Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Taffy, anyone?

France is a wonderful place.

Yummy food! I once told Brent I'd move here just for the food. And voila! Here we are.

Oh, and it is gorgeous! Mountains and natural beauty everywhere.
Prettily dressed people too - a la mode. O la la!

Not to mention a beautiful language - it really is romantic and so nice on the ears!

So, yeah, France is GREAT!

I expect Africa to be hard.  
Sometimes... I really don't want to go - there I said it.

No running water, no electricity unless we make our own solar electric. No church among "our" people group. Hard life yet to come, perhaps? Can count on it.

This is what a local "nice" kitchen looks like in our future African location. That's right, no sink.

When I look at the problems
Instead of His face,
That's when I think Africa will be hard.

So, yeah I expect Africa to be hard at times. It's a bit of a roller coaster for me. Some days I am so excited about finally getting to the mission field. Finally getting to start in ministry that I have been called to since I was 14 years old. Some days, though, I freak out about the unknown... and then there are days when I am totally secure again, able to rest in the grace that God will give for those unknowns. Well, with something as big as Africa in the future, I never quite imagined that a year in France would be hard at all. I mean, come on, it's a first world country right, how hard can that be?!

I never expected for this place to be hard.

France, This grand European land - hard. Ahh, but it is hard at times. Or maybe it's that God is allowing me to be stretched so it's not as hard on me when we get to Africa. Or maybe Africa will be harder but by then I will have learned how to Trust Him.

He purposes what the world means for evil and turns it to good. Believe it. (Talking to myself here, but if it helps you- then great!)

Stretching...  Like taffy.

Oh, I remember this one brand of taffy when I was a kid: Laffy Taffy.
Delightful because it is stretchy and still sweet. I used to play with it a bit (I was a kid after all). You can make just about anything out of something that flexible.

Stretching times give me a choice:

Get hurt, retreat, and become bitter, hard.


Learn a lesson, keep going, and
Grow by staying soft (flexible)
And sweet... knowing He's there for me through hard times and will gently help me up, hold me in the palm of His hands - LOVE me through it.

I wanna be Taffy.
Help me, Lord. It's not easy.

Things I did not expect about living in France that God might just be using to help me work through Trust issues:

Feeling lost while using public transit - we're talking panic attacks - feeling helpless.

Making hard choices about important things - time away from family while the kids are young.

Time away from dad who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and has heart problems.

Time away from my home church - No easy access to times of refreshment in the Lord (I have to seek Him myself -brilliant! thought I had a handle on that one though). No church here in my heart language. (Hmm. Motivation for working in Africa, but a hard lesson).

Rough times when your child is sick and you don't know the language well. Trying to figure out scarey things on our own (don't worry we're fine).

So, yes, I feel the pain of the stretch. I am tempted to be bitter sometimes and some days when I break down in tears I think about giving up. If I do that who wins?
Then when I realize I can not do it on my own, the strength comes!
All these trials and all those to come will be worth it one day - maybe I'll only see it in eternity, but it will not be in vain.
This is Why I keep on keepin' on. 

There are really awesome things that I didn't expect about my time here too:

Encouragement from unexpected places - Look out for Veggie Tales - they've spoken to me in my time of need more often than I can count (and I've seen these a hundred times before with my kiddos!)

Nice French people who make you feel welcome, befriend you, and work with your inability to speak the language.

Help from strangers while traveling (multiple strangers helping foreigners - only God can orchestrate that!)

Inspiration and encouragement from my hubby when I would have expected him to be disappointed in my lack of faith.

Realizing I'm not alone. Realizing there are believers everywhere - and they glow in dark places. So amazing how bright it seems when we gather together in Christ.

Thanks God, for stretching me a bit. I know you have a plan for even the things the enemy means to use against me. Thanks for Your goodness. Let me remain sweet & stretchy like Taffy. May I never become hard or sour.

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