Wow! I have officially lived in Europe for 3 months! It's really crazy as I look back over the end of 2015, preparing for this new adventure. In a lot of ways, I definitely was not ready but I don't think I could have ever actually prepared myself for everything we would encounter in the first 3 months
A lot of this time has been spent enjoying the newness of our life here in France, but there have also been moments where the total change and culture shock have been totally overwhelming. This transition has taught Will and I so much already and we are excited for the next 3 months here, they will look a lot different.
I am finally coming to a point where I can begin to see what my life will look like here, and it is becoming more exciting than overwhelming. Our lives totally changed in such a short period of time, but now we can begin to settle in again to what is more normal and permanent. We have random moments of discouragement and frustration, but we continue to come back to the lesson God has been teaching us. I remember one day when I was skyping Leah, she asked me what God was teaching us through our struggles and frustrations. Here it is:
We are learning to live in the moment and to truly be content with where God has us. It has been hard here in France, but I realize I also had a problem with being content in America. We were very happy with our life in Cincinnati, but as I look back on the past 2ish years, I remember constantly wishing for the next thing, wanting something different, or whatever I thought was better.
I graduated from CCU. I wanted a job. I wanted my own place. I got a job and got my own place. Then I wanted a bigger place. I moved into an apartment and then I wanted to be married to Will. We got married. I still always found physical things I wanted or circumstances I wanted to be different. .
Recently, I have worked hard to find this battle of not being content with the place God has me. I want to stop wishing away moments and experiences. So often, I find myself in the place I had been wishing to be in just months before, but I again am looking for something "better".
"All of us desperately need contentment, a state of inner peace separate from our circumstances. Ultimately, contentment is more a shift in attitude than a change in circumstances. Paul shifted his attitude by choosing not to be anxious and instead to pray specifically with thanksgiving. He chose to dwell on the positives, even though his life was filled with negatives. As a result, he experiences the peace of God."
I am excited to share that Will and I have found our own home in Lyon and will be moving into an apartment in the city next week. We are excited for the start of our own place, Will's job, and other exciting things happening for both of us, and are working to be grateful in this season. When we discuss our discouragement, we usually end up talking about the great things we do have to be so thankful for and want this to be a mindset we keep. Instead of hoping for a new season, we look forward to truly enjoying where God has us in these moments. A passage that I have kept in my heart recently is Philippians 4:11-13:
"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
I am grateful for this journey and all that Will and I are learning and experiencing together. It has been 3 crazy months but God continues to work in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I hope you also will enjoy the moments and season God has you in.
"Two women looked through prison bars. One saw mud, the other saw stars."
Soon I will be posting more details about our apartment and the new things beginning for us. For now, enjoy the pictures we have been taking over the last 3 months. Check them out here: