Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just a few more days in Germany

We have only two days left in Germany. My husband and I moved here almost exactly 3 and 1/2 years ago. It was kind of a fluke that we even moved here. A fluke or maybe part of God's plan for our lives. About 6 and 1/2 years ago my husband started working for the Corps of Engineers in Texas. Soon after he started he noticed the Corps had a department in Germany. We both joked about how cool it would be to live overseas, something we both wanted to do since we were in middle school.

One day my husband saw a job open up in Heidelberg, Germany with the Army. I said with excitement, "that's great! Apply!" time passed and the evening the job closed he said, "the job closes tonight, I need to apply for it." I told him it was really late and he could always apply for another one. He said it would only take 5 minutes. This is coming from a man who is very detailed and perfectionist. I told him to go ahead. He literally was done applying in about 5 minutes. I really couldn’t believe it. Granted he was very well qualified and most of his resume was already in the system. 2 months after he applied, we arrived in Germany, a country we had never been to before.

We have had a great experience in Germany but have also endured many challenges. Some of my friends have lived in Germany for 6 or more years, others have only been here a few months. Others have lived here their whole life. One verse that I really relate to is Jeremiah 29:11.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

The background to this verse is that a number of Jews were uprooted from Jerusalem and exiled to Babylon. This had to be very disruptive to them. Many of my American friends in Germany can relate to the Jews Jeremiah is writing to in the sense that they didn't have a choice to move here. Others of us made the choice to move to Germany and encounter the challenges that come with living in a foreign land. And some of you have lived in Germany your whole life. Never the less, I think we can all relate to this.

God's message to these people was to go on with their lives. They would encounter hardships. But that didn't mean they should give up. They were to work hard, have children, live with the people and seek the welfare of the city where God sent them into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For these specific people God had plans to return them to Jerusalem and to fulfill His promise to them. Many of us who live overseas will one day return to our home country, whether that is the U.S. or somewhere else. God didn't make a promise to us about where we would live. However, I believe God has plans for each of us. He has a purpose for us. But what does God say we need to do? We need to pray to him, we need to seek him. He says in verse 13: "you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." I want to encourage you to seek out God. To learn about Him, lean on Him during difficult times and lean on Him during joyous times. God wants a relationship with you. God loves you and sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to die for you. There will be times that you feel lonely or maybe afraid. Pray to God and ask Him to comfort you. Lean on each other.  Surround yourself with loving friends. There is no way I would have made it without my dear friends in Germany. When we arrived 3 and ½ years ago I only knew my husband. Now I am blessed to know people who have or will live all around the world. No matter where you live, you don't have to walk this life alone.
I don't know what God has in store for us in Texas.  But I trust Him.  We are praying that God uses us to bring glory to Him.  We are truly blessed to have been able to spend these last 3 and 1/2 years in Germany and are forever changed because of it. 

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