Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life Keeps Happening

Every time I try to write an update I feel like there is so much to write, yet not enough… It seems there is always something happening in the café. Today I looked at my calendar to try and put the next few weeks into perspective and I thought, wow how I am going to do so much. But, isn't that a great thing? That we have so much life in the café that we are having a hard time keeping up?! Our holiday season is starting and we have events and a concert and parties galore scheduled.  Many opportunities to connect with people and make a difference.

I have started having weekly Danish lessons. I have a private teacher that is meeting me once a week in the café. This provides a new challenge for me. But, I am glad that I have a teacher that will work with me one on one and will go at a pace slow enough for me to understand. After all, learning languages is not exactly my gift.

I had an interesting experience with a customer this past week. A woman came in and recognized me and I wasn't sure how I knew her. After a brief conversation we realized she taught for a couple months, the first Danish class I was in. Not sure if she counted it as a failure that I was talking to her in English. But, after a short explanation of where I have been the past 2 years she saw why my energies have been devoted elsewhere. We went on with our day, me taking care of typical café business, her enjoying her time relaxing in the café. When she left she made it a point to say goodbye to me and tell me what she thought about our café. She was very impressed by all we had and all we were doing for the community. She left the café feeling like she had truly found a place to rest and relax and where it ok for her to bring her daughter. She said she couldn't say what exactly what it was, but there was something here that made her feel at peace. And of course my thoughts were- it’s because we have asked God to be here. Another contact made, another life affected when she was just looking for a place to have coffee.

And that’s why we keep doing what we are doing, slowly building relationship after relationship. Just waiting for the moment we can, the reason this place is so great, is because we are here to be a blessing, we are here to show you real love, we are here to help you find real life.

Fall Lessons

Today I ran 4 miles. I have a confession to make. I have been very inconsistent with my running since my last race. I had weeks when I would get back on track and then I would fall off again when life got busy and I was tired in the morning, the cycle has continued for months. But the past couple weeks I have been consistent. I think moving and finally settling into a place where I feel home helps. And so today I made it 4 miles. I have written many sermons and lessons while running. It's when my mind wanders and is free to just flow. I am now living close to a big park that has a number of different trails that cross through the park and eventually end at a small bay. I have been picking random trails and just following them until I end up at the water and then I turn around and head back into the city. It has been a nice pattern. And then today I chose the trail of memories. You know these trails. I had walked this one before, with someone else and I ran passed the spots where special memories took place. But like life those memories that use to bring joy now bring pain. And as I rounded a corner coming out of the trees to the water I was blasted with a cold misty wind that reminded me- winter is soon around the corner. Turning my run into an example of life...

This Fall has been hard. Each week seems to bring moments where just breathing becomes an accomplishment. Personal pain has surged through my life. Busyness of cafe work has built up and created extra stress. And some days it feels like all I can do is just hold on. Just make it through the day accomplishing all of the tasks on the to-do list. But it is in those moments when we learn why we do what we do and where God is. Like my run this morning, I could choose to collapse in pain when I see the hard memories or I can continue down the trail one foot after another. Or when I turn the corner and face a blast of cold air I can let it push me back into hiding or I can continue on- one foot in front of the other. Whenever we are challenged in our life and ministry we have a choice. Do we let it knock us down or do we continue on, one foot in front of the other. Each trusting step guiding us forever forward and closer to the goal. But, we will never be able to continue if we don't know why we are running, why we are doing what we are doing. When life gets busy it becomes so easy to just go through the motions, accomplishing the tasks we have to and remembering to breathe, but we can not let ourselves get caught up in these situations because life is meant to be so much more than just going through the motions, just trying to survive.

Life is meant to be lived and it can only be lived fully if we are completely in the center of God’s will. The only way we can continue forward is when we know for certain what God is asking us to do. There have been a couple moments the past 2 months where I have seriously contemplated my call. Why am I in Denmark, working in a café? Why do I live without the regular safety nets that most people in their 30s have established? And why do I continue to walk this road alone? And as always my answer is, because God said so 3 years ago and He hasn’t changed the call on me yet, so I must continue to be faithful. Sometimes that faithfulness is easier then other times. When life is flowing smoothly, the run is on even ground and the knees don't have pain, its easy to remember to be faithful. But, then there are those moments when you feel forced to choose between something you love and the call God has made so clear to you. The moments where the pain of loss almost makes you consider abandoning your call. And that is when you have to just continue one foot in front of the other fighting the wind and pushing forward. And that is what God has challenged me with the past few months. Did I really mean what I said when I stood on a mountaintop overlooking an African valley or sitting in an office after a Sunday night mission service. Those big moments in my life where I said- ok God, I don't know what is going to happen, I don't know what you are doing, but I will go, one foot in front of the other I will choose You and the call you have placed in my life. And once again this Fall I have been challenged to say, God I don't know what You are doing, and I don't understand, but I will continue to work because that is what you have asked of me.

And so through the stress, busyness, and pain of life I have been reminded that it’s not about what is easiest or feels good, it is about continuing to remain faithful even when I don't see how God is working. And even though I don't know when the trail ends or even when it will become easier, I must continue on one foot in front of the other and build my strength in Christ, one mile after another.