Monday, November 7, 2011
I'm sitting in my room, taking in the delicious smell of the bread that Madam R made earlier, sipping on some Infusion Pomme Cannelle (Apple Cinnamon Tea), and nibbling on my latest replenishment to my chocolate stash. Every time I go to Carrefour (our local supermarket), I can't help but buy a different chocolate bar. The goal? Try every chocolate at least once. Never mind the fact that there's an entire aisle. I've taken it upon myself to perform this important task so that if ever I receive visitors and they think they might to try some chocolate, I can give them a helpful evaluation of the best chocolates in the store. Important business, you see.
Tonight I am filled with so much peace and stillness. I can hear the clock ticking in the bathroom beside my bedroom, the low hum of the news on the television downstairs, and the occasional dripping from the faucet. Stillness. Resting. Peace.... Those words mark my time here so far. Sometimes I feel like God called me here simply so that I can learn to be in His presence all day long. At times I don't always feel extraordinarily useful. I still haven't been able to tell anyone about Jesus. I haven't gone above and beyond in serving anyone I've met. I still don't know that many people. And my French skills? We shan't speak of it....
Sometimes I find myself viewing my relationship with God as a spiritual checklist. 'First I need to knock a few things off the list before I can have good fellowship with Him.' But that's not what it's about. My primary purpose and focus on earth is not completing a list, however good I think those things on my subconscious to-do list are. My primary purpose and focus is Him. And so He is teaching me to toss out the list and sit at His feet. He's teaching me to stop focusing so much on what I can do for Him, and start focusing on Him. He is teaching me just to be with Him, to talk to Him, to learn from Him, to read His love letters to me, and to enjoy all the many wonderful blessings He sends my way every single day. He's constantly, gently reminding me that He's already paid the price that I could not pay.
And as a result? Peacefulness. Contentment. Calm, deep joy. Stability. My first weeks here have been nothing like I've expected. I'm still waiting for the culture shock. I'm still waiting for those moments when I look around me in frustration and wonder why I ever decided to leave my own country. I'm still waiting for that feeling of being absolutely overwhelmed because I have no idea what I'm doing. It's true, I don't always know what I'm doing. But it doesn't overwhelm me. I haven't panicked. I haven't regretted my decision to answer the call. I have contentment and stability, because He is teaching me to look to Him for every answer, and He is always faithful.
Oh His faithfulness. I could write a thousand books about how faithful He has been to me since arriving in France, during fundraising, when He called me here.... my whole life. It still seems so surreal that He faithfully provided through His saints everything that I needed to come. He provided my place to stay, and already I have three different people to talk to one-on-one every single week. He's provided me with all the grace and faith that I need to get through each day. He's provided people for me to love and pray for. He's given me fellowship with other believers here in France too. He's been so faithful. But the best thing He's given me by far is Himself, His presence. I love spending time with Him.
And now my heart is bursting and I search for the words to tell Him how much I love Him, how much I'm grateful, how much I never want to leave this very moment because being here with Him is the best thing ever. And oh, if you could feel the joy I feel when He tells me that this- being with Him- will go on and on for all eternity. Heaven's going to be so good, friends. Eternity is so good. I never want to leave this moment of being with Him, and I never have to. That thought makes me so happy.
I hope you're filled with peacefulness today. The storm can rage and rage outside, but that's just fine for those whose houses are built on the Rock.