We celebrated Thanksgiving as a team this Saturday. I’m including pictures from that event as well as pictures around our village, Le Rouret. Scroll below to see.
As I write this, I am thankful. I am thankful for our home church. We just finished watching our friend JR Vassar (see quote of the week on the lower right) preach about the community of the cross on DVD. I can imagine people spying on us in our home. We are sitting on a couch and a chair, singing about the wonderful cross, the trembling mountains, the holiness of God–with hands raised to the ceiling and hearts full of the majesty of God. It almost hurts too much to say how deeply we miss worshipping with our home church. DVDs are terrific, but they aren’t the same as community.
JR concluded his message about the community of the cross with an illustration. He was in Hawaii on a rock outcropping about 35 feet above a pool of water. The worship band with him decided to jump. He said no way. Eventually, though, he decided to take the leap. “Sometimes, you just gotta jump,” he said. I feel that way today. We have jumped. Into France. Into risk. Into the unknown. And yet He still calls me to jump–into relationships, into looking silly with my French, into connecting to people I have yet to meet. Risk is a risky thing. I’d rather pace the edge, make excuses for my lack of leaping, and walk away–all the while justifying myself.
But God calls me to leap. To feel nothing but air beneath my kicking feet. To trust that under the air is a Hand, a holy Hand that catches me. I am thankful I serve a God who beckons me to leap, who longs to see growth in me, who knows that pacing produces spiritual stagnation.
After the sermon, Aidan came up to my writing nook. He began to cry. “What JR said? I don’t want to be the same anymore. I don’t want to be addicted to video games. I want to follow Jesus. I mean, I asked Him into my heart and I got baptized, but I haven’t told others about Jesus. I want to. I want more Jesus in me than me.” We hugged and prayed for Aidan to take the leap. I am thankful for his dear, tender heart. And I can’t wait to see the adventures Jesus takes him on as he takes a step off the cliff.
I am thankful for turkey in France, that there was something familiar we could tether ourselves to here. Cranberries. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Pumpkin pie. Sweet potatoes. Though we have leapt off the cliff of life in Texas to the unknown life in France, God is sweet to remind us of home. Playing football with our team and eating pie together was a link to home. Yet, we experienced these alongside French friends. We are creating a new home here, day by day, ritual by ritual, tradition by tradition.
I am thankful for Julia. She lost her tooth this last week. What a delight it was to see her wiggle the tooth and then giggle when it loosed its hold. Our little bunny is growing up. She exudes life. She sang worship songs with us today with such vigor I wanted to cry.
I am thankful for Sophie who keeps sharing Jesus with her friends. “I want them all to know Him,” she told me today. “It will be hard, though.” I love her heart, her desire to love Jesus even when it hurts. In many ways, she takes the leap every day when she steps off the city bus.
I am thankful for Patrick. He is strong and gentle. Courageous and tender. Hopeful and attentive. I can barely remember life without him.
I am thankful for countless people who have loved us well, emailed and phoned deep encouragement, sent us care packages. You have made taking the leap a little easier.
I am thankful for the church planting team God has assembled here. I am thankful we are not doing this alone. I am thankful for every child on our team, all who have taken their own leaps of faith this past year. The children are my heroes.
I am thankful mostly to Jesus, who took the leap before me, stepping from the beauty of heaven to the dregs of earth to become a sacrifice for humanity. The only reason I can leap, or be thankful, or rejoice is because of Him. His sacrifice. His risk.
Hoping I’ll always take the leap for His renown,