I haven’t touched this for a while. Much like my book. Afraid. Afraid to dive in. Because this place, like my book, requires vulnerability.
Nevertheless, I shall try.
And now I return. Like an unfaithful to her lover. Ashamed…as if my own blog is going to hold me accountable.
And yet here I return.
And a heart forever changed.
So, where have I been?
In case the picture above didn’t give it away. I’ve been in Europe. Having the most incredible experiences. Well, as much as a full-time student on a budget can have, anyway.
Never did I ever in a million years think that I would be living in Paris of all places. For three months, no less. Things like that don’t happen in real life. Not for people like me…
…or do they?
I remember a year ago when a classmate told me she would be studying in England that next semester. I remember how happy I was for her. My heart filled with joy knowing what an amazing experience it would be for her. I remember thinking how much I would love to do something like that, but never for a second believing it could happen for me.
Little did I know in only three short months, I would be met with the same opportunity…in Paris.
Oh, be still, my beating heart.
It was happening. A dream come true. And not by my own hand, but by the sheer grace of God.
Isn’t that what this crazy walk is all about? To surrender and say “yes” and watch God do amazing things in our lives as a result?
Let me tell you, if there was any doubt at all that God could break through the silence and bring us something totally unexpected without any doing on our part, it’s blasted into oblivion.
So, for those that think we need to be constantly “out there”, “making things happen” in order for anything to happen and especially for anything “big” to happen, wrap your head around this…
…I was sleeping when I got that email. And it wasn’t even from my own university. In fact, I ignored it at first.
So, what do you make of that?
This has strengthened my faith more than anything. My constant question that I will “miss” it…whatever “it” is. It’s simply not true. I was sleeping and He sung this over me without any help on my part.
Now, that’s not to say it didn’t require any effort on my part after I caught-wise. I certainly had a task before me, but the point is that this is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened in my life. Top three serious. And I had no idea it was coming. And I couldn’t stop it.
What God has for us is for us and us alone. He doesn’t need anyone else’s permission or approval.
He simply needs our “yes”.
And so I went. And now, after three months, my lens is forever changed.
For 90 days, I watched God do the impossible.
In a foreign country. In a land not my own, although it is closely tied to my heritage. With a language not my own, although, I had taken many years of it in prep-school.
The people became my own. The language became my own. The culture became my own. The country became my own.
You don’t realize how much something has became ingrained until you are removed from it.
Coming back to the states was interesting. Still in that weird limbo of people thinking I was French and greeted me as if that was my first language.
Home became transient. And my first impressions coming back: America is loud. People nosey and assuming.
In Europe, relationships are different. More intentional. People don’t use each other. They are quite a bit more intentional. Once you are a friend, you’re a friend for life. And there is a mutual respect and understanding.
Quite the different experience from what I left behind in the U.S. Very few could “hear” me before I left enough to move into action. And what I discovered as that it took me leaving the country for some people to pay attention. And I learned that most people will reach out when they believe they have something to gain from it.
Now…that being said. What I just described was a good thing. Because it’s strengthened relationships of those who were there the whole time. In my deepest hour of need and most exciting time of my life; supporting, encouraging, sometimes providing. Which is invaluable to me.
Now, that may sound incredibly selfish. And I’ll elaborate by saying that my default is to take care of everyone else before I take of myself.
When that veil is lifted and you see deeper levels of truth, you can’t go back. There is no “back”.
I wish that America approached relationships in the same way as Europeans. They take people at face value. They don’t assume. They don’t group everything into one blob. They don’t loftily assume that you are putting “all of your happiness” into one thing you may be hurting about at the moment. They have the ability to separate things and see them for what they are. And they don’t allow others to convince them that a friend that they are having a conflict with is now an enemy.
They don’t assume everything that you do is about them.
I’ve been back stateside for about four weeks now. In some ways, it’s good to be back, but in other ways, things have changed. Changes that needed to be made perhaps. I can’t fully describe what I’m feeling. I’ve returned physically to the life I left behind, but with an entirely new lens. I can’t explain to you how that feels.
My faith in God continues to grow through so much uncertainty and that is the most important thing. The one constant in my life. The one thing that hasn’t changed except to go so much deeper.
I have God before I have anything else.