My time in Switzerland is drawing to a close… I leave for Russia in just a few days, so I wanted to recap a bit of what God has taught me over the last two months. I walked into this journey with completely open hands. I had no idea where I would go, I had no idea for how long I’d be gone. I had no idea what God was going to teach me… I just knew it was time for some serious focus time, and God wanted me in Europe for that time. So a one way ticket was booked, bags were packed, heart wrenching goodbyes were said, and I was off…
So… What did I learn? Well.
- Jesus Loves Me.
You can read the full ramble in my last post here, but! I went into 2017 wanting to feel the real, unshakeable love of Christ. I had never felt that, never really and truly known that. After so many ups and downs dealing with love in other areas of life, I was tired, worn out, weary, and fed up with the frailty of imperfect love. Getting away from everything I know has made me fully dependant on God. Which has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
- I Am Never Alone
I came to a country where I didn’t speak the language, I know no one my own age, and I had no plan. Through many days of crying out to God, trying to find out WHY I was here and WHAT he was going to teach me, I realized that no matter who was or wasn’t around, Jesus never left. I began to talk to Him, all the time. And even though I couldn’t see the plan or understand what was happening, I had a friend. I had my Father.
- Being vs. Doing
In the first few weeks when struggling with what my plans were and where I was going, I had a ton of time on my hands. Time that I didn’t know what to do with. God really challenged me to learn to “be” and not “do”. I’m such a “do-er”, I am always busy. I read, I watch movies, I write, I listen to music… Sometimes all at once. I scroll Pinterest while watching an episode of Heartland while drinking tea while texting a friend. It’s insane. God placed me in two weeks of free time. That sounds great… Right? Ha. For me, the first 4 or 5 days were great. Then… I got restless. I wasn’t doing enough. I was sitting in the park one day and God spoke to me and said “How are you ever going to hear what I have to say when you’re always doing something?” That struck me… It’s something I’m still learning… But something that I think is vital to a Christian life. Not only for spending time with the Lord, but for actually being quiet and listening to what He has to say. It’s a two-way relationship after all!
- God is All I Want
If you had asked me a few months ago, what the most important thing in the world was to me… I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer. I knew that I wanted ‘Jesus’ to be my answer… But it wasn’t. Not honestly. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen how God has not only blessed me, but challenged me, stretched me, and been WITH me every single day. In contrast, I’ve seen people without that same faith in Jesus, and I’ve seen what they go through… And I wonder – How on Earth do they do it? How do they live?! How can they go on, so hopeless, so confused, so COMPLACENT day after day!? I don’t get it. I’ve realized then, that I could lose everything… But as long as I have Jesus I’ll be totally fine. I have a Father who never leaves, a friend who always takes care of me, a teacher, a provider, an encourager… That’s really all I need.
- Open Hands is the Only Way
So many times I’ve tried to plan. So many more times it hasn’t worked out my way… And so many times I’ve come back to God crying, I can’t do it alone… Over and over again I’ve seen how amazing it is when I can give God the control, and walk with open hands. I wouldn’t have ended up in Switzerland without letting go of my own agenda. (It took me almost a year to do that but anyway…) I met one of my best friends in walking with open hands, I’m going to Turkey cause I walked with open hands… Things work better when we leave it up to God…
- I Value Education
So, I was chaperoning a high school Europe trip. And of the chaperones/teachers, I was the least educated one there. The conversations we had as leaders were fascinating, even the conversations with the kids were amazing! But I realized how much I’ve lost since not being in school. I’ve lost my rapid thinking and formulating of ideas, I’ve lost the facts I used to know! And I don’t like it. I love a good conversation on the ancient greeks, I love a feisty debate on renaissance art versus baroque art… But I can’t fully participate unless I’m educated! And I want that so bad… I have realized how much I really value education, and it’s at my fingertips. I am so blessed to live in Canada and have university and college accessible and (somewhat) affordable. It’s a gift that I can not pass up.
- I Love Youth
Again, being on this trip, I was with youth. Young people, not quite graduated, trying to find their place in the world… Oh my goodness, I love them. In my life so far I have struggled SO much with who I am and where I stand and the fact that for so long I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. So many kids struggle with the pressure of needing to have it all together and I understand that so much. Being able to encourage them to find their identity in Christ, and to walk openly with Him… Ugh it’s so meaningful. It’s such a blessing to be able to get close to them, to see into their hearts…
- Deep Down I’m a Country Girl
I am undeniably European. I was born here, I have Swiss citizenship. And I love it! I love the architecture and the food, the culture and the wine every night. I love the busy cities and the coffee and the areas filled with history. I love dressing to the nines and the glittering night life… But what gets my heart every time are the cows on the side of the road. The little Swiss chalets for the farmers. The art of cheese making, the legacy of wine making… I’m a country girl. I love my jeans, my messy hair. Not wearing sunscreen. Making jam and growing flowers. I love my country music and the small-town life. I value my time here, I love my Swiss life… I’m so thankful for this time away from the constricting grasp of busyness…
- Labels Are Overrated
Like I said above, I’m both a classy European, and a crazy backwoods country girl. I read and write and love coffee. I love everything vintage or antique. I love love love learning. I love hymns. I love country music. I love classical music. I love 80s pop. I love random indie artists. I LOVE MUSIC. I LOVE TRAINS. I LOVE COFFEE. Oh whoops, I already said that… I love handwritten letters. I love photography. I love LIGHT. So stop trying to stick me into a category based on the things I like or the clothes I wear or the places I live or what I’ll eventually study at University. I follow Jesus. I don’t care what I do as long as I follow Him. So if you’re gonna label me, call me a Jesus lover. That’s the only label I’ll accept.