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

Phase Two

We arrived in Washington, DC somewhere around 2pm. Walking off the plane and through a window-lined hallway, we eventually found the U.S. Passport Control where we read out loud every single sign we saw, thrilled that we didn’t have to try to translate anything. We just instinctively knew what each word meant. I actually teared up when we entered the big room where we would wait for passage into our homeland. (Secretly teared up because, seriously, who in my generation calls their native country homeland and who cries when they return?)

Like a family of four little ducks we filed in, excited to be able to follow directions confidently, without wondering if we correctly understood what the signs or the people instructed. We filed in as I fought off the tears, and I found myself laying out every minute of the next seven days before Almighty God. I wished it could be a longer visit. I feared the end of the time week we’d just begun. I craved refreshment. I needed reminding that this adventure is a gift and a good thing. I hoped that we would be able to get back on that plane in seven days and enjoy the next nine months in the land of the Deutsch.

The next seven days proved all that we’d hoped. We hugged and loved on and were loved on. We ate Chipotle and cheeseburgers and watched Disney Channel shows.

We hung out with friends all day on Sunday and celebrated my Grandma’s 90th birthday and kayaked and swam and visited school friends and had playdates, and we soaked in the love and the easy of home and of our dearly loved. And then we came back.

 

 

It’s difficult to imagine a seven-day period as jam-packed with activity as our week in Ohio being refreshing at all. (For busy-ness in my experience almost always brings me burnout.) But not this time. I can truly say we were each renewed that week. People would ask us what we had planned for the remainder of the week, and I would reply, “Which hour?” because each hour had a plan to visit someone else. We literally made the most of every minute of our trip home.

I made a sort of vow that week in Ohio. A realization that led to some sobering thoughts about how I’ve been treating this living in Deutschland thing. And I gave it a name, which I made up myself.

Burdenizing.

It means taking what God has given me as a blessing and turning it into a burden.

Somewhere in the midst of the uncomfortable of living in a foreign land and the homesick of being so far away from what I know, I forgot the awesome of the adventure I have been allowed. Somewhere in the three months of living in Bavarian farmlands and hills on which Maria would love to run and sing, I let the uncomfortable deceive me into complaining through the time rather than seeing the gift for what it is and making the most of it. And somehow, in the middle of making the most of those seven days in Ohio, I realized that I have not been making the most of these 12 months in Europe.

So I decided to just let go of the stuff that troubles me. (It’s not like I didn’t know it was going to be hard to live here for a year.) I am choosing to open my hands and trust that God knows good gifts when He sees them and that, for whatever reason, He is letting me live inside of this one for an entire year.

And so begins Phase Two of our year in Germany.

Do you have a fresh start you’d like to take? Maybe you could start fresh with me. Oh, how I would love that. We could like do this next phase thing together. You on your adventure called life, and me on mine.

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