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

Where I Will Stay

We sat on the border of the concrete planter and ate our ice-cream cones. Best ice cream in Bayreuth, we all agreed. We spoke with excitement about our upcoming trip home and of our soon-to-be move to the city when we come back. Watching bicyclers and pedestrians as they moved through the pedestrian zone of the city, we imagined out loud riding our bikes to this very spot, eating the best-ever ice-cream, stopping at the toy store, carrying our stuff home in our baskets. Fun moments with my girls filled with wonder and hope.

And then we saw it about 100 yards away. The crash of an elderly woman who couldn’t keep her bicycle balanced as a man stepped in front of her unexpectedly. She fell hard, face first, onto the brick walkway, and my heart fell hard into my stomach as it unfolded right in front of us. “Don’t look!” I said to the girls. Because I figured she’d be all bloodied. Because I didn’t know if she would even sit up.

After the collective gasp from all around the marketplace, people stepped into action. They grabbed her bike. They helped her sit up. They walked her to the nearest table at the cafe in front of which it happened. They called the ambulance. From where we sat, it looked like they worked together, all in crisis-mode to help this poor lady in her agony.

We prayed from where we sat. After I told the lady sitting next to us in my broken, thick American-accented German who asked what happened. After she made many comments about it. After I nodded and agreed with her, cluelessly hoping I actually did agree with whatever it was that she was saying. We prayed.

I’ve kind of lost my appetite, my youngest told me. Yeah, me too. I would have made a terrible paramedic. Or a skinny nurse.

And my stomach churned and my heart grew unsettled and suddenly I just wanted to go home. Suddenly the life in which I had been growing more and more comfortable became scary and disconcerting as my mind replayed the scene over and over again. What if that happens to one of my kids while we’re riding to the toy store in a few weeks? What if that lady is not okay? What if I, or one of my kids, kills somebody just because we didn’t see the bicycle behind us when we turned into the ice cream shop? The what-ifs grew exponentially, even as I assured my kids that she was okay. Even as I watched the lady stand up and walk herself into the ambulance. Even as I prayed that Almighty God would heal her pain.

I couldn’t shake the unsettled for the rest of the day. Every semblance of peace that God has grown me into over the last several years, the kind He has used to heal me from my anxiety issues and obsessive-compulsive tendancies ran straight out of mind as the adrenaline deceived me into believing that this living here thing is, in fact, too dangerous. That we really should just pack up and go home.

I cried tears that soaked my husband’s t-shirt when he got home. Sobs that cried “I’m done here. I wanna’ go home now.” He held my shaking shoulders and prayed. He prayed. And then I cried some more.

Because the truth is, I cannot do this adventure on my own. If it were up to me and my own fortitude, I would be on a plane to Cleveland right now instead of sitting in this kitchen in the middle Upper Franconia, Bavaria writing about it. The truth is, finding the end of myself is exactly the thing God wants me to do. And it’s exactly where I ended up after the fall of that woman, after the return of the anxiety-stricken me, after the sobbing of the “I-can’t-do-this” tears. Right smack at the end of me.

It’s where my own things in which I find comfort run away and the truth of what God says is the only thing left standing. It’s where the very Spirit of God, alive in me because of what Jesus Christ did for me on the cross and in the tomb, proves Himself true in power. In love. In self-discipline.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

The end of myself is where I remember the truth of God and claim it over and over again, trusting Him to prove it, to show it, to live it through me.

12 Thoughts on “Where I Will Stay

  1. celeste on August 15, 2012 at 8:16 am said:

    Amen. Coming to the end of himself Jesus prayed in the garden for it all to be removed…he waited and asked again…then He knew that His Father would be with him in the pain and he moved forward in what was to come to His death and our life in Him begins. He understands your feelings Bria! praying for you all

    • Celeste, that is the most amazingly enouraging statement of truth you could have possible written for me right now. Thank you. I am so incredibly thankful to remember that Jesus knows exactly how I feel right here at the end of me.

  2. Elisabeth on August 15, 2012 at 11:45 am said:

    You are not alone here in Germany – you will never be.
    Du bist nicht alleine. Du wirst niemals alleine sein.

  3. One song that helps me keep perspective is by Jason Gray, “The End of Me.” Jason speaks of God’s peace. The God of peace will be with you as you process the discomfort of your cross-cultural experience. Here is the link to the song with lyrics.
    I praise God for your bravery. I look forward to seeing you here then saying farewell to send you back. God is with you. Please do not fear (Deuteronomy 31:6). Praying and love you all!

    • “It’s where love was leading me all along.” Wow! Perfect. Thank you, Pastor Daron. I think you may have just shown me the anthem for this year over here. 🙂 I’m gonna’ go to itunes right now and buy it. Thank you so much for your encouragement and for praying for us.

  4. All I can say is. I love you Bria…. Dad

  5. Sara reich on August 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm said:

    You are an brave and awesome woman, mom and wife!! Don’t ever forget that…you have proven that over and over on this adventure. I Love reading your blogs and after reading this one want to send you all my good wishes and hopes that you are feeling better a day after this post. Can’t wait to see everyone next week and hear all your stories!

  6. Jen Beilman on August 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm said:

    I can so relate – beautifully written. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Pingback: Learning to Let Them Grow | and then some more

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