Thursday, February 28, 2013

February

...ends today. In a way, I'm kind of relieved. This month, even though it is the shortest, has ultimately seemed like the longest month this year. It has been so dreary and dismal here, with little sun. Most of us have been walking around like zombies due to sickness and tiredness and S.A.D. Today I woke up with some sort of sinus blahness and have been resting at home in between teaching. That's the lovely thing about living across the street from BFA is that I'm just a walk home when I need to rest.

Tomorrow is the first day of March and also the day we leave for our High School Retreat. I'm looking forward to being with Elizabeth's and my small group girls and really getting a chance to spend time with them and other students. I really need to get well before tomorrow morning and am hoping these meds that I got from the Apotheke (pharmacy) will help.

So long, you dreary month of February! I'm looking forward to sunnier days ahead....

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Expectation

For Lent, I'm reading A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble by Paul David Tripp. Today, the meditation was on expectations both realistic and unrealistic. It really hit home for me because there are so many times that I've had to remind myself that no matter where I go, because of the fall in Eden, there will be disappointment. I think it's easy to get caught up in being unrealistic about things, especially in work environments and relationships. We go into things thinking they should be one way or that they will be a certain way and when they don't turn out like we think they should, we feel like we've just crash landed. I'm so guilty of this and reading what I read today was such a great reminder. I want my relationships with my friends here to be void of disagreements and disappointments, but that's an unrealistic expectation. You can't take a broken person, put them with another broken person and not expect to disagree about something. Nor can you put a bunch of broken people with other broken people in a work environment and not expect the outcome to have flaws.

But the beautiful and realistic expectation is that God knows our hearts better than any friend or significant other or roommate. Tripp sums up the last paragraph of the meditation with this quote:

Be realistic. Remember, there's amazing grace for every realistic thing you'll be called to face.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Embrace the Valentine

Today, instead of wallowing in the "sorrow" of my singleness, I embraced it. I embraced waking up and going to teach and getting to hear some amazing melodies from my kiddos. I embraced talks with my friends, a rose given to me by a student, hugs throughout the day, grocery shopping for Valentines Dinner, and then the dinner itself. Sitting around a table and toasting each other and how God has given us this time and this moment to be together as friends and sisters in Christ. Watching a movie and indulging in sweet treats. And getting driven home while snow began to fall once again.

I embraced each of these moments and not once did I start to feel sorry for myself, because this life that I am living is given to me each day. This is the life He chose for me and while I wouldn't have expected to be single on this 34th Valentine's Day, I'm able to enjoy it and experience loving on my students and my friends here at BFA.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Walking With the Reformers

Yesterday was probably one of the best days I've had in a long time. Myself, Amy, Justina, Rachel, & Lexi took a day trip to Geneva, which is about 2 and a half hrs from here. We left a very cold, snowy, and dreary day in Kandern and by the time we got to Geneva, there was no snow and the sun was shining! It was such a welcomed relief from the gloominess we've been experiencing as of late.

Geneva is in the French speaking part of Switzerland and so we were really glad that Justina is fluent because the rest of us were quite awful at it (although, Justina told me I had a really good accent of a French person trying to speak English). This is when I wish I'd paid attention in Madam Hickox's French class in high school. Oh well.

Our main goal was to see the Reformation sights because as all of you versed in Reformed theology know, Geneva is the home of the Swiss Reformation and Monsieur Jean Cauvin (or as we all know him, John Calvin). I was in awe of the Reformation Wall, which is a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be and quite breathtaking.

Here's me in front of three of the four Reformers (L-R Farel, Calvin, Beza, & Knox, who got cut off. Which is sad since he's the reason there's a Presbyterian church):


Next we went to St. Pierre's Cathedral where Calvin preached:


On our way to the Reformation Museum, I snapped this pic of me and a kind of creepy cartoon looking Calvin:

I was quite impressed with the Museum. There were relics of letters that Calvin wrote, an original copy of the Institutes, and a plethora of information on all of the Reformers. It was interesting to see just how much the Reformation really affected evangelization and the Gospel. Having studied Calvin in seminary and being a five pointer myself, I was in a bit of heaven all day long. Not to mention, it made it better getting to go with friends!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Job 11:15-19

The last week has really been one of the gloomiest and darkest I've seen as of yet. Students are tired - no, they're exhausted. We're all moving slower. Many of my kiddos have asked me to pray for them or shared their frustrations with me. Many of their struggles are things I can identify with or have also struggled with. If you read my last post, you know that there is definitely a struggle of hardship right now, not only with the students but with the staff as well. 

In 2009, when I went through one of the hardest years of my life, I would read the verse in Job that I want to share with you below. I pray that it speaks to your heart like it continually speaks to mine.

"Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure, because there is hope; you will look around and take your rest in security.You will lie down, and none will make you afraid;many will court your favor."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Still Transitioning

I don't know why I get it into my head that transition ended in October and life is normal. Ok, maybe I should rephrase that. Life is as normal as it's going to get living in the community that I live in and I love it. But there are a lot of days - especially lately - where I've woken up and it's been difficult to get out of bed. There's not been a lot of sunlight lately and Vitamin D is rather sparse. It has helped to work out weekly with a group of friends in my apartment. Then there are days when I go into Justina's office and lament to her that I feel grouchier or blah-ier than normal. She reminds me, "You're still transitioning." I usually groan and ask her when it ends. When I'll feel all transitioned. It varies. It could be just a few more months. It could be another year or two.

I realize it the most when I'm finished with school and have to go to the bank or the grocery store. And I don't want to go because I don't feel like conversing in German. I don't feel like working up the energy to think in German. I want to walk into the grocery store, head for the familiar, and not have to guess that I'm getting lentils, not barley. I want to be confident and only speak German when I know I'm conjugating correctly and not saying something stupid that translates to, "I wanting that" or something to that equivalent. I think sometimes I just want to magically be able to fluently talk in this other language that has been a part of me for 10 years and not feel like I'm doing something stupid. As most of my German friends have told me, "You know what to say, you're just too scared of messing up." Well, duh!

That's just part of the transition. I haven't even touched on half of it and since this is the third paragraph in this post, I feel that I should probably close, since I probably lost you halfway down. All that to say, as much as I LOVE BFA, my kiddos, living in Germany, and all of that, I'm still in the midst of finding my place in this world of transition that we're all adjusting to. I'm so blessed that God has chosen others to walk alongside me during this time who are also going through the same thing.

Transition is a beast.