Do you ever go from moment to moment wondering how you got there? What made your life go from a 55 MPH cruise drive to passing someone on the interstate at 85? The last few months have been a slow acceleration. Our French has begun to progress! It doesn’t seem insurmountable every day now. Bart is in the B-2 level now, and I have moved up to A-2! Verb Conjugation continues to be my biggest struggle. Our class hours have changed again, and Lucas has finished his first school year…so our days keep shifting back and forth from schedule to schedule. We were so very blessed by La Maitresse at school, as she cared so well for Lucas while he was there. Hosanna is growing so fast and she is developing her primary language very well! She explains herself more and more, describing situations or people. Both the kids have grown accustomed to walking quite a bit every day as have Bart and I. Some days we literally can’t figure out how time passed so quickly because we are always going from place to place. We have learned better ways of shopping, and though we aren’t eating market fresh every day, we are very excited to have balanced our budget and figured out how to spend and save accordingly. It is unbelievable that we have been here for 6 months in the end of July. We can’t believe how fast time continues to accelerate.
Bart spent many days in the last month bouncing from place to place in Lyon, and even taking an overnight trip to Paris in order to try and get paperwork organized for French aid for this pregnancy. It has become even more complicated (as we are told is often the case in France) in a matter with birth certificates having necessary markings specifically for the French government. Thank you to our families and friends who have helped this process go easier!! You know who you are and we couldn’t do this without you! Please pray that we would be able to provide the necessary documents for this as it would be tremendously helpful. I am constantly reminded of the servant I have for a husband and how blessed I am that God has given him the gift of language. Bart has been in many situations that would have overwhelmed most new language learners, and I am always amazed at the peace God gives him. We both feel so much more at peace here now.
I think we have all come over a huge hill of culture shock. Though pregnancy adds a fun twist in things, we again, are constantly asking for God’s grace in the rough days. We are very excited at the new life growing that will be joining us in December. Each week we feel a little more prepared. Though there is a beauty in Lyon, extraordinary and unique, it is hard to feel like we belong here because we know it is only for a short time. We rejoice that we are here for this season, and know that God is definitely growing us in unique ways. We continue to grow relationships here with people at church, and people we regularly interact with. I have a love/hate relationship with the metro because now that summer has arrived there are often many mosquitoes just flying about…waiting for my blood! We have each made our own separate large blood donation to the French mosquito population. Thus said, being on the metro is a really cool experience for me. I love seeing such a conglomeration of people. Students, families, old, young, and hundreds of different colors all board the metro every day. Sometimes I just people watch. The accents are overwhelming, and sometimes so are the smells! Yet watching how different people interact to different situations, is a powerful way to understand cultural faux paus, etiquette, and even to learn the basic responses.
A couple of days ago we went to visit a beautiful park in Lyon. The park has a zoo as well, including a big open area with Emu’s and some deer that borders a small playground. While we were watching the deer, Lucas dropped his Camelbak water bottle down into the area. We knew that if Bart hopped down into the area it would be culturally impermissible, and that the kids and parents around would be very upset. It might seem like a silly thing to be upset about, but they take their water bottles everywhere. They were given to us by friends in Dallas whom we love a lot, and we knew that if we could, we needed to get it back. So Bart went in search of a facilitator, but lo and behold it was Sunday and all the offices were closed. Our American minds switched into action and we knew that buy the morning the bottle would be gone. Surely someone would steal it. Though it wasn’t in our gumption to jump the fence we KNEW that someone would. It began raining shortly after we got home that night.
That night, as we were preparing for bed, I gave the kids a chance to pray as I do every night. I opened it up and said “Do you want to say anything to God tonight?” Lucas has been saying “I am waiting for God to finish putting something in me to give back to Him.” For several weeks. I have been encouraging Lucas, but giving him space. Hosanna has been praying a similar thank you prayer each night. This night was different. Tonight, when Lucas responded, I prayed that God would use something as seemingly silly as a water bottle to draw my son to him. I asked that God would show Lucas that He is listening, by helping Bart find the water bottle the next day, knowing full well that Bart wouldn’t be able to get to the park until noon. It continued to rain.
That morning Lucas and I prayed again that Bart would find the water bottle where we left it. When Bart arrived home at 12:30 he played it smooth. He was drenched because the torrential downpour that had begun that morning had surprised him without his umbrella. Answer to prayer, Bart arrived at the park, found the woman in charge of the animal pen right away, she said that she would look right where he said and immediately found the bottle. When we told Lucas and suggested he stop to thank God for helping him he was glad to do so! Then this evening when I asked if he had something to pray for, he said “We HAVE to remember the water bottle prayer!” He then prayed a very sweet and rather lengthy for a 3 year old, prayer! He thanked God for going with his daddy to find the water bottle. He thanked Him for bringing it back.
So to some, it may seem like a silly water bottle, but to my sweet little boy who has changed houses and friends, who is learning (that’s right, it has to be learned) how to live a life of constant transition, it was his hope that a big God loves Him. When we jumped in puddles last night and he was afraid to go to bed later, I told him that the same God that was with Him jumping puddles, was with Him in bed. His response “Mommy!! If God jumped in a puddle it would make the giantist splash!!” He is so right. When God leaps into our hearts, when He fills us up with puddles of love that others walk through, and splash and play in, He makes a giant splash. Right now our splash is here in France. We are splashing those around us and being splashed in return. Right now I am praying that you would feel that love from God and rejoice in it, regardless as to what may be tromping through you right now. Let that love bring you peace.
In His love