Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Love Lost

Love was lost and my pain ran deep.  My white satin gown would not be worn.  Unloved and unwanted I wept over a wedding cancelled.  

Love and trust in my heart toward God were replaced with anger and fear.  Who is this dangerous God?  Why did he let me fall in love with a man who would revoke his affection for me?  God’s heart toward me couldn’t possibly be good. 

The weight of the nothingness that surrounded me was unbearable.  I couldn’t convince myself of the truth.  I had no faith of my own.  I was blind and I couldn’t believe God liked me. 

But then, Christ.  

No, He didn’t take away my pain and he certainly didn’t make me happy.  Instead, Christ Jesus wept with me and in His weeping, prayed the words I couldn’t pray.  He taught me to flee from myself--to run away from my faith and to be embraced by Him that He might share His faith with me.  

For Jesus had already entered into my blindness.  He had already felt the full weight of rejection and suffered the pain of wondering if His Father had left Him alone.  And from the middle of my blindness and confusion, Christ Jesus believed God.  In my flesh, Jesus commended Himself into the loving arms of His Father.  

Having had faith in my darkness, Jesus shared Himself with me.  And in tangible ways, no less!  What my mind doubted, my mouth tasted in bread and wine.  When my faith faltered, Jesus let my fingers feel Him giving Himself as I tore bread from the loaf.   

In the midst of nothingness, I lacked no good thing.  Possessing nothing, I had everything.  Christ withheld none of Himself from me.  While I continued weeping, Christ continued sharing His vision of the Father with me.  

And so we weep.  
And we taste His goodness in our weeping.  
And we rejoice for Christ Jesus will not cancel The Wedding.  
He will marry His Bride. 
And every sad thing will be untrue. 

And all things will be recreated.  

Friday, February 20, 2015


You lengthen the
as You lengthen my

And I control the one only as much 
as I control the other--
that is,
not at all.

So would You please come?
Meet me in my folly
--in dust and ashes--
and let me feed on You.

As you make the days
shine Your Light into
my darkness;

As you lengthen the 
Lord, lengthen my

Friday, April 18, 2014

When Holy Week is Lived

On Sunday Christ weeps.  He sees Jerusalem and cries out for the Israelites know not the way of peace.  They long to be freed from their human oppressors; they cling to their victim-hood and want only a messiah who will punish their perpetrator and bring about what they call justice.  They will kill the messiah who comes to bear all people’s sin, for in his naming their sin, they are unmasked. 

On Thursday Christ gives.  He breaks the bread which is his body.  He passes the cup which is his blood.  He gives because he has given himself.  And he will give himself.  God and man have been reconciled in his person.  And God and man will be reconciled. 

On Friday Christ bears away.  He has borne our sin as surely and as soon as he assumed our fallen flesh.  And now, on the cross, he bears it away.  Sin is crucified.  Death dies.  And death will die.

On Saturday, silence as we wait.  Long silence. Loud silence.  And we will wait.

On Sunday Christ creates.  Our flesh made new!  The firstborn of all creation.  Humanity recreated and restored.  Reconciled to God in the incarnation.  Reconciled to God in the resurrection.  He has been raised.  And we will be raised.

Christ has borne our sin and he has borne it away.  In his life, death, and resurrection, he has bent our alienated, distorted flesh back to obedience in adoration.  Our fallen humanity, which he assumed, has been reconciled to God from cradle to cross, from grave to resurrection.  

We’ve been included in his weeping.  We’ve received from his giving.  
We’ve died in his dying. We’ve waited for his coming. We’ve lived in his living.  
We weep.  
We receive.  
We wait.  
We die.  
We live.   
We will weep no more.  We will receive in full.  We will never die.  
The wait will be over.  We will live forevermore in Life Himself.

The resurrection opens wide the gates of suffering, promising we will live though we die. 
Suffering can kill us because it cannot kill us.  
We can weep bitterly because we will not weep.  
Pain demands to be felt, suffering demands we allow ourselves to suffer.
Feel, love, you are allowed to feel.  The cross and the resurrection say, freely feel what must be felt.  The resurrection frees you to suffer all the way to the grave, dear. 
The agony of the cross is not erased by the joy of the resurrection.  Don’t erase it.

Saturday is for suffering, brother.  Saturday is for suffering, sister. 
Saturday is for participating in Christ’s suffering.  
When Friday steals your words, Saturday is for silence.
Because Sunday will come. 
But Sunday never steals Saturday’s silence.
He likes your silence, for there he speaks.
While you wait, weeping will do.  
What cannot be said will be wept.*
So weep.
And he will speak.  But first there will be silence. 

Death spoke and she has been silenced.  Death speaks and she will be silenced.  
The Word has spoken the final word.  And the Word will speak the final word.  
And death has died.  And death will die.  

Already. But not yet. 
So we weep.
And we rejoice.
And we are called, Sorrowful yet Always Rejoicing. 
Your heart must sing an honest song.  
Let it sing the honest song of sorrowful yet always rejoicing. 
Already, but not yet.  And we’re tired of the not yet.
So we say Maranatha. 
Come quickly Lord Jesus.

East of Eden and West of the New Jerusalem hurts like hell.  
But in his great mercy and kindness, Christ gives himself to us-and in tangible ways, no less.
Word.  Baptism.  Supper.  
He lets us taste and see that he is good. 
What grace in giving us creaturely means of being nourished by him 
so that when our hearts hurt so badly,
and our minds doubt what is true,
and our faith falters,
all that we lack is given to us--truly given--to see, and smell, and touch, and taste.
And we lack no good thing.
For Christ is ours and we are his.
We’ve heard the gospel in the preached word.  
We’ve felt the gospel all over our bodies in baptism.
We’ve tasted the gospel in the bread and wine.
We’ve received the gospel.  We’ve received Jesus the Christ.
We came to the table with nothing. And received everything.
And we lack no good thing.

Is your faith weak, brother?  
Flee from it and into the arms of the Faithful One.
Is your heart riddled with unbelief, sister?
Flee to the Believing One.
He has risen.  In your flesh.  
His repentance is yours.  His obedience is yours.  His life is yours.
He is yours; and you are His.
He has gathered you up into himself.  And he will never let you go.  
He loves you more than he loves himself.   
He has willed to not be who he is apart from you.
And he will not be without you.

Saturday is long.  And the silence is loud.
But all shall be well.
And all shall be well.
And all manner of things shall be well.** 

How great is your goodness
that you have stored up for those
who fear you...
You hide them in the protection of your presence. (Ps.31)

When Friday hurts,
and when Saturday is silent,
and while we wait for Sunday to come,
we are hidden in the protection of his presence.
We are hidden in Christ.
And we wait.  Weeping.  Glad in him.
Sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

Because he will heal the broken hearted.
He will bind up their wounds.
He will save those crushed in spirit. (Ps.34)
Indeed, all of the promises of God 
are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor.1:20)
We will be healed.
We will be bound up.
We will be saved.

The life of God has been opened up to us.  Christ has taken on our flesh and he will never be apart from us.  God and man have been forever united in the God-Man.  Our fallen flesh has been borne and borne away in the person of Christ.  Jesus of Nazareth has curved our broken bodies back into gladness, back into obedience, back into thankful worship, back into relationship with the Father.  

Incarnation.  Death.  Resurrection.  Ascension.  
Reception.  Participation.  Awaiting consummation.  

And we who are called, Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing,
cry out together, Maranatha, Come quickly Lord Jesus. 

*Sappho, a Greek Poet.
**Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Looking to Life Himself

The following is the manuscript for a sermon that I wrote for my Message Preparation for Women course.  I've adapted it slightly, changing some parts and including only what is necessary to communicate my main thoughts.  May you know, as you read, that Christ meets you in your suffering and declares to you that He is your life.  Not in an abstract way but in the most literal way possible;  not in a way that changes your circumstances but in a way that means you are going to make it.  

"Looking to Life Himself"

       Most, if not all, of us know the pain of God not telling our stories in the way that we would.  To borrow the words of my pastor, God is not telling a story of a boring elevator ride to the top, rather, He is using your life to tell an epic.  God’s stories for our lives lead us through valleys and graveyards--scary places where we would not dare to go ourselves.  But it is in these places that His glory is made manifest;  it is in these places that our once joyful confession that “God is good” is uttered through bitter tears but with a new sweetness and honesty for we’ve tasted and seen that it is true; it is in these places that we are able to believe, against all our circumstances, that He really is trustworthy, for He’s continually given Himself to us in our darkest hour.  

God told Joseph’s story by way of a deep pit and a dark prison cell.  Daniel’s story involves a night in a den with hungry lions.  God used the death of Ruth’s husband and a journey to a land where she was an outcast to show Himself faithful to her.  The Israelites wandered in the desert and suffered exile even as the chosen people of God.  

God writes our stories dangerously in ways that we do not understand that we might cling to Him as He displays His glory.  When our hearts are weak and riddled with unbelief He lifts our chins and bids us gaze upon Him.  Let us turn our attention to John 11:17-27 where we will see that because Christ Himself is our life, we must look to Him in the face of death.  

John 11:17-27.  
When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem (about two miles away). Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary remained seated in the house.
Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”
“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus told her.
Martha said, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who comes into the world.”

Mary and Martha’s story involves the agonizing pain of the loss of their brother.  When Lazarus became ill, verse 3 tells us that Mary and Martha sent for Jesus telling Him, “Lord, the one You love is sick.”  Jesus responds in verse 4 declaring that Lazarus’ sickness “will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” However, Jesus delays His coming and Lazarus dies.  Verse 17 tells us that it was four days after Lazarus had died that Jesus finally showed up in Bethany where they lived.  Surely this is not the outcome Mary and Martha would have chosen;  surely they would have written their story differently.  They knew Christ loved them for as Calvin notes they “explain their trouble to [Jesus] intimately and look for relief from Him.”  Nevertheless, Christ does not respond immediately and Lazarus dies.  Here we take note of our first point:  Christ’s actions are delayed for His ways are not our ways.  

We know that Christ loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus for verse 5 explicitly declares that this is so.  We cannot assume, therefore, that Christ’s delay is a lack of love.  Calvin shows that we are “taught by His delay that we must not reckon the love of God by the present state of things.”  In other words, His ways are not our ways and we cannot measure the love of God by our circumstances or by our perception of His response to them.  Our suffering may obscure His goodness or His love but it in no way changes it.  He remains loving and Calvin reminds us that “although He may delay, He never sleeps, nor is forgetful of His own. And let us be quite sure that He wishes all whom He loves to be saved.”    

We all know the agony of not understanding His ways.  We know the pain of waiting for Him to respond when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death.  Some of us even know what it is to be angry at God because His actions are delayed and He is not coming quickly enough to rescue us.  Hasn’t He said that He has come that we might have abundant life?  Isn’t His heart toward us good?  Didn’t He say we would be victorious over the evil one?  

If you've lived long enough you know, like me, what it is to wonder why Christ delays rescue.  If you've suffered deeply enough you know, like me, what it is to be angry at Him for not coming through for you like you expected Him to.  Most of us know what it is to wish we could understand His goodness light of our circumstances.  Christ’s actions are delayed for His ways are not our ways.  

I am sure Mary and Martha knew these feelings of frustration, confusion, and sorrow all too well as Christ had not come through for them as they anticipated.  When Lazarus had been dead four days and Jesus finally was on His way, the text says Martha heard that He was coming and she went out to meet Him.  By examining the interaction that ensues between Martha and Jesus we can take special note of two extreme responses to suffering.  This brings us to our second point: we often swing between unrestrained faith claims and unbelief of Christ’s promises.  

Martha meets Jesus and wastes no time before saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Yet even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”  While commentator’s opinions differ over what the posture of Martha’s heart is behind these words, all agree that Martha’s words are riddled with grief.  Calvin’s interpretation of Martha’s response is faithful and instructive in our own response to painful circumstances so it is to his commentary on this encounter that we now look.  Calvin describes Martha’s response as a lament in which she modestly makes her wish known.  He continues, saying that in speaking like this Martha gives way to her feelings rather than restraining them under the rule of faith.  Acknowledging that her words came partly from faith, Calvin suggests that “disorderly passions” were mixed with this faith causing her to go beyond proper bounds.  Her confidence that Lazarus would not have died does not come from any direct promise of Christ.  Martha has “fabricated for herself a hope out of her own thoughts.”  

And so have we.  Disaster strikes and we make lists in our minds, or if you’re like me on paper, of how Christ should come through for us.  We tell Him how things should have played out and take hold of promises He has not made.  As Calvin teaches, ascribing to Christ’s power and His supreme goodness of course proceeds from faith, but when we persuade ourselves of more than Christ has declared, we are no longer talking about faith.  Calvin says, “We must always hold the mutual concord between the Word and faith, lest any should fabricate anything for himself apart from the Word of God.”  When we suffer, of course we should look to His kindness and goodness and remind ourselves of the promises that He has made, but let us not, in our grief, make for ourselves promises that we think He should hold to.  

This looks like learning that Christ’s goodness to me does not require Him to respond how I think He should;  it looks like not molding His promises into what I want them to be in my grief.  It means believing in the dark that Christ is good regardless of my circumstances.  For some of us this looks like not requiring Christ’s power to mean He must heal the sick one we love or that He will give us the job we are convinced that we need.  Certainly sometimes He gives us these things in His kindness, but just as we cannot measure His love for us based on how quickly He responds to us, we cannot measure His love for us based on the way in which He responds to us.  

Christ’s reply to Martha is short and sweet.  He looks past her grief ridden words and says to her, “Your brother will rise again” to which Martha replies, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Leon Morris states that Martha’s response indicates she finds cold comfort in Christ’s words for she had probably heard this frequently from those trying to console her.  We could liken this to hearing “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him” over and over by well meaning brothers and sisters who are trying to comfort us in our pain.  The day of actually seeing His goodness seems excruciatingly distant yet we respond that we agree though it is hard to really mean it.  George Beasley-Murray says Martha simply states the belief of the people.  She knows what she should say and she says it regardless of how much comfort she really finds in the words she speaks.  

Have we not done the same when we half-heartedly repeat the truths of Scripture that we think we should be proclaiming but don’t have the strength to really believe?  We find ourselves saying things out of obligation rather than out of freedom.  Calvin says that here Martha’s excessive timidity shows itself as she weakens what Christ has said.  Swinging from the opposite extreme of making up for herself “a hope out of her own thoughts” Martha is now hesitant to believe what Christ is promising her.  Calvin instructs us to not drink in empty hopes that are apart from God’s promises but also to not let our hearts be blocked up or shut too tight when He does speak.  

Maybe when faced with suffering, your response was not to lament greatly and make up for yourself promises of God.  Maybe instead, you heard what He was truly telling you and you weakened His promise out of unbelief.  I have known that weakness too, the weakness of wanting to believe that He is going to do something good but in fear of disappointment refusing to actually believe.  Could we liken this to a child who pleads in tears for something from her parents and when they promise her more  than she even asked she hesitates to believe that they are telling the truth?  Have you been in a painful place and read or heard a promise of God that you know is “Yes and Amen” to you in Christ Jesus but you find it hard to receive this promise based on your present circumstances?  

We, like Martha, often swing between unrestrained faith claims and unbelief of Christ’s promises.  All of us can relate to one of these two responses of Martha and some of us know both responses all too well.  And Christ’s response to us is the same as it was to Martha, that is, Jesus directs us to Himself for He is our life.  

Verse 25 is where we find the text for this final point; where I imagine Christ placing His hand under Martha’s downcast chin and gently lifting her head causing her tear filled eyes to meet His loving gaze as He says to her in a soft but convincing voice, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die--ever.  Do you believe this?”  

Jesus redirects Martha’s gaze from that future day which promises life to Himself for He is the substance of that life.  Beasley-Murray writes, “the eschatological rule of God for which Martha hopes, with all its blessings for humankind, is vested in Jesus.”  The resurrection of which the people speak and for which they long is the very person of Christ.  Morris beautifully states that “Jesus is bringing Martha a present gift, not simply the promise of a future good.”  Christ promises Martha nothing outside of Himself, nothing abstract from His very person.  He says to her I am.  I am the resurrection you long for.  I am the life you long for.  Calvin teaches here Christ is declaring that He resurrects dead hearts and sustains them with His life.  However, Calvin does not doubt that Christ meant to include a twofold grace in His words.  He writes, “[Christ] describes in general that spiritual life which he bestows on all His own; but He also wants to offer her a taste of the power which He was soon after to show in raising Lazarus.”  Christ declared to Martha what was true about Himself and He planned to show her mightily.  

Jesus’ question for Martha when He had finished telling her who He is as the resurrection and the life is a haunting one.  When we place ourselves in Martha’s position realizing that we too have been disappointed by Christ’s delay in our lives and have responded with unrestrained grief or with unbelief, this question penetrates deeply into our hearts.  We hear Him asking us along with Martha:  Do you believe me?  

I remember weeping in my bed at the end of January swinging violently between unrestrained grief that caused me to ask God questions I never imagined I would be asking Him and unbelief that made my heart despair and hearing Jesus say clearly to me, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  My crying ceases for I cannot deny this.  He didn’t reprimand me for being desperately sad.  He didn’t promise me the circumstances I wished for.  He didn’t even say that one day I’d be with Him and everything will be ok.  He pulled me into the present moment, lifted my downcast chin, causing my tear filled eyes to meet His loving gaze and He said, “I am.”  The reality of who Christ is for us and in us as our life doesn’t change the painful reality of our circumstances but it does mean that everything we need is given to us because Christ gives us Himself.  

Our stories are painful.  God is using our lives to write exciting epics that go through dangerous places.  He often delays His actions because His ways are not our ways.  And we often respond badly by believing things that aren’t true and then refusing to believe what is true.  But although Christ actions may be delayed, His presence never is.  In the graveyard He is there weeping with us waiting to lift our chins that He might say to us even as death surrounds us, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

May we be people with faith like Martha who, beholding Christ, confidently say, “Yes, Lord. We believe You are the Messiah, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Regensburg; A Beautiful End to A Beautiful Pilgrimage

Psalm 25

LORD, I turn my hope to You.
My God, I trust in You.
Do not let me be disgraced;
do not let my enemies gloat over me.
Not one person who waits for You will be disgraced;
those who act treacherously without cause will be disgraced.
Make your ways known to me, LORD;
teach me Your paths.
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
I wait for You all day long.
Remember, LORD, Your compassion and Your faithful love,
for they have existed from antiquity.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
or my acts of rebellion;
in keeping with Your faithful love, remember me 
because of Your goodness, LORD.
The LORD is good and upright;
therefore He shows sinners the way.
He leads the humble in what is right
and teaches them His way.
All the LORD's ways show faithful love and truth
to those who keep His covenant and degrees.
Because of Your name, Yahweh, 
forgive my sin, for it is great.
Who is the one who fears the LORD?
He will show him the way he should choose.
He will live and good life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret counsel of the LORD 
is for those who fear Him,
and He reveals His covenant to them.
My eyes are always on the LORD,
for He will pull my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am alone and afflicted.
The distresses of my heart increase;
bring me out of my sufferings.
Consider my affliction and trouble,
and take away all my sins.
Consider my enemies;  they are numerous,
and they hate me violently.
Guard me and deliver me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in You.
May integrity and what is right watch over me,
for I wait for You.
God, redeem Israel, from all its distresses.

I had returned from my free week in Nice, France.  It was time to settle in Regensburg for 3 weeks;  and that meant settling into a new Psalm.  I picked Psalm 25, and settle I did.  While traveling throughout Europe and asking Jesus where to camp out in His word, I found that every time I went with where I felt He was leading me, the Psalm corresponded perfectly with what I was going through.  He taught me so tenderly;  I love that He knew exactly what I would be going through and what I would need to hear Him say while I walked.  

While I sat on "my" bed at Lauren's house before leaving for Europe, Jesus clearly gave me Psalm 84.  He told me to set my heart on pilgrimage.  He said in that Psalm that those who trust Him are happy.  I trusted Him.  I set my heart on pilgrimage.  And He was right--I am happy.  

From Italy to Switzerland, Switzerland to Germany, Germany to France, and from France back to Germany He spoke to me.  He reminded me of things I already knew and showed me things I didn't.  This is the main thing He taught me (and He used a Skype date with my mom to tell me):  

Make your ways known to me, LORD;
teach me Your paths.
Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation.

He teaches us things by guiding us through them.  He taught me His way by walking down a difficult path with me.  When we look back up at verse 3 we realize that we can walk confidently because:

Not one person who waits for [Him] will be disgraced.

So, we trust Him.  We set our hearts on pilgrimage.  And when the path gets difficult, we realize He is teaching us.  He will guide us and as we wait for Him, we will not be disgraced.  

The following are some pictures of my 3 weeks of settling into Regensburg with 17(+) of the dearest friends I've ever had.  During the entire 3 weeks that I was in Regensburg I took about the same amount of pictures that I took each day in Rome.  Nevertheless, these pictures capture the rest, the routine, and the beauty that was extended time in a delightful German town with incredible friends.

Pictured below are Hannah, Megan, and I on one of our many grocery store trips.  Nothing better than a room full of German cookies, candy, and coffee drinks for study time and late night snacks.

Hannah, Megan, and Becky.

Hannah and I spent many afternoons "reading" in our room.  (In her defense, she did read for a while before her nap.)

Becky and I after biking to soccer to watch our friends play.  What a fun bike trip!  I'm so glad she led the way.  

I learned so much in Europe.  I might even argue that I learned to love coffee.  But if I did, those who tasted my "coffee" would declare (probably rightfully) that I learned to love hot milk and sugar.  Call it what you may, we all loved our coffee--hence the 7 mugs I collected from our room one afternoon.  

Hannah and I bonded over this bag of assorted cookies.  She introduced me and I was hooked.  We bought 5 bags and ate them all (with help from friends, of course).  We each rated all 7 cookies from best to worst and would retrieve cookies for each other according to number.  Here's a little example of what a cookie conversation between Hannah and I would have looked like:

Me: "Ugh, I am so tired of reading Grudem right now."
Hannah:  "Want a cookie? That will make it better!"
Me: "Of course I want a cookie."
Hannah: "Which ones do you want?  I'll grab them for you."
Me:  "I think I'm feeling 1-3-1-1-4."
*Hannah knows exactly what I mean and brings me my 5 cookies thus enabling me to continue reading  joyfully.*

Hannah, I miss our cookies.  We'll have to find an American equivalent.  

McCafe study date with Becky and Jin....

...and Megan.  Oh and Grudem--so much Grudem.  

Gelato.  Obviously.  

More McCafe to celebrate Megan's birthday!  Oh I am so glad she was born!  And so glad we are friends!

Every time I post pictures and write about them I get a little embarrassed about how much coffee I actually consumed on this pilgrimage across Europe. #worthit  #especiallybecauseofthefriendsIenjoyeditwith

Wandering around Regensburg looking for snacks...

...we decided on bread and gelato.  Typical. 

Many afternoons were spent reading (and napping) by the Danube river.  This little beach was across the street from our hostel.  So many good conversations had, good music listened to, and good books read here.  

A glimpse at Regensburg would not be complete without a "studying picture".  Taking Systematic Theology was probably one of my favorite parts of this entire trip.  "Theology done rightly sings Jesus Christ is beautiful" (Dr. Clark).  That statement is true, and Dr. Clark proved it.  

On the Saturday before we left we took a boat to this German temple/museum, hiked to the top, and enjoyed one last adventure together.  

French fries on the boat ride back;  because that's how we roll.  

Sunday night--dessert in Regensburg.  

An early Monday morning goodbye to the ever-amazing Kelley.

Some last friend pictures...

...two long plane rides...

...and a reunion that made every minute worth it.  I'm so thankful for my parents who sent me on this European pilgrimage--they grace me beyond what I deserve.  (By the way, I had been waiting for that dad-hug since Wittenberg.)

And my mom.  In flesh.  Available to talk face to face.  Oh, I love her!

I am thankful.  
I am thankful that mom and dad sent me to Europe.  
I am thankful for each of the beautiful ones that I met.  
I am thankful for how each one showed me a little bit more of who Jesus is.  
I am thankful for all the memories we made. 
 I am thankful for all Jesus walked me through and all He spoke to me as He did.  
I am thankful for the classes I took.  
I am thankful for the food I ate (especially at Casa Cares in Tuscany), for the coffee I drank (in Switzerland), and for the candy I consumed (in Germany).  
I am thankful for many conversations had with wise friends.  
I am thankful for community and the love and learning that was fostered as we all did life together, pilgrimaging through Europe.  
What beautiful memories made with beautiful friends on a beautiful continent.  
I am forever thankful.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Holidaying in Nice


  [nees] / [nēs]
a resort city on the French Riviera, near the boarder with Italy, in southeast France, on the Mediterranean.  pop: 348,721.

Yes, Nice is a resort city on the French Riviera.
Yes, Nice is near the Italian border in southeast France.
Yes, Nice is on the Mediterranean Sea.

However, I want to tell you more than that.  So much more.  I want to introduce you to my friend Megan with whom I journeyed to Nice.  I want to tell of how we got to Nice and I want to share some of our favorite French adventures.  I want to declare Jesus' faithfulness to me while I traveled in Europe for a week with a beloved friend.

But before I proceed, I want to make sure you are rightly pronouncing the name of this resort city as "niece" and not "nice" (like a synonym of "kind").  For without the knowledge I had from watching the movie Killerz and Megan's help I would have surely made this spelling/pronunciation error.  I just wanted to save you from making this same mistake (grin).

This summer has been full of traveling.  From Chicago to Paris, Paris to Rome, Rome to Naples, Naples to Tuscany, Tuscany to Milan, Milan to Interlaken, Interlaken to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Wittenberg, Wittenberg to Berlin, and Berlin to Regensburg.  We were in Regensburg for one week to finish up our second class before we all scattered to various places on the continent for a week of freedom to travel anywhere we wanted.  Several weeks ago, Megan Sherrill and I made a decision;  from Regensburg, Germany we would venture to Nice, France!

We bought our plane tickets during a break in our Pauline Epistles class in Tuscany.  We were absolutely ecstatic--in just a few short weeks we would be setting off on what would turn out to be one of the most exciting adventures of our lives!

On July 4 we headed to Munich where we had dinner at a "beer garden".  Well, I had a Coca-Cola Light and Megan had sparking apple juice, but it was a beautiful beer garden, nonetheless.  

Kelley brought us to the Munich airport where we would sleep in order to fly out the morning of July 5.  We didn't want to mess with getting a hotel, and (more honestly) we wanted the adventure of sleeping in an airport.  A HUGE thank you to the ever-wonderful Kelley for brining us to the airport, showing us where to sleep, getting us settled with a treat at McDonalds, and honestly, just loving us well.  We are thankful for her!


Megan and I read our last European Reformation book together at McCafé before heading up to a closed restaurant to sleep.  

 We each choose a booth to sleep in.  At one point I woke up and peeked under the table to check and make sure Megan was ok--indeed, she was.  In fact, she was sleeping so peacefully I had to take a picture.  

The next morning, we got ready in an empty bathroom and headed to Terminal 1.  We made it through security, freshened up with gift shop perfume samples, and waited anxiously to get on our plane to Nice!

It was 1 hour and 15 minutes from the time our plane landed until Megan and I were laying on the beach, watching other planes fly in over the ocean.

Out exploring Nice and grocery shopping for the week.

Diet Coke and ice-cream.  And two loaves of french bread, in France.  Yes.

The first night that we were in Nice, we discovered something that words almost cannot describe:  Nice at night.  We both fell in LOVE with Nice at Night.

I sat and gathered good skipping rocks in my mom outfit (which I didn't realize was a mom outfit until I saw the pictures from the night.  Ha!)

Day 2 at the beach.   

Bahia Hotel.  Our home for the week. 

We both fell asleep by the pool.  I woke up panicked because I had no idea how long we had been in the sun.  Then I saw Megan sound asleep. Upon seeing her I got my camera out as fast as possible.  

Booshie mirror picture before our pizza picnic.

Pizza, Sparkling Apple Juice, and Chocolate Cupcakes.  

This is a more realistic picture of our picnic:  struggling to rip the pizza apart because of our lack of silverware.  

Day 3:  Adventure to Cannes (pronounced "Con").  We found the bus to Cannes, picked a stop, found a map, located the islands we wanted to make it to, and wandered around asking questions and enjoying Cannes until we found the ferry!

Tickets for the boat ride to St. Honorat Island!  

Hundreds of yachts park between St. Honorat Island and Margarita Island for a day of swimming and eating delicious French food (the food part is just a guess). 

The ever-lovely Megan.  We walked around the edge of the island exploring old monasteries and chapels.  

Among the old monastery fortress and chapels was this modern day monastery.  We even saw a  real live monk!

 "Access reserved for monks"

Megan and I would both tell you that this was a perfect day wandering around a perfect island.  

And dinner at McDonalds in one of the wealthiest cities on the French Riviera. Classy, I know. 

All day long, the Lord was our helper.  We had a little difficulty finding a bus back to Nice, but He LITERALLY helped us and we were thrilled to be home safe. 

Beach Day 4! 

The night before we left we got Chinese to go and ate on the beach.  

Midnight swim! 

Our travel from Nice back to Regensburg, Germany was nuts.  We were thoroughly delighted, therefore, to enjoy Starbucks on our long train ride "home".  

We stayed in a hotel in Regensburg on our own and the next day we were beside ourselves with excitement to see our friends again!

We made it.  From Regensburg to Nice and back to Regensburg again.  It was relaxing.  It was exciting.  It was beautiful.

Megan, it was something MORE than a delight to meet you and to travel to France with you.  Guess what?  We'll always have Nice! :)