France 2: tears and jeers

DSC_0166.jpg

This is day two of my posts from France. Just reading these tear me up. I’m reminded of the loneliness, the pain. But I’m also reminded of the proximity in Jesus through it all. If you’d like the missing chapter of Thin Places that deals with the aftermath of service in France, sign up here.

***

It’s been a crying day in our home. Just a moment ago, Julia was crying from some sort of sisterly injustice. Aidan shed a few tears earlier. I think the fatigue of a day in French got to him. His issue was being a middle child, and all that goes with finding his way in our family, but I think it may be more related to his life right now. Sophie cried too because Julia accidentally hung up on Kate, her best friend from home.

Funny thing is, I haven’t cried. Not really. I wept a mountain stream when I left the States, especially when I had a brunch with all my friends. We spent time talking about our friendships and I had the privilege of telling each attendee what she meant to me and why I loved her so much. I sobbed the last morning at church, just spilled my tears all over the stadium seats. I couldn’t make it through the worship; the moment the music started I was a mess. My eyes stayed red the entire day. All I could think of was, How am I going to do this? How am I going to uproot again? Away from everything? Away from everyone?

My struggle of late has been this fact: my life is located several time zones away. When I wake up in the morning, I love that I have messages from friends back home. But once I’ve read them, that’s it (because they are asleep while I have my morning). I have to wait until 3 or 4 p.m. until the messages start coming again.

I know I will make friends here. I couldn’t live without relationships. But for some reason, this time I’m not plunging in as usual. I am trying very hard to grant grace to myself, realizing we have only been here three months and the culture shock we navigate is VERY thick. Still, I hope someday that my life will be in this time zone.

My weepy children are my example. Sophie has made some interesting friends and is so amazingly mature through this whole process. Aidan has connected well with others; his teacher recently praised him also for trying very hard in school. Julia is asking everyone she knows if they know God or believe in Him. Today she came home and said this: “Mommy, I asked everyone at recess if they believed in God. Everyone did! Except for this one boy. He put his middle finger up instead.”

How very brave my children are! How lovely that when they are sad, they cry. How surprising and delightful it’s been to see them bloom here, even as I’ve struggled.

I need to cry.

I need to risk.

I need to connect.

But even more, I need to rest. In the capable arms of Jesus who carried me here.