Europe has been everything I wished for and more. These are the images you might pick up on had you visited my social media pages, but in truth the more I refer to might not conjure the same symbolic picture in your mind that the simplicity of walking along the Rhine or venturing to far away lands might infer.
While the magic of living across the pond hasn’t faded, the false reality I created has. There are still bills to be paid, children that are still disrespectful, and friendships that go through rocky turmoil.
After an incredibly encouraging and uplifting church conference in Offenburg, Germany where 4,000 brothers and sisters came together from all over the world to celebrate our creator, I headed off on Easter break with the crowning moment coming when my feet hit the Grecian sand.
As we landed gracefully, just miles inland of the Mediterranean Sea that sparkled the purest blue I’ve seen in my life, the instant relief that flooded my very being mimicked the sun that ever so presently caressed my skin and glistened through my hair.
I had one goal for this trip, to eat baklava. Following a sugar-free month, my determination to find this pleasing piece of sugar-coated perfection could have only been stopped by an untimely death. Thankfully, it was not and so Die Denglish Dritte (Or so I have affectionately named our trio,) headed to the heart of the city where we bought up the last pieces of baklava as dusk set through Athens.
Though our minds were preoccupied on our hunt for baklava, we were painfully aware of the unwanted attention that came with our pale and pasty beings. We were leered at, honked at, cat-called, stopped on the street, called beautiful, princess, and countless other”pleasantries.” For our safety, we chose to speak in German for the remainder of the trip. It became quite useful and so came about part of our nickname, Denglish (Deutsch/English.)
With a happy stomach and a new morning, the three of us glided through the city to the Gateway to Olympieion and Temple of Zeus and so much more.
The magnitude of these ruins are grand to be sure and yet even in the presence of these masterpieces, we must never forget the masterpiece that resides within each of us. For the gods of the ancient world and their temples fail to compare. They are the mere creation of man to explain love, or objects when in fact, we serve the one creator who embodies the purest form of love beyond what we ourselves can comprehend.
My favorite moment of the trip was getting to sit on Areopagus, where Paul preached in Athens and read Acts chapter 17 with my fellow sisters in Christ. What a blessing!
I love the Olympic Games, what they embody, the athleticism, all of it. I truly never in my life thought I would have the opportunity to visit the birthplace of the revival of the modern day Olympic games. Even so, I found myself giddy as we approached the Panathinaiko Stadium.
And every bit of it was more beautiful with the incredibly humble and comical bunch that accompanied me.
We ended our Grecian paradise on the beach watching the sun go down over the crystal blue sea. I was reminded of God’s goodness and his promise of redemption.
With sun-kissed skin and a healed and happy heart, I said goodbye to the country that helped put the last little pieces back into place.
I’m thankful for these last few weeks and am ready to carry my heart full of joy into my life here in Germany.
As always, I wish you all of God’s many blessings.
P.S. Here are some extra pics from the trip 🙂