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  • A Tiny Bit on Leaving Germany & Bonding as a Family

    I'm typing this as I sit on the couch in a one room flat in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany. It's the night before my little family embarks on a road trip to England. Finally, this isn't just a visit. This is us moving there — moving to my husband's homeland, my daughter's other citizenship, and the country that has enamoured my heart for as long as I can remember. 

    It feels surreal to know I'm going to enter the UK from the ferry trip across the English channel and have no time limitations on how long I stay. It feels surreal looking down at my face and name on a German residence card and to be entering England no longer as a tourist but as a German resident with "family member of a (European) Union citizen" written on my card — a distinction that gives me the ability to also reside in the UK. 

    My residency in Germany these past 6 months has been a prerequisite to living in England that we chose — a route we felt best suited our journey. We never knew it would take 6 months for a residency card to come through, but sometimes things are different than we expect. 

    I don't know that I can neatly summarize my experience living in Duisburg, Germany and what I'm feeling on the eve of entering my "promised land." It wouldn't fit in a neat little list like I tried in my post at the end of December. It's been far too messy and all over the place for that. 

    I'm also not fully sure of the reasons why things went the way they did here that were opposite to what I desired to happen. We have been living in a lot of waiting, which we understood to an extent in the beginning. But not finding purpose and structure like we had in mind when we decided to come here made the waiting harder. We utterly underestimated the way adjusting to a new culture would make finding the things we'd always found easy and natural (like building community and feeling connected and being fruitful, productive parts of that community) become such struggles.

    At the same time, we weren't forgotten or overlooked. Our life and the people in it just became really concentrated — something we've never experienced since we've always lived with an abundance of people around us. I never knew how language and cultural barriers could make such a difference. I am so grateful for how God weaved a few families into our lives, though. They know who they are, and what they have meant to me. 

    The most beautiful thing that I have come to understand from this time is the rare opportunity my husband, daughter, and I have had to bond. David and I both saw up close and personal how our little girl grew in these months. It was the 3 of us almost all the time doing everything together. I can now see that this season was a gift to us as a family — a place to cultivate a strength as a father, mother, and daughter. I'm excited to see the result of this bond play out for us in our future. 

    Though it feels like there is so much more to unpack from this part of my life — how it stretched me as person so much further out of comfort zones I didn't even know I had — perhaps these things will come up more clearly in the days to come. Perhaps there will be moments like, "Oh that's what that was for."

    Until then and to end this post, I'd like to share some lyrics that catch the spirit of what I'm feeling in this moment. Two songs from the latest Future of Forestry album seem to nail the end of this season and begininning of the next one so beautifully:

    THE WAIT IS DONE
    Eric Owyoung (ASCAP Real Boy Music 2016)

    From the gorge to the highlands
    How this trip’s been a long time coming

    In conversations past the burning sun was setting
    Behind the golden skies the stars did shine

    In debts resolved your pain is gone
    So long in waiting
    The wait is done

    In still of night, lights aglow
    The heavens open
    The wait is done

    ON GIANTS SHOULDERS
    Eric Owyoung (ASCAP Real Boy Music 2016)

    Come to the water at the riverside
    Quenched from the desert that you came from

    Kings of the earth came with their vanity
    Came placing their wagers on their mortal ventures

    Your heart has brought you to this land
    You’re standing on a giants’ shoulders
    Your heart has brought you to this land

    Where your love is strong and bolder
    Your heart has brought you to this land

    The beauty of a heart for others
    The day that you arrived

    You knew that you could ride
    On Giants’ shoulders

    Ancient pathways stretch from shore to sky
    And fathers look deeply into their children’s eyes

    Your heart has brought you to this land
    You’re standing on a giants’ shoulders
    Your heart has brought you to this land

    Where your love is strong and bolder
    Your heart has brought you to this land

    The beauty of a heart for others
    The day that you arrived

    You knew that you could ride
    Oh...On Giants’ shoulders