The birds a singing as I sit by our flat’s eastern window, gazing at a medieval city and reflecting. Once upon a time, I was so concerned about what people thought of me that I’d do almost anything to make sure they approved. Yet I considered myself humble because I didn’t think or talk highly of myself.

As I watch low clouds encroach on the walls of Conflans, I ponder what those walls might have witnessed in their thousand years of guard duty. And it seems to me that God places lessons of life all around me, if I look.

I know nothing of the young lovers who must’ve walked hand-in-hand those walls down through all those centuries. Why on Earth should I think my life is more significant than theirs, that it matters what people think of me? Time itself teaches me my insignificance.

Only Jesus shows me my significance, in purchasing my life with His own. Who knows? Perhaps one of those lovers basking in the view of this alpine valley, met Jesus and showed her children who He was. Perhaps they embraced Him then passed on their knowledge of Him to others who passed it on, and the cycle repeated through four thousand generations, until it reached me. The only thing of that young lover’s life that lasted, then, was Jesus in her – her faith.

Even time teaches me my proper place of true humility*: Jesus in me, my faith, is the one thing that might last. So I wonder, what am I doing to live it, and to pass it on? And why do I waste time worrying about what “they” think of me, who will disappear into history in just two or three generations?

Albertville from Conflans. Our house is visible on the far side of the valley.

*It has been said that humility is not thinking little of oneself, but rather, not thinking of oneself at all.

Amy Grant’s song Angels Watching Over Me ran through my head again and again as we pulled the broken glass out of the back window of the truck cab. Thankfully, it was on the dog’s side of the truck, not the baby’s. Though Chili just about leapt into my lap when the rock (or whatever) shattered the window with a resounding CRACK, the baby slept soundly through it. I don’t know why God wanted/allowed us to be 15 minutes late for lunch today as a result of this, but He knows. And that is enough. (Why has it taken me SOOO long to learn this lesson?!)

20 January 2010: We’re finally on the road…we’re on the road already. Time seems to toy with us. It took forever to extricate ourselves from our house in South Carolina, yet it seems like just a few weeks ago that we moved in, began seminary and searched for local races.

Now we move on, looking back at the highlights: the people we know from the South Carolina triathlon series, FCA Endurance, Officer Christian Fellowship and other places; the unparalleled learning and growing in seminary classes; the joy of having our own plane – and of selling it; the fulfillment of triathlon ministry so far above and beyond that of just racing; the wonder of being used by God to compile and teach evangelism training seminars; the experience of pregnancy and childbirth, and the thrill of hugging a precious little bundle as she responds with a beautiful, toothless laugh. It has been an amazing three years.

But that chapter has closed with finality. And the next one has begun with flair. In a manner we’re beginning to expect of Him, God has already “shown up and shown off” regarding the road before us. We began with the goal of enlisting three prayer partners per day for each day of the month – a total of 93. In His standard perfect timing, we hit that goal on our last evening in South Carolina. Now as we continue meeting with the folks He brings across our path, we watch with humble appreciation as He raises up yet more prayer partners to stand beside us. And we wonder just how abundant He plans to be.

The road we’re traveling toward mission aviation has been long already, beginning far before its formal start at seminary. But our departure from our house and the sale of our beloved Subaru are like the chime of a clock: that hour is done. The next has begun. A page has turned. The next chapter veers far from anything “normal,” but it quivers with adventure and promise.