Sunday, March 30, 2008

Trains, horses and taking Jesus to Nice

I hope everybody has had a good and blessed weekend. I've had quite an eventful one that I will not forget soon. I was finally able to do something I hadn't done since I moved to France. I took the train to Nice.... alone! I have to go to Nice to get some paper work done at the Dutch embassy. I had hoped that Raphael would be able to go with me to take the train for the first time, as I was really clueless as how to do this, but he works and the embassy is only open in the mornings. Besides that he was sure I would be able to take the train with no problem. I was used to taking trains in Holland and according to him it's the same thing. Well... I wasn't so sure about that... and knowing I had to do this had me feeling very anxious for a long long time. So Friday he reminded me that I had to get this done and how there was nothing to worry about... how it was really quite simple... but somehow his comforting words did not comfort me at all. For some odd reason I had fear that was beyond my understanding. It was unreasonable because why should I be scared? What was I so afraid of?... I couldn't come up with a good reason. My feelings of fear were so strong though that it was even making me cry... then out of the blue a friend calls to say something about the Bible study we are having at home, and in asking me how things were I shared about how I was planning to make this solo trip and it scared me, and what bothered me was that I didn't know why I was so scared... then my friend told me that I actually had good reason to be afraid... in fact, I had three things against me! This was a surprise to me, three things? What could they be? Well... my friend went on to share that first of all: I didn't speak the language well, and even for someone (my friend) that had been living in France before and spoke the language well (translator) it was still difficult. Secondly, France is completely different from Holland. I still cannot situate myself very well anywhere on the coast, things just appear much more complicated when you don't know where you are, things can even be complicated to those who have been living here longer than myself. Thirdly... I have a walking disability. It is not easy to get around, especially when I constantly have to look down to not trip over anything, and that as I have a neurological problem, my legs are very very sensitive to my emotions/feelings. If I'm nervous, my legs also get nervous and they either tremble or just appear to be loosing strength, which makes me even more nervous, which then goes back to my legs... and so on. So, according to my friend I did have good reason to feel as I did, it wouldn't be normal to feel otherwise.... and you know, that made me feel so much better. Why?... well simply because I know Someone who is very very good at handling difficult situations. See, if I have to depend on my own strength to do things, I know I will faint, I will go weary, I will age a hundred years... BUT... you know how I mentioned Deuteronomy 20 before? The chapter I said I like to read with a Scottish accent? Let me just share two verses with you.

¨When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Deuteronomy 20:1

When you go out to battle and you see that your enemy is greater than you... don't turn around and run away... no, the LORD your GOD is with you! Do I believe God is with me... yes I do! Why? I believe in Him. I used to have a quote, by Lewis, on a folder back in high-school that said... "I believe in God like I believe the sun has risen. Not because I see it, but because by it I see it all." I believe the Lord has opened my eyes to His truths, and I want to keep tasting and seeing more of Him. See... the world can say to me: "Depend on no-one but yourself. Believe in yourself! Be your own god! If you are nervous, take action! take a pill!" I could have indeed done that... but you see... I believe in this incredible God who has done extraordinary things... I chose to depend on the Lord, because I know that by doing so, He can do extraordinary things... that I could never manage to do in my own strength. Does it make me lose my identity, do I become a no-one... no, not at all... I'm unique, and my story is mine... that's what I also find so beautiful... when I meet other Christians I love to ask them about what the Lord has been doing in their lives, because they have such a unique story! Back to Deuteronomy....

"...Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you." Deut 20:3-4

I don't have to tremble, or faint, or be terrified... because God goes with me and He will fight for me... to save me. Speaking of pills... I don't have anything against some medications... in my case I know that for my anxiety I could have been given some because it was almost unbearable, but... taking them would go against my own personal belief that the Lord IS my strength and I do not have to fear. Please understand that this is the way I chose to walk with the Lord... To win a battle you had to have chariots and horses and weapons... the more the better of course. Even in these days of war it's clear that the bigger and more equipped your army is, the more of a chance you have to win the war. But Psalms 20 says... " Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7

There is nothing wrong with horses... with strength. There is nothing wrong with good health, or good foreign language skills... these can be good things to fight a battle with, if you will, but don't depend on them to be your strength, don't think that unless you have them you can win a battle... if you don't have them, like me, it's ok. God is with us :)

So, ok Jimena, that's all nice and all... but how did it go? Well... after praying with my friend, I also shared a bit with my youngest brother, who reminded me of this poem he likes, "Footsteps in the sand"... the one where during the difficult parts there is only one pair of footsteps walking... If you don't know the poem please go here :), if you do know it... then you can understand that I knew it was time to take Jesus on a walk. If I wouldn't be able to walk, He would. And off I went... feeling much better. :)

Bus I took to the train station in Cannes

Waiting in line to get my ticket...

My ticket!

At one of the stops...

Some people waiting for a train...

People walking by ... I like the reflection of the guy in the corner

At Nice! Seeing my train continue to Italy...

"Nice Ville" Station


Not sure what this was about, but the man was playing lovely French music :)

There was a free photo exhibition about women right next to the station.

Walking around looking for the embassy...

I ever found a Christian Bookstore.

walking, walking...

Pretty pink building...

Le Mozart...



Going back home... on the train :)

"We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God..." Psalm 20:5

Monday, March 24, 2008

"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46

Psalm 22

1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.

10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the LORD's: and he is the governor among the nations.

29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not weird, just different....

As I have been tagged three times to say 7 weird things about myself I suppose I should post about it. Problem is I'm having a hard time finding 7 weird things about myself.... I'll do my best though...

1. When I eat I calculate my bites in such a way that my last bite has a little bit of everything... (perfectly acceptable).

2. I like children's books... I borrow some from our public Media-library and then have my husband read them to me at night... (nothing wrong with that... after all, it's a good way to learn a new language)

3. I've been told that my house looks like a museum because of all the artsy stuff around. (a compliment)

4. Ok, I'll admit this is a bit weird... I like to watch my clothes tumble in the washing machine... it's relaxing, no?

5. I can make a satisfactory chicken sound.

6. I like to read passages like Deuteronomy 20 with a Scottish accent... (it somehow helps me live the passage... let me know if you tried it yourself)

7. I... and my husband invited everybody and anybody to our wedding... I met a lot of new people this way... like our school's lunch-lady's husband... he was very happy to have been "invited". Why did we do that?... the Lord invites everybody to His Banquet... He's an everybody kind of Person, His love reaches out to all... knowing this we too wanted to invite everybody to our church service and our reception... this caused some stress to our parents but we felt in our hearts that this was what we should do. We could afford a good meal for 75 people... but over 200 people showed up and all were invited to have a good meal and there were even left-overs! Besides family how could we judge some to be more worthy of an invitation than others? I was sorry not all my friends were able to make it because through the years I had lost track of them and couldn't reach them, but they too would have been invited if I would have been able to reach them... it was a fun day with people from over 27 nationalities who seemed to be happy to be there and share with us... even if I didn't know them all.

Well, those are my 7.... I don't really think any of these is really weird except maybe the washing machine one... call it, different if you will... ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oh my...

I know I have been gone for a long time, and I see that people still stop by and I'm sorry if you have stopped by hoping to see pictures and getting some news from me... I have been busy. In the last few weeks I (or we in some cases) have gotten x-rays, been on a Church Retreat, picked up my brother from Marseille, started a Bible study at home, have been trying to get a bit involved in our little community, finished my French course, watched my plants grow, seen prayers answered, was tagged three times, had people over for dinner or a night, was offered a free French lesson just ten steps away from home (5 steps if you are tall) and another French lesson by phone from my mother-in-law, saw my husband open a facebook account, started giving an English course by phone to a young Polish girl living in Paris, mastered yummy fluffy pancakes for breakfast, got three Wedding invitations, said good-bye to my brother ... and more! For this week besides home-work I have to ready myself to host one of our favourite guests, our youngest and sometimes more demanding guest, but I WILL be ready. I know what to expect now. Even though it has been busy I'm happy with what the Lord is doing in our lives and around us... and if I'm not happy... too bad for me, God is good and I have to learn to trust Him in all things knowing that He works for the best of those who love Him.

My blog has also been awarded twice by two sweet young ladies and this also slows me down a bit, because it really humbles me. One award was a "Blogging with a Purpose" award, and the other one was an "Excellent blog" award, and the reason it's humbling is because before I got these awards I never really thought about what the purpose of this blog was. I think one of my first posts was about a cat that had jumped in my backyard... and another one about having dinner with my mom and brother, and another one about all the chairs in my apartment. But well... after giving it a bit of though I believe this blog is hopefully about bringing glory to the Lord, and I hope that through my posts about my little life people can get a taste of how good and faithful the Lord is to me, that there is no sweeter thing than walking in peace with the Lord, through rain, storms, burning heat or in green pastures under a beautiful rainbow... and about being excellent? Well, if this blog is about Him, then sure... there is nothing more excellent than Him indeed! I want to thank sweet Kaysie and the lovely Courtney for these humbling awards... I think I have to pass them on to others? Hmmm... I think what would be fun is if all those that are linked on this blog could write a post about what the purpose of their blog is (if they haven't done so yet)... not just for me, but for all those who read their blogs. And then about being excellent... they are all excellent because that's why I link to them in the first place... but let me just say something about Kaysie. If you ever find yourself having one of those difficult dry days when all you really want and need is a nice cold glass of water, I would recommend drinking one of her posts... they are so refreshing! Every time I read one of her posts I feel so blessed and encouraged in the Lord. I am very happy to know Kaysie through her blog. She knows it is all about Him and reminds us to turn to Him for all things. Courtney on the other hand is more for those cold days that leave our muscles all tensed! Her blog invites us into a warm cosy home, where they honour God for all their blessings. I love seeing pictures of her family and it blessed me so much to just read about her life, her lovely family and... Christopher!!!! From the time that I have "known" her she has stood strong in her faith and in the last 2 years now I can see how the Lord has blessed her for her faithfulness. It's been a blessing to know these two ladies through their blogs, and it really humbles me that they would consider this blog worthy of a reward.

Well... I'll go see if I can post some pictures of any of the above mentioned activities that have kept me busy for the last couple of weeks. I pray that as you read this post the Lord will touch and comfort your heart.