The Last Eighteen Months…
One of the best things I’ve been able to participate in since we’ve arrived in Germany is the Tuesday morning Bible study provided by the PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) on base. It has allowed me not only to fill my time with directed Bible study, but also introduced me to Godly and encouraging women who have all, at one time or another, been in exactly the same place as I find myself in now. Many a foggy German morning I have sped down the autobahn, eagerly looking forward to good food, fellowship, and in-depth study of God’s word.
The study started in early March, and at that time I had little else regularly scheduled during the week, so PWOC was something I looked forward to greatly. The first few weeks of the Bible study I arrived so full of need and desperate for friendship and encouragement. As the weeks passed by, those needs were met above and beyond my expectations. The days became filled with coffee dates, lunches, encouraging Facebook messages, and meeting familiar faces while shopping. Last week I was outside the base coffee shop enjoying the elusive German sun and in the space of an hour, saw five friends from PWOC, one of whom sought me out to give me some books before she headed back to the States. As I sat in the sun and sipped my coffee I reflected with gratitude that where three months ago I knew no one, now I saw familiar faces on every corner. Truly time heals.
(Protestant Women of the Church temporarily residing abroad in Spangdahlem, Germany)
The Bible study we’ve been studying at PWOC is Beth Moore’s “Children of the Day” an overview of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. Whatever you may think of Beth Moore, I can only say that her study has encouraged me more over the last three months than anything else. As we reached the end of the study, Beth asked us (through the medium of her written words) to reflect on the last eighteen months of our lives to see how God has grown us. She asked us to write down the date that was eighteen months ago. For me, that was December 30th, 2014. And that was when all the craziness of my recent life started.
Little would I have known, on December 30th, 2014, that two weeks later my beloved grandfather would pass away. I would be about to start my final semester of college in a few weeks, and little would I know that in two months I would be engaged to be married to my beloved (now) husband. Little would I know that I would graduate five months from December 2014 and then work through months of stress as I adjusted to post-graduate life, as well as planning a wedding and a move overseas. Little would I know that after a wonderful wedding and two weeks of marriage, my husband would leave for four months of training six states away. Little would I know that in a little over a year from that date, I would leave the States with my husband and move into a place where few people spoke my native tongue, and everything was strange and unfamiliar. Little would I know that the first three months of living overseas would be the most challenging of my life. Little would I know how much I would grow. How much I would be forced to rely on the grace of God to get through each day, and his faithfulness to guide me when I couldn’t see his grace.
Little would I know on December 30th, 2014 how insanely crazy the next year and a half would be. But what is the saying? “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” That’s true enough.
I don’t know what the next eighteen months, or even eight months, or even eight days holds in store for me, but I know that my God is good. I remember in my prayer for the dedication of our senior class gift during my commencement that “God would guide our future as he has our past.” Many things change, but I know that truth will remain.