Thursday, October 1, 2015: Germany has these things called rolladen’s. They are on the outside of basically every window or door (there are a whole lot of windows in our house which I love!) and they can be rolled down to completely shut out the outside light. They are used in the summer to allow for sleep (the sun comes up extremely early and goes down super late) and in the winter to help keep the house insulated. I have two “windows” in my room; one is actually my balcony glass door and the other is the window in the sloped roof. Every morning, if I don’t close the blinds on the window, I wake up with the sun hitting my face. However, this morning I woke up early enough to see the sun coming up…with the windmills and the grassy hills in the foreground, it was breathtaking. My new favorite spot in my house is a little corner in my room situated with a comfy chair, my bright red rug, and a view out the balcony doors. It’s there that I have quiet time every morning and spend time practicing/learning German. That’s another goal I have while I am here: learn German. It’s so intriguing! Did you know that German and English have the same origin? It is so interesting to me!
Anyhow, that night, after spending the day studying and responding to letters, the whole family went to the family-owned Italian restaurant in our village. We grabbed our jackets and walked there, as it’s only about a five minute stroll down the road. Can I just say how quaint little villages are? They are absolutely adorable and utterly relaxing. Mom and I ordered some naturally sweetened Moscato that was made at the family’s winery. Dinner was superb! I ordered Gnocchi al Gorgonzola.
It was kind of strange to hear our servers speaking in thick accents, and the people around us speaking in a language I didn’t understand. But I guess it’s something I will have to get used to. The walk back home was cold, but the sky was klar and the stars shining.
As I got ready to climb into bed, I noticed the moon. It was huge, bright, and stunning outside the window in my slanted ceiling.
Saturday, October 3, 2015: Saturday means football day!! Yes, American football. The high school football games are played on Saturdays because the stadium doesn’t have stadium lights. This particular Saturday, my younger two brothers had a martial arts tournament that ran into the football game. However, they won second and third in their age groups for sparring! I caught the last quarter of the football game, and boy, was it good to be inundated with some American culture again. I guess all the parents who are super into football and don’t get to watch it on TV anymore let all of their enthusiasm out at the high school games. Besides a bad throw which resulted in an interception, the team played well and we won against Stuttgart!
That afternoon, my mom and dad took me on some trails through the fields behind our house. It was absolutely beautiful. The neat thing about Germany is that everyone and everything is in the villages, and there are no buildings or equipment out in the fields. Because of this, there are open paths that anyone can take that go through the fields and connect the villages. It is very unlike South Texas, with its ranches and farms all separated and no one daring to trespass on another’s property without permission!
Let it be known: I think I love it here.
I arrived in Germany two days ago…
DAY 1 (Monday, September 28th): After the longest flight of my life, honestly just a measly eight hours (that I was able to sleep about five of), it took what seemed ages for everyone to file off the plane! When the time came, I stood in the passport line anxiously thinking of my family being only minutes away after surviving a whole summer apart. As I rounded a corner right before the officials looked at my passport, my two youngest brothers spotted me through the glass and started jumping up and down and waving excitedly. It took all my self control not to just burst into happy tears of relief and release right then and there; but I had to keep it together at least until I got my baggage. There was no problem with my passport and I was ushered to baggage claim where I was able to get my luggage in a relatively short amount of time. Awkwardly shuffling outside with my two giant suitcases and two carry-ons, I walked right into my family’s embrace. Those long awaited hugs will be cherished until the day I die. After putting my baggage in the car, we all walked to the Post Exchange/Mini Mall to get my phone set up with a new SIM card. Dinner that night was left-over BBQ made by my pit-master of a father. One of the most thrilling things about dinner was getting to drink a glass of wine with my parents. How cool is Germany?! Having arrived onto an Air Force base, there wasn’t too much culture shock that first day.
DAY 2 (Tuesday, September 29th): I woke up refreshed and amazed at the gorgeous view out my bedroom window. I was able to sleep all the way through the night. No jet-lag, thank God!!! I spent much of the day cleaning my room. My mom and I also went to get some in-processing done, such as registering my military ID in the system. We then went to the new IKEA, and can I just say, how COOL is it that the first IKEA I ever went to was in Germany!? Anyways, the hardest thing for me culturally was hearing basically everyone speak German, and even those who did speak in English, spoke with a thick accent. Not only the speaking, but the reading. Everything was in German and it was essentially a guessing game of trying to match the product with the title. It has spurred me on to an even greater desire to learn the native language. Overall, the beauty of the village we live in and the country all around has astounded me. I know for sure that I am already in love with this place called Germany.
DAY 3 (Wednesday, September 30th): Today I sat in my little corner by the balcony in my room after waking up and had a peaceful quiet time with my Savior. I am beyond grateful for His new mercies everyday and for the blessings He has showered upon my family and our circumstances. I know without a doubt that this move to Germany was orchestrated by the One bigger than it all. The morning consisted of trying to figure out the water in the shower, finishing up organizing my new room, and getting annoyed at the recycling system. Which, if I may say, is ridiculous! There are FOUR different trash cans and you have to pay attention to everything you throw away so you don’t accidentally put it in the wrong trashcan… My lazy American side comes out every time I go to throw something away. I even had to rinse out my yogurt cup in order to throw it away! Ugh. Anyhow, it’s been a good day, and I’m excited for the coming weeks and months.
Tomorrow, I will be eating dinner at an Italian place down the road from our house and Friday will be an introduction into a mini Oktoberfest celebration in our village. Keep a lookout for blog posts on those!
Danke und Auf Weidersehen!
There is truly no way to describe coming away from the Summit experience. There is so much sadness accompianied with leaving and all the goodbyes. However, God is good.
Unpacking was probably the hardest. It began to hit me that the Summit season in my life is over. Whether there will be another is up to God’s providence and I must be thankful for what I had. I am beyond grateful for the life lessons I learned while working there. For learning how to love people without expecting change, and learning to love even when I feel like I have a tank running completely empty. Learning that it is GOD working through me and that the pressure for results is off my shoulders because He is in control of all that happens. Learning that I am to love people not because of their story and who they are, but in spite of their past and because they are made in the image of God and He loves them. Learning that His grace abounds and His mercies are new every morning. And ultimately that God truly does provide for my needs on a moment to moment basis, even when I felt like I could not possibly continue. I am so grateful for the friendships formed, the stories shared, and the lives that are now intwined through shared experience. God’s sovereignty is so good in bringing many of those people into my life.
Now, as I’m back to a somewhat normal reality, God is showing me extravagant grace in providing a heart which is content. The fact that the Summit chapter of my life is over fills me with a joy for the future and what God has next. And I am beyond thankful for that perspective.
God is good. And He is so kind to His children. He brings us through things to teach us, grow us, and show us His goodness. He has a new chapter and season awaiting me, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Thank God for His faithful, never ending, everlasting goodness.
Everything my sovereign Savior does is for my good and His glory.
This is a lesson I’m realizing God has been very steadily teaching me over this past year; specifically in the past several months. Looking back, many things seemed to have fallen apart in my life.
Last month I found out that twelve of my college credits did not get accepted. Instead of being three credits away from graduating, I am now set back at least a semester and a half. It was a hard blow to take. As an artist, it is so very difficult to hear that your work is not good enough… But I am learning to trust in God in a way I never ever have before.
My life is His story and not my own.
God shut that door for a reason. And I have to trust that His plans are MUCH higher and better than mine.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” This is the Lord’s declaration. – Isaiah 55:8-9
God is love.
As Christians, we’re called to love God and to love others. My whole life I have struggled to follow this command that is higher than all the others. In all honesty, I get worn out. I get tired of the desperate struggle my heart goes through to continue loving others and God when I feel like I have nothing left to give. But here Jesus steps in and says: “Don’t get weary my beloved. Rest in ME.” And I believe I am finally beginning to understand what that means.
God is love.
Our loving of others and God is a cycle that starts with God’s love for us. It’s like the recycling logo. God loves us –> We love God –> We obey God (because we love Him) –> So we love others and we love God –> And we are only capable of loving others and loving God because –> God loves us.
The cycle just keeps going and going!! In this realization, I’ve found the freedom to give without reservation because my God is faithful to fulfill His promises. He is faithful to continue filling me with His love, because His love never stops. There is freedom in His love.
God is love.
Every good thing that happens to you in this life begins with: “But GOD.”
God knows how to deal with my mistakes.
But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he formed it into another jar, shaping it as seemed best to him. And the Lord declared, “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand.” – Jeremiah 18:4 & 6
I am truly beginning to understand the depth of God’s grace in my life. He works everything for my good; no, my best. As Lysa Terkeurst says, “God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on His ability to use well.” God has had grace for me, and now I need to have grace for myself. He will use the mistakes I have made for my best in the long run.
And just because I’m not turning into the original jar I, or others in my life, thought I would be, does not mean I am incapable of becoming useful to the Potter. God is just taking my flaws and reworking them in the way that seems best to Him; for His glory and my benefit.