Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Light in the Darkness...

So, if we are being completely honest here, I may have complained once or twice (or 12 times) about the lack of sun here in the fall/winter.  I greatly underestimated how that change would affect me.  This week, however, God gave me a new perspective through a good friend.  I was sharing my struggles in this place of physical darkness equally matched by spiritual darkness, something I have never experienced in this capacity before.  Here were her words of wisdom and encouragement to me: 

"Can you even imagine what the Garden of Eden must have been like?!...or furthermore, what Heaven will be like?!...To be constantly showered by the visible glory of God and His beauty and goodness.  That's what we miss when the sun doesn't shine.  Our souls know very well His works are marvelous (Psalm 139:14).  We were never meant NOT to bask  in His glory.  It is utterly dangerous."  

Revelation 21:22-23 says, "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of the Lord has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb."  This passage is of course referring to the new heaven and the new earth in the end times, but it reminded me that in times of missing the sun, I can still bask in the SON.  His glory is enough to illumine in this darkness.  This week, Le Deluge got a beautiful showering of God's glory...

Most of the surrounding areas had zero accumulation, but our tiny town was covered in a blanket of white.  I believe God knew that our family needed to see His presence here with us. 

Romans 1:18-20: "For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

And now, the rest of the wisdom shared with me:

"Michelle, there you are in a nation that seems bleak and dark.  Isn't that when even the smallest light shines brightest?!  YES!  He knows exactly where you are!  And He knows exactly why you are bring light to their darkness!" 

"You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven."

Finally, I want to share an exciting opportunity that I have been given.  Just before coming, a member of our soon to be church here in France sent me an email and asked if I would be interested in taking over some English classes that she had been teaching on the weekends.  I started teaching our second week here.  I started with two small classes of 5 and 6 year olds.  Just before Christmas, I was asked to expand that by two more classes, one of sixth graders and one of two adult women.  I have already begun to see how God can use me through these classes.  Last week, I walked into the house and there sitting on the table was a book about how to talk to your kids about Jesus.  I began to talk with the mom asking questions about what they believe and she shared that they are trying to learn...WHAT?!  I was able to talk about my husband being a "pasteur protestant", and how we would love to talk with them sometime about what Christians believe.  Also, one of my adult students has already begun to open up to me about some family conflict which is pretty much unheard of here where people are very slow to share about personal issues with someone that they do not know very well.  I have been able to tell her just a little bit about what Brandon and I are doing here.  I truly believe that God has a bigger purpose for these classes than just teaching English and I am excited to let His light shine through us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Reminded of His goodness...

Sometimes you can't miss His goodness, even if you tried!

"So will My word be, which goes forth from my mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

This is the scripture that we heard in the sermon on Sunday. I, Michelle, took great comfort in it knowing that God has us here, for as long as He desires, for His purposes, which WILL be accomplished.

As thankful as I am to finally be serving here in France, we are still living a life in transition. I knew that would not change as we are still seeking the support that we need to remain here beyond this first term. Still, it stresses this type A planner out just a little to think that I have no idea what lies ahead for us. I'm sure God leaves me in this state partly to teach me to trust Him, always. Though I have heard this scripture referred to many times, I have never really read it, "...and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." God is using us, maybe for many years here in France (I hope so), maybe for a short time. Either way, He will accomplish, not what Michelle thinks should be accomplished, but that which He desires.

Thank you for being our rock and praying diligently for us. Here are a couple of things:
•             PRAISE: A friend from church is moving London and sold us much of her furniture at a great price, so we were able to save on buying everything new.
•             Now, we just need a place to put that furniture. We are waiting to hear about one potential house in our area for rent and are seeking other possibilities. We do think that it may be possible for the kids to remain in their same schools even if we move to a different district close by.
•             Continue to pray that God would put France on the hearts of others. We would love to see some people from BHBC at the Paris Prayer Conference in June. Also, we are looking to expand our contacts, so pray that God would go before us as we approach some new churches with the idea of supporting the work in France.