Updated: May 3, 2019
I've spent approximately a week and a half in the city of Berlin. The whole process is like getting to know a new friend, and this friend has a lot to say.
While this city is speaking; I am not.
I haven't taken many pictures. I haven't drawn or painted. I haven't made many conclusions. If you know me then it might seem strange that I would be so quiet. It feels different than I imagined, the first week. I simply want to listen and to be attentive and patient. I want to soak it all in.
I'm putting down my phone on the bus to listen to how the stops are pronounced.
Marveling at the diversity of this globalized city.
Memorizing maps and landmarks.
Learning the history.
While friends and family are asleep in their beds back home, I'm hurrying to catch a bus or a train. I'm silently thanking my mother, the master of directions and maps, for being the kind of person that always asked me, "do you know where you are?" when she wanted me to become familiar with a new place. Such a small thing has made me feel slightly more prepared for this labyrinth.
But I wasn't prepared for these long German street names. The language is intimidating, but I find it to be oddly charming. Today I enrolled in a 5 week, intensive language course. That being said, if you have a second at any point in the month of March, throw up a quick prayer for this fräulein.
The biggest blessing has been the people that have met me with open arms. Because of the church here, I have been instantly surrounded by brilliant, loving, kind humans. I'm impressed by their consistency and their care for the whole world and their commitment to prayer. I'm happy to say I'm making connections that feel purposeful and life-giving.
Just the other night I shared my testimony with a group of teenagers, and afterwards I felt like I had left important details out. I didn't share what I had originally rehearsed in my head, and I was left praying that something landed with them. Anything, really. I couldn't see what was going on in their hearts as I shared mine, but afterwards I was encouraged as a few of them opened up to me. An unexpected, good thing sprung up, even through my insecurity. I'm glad the Lord can work in that way. I'm anticipating a reoccurring theme, here.
I got to take a little 3 day break just after being in the city for a few days. It was nice to take a step back and reflect on the newness of everything. However, I was met with a new challenge. Another humbling experience. Skiing. I accompanied a couple families from the church to the Czech Republic for this little excursion. This Arkansan had never seen that much snow in her lifetime. I've also never taken a beating like I did going down that mountain. I managed to learn a lot, and I had so much fun getting to know these families better. My bruises serve as my souvenirs, and the memories were priceless.
This 6 months has been something I've known to be in my timeline for almost 6 years now. That's crazy to think about. I've been waiting 6 years for this 6 months. There were multiple times that I was discouraged to go. There were times I was so close to redirecting, but I just kept being brought back to it. I feel a deep responsibility to the call that brought me here, but I still can't say that I fully understand it. And in a moment of vulnerability, I'll admit I'm scared that I'll get in the way of whatever the Lord is doing.
The Lord has reminded me of his great love for me, even in his unfathomable holiness. He alone is God. He choses to use us, broken vessels. There have been times where I have doubts, but I'm here. I'm doing my best to show up, listen up, and to be flexible. I'm hyper-aware of my capacity to leave my mark on the lives around me. Probably because I'm only here for a short time, and that produces a sense of urgency. Also I have a lot of time to think while riding the bus. I'm excited to continue to share all of my bus stop thoughts.
Thanks for being curious enough to read this. I appreciate every thought and prayer sent my way.
Celebrate the smallest victories.
Take your time, but remember we only have so much of it.
Love someone, hard. Today.