Let’s Get Real…

Barcelona!  Here we are.  Here we have been, for just about 7 months.  And for me, I’ve mostly stayed quite, because quite frankly, for me it’s been a battle.  If you’ve talked to me for more than a minute, you know that I just say how it is… I’ve struggled to share my thoughts though, because I really don’t want is someone to take that as I’m not “happy”… but, happiness isn’t my goal anyway.  (My goal, is to be more like Jesus.)  So, as you read, please know that I, beyond a shadow of a doubt, know that we are right where we are supposed to be, and that brings me a joy that no circumstance can take away.  But here, on this blog,  I will be real in sharing my struggles, and victories and how God is revealing himself to me. And so…

The emotional struggle of the last 3 years, in getting to this place, Barcelona, is the roughest I’ve had.  And if you know me personally, you know, I’ve been through some stuff.  To name just 2, our house burned down 12 years ago, followed 4 years later by the death of my best friend.  So, I understood loss, or I thought I did.  In those cases though, the things that I lost were taken from me.  I didn’t have a choice in the matter.  The only choice I had, was how I would handle myself, after the fact.  And honestly, me and God, we did quite well.  Of course I had my moments of frustration and feeling of complete devastation, but over all, me and God, and my huge support system, we got through it, and I would even say, victoriously.

Making the choice to leave my cute house in Greendale, leave my job, our church, our friends, family and our girls … All a choice.  Granted, in the end, and I think it’s important to be this bluntly real about it, either we followed the call of God on our lives, or we didn’t…. and the choice to follow it meant the choice to leave everything we know and love on the other side of the world, 4, 385 miles away from Oak Creek Assembly of God (just to give you a point of reference), to enter into a life where we (thankfully) knew 4 people!

And so, the adjustment for me has been a little rough.  I miss my girls, my parents, my friends.  I miss driving!  I miss my job, my girls, my parents, my friends.  I miss my church, Target and Kohl’s.  Did I mention I miss my girls?  I miss walking into the grocery story and knowing exactly where to find what I’m looking for.  I miss being able to understand the street signs!

And I chose this!  What I’ve had to identify is that I am grieving the loss of all these things, and that’s okay.  What I’ve heard from the Lord, is that HE has to be enough.  My identity needs to be in him, and not in me being a mom, daughter, friend, pastor’s wife, teacher or anything else.  Jesus is enough, and my identity is in him.

So… let’s get to some positive stuff… What have I loved here?  I love meeting new people!  I have made a lot of friends, from all over the world.  My favorite connection has been my friend, Carola, who is from Germany, we met in Spanish class, and we are ever amused at the things that we are both familiar with because Milwaukee is a “German town”!

I get to minister to the kids at church weekly and in just the past few weeks, kids have noticed me around the church, outside of class, and waved to me or hugged me!

I have run into people from Milwaukee, like literally on the street.  Yesterday, there was a guy, from Spain, wearing a Milwaukee Brewers shirt!  It just makes me feel closer to home.

And, then there’s the view from our apartment… (see above pic!) Let’s just take a moment to enjoy the fact that God loves to love on us, and pays attention to detail.  When we arrived here, we started looking for apartments immediately.  I think we looked at something like 15 apartments in, in like 3 days (Thank you, Betsy!).  Let me just remind you, that we walk every where here, in 5 days we walked 40 miles.  Well, we walked into this one apartment, which was very nice, and clean, I walked out onto the terrace, and the view… amazing!  Not only was there the National Art Museum of Catalunya, which to me is one of the most impressive buildings in Barcelona, but standing next to it, is the communications tower that was built for the ’92 Olympics.  This tower was designed by Santiago Calatrava.  Milwaukee Friends, you know this name.  I literally was brought to tears when I saw the view.  And so, we moved in!  Every morning I wake up, and look outside to make sure it’s still there.  And I’m reminded how God cares about the details.  And even though, this sentimental girl got rid of a lot of her material possessions to move overseas.  God put a reminder of home, right “in my backyard”.

I know that God is faithful, but I love when he reminds us!

I’m thankful that His joy is my strength, and I’m thankful that He is ever with me.  (I’m glad Mark is here too!)  This journey isn’t easy, but I know it will be worth it!