Tom asked me to speak to a seniors’ luncheon Tuesday on how our years in Europe had impacted me. I tread softly into those memories. After being back in the U.S. these five years, I continue to find it difficult to live in the today. I think that is why I named my blog–ajourneytonow. Some days I can’t find me in the now. I left pieces of my heart strewn all over Vienna and Copenhagen. And oft times I want to return and pick up the pieces.
No doubt, you have had a sense that you were in the right place at the right time; and you were, oh, so happy to be there. How much stronger that joy when the place and timing were fitted into God’s eternal purpose and plan. From the beginning, Tom and I knew we were placed in Vienna for just that time, sharing His life with peoples of the world. Truly a God moment.
Childhood visions of being a missionary to Africa floated in and out of my life through years of marriage, ministry and the raising of four children. Forty five later God moved us to Vienna and brought Africa–and the world to me. He gave me a desire for the peoples of the world a long time before, and then, in His time . . .
Packing up and leaving our home in June of 2000 was no problem. Saying good-bye to six grandchildren was a bit more difficult. But if I had not been willing to do so, I would have missed the privilege of hugging the colors of the world. (and when we returned home ten years later, we had twelve grandchildren. God doubled our riches!)
Those years of living and loving in Vienna, Austria, and Denmark softened my heart for the world. I cannot hear of a tragedy on the daily news without a reminder of a sweet heart I loved. Remember the morning we learned of the Malaysian plane, the MH370, missing and no one knew how, where or why. I was numb for days. When a list was given of all nationalities on board, I saw a face of someone I knew. Because we had met, known and loved a heart from every country that was on that plane. (And now again this week, one hundred and fifty international lives have been taken on the French mountains. Emotions rage for their lives-lost. )
I am often asked what I miss most since returning to the states. My heart wants to cry out the names of everyone I knew. But I answer quietly. Color–color in church worship. During those years in Vienna we experienced worship with people from more than eighty countries. I remember the first service at the International Baptist Church in Vienna. We joined hands, shades of brown, around the simple sanctuary. That moment the Lord whispered, “This is how heaven will be, Barb.” Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. Somehow I felt at home.
But it is today; Now. I am here–not there. And I really do live in the moments. Well I try. Just this morning eleven– —–11 wild turkeys were right out my window. (Click on picture to count them all.) You should have heard me squealing; I love how God sends visitors to my yard. What is amazing in this –last spring 11 baby poults came often for breakfast. These are possibly the same ones-now grown and back in time to mate. Is that not incredible? (Another blog–later)
God continues to ready us for the desires and dreams he placed within our hearts years ago. He is not finished–He will fulfill His purpose for me, for you. My life verse, Philippians 1: 6 confirms this truth. “For I am confident of this one thing, that he who began a good work (in me) in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” How awesome is that.
Dreaming for tomorrow, but living in the Now . . .
(a note to my faithful blog followers: How I appreciate you. I often stress over writing weekly, because I think any good blogger will surely do that. I decided early in the week I cannot continue in that pattern; it raises my blood pressure 🙂 I will blog when I have something to say and only then; I never want to write just for the sake of writing. That would bore you. If the Lord whispers an imperative lesson to me, I will share. Thank you for following–you are my inspiration.)