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Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland, Hallo USA!

Mostly, people asked me, "Why are you/ did you come to Germany?"

But once someone asked, "Why did God call you to Germany?"

I value honesty, so the first question was very hard to answer at first. I didn't really know why I was going, and after I'd come I really didn't know why I had gone. But I didn't allow the questions to simply annoy me and roll off my back. Every time I was asked, I searched deeper into my soul. Why had I come, and what did I want out of this trip? I knew it from the very start, and yet I didn't fully understand the answer until weeks before I left Germany.

It was the last that bothered me the most, though. Because of my inability to answer the first, and because I knew God hadn't called me to Germany, but rather that I simply wanted to go, that last question forced me to wrestle with a more difficult question, "Is it wrong for me to do something out of my own desire if God hadn't asked something else of me?"

And if it was wrong, would I be punished for doing something out of God's will?

It's a tough question. But in order to answer it, I must return to the first question.

Why did I go to Germany?

Three years ago I thought I knew what God had for me. But I was wrong, and my world crashed and I found I had no dreams left to carry me on through life. Though an extrovert, I hate all people and just wanted to be left alone. And when I was alone, I hated to write. I pretty much just hated everything and had so much anger inside that I needed to release but couldn't figure out how to do so.

I had thought I knew who I was and what I wanted, but in a single day, I hated everything about me and my life. Weeks passed and the feelings wouldn't go away. I knew I needed dreams. I needed to find myself again. And so I went back to the time in my life where I was who I was because of no reason in particular; or because I simply loved life and the things in it. I returned to the happy memories of my childhood.

And with that came every childish fantasy and aspiration.

Somehow, above it all, the desire to go to Germany surfaced.

"I can't go to Germany," I thought.

But then, I remembered I had no dreams tying me anywhere. And so what some would call in a moment of rashness born out of immaturity and heartbreak, I applied online to be an Au Pair in Germany. I convinced myself  (and haven't become unconvinced since) that though I was was desperate to love life again, I wasn't acting irrationally. I wasn't just going to Germany; I was going with a purpose to serve and to love, to widen my world so that I might return to my small corner fuller and more at rest.

Going to Germany wasn't so simple, though. A couple years passed before I finally went, and before that, there were a few different families that contacted me. The first lasted only about a week as they decided to go with someone else, so I don't really count them. But the next one ... Immediately I thought they were the perfect family. They had six kids  (I was hoping for as many as possible), lived in the country, and just seemed so down to earth. But I wasn't able to come as soon as they needed me, as I was helping another friend at the time, then my dad was in a terrible car crash. So they chose another Au Pair. Nevertheless, we stayed in contact.

More than a year later we decided to see if we could make it work. But our video/ phone call appointments never worked out. And I never received a contract. And I was super confused about how the visa worked. I wasn't worried at first; I had already decided I liked this family. But then friends and family who already thought I was acting rashly said maybe I shouldn't go to a family who I'd never video chatted with.

I would have pushed away all the fearful concerns and gone anyways, but then another family contacted me. I agreed to a FaceTime and they actually showed up and were super nice. I could tell they'd be more liberal than I was used to. But I was going for an experience and to learn, wasn't I? That's all that mattered. Then they sent me a contract right away.

I took this as an easy sign, possibly from God. "Go with the family that's more organized."

Yet I felt very guilty when I told the larger family I'd decided to go with another. Before leaving, I talked with one of my friends. "I hope it wasn't wrong for me to change families. I feel so bad, but I was nervous about not Facetiming."

She told me to not feel bad, that it was ok. All the same, I wasn't so sure.

I'm still not sure if what I did was wrong or not, and if my first Au Pair experience was simply a punishment for that. Though, to be honest, I actually don't think God was punishing me; I don't think He much cared where I went as long as I was honoring Him above all. But I do value commitment and staying true to your word, and there was the possibility that I'd violated that. Even though those first two months were excruciating at times, I learned so much that I can't consider them a mistake, but rather a gift.

My first two months were showered in peace. I felt every last ounce of pain I'd had slip away, and despite the stress of the home life and being fired, I worked through many things and found myself again. Plus, I learned many practical things such as how to navigate a huge city and hang out with people way different than myself, yet find things in common.

I don't want it to be thought that I hate the first family. I don't even hold anything against them. I understand that what transpired between us wasn't me or even them, but stresses weighing down on them. I miss that family and those children, too, and hope to see them all again someday.

But I'm so grateful I was able to go to the second family, who was really my first Au Pair family, and the one I feel I should have gone to all along. Because while I may have come to peace with myself in Stuttgart, I settled fully into that peace and exploded into something so much more than I'd ever been before.

I didn't come to run away from heartache; But to give my heart a break and rest. I wasn't trying to run away at all, simply find my breath once more. And I was able to do that and then breathe fully because of the time I had in Germany. I do not regret having gone to Stuttgart, though it is Burgkirchen I will always miss. Stuttgart flushed Germany out of my blood, Burgkirchen placed people into my heart.

The last four months in Germany were bliss. Not just because I worked on health and fitness and joined a Wing Chun group. Not only because I learned new perspectives concerning life and law, or because I now feel recharged and full of dreams. Not because I made so many friends that will always hold someplace in the heart of my memories, and hopefully even my future.

Germany, especially the last four months were beyond wonderful because of the family I lived with. Because of how they loved me and gave me space to explore all the things I needed to explore. Because they taught me so many things simply through inclusion.

Sometimes I would hold children as they cried, stumbling over German trying to comfort them, often with laughter. And then I would think, "This is joy; that I am happy and so are they. Yes, we've cried, but we are laughing once more."

Sometimes the children would be annoyed at me and let out their insults, which could never pierce my non-caring skin. Their favorite was "Du bist Blut" (you are bloody/ dumb/ stupid). The first time they did it and I understood, I smiled and said, "Ja, ich bin Blut, aber auch glücklich." (Yes, I am bloody, but also happy)

The children laughed and after that would often say, "... aber sie ist immer glücklich!"

I really learned how to be happy when in Germany. And I believe it's hugely thanks to my Au Pair family; for giving me work to keep my hands busy, and space to find how I want to use my hands for the rest of my life.

And now we're back to that second question. Did God call me to Germany?

What I'm about to say is going to sound very controversial, but I do not believe God called me to Germany any more than I believe God willed for my life to be turned upside down, or for any of us to have pain. Bad things are not lessons from God, but natural or chosen consequences of living in a fallen world. Yes, God often will teach us good things in the midst of bad things. But only if we allow Him to lead us and teach us. For there are many who will not be taught, but only hold onto the bitterness of despair that life has taught them.

I do not believe God called me to do anything specific in my time of uncertainty. Only that He has called me along with the rest of the world to love others more than myself. I did not just go to Germany and run wild, I went with a purpose. That purpose was within God's will, and so I believe He blessed my trip. But I believe God gives us life and talents and tells us to use them for His glory; that doesn't mean He tells us how to use them, only that it glorifies Him.

It's wondrous, scary freedom He gives us. I can serve God in the USA or Germany or anywhere. I can choose which dreams to pursue, and which to lay aside for a time. Sometimes there are so many choices, with an unlimited amount of consequences and it is then that the burden of decision weighs most. But I would have it no other way, God if I keep close to God, even in hard things He blesses me.

I do not believe God called me to Germany, but that He blessed me there all the same. I do not believe God brought me to one person over another, but that he taught me many valuable lessons in every choice I made and in every conversation I had.

I believe God filled me with the peace and dreams I sought for, which fuels me for the decisions I now have waiting ahead for me.

What is something you want to do? What is keeping you back? Do you believe God calls and controls every area of life, or gives us the freedom to choose how to worship Him with dreams of our own? 


Comments

  1. These are such good thoughts! I do believe that God wants the best for us and will give it to us in ways that we don't expect. <3 I'm so happy that you found such peace in these last four months!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He definitely wants and gives the best ... But we have to accept it ;) Thanks!

      Delete
  2. I think people get so caught up in having a calling that they forget to live. You can serve God and honor him from anywhere. Lovely post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right when you say people get so caught up in having a calling. Thanks 😊

      Delete

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