Roasted potatoes, fruit salad, walnuts, and bread and butter accompany me on this traditionally rainy afternoon in Bonn as I gather my thoughts over this last week. My large window provides a sublime backdrop to watch as God’s wonders pour down from the heavens. I’ve always loved the rain- perhaps today more than ever.
A quiet house – so quiet that the choir of birds chirping on the outside provides an echo in every corner of the current stillness – is a gift of momentary thoughtfulness where I can reflect on the blessings of these last three weeks and help decipher ways to put all I’ve learned into action.
As with all walks of my life – or rather life in general – there are unexpected moments and if you can’t laugh, you can’t live. Upon my arrival to Stuttgart came the very clear knowledge that my friend was now married and living with her husband, or fiance as I thought. In Germany, contrary to America, a civil wedding must be performed before the “church wedding,” and so my friend was actually married. Whoops. Missed the boat big time on that one. Essentially, I crashed their honeymoon (Not the real real one of course, that comes after the big wedding in a few weeks,) but they invited me with all graciousness and love and I couldn’t be more grateful because I gained so much in my time there.
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always talk. Sometimes, I sit and just observe – and I did a lot of that. I observed as my friend’s husband got up early to make us smoothies, how my friend prayed in every car ride for our safety and protection, how strangers who didn’t know me from Adam welcomed me into their home, fed me and spoke my love language giving me the biggest hug I’ve had in several months, one that let me feel safe and loved.
I heard stories of how my friend’s husband gave up his own apartment so that his then fiance (my friend,) could live there so she didn’t have to drive so far to work and that in that time he slept at the church building. Stories reminding me of my own father’s selfless love. I sat with my friend two to three times a day as she led my in bible studies and was patient with concepts I failed to quickly understand…And it was beautiful to see the inner workings of Christ in a God-centered loving relationship.
And their practical knowledge of the bible was even more convincing as they lived out their knowledge in their daily lives. That manifested in many ways including taking me to Heidelberg and showing me a town I had longed to see, paying for my dinner, and pure and wholesome talk that created a million laughs. As Mrs. Sandy used to always say, “Who says Christians can’t have fun!” Love you, Mrs. Sandy!
Heidelberg proved to be everything an old German town should be: beautiful, quaint, charming, situated on a river, and full of character.
I continue to learn healthier ways to protect and honor God with my body. My friends eat mostly Vegan and I was introduced to fun new foods while staying with them! They even took me to a fancy restaurant in Stuttgart and paid for my meal. Skeptical turned convinced that Vegan food can actually tasted delicious!
With seemingly endlessness travel time by car or train, three books have been read cover to cover in this last week. This kind of productive reading reminds me of my summer days of home where our “creativity boxes” designed by my exceptionally creative mother were used to motivate us to be productive in even our restful times. Baking bread, changing tires, memorizing verses, reading books, learning new vocabulary, and more. Often I can remember just wishing to lay in bed or go to the pool, but now am I ever grateful for I’ve learned to use downtime for productivity.
I feel like my old self again – but a better, upgraded, and restored version of myself. Smiling and Happy, and just simply full of life! I’ve wanted her back for a long time now – but failed to effectively take the actions needed to take myself there just expecting her to come back in time. But the truth is, we have that choice in all of us. It can be something as simple as deleting social media that is taking up too much time and picking up a book. We have the choice to read again if we want, the choice to exercise if we want, the choice to again be on fire for God and to carry out those Godly truths that we have longed to renew for so long yet have simply strayed away because of habit, we have that choice. You have that choice.
I’m ever thankful for Youth in Mission and the people and places that guided me to get there, for without it, I would not have been able to spend such a beautiful and God – filled week in the south of Germany. It’s amazing to look back in time to see how God uses everything for his glory.
Thank you to my sweet friend for hosting me, caring for me,and making me yummy food!
I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!
Oh! One last thing! I will share with you a “new” verse I found this week! Hezekiah wrote this after his illness and recovery!
The Lord will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the Lord.
How wonderful is that? The thought of stringed instruments in Heaven is absolutely glorious!
For all my friends and family, both near and far, I wish each of you a happy and blessed week.
~ Always, Kens