirotomo-sensei, were the MVPs the day of my accident. My base school principals and my main supervisor, Matsunaga-sensei has also been so helpful in all of the clinic appointments, paperwork, and phone calls that come with traffic accidents. I'm forever grateful to everyone for their great concern and support.

God put me into a position where I couldn’t say or do things independently."

Now, the shame, the loss, and later the aching soreness, would never compare with the challenge of being in a foreign country - illiterate, and unable to communicate with those around you. God put me into a position where I couldn't say or do anything independently. Like a child, I had to rely on the people around me. I was humbled for sure.

"I don't have to fight, I can just rest. "

After the accident, I thought I could at least be responsible and go to the doctor myself to get a check up. After being rejected by 3 hospitals, I had to rely on Matsunaga-sensei to get admitted to the 4th one! She told me something that really hit me deep and has stuck with me. She said, “I think you’re too independent. It’s okay to rely on others sometimes.” Once again, God put me in a position of dependence. I've learned during this time, when I can't do things for myself, the support around me has been strong enough to support me up. Relying on others is tough for me, but I'm learning that I can really trust the people God has placed around me. I don't have to fight, I can just rest.

Fast forward to April, through the tumble of events, God has shown me His goodness multiplied in full force. Scrapping my car cost nothing, X-rays from the doctor showed that my bones are all intact and as I write this post I’m no longer sore. Furthermore, I have been reimbursed for the doctor’s appointments I went to, and the damage done to the plants were covered. God is a real provider and I'll stand on that! He has shown Himself faithful to provide again and again! 

I’m enjoying walking on my two feet, feeling the sun, wind and spring rains on my face. I enjoy riding on the buses, the trains, the trams. I like that they don't quickly move from point A to B. I can just go along for the ride until my stop comes. I also take time to "smell the roses." I have lots of pictures in my phone of flowers along the new pathways I’m trekking - I am in awe of the beautiful world around me! 

Certainly, this life I'm living and breathing - it feels like a new thing - this new chapter of life, this new year, and this new season. I will continue to pursue mental fortitude, I will learn to depend on others, and I will just enjoy the ride. Since God has saved my life, surely there's something special He has for me to do.

Part of that special thing definitely involves Idomizue. I'm happy to share a gleeful cheer to two wonderful years of growth! A reflection of recent events and hopefully soon more new things for this blog to move forward and upward to the next level. As always, thank you for reading and all of your support!


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1 Comment

Apr 13

I am so thankful for God's Grace and Mercy for you after reading this Happy New Year was an Angel reminding you how far He has brought you and you could not have done this with His guidance. God has blessed you with a platform allowing Him to use you for His Glory. I'm so glad you're okay. I always said you're a lot like me different. I give God the Glory for His protection for you I pray your documentation for your blog I'd safe so you can write it in a book someday Auntie Love you Amen Amen Amen

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