. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.


We arrived eleven weeks ago with over 500 pounds of luggage and about 1000 tons of unknown expectations. Eleven weeks of forging new paths, finding new-to-us ways of doing everyday activities such as laundry and grocery shopping and going to the ATM. We have nine months left in this foreign land where Hondas are so few that my kids go crazy when they see one, and Volkswagons are so abundant that they barely even notice them. Where good wine costs less than a gallon of gas and water comes with bubbles unless you think to ask for it without. As of this week, we are officially 1/4 of the way through our one-year adventure here in the land of Deutsch.

We will go home for one week in just three days. Home to Ohio, where we can understand the people at the table next to us in any given restaurant and not have to confess our foreign / little-German-speaking status everytime a stranger approaches and utters three words. Es tut mir leit, we say. Ich verstehe kleine Deutsch, we confess with eyes pleading and sometimes defeated but always smiling.  (I’m sorry. I only understood one word you just said to me because I’m a stupid American who is only just learning German. But, oh if you only knew how badly I wish I could understand. Perhaps someday. Hopefully sometime in the next nine months. Do you think maybe you could approach me in May of next year and try it again?) Yes, three days, and we will be home for a brief visit in which we will seek to store up as much love and hugs as possible from our families and friends in hopes that it will get us to December when we go home again. Seven days during which we will see as many of our friends as we possibly can and soak up Ohio air and let our minds relax a bit as we find ourselves not working to always, always find just one word — on a street sign, in a store, from a conversation — just one word to know. We’re excited, can you tell?

Excited and, well, a little bit scared. Because deep down in the bottom of the I-don’t-wanna-admit-this-but-I really-probably-should part of my belly, I wonder if my kids (or I) are going to want to come back. I’ve been praying about this for months. Literally, since we booked the tickets for our flight. So — I guess I should see it as yet another opportunity to watch God work.

I find myself looking toward our trip home to Ohio and feeling like I’m in a half-marathon in which I need a break. I say half-marathon because I have no idea what a full marathon feels like. No. Idea. Ich habe keine Ahnung. I feel like I’m tired and need some cold water — to drink, to pour over my head — and a bench or a curb to stop and tie my shoe and catch my breath. I feel a little bit scared, though, because what if I get to the bench and sit down and lose my momentum and can’t get myself to stand back up and finish the race?

I said this out loud to my husband yesterday, and then I remembered that this is a gift, this getting-to-go-home-thing. And I remembered that God is the One Who gives good gifts. I read His Word this morning, and He reminded me that He knows what He’s doing. He’s the One in charge. And He is always good and kind and enough. He is always enough.

So I look toward the bench around the bend. The bench that is our very short but ever so lovely upcoming trip home and, as much as I long for the time to sit and take in all the scenery around and drink coffee with my fellow bench-dwellers, I know that God will give me the will and the everything-I-need to stand back up again and return to the race. I trust that He will remind me of how awesome the race itself is, how amazing that I get to even be in it at all. (Because, seriously, I get to live in Germany for a year, right?)

So I’m pushing myself to the bench, even while I remind myself that it is just a bench. Even while God reminds me that He is the One Who put the bench there. And I will enjoy the resting and the coffee and the visit, but I will get back up off what will likely be my bench-imprinted butt and I will see it all as an undeserved and treasured gift from God the Lord.

And I will keep counting gifts and looking for the ways that He has gifted so much. And I will watch as He works to show me each gift.

56. spotify

57. a kindred-spirit friend who even speaks English and goes to Hugendubel with me

58. Hugendubel book store

59. a friend who prays for me

60. a card in the mail signed by lots and lots of friends

61. a tweet just for me

62.  thermal pool swimming

63. chicken noodle soup on a rainy day

64. lunch with the whole family. Every day.

65. fog in the morning

66. a bench on a hilly trail

67. moss-covered rocks in the middle of the woods

68. alone time

I’m linking to Ann Voskamp’s blog again this week. Because, well, counting God’s gifts helps me to really, truly live.

3 Thoughts on “Bench

  1. Love you!! Even Germany is a gift. 🙂 Praying for an awesome, love-soaked trip home. And an awesome love-soaked 9 months to go!!!

  2. Linda Thompson on August 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm said:

    I have been praying also for this time home, that you will all see as just this, a gift, and hopefully prayerfully it will be a time of rest so when you return to your new home you will be restored and ready to fly like the the eagle does, with the strength the good Lord gives as needed…. Is.40:29-31
    We are on countdown too!!! 🙂 love ya, Mom xxoo

  3. Elisabeth on August 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm said:

    I will miss you-hope you have a wonderful time at home- and I hope this week will end. 😉

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