September 2010

In another experience of God answering your prayers, our journey to France went almost completely without a hitch. Zoe slept soundly on the airplane floor below the empty seat between us adults. She has adjusted quickly to the quarter-day time difference and even helped us clean the apartment floor with all her wanderings…she’s a human “swiffer”!

As we traveled around Germany getting supplies on the Air Force base (cheaper than on the economy), we enjoyed the hospitality of several Christian friends and heard yet another story that struck me as “so God”: One set of friends recently moved back to Germany, leaving behind a tight-knit group of believers to whom they had ministered for several years. They were particularly concerned about one couple and who would continue to care for them, but nonetheless our friends followed God’s call on their lives and returned to Germany. Upon arrival, they heard about another couple who had already stepped in to fill the gap they’d left – the new couple was even more trained and experienced at pastoral care than our friends! God completely obliterated their greatest concern about leaving. That’s just so God – to supply more than we ask or imagine.

Church that first Sunday was another wonderful demonstration of the larger body of Christ, the Church, which “spans all time and space and is rooted in eternity. That Church is as terrifying as an army poised for battle. It is a sight that makes even the boldest [demon] uneasy” (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters). Experiencing God worshipped in another language, but knowing He is the same God gives just a glimpse of this truth.

The pretty town of Albertville. We live further down the valley to the right.

There is a joy in the journey; There’s a light we can love on the way.
There is a wonder and wildness to life, And freedom for those who obey.
(Michael Card, “Joy in the Journey”)

We believe there is wisdom in waiting until a story is done before telling it; too often the details make no sense until we know the ending. But sometimes we learn from the details, too. After all, our entire lives here on Earth are only a few details of the whole Story from eternity past to eternity future.

Our friends faced a choice: stay in their current jobs, feeling lifeless and trapped, facing separation during deployments, lacking satisfactory options for kids’ schooling, and financially struggling – or leave everything for the great unknown. I have to admit praying for the latter: it seemed to me that God wanted them elsewhere – free from those commitments, free to follow Him.

Many months and prayers later, I was ecstatic to hear the anticipation in my friend’s voice as she drove from South Carolina to her native southeastern Canada to in preparation for her family to follow shortly thereafter. Her voice sparkled with joy, laughter, and for the first time since I’d known her, hope…even though, as she put it, they were “way out of the boat” (and walking on water with only God upholding them).

I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the story someday. But in the meantime, I’m reminded that even in the journey, there is great joy – and freedom for those who obey God’s leading. In the meantime, our friend posts her updates on her blog.

In answer to your prayers last month, God motivated us to finish organizing and packing at the perfect time, while enjoying a bit of rock climbing (on the storage shelves, see below) and humor (entertaining Zoe and keeping her safe). We couldn’t have done it without you & Him. And resting on the assurance of your partnership and His response, we have ventured overseas to language school for the next 10 months, praying for seamless logistics and easy adjustment to all that is new.

Looking out my window down the Isere River valley

Why should I be surprised? This must be the tenth time God did this. I should know better by now!

We were out of sorts with reference to the weekend. Although there were hundreds of opportunities – all gratis (free!) – on this holiday in southern France, the weather was questionable and we’d been unable to decide exactly what to see or do. I should have been looking for where God would steer us at the last minute.

At 9am Saturday morning as we tried to determine if rain would allow a bike tour, I saw the email from our friend in Germany saying the boxes we’d mailed had arrived. By noon we’d swum (the requisite workout), packed, researched tolls along the route and embarked on our second journey north.

It’s so like God, to work on our flexibility yet to shower us with good things even as He does! Always in the perfect time: never too soon nor too late – the clothes we brought along for Zoe are just now growing too small and too light for the cool weather. So in the perfect time, God gifts us with the rest of the clothes we packed for her. It’s just like Him.

So next time we’re a bit out of sorts, not sure of what our next step should be, I’ll keep an eye out for what treasure He’s about to unveil – in His perfect time and manner.

Like father, like daughter. Devotions after dinner.

An advantage of the travels to Germany right on the heels of our arrival in Europe was that we started referring to our flat in France as “home” even though we’d only spent two nights there!

So we’re now back at “home” in France, where we went for a spontaneous bike ride (because the pool was unexpectedly closed) and found ourselves thrown back in time to the middle ages as the trail meandered UP to a medieval town and fort. In other modes of transport, we’re developing the art of getting found once lost and recovering from running on unavoidable (and wonderful!) MOUNTAINS.

“Home” is Albertville, host to the 1992 winter Olympics and a small town tucked into a mountain valley. We hear that hiking trails abound in the hills surrounding it and we look forward to exploring in the coming months. Gals from the French school have been making the transition easier, but as always with moving and travel, things take longer than we imagine…sometimes much longer! God continues to be faithful, however, repeatedly giving far more than we ask or imagine – Mont Blanc (the highest peak in France and home of the famous Chamonix ski resort) is visible from just outside town, the apartment is far bigger and better than we imagined with tons of little charms and it sits at the foot of a road that loses itself in the hills above. And Heather our nanny has been a huge blessing and help. We so appreciate God’s smiles!

The view from our office window.