Ezering Along

I have recently started a new job in the sunny land of ENG, a.k.a, England.

Who’d have thought?

I’m not gonna lie, leaving France felt (cue exaggeration) like losing a limb. I can’t remember a time when I have cried so much over something. It was experiencing lack of direction, indecision, confusion and loss all at the same time.

Well, apparently, the old me already had a feeling that I would end up in England, because if you recall my previous posts, you’ll see I’ve written (joked ^^) about returning to the UK and working in my mum’s local Tesco.

Funnily enough, I’m not working in my mum’s local Tesco – yet again I’m working in a school. This time though, I’m no longer the teacher, but the teaching assistant.

Thank goodness.

I’m enjoying my more-or-less free evenings; last year’s constant lesson preparation and activity research but a distant memory…

How delightful it is to wake every morning. To wake early, with purpose. To have somewhere to be, people to interact with, and a LOT to learn. (Being unemployed was just a bit of a drag…)

This is what I love about the education environment: It feels a challenge. It IS a challenge, rather. Yet this challenge means that every day is a privilege, as every day, little old me gets to learn. I get to learn pearls of wisdom from other newbies or experienced professionals, from the children, or more often than not, from my own mistakes. And mistakes, my friends,  are proof that you are trying.

I’ve read the book Captivating recently. In the book, Stasi Eldridge explains how as women we are created to be helpers. When God made Adam, it wasn’t enough; Adam needed Eve! Eve is Adam’s helper, she is his “ezer”. Not only is “ezer” used in the context of Adam and Eve, ezer is used in the Bible many times, meaning to help (helper), or to support.  And as a Teaching Assistant, I am convinced that God is teaching me about having more of His servant-heart. A heart created for helping others, a heart which is ready to help others, and rejoicing in the work.

Don’t get me wrong – rejoicing in the work is easier said than done a lot of the time. The first few weeks of my new job were (and still have recently been) quite up and down, and I still do, and will of course, experience down days.

What has been an encouragement to me though, are verses which I have recently (re)discovered thanks to one of Alyssa Joy Bethke’s blog post, Psalm 84:11-12:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I feel as though I almost grasp something new, and then, unexpectedly, this exciting spark of something new, slips through my fingers. Whether it be a new experience, a different job opportunity, a new friendship, a new love-interest(ha!), a new hobby, or anything else, there are times when I feel like I’m missing out on what I’ve never had. Or almost had.

Then, there are the times when I dwell too much on missing what I once had.

So rather than seeing me feel all sorry for myself, I’m pretty glad that God chose to speak to me through Psalm 84, reminding me that He will “withhold no good thing” from those who continually seek Him. Psalm 84:11 confirms to me that right here, right now is where God wants me to be, and that right here, right now, is nothing less than His best for me. How cool is that!? And although sometimes I’m full of doubt, waking every morning with this encouraging truth does nothing less than lift my spirits, helping me to rejoice in the new day and in this current season of life.

So right now, let’s trust in His ways, and not miss out on our Father’s best for us. Remember His words (Isaiah 55:8):

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways

and be blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans better than her own

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps ~ Proverbs 16:9

You know when you’ve made a decision, followed it through and then asked yourself: Why EVER did I do that? WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?

Yeah, well, that’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now. Plus empty, albeit confused. Well, if you want to know how not to do something, you might be able to learn a trick or two from me. Sigh.

Last year, God blessed me with exactly what I wanted. ME. Little ole me. The previous year my heart had been set on going to France, and I hoped to be able to live with Christian girls in a Christian coloc. And what did He bless me with? A job in France, and a home with Christian girl housemates. And SO MUCH MORE.

He gave me the desires of my heart.

 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

Okay, so it was also partly difficult; the work was difficult. But everything else? Pretty much perfect blessings from God. And even the difficult work brought me blessings. So you might be able to understand why I feel confused – as I’ve kinda just walked away from all that. (WHY!?)

I even met a lady in my church on Sunday – a newcomer, new to the area. We talk for a few minutes, and then we stumble upon the fact that I’m leaving the day after. And what do I start doing? Trying to hold back a puddle of tears ready to spill over, I excuse myself. I’ve probably scared the poor family away!

Okay, so as people have said, the door to go back is still ajar. I could go back. Next week even – as I’ve ironically got a pre-booked ticket going back there next week. I honestly have. But now I have no idea where God is leading me. Taking a ‘leap of faith’ has resulted in me feeling like this. Totallyconfused.com.

Have you ever been in 2 minds about something? Or make that 3, no 4, no actually, 7?!?

But it’s promised – that God is not a God of confusion.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

1 Corinthians 14:33

It’s promised that when we are weak, then we are strong. That God didn’t call us to a life without suffering, without pain – but that He will be with us wherever we go.

But this doesn’t change the fact, that it’s still difficult sometimes. I’m just looking forward to when I can look back, and see what God has taught me through all of this. I just wish I could see God’s bigger picture now, and not just the one tiny puzzle piece that I see, which just doesn’t make sense on its own. Only in God’s massive plan does it make sense.

Leaving for France on Saturday morning, I read in one of my daily devotionals the following verses:

  • Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
  • [Abraham] did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
  • The children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord their God of their fathers.
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
  • Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
  • It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
  • The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
  • Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
  • There is no want for those who fear Him.

They remind me that I’ve got to continue to trust.

Here’s one encouraging blog post about a lady and God’s plans for her: https://lifeasfine.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/not-my-plans/

Plans better than her own.

On The Other Side

On the megabus travelling from Cardiff to London today, I had time to write a few words of reflection. Here they are.

The weather is a little horrific. Grey skies. Raindrops running down the glass windows of this megabus coach. Rain. Wind. Wet roads. Big puddles. Welcome to the UK. In November. Or rather, in my case, it’s see ya later alligator. I’ll be back in just under 2 months.

I’ve had a really lovely 10 days away from Franceland. One hard thing was not seeing everyone who is so special to me. But in Cardiff especially, there are many who are so special to me, and in just a few days I didn’t have time to see all of those whom I store loyally in my heart.

In any case, I spent a few lovely days with my dad, little brother and sister, as well as a night with my nan where I caught up with 2 sets of aunties and uncles too. Not forgetting my 5 days spent in Beds with my mum and sister, including a pleasant girly weekend with an aunty from North Wales.

Going back to France now, I don’t really know how to feel.

Firstly I hope I catch my eurostar in time. Still on my way to Llundain and it’s past 10am. My eurostar leaves at 12:58…it’s OK, we’re due into Victoria Coach Station for 10:30am. Praying!

So as I was saying, not really sure how to feel re.commencing Chapter 2 of my Lille life. Like a kid, I look forward to travelling on the eurostar again and get excited when I hear people chatting away in French.

Re.work though, I’m feeling a little more anxious about the whole thing. I’ve even had a nosy on job sites to see a bit what’s out there – if I don’t survive past January.

I would love to stay in Lille for the whole year as planned. I’m just not sure I can hack teaching for the whole time. Perhaps throwing myself in the deep end wasn’t such a good idea.

Anyway; amidst my many blessings I am in a certain way unafraid. I have many security blankets – them being my friends, family, in Wales, UK and even in France.

One little nugget of information for you: over my time away, I met a Christian. Apparently only a Christian for the past 2/3 years, he admitted to me something about God –  ‘I live because of Him, and I live for Him’. He said this to me, unafraid and self-assured. It was touching!

Challenges will arise in this life, wherever I am, wherever we are.  And God is there in every one. He knows about every one. It’s our attitude which we must adapt.

Although things may be grey. Rainy. Albeit, horrific. God sees the bigger picture. We will have trials on this earth – but remember- this earth isn’t our home! Our eternal home and treasures are with God in Heaven – there is another side.

She is fierce

La déclaration d’amour

As I take the metro so often to travel to and from work and the like, I picked up one of those handy free metro newspapers. Inside, I read about a guy who made a video about his love for Lille, his homeplace; the video is about his having left Lille, but taking with him all those special memories, places and people.

Read the article here (in French): http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/region/a-lille-plus-de-32000-internautes-ont-deja-succombe-a-ia19b0n2401414

And here’s a link to the video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOm0Ps2Ydcc

If you understand/are learning French, I recommend a watch! 🙂

 “Il n’en revient pas lui-même. De retour dans sa Lille natale après avoir passé dix années à Paris, Alexandre Contart, 36 ans, a mis en ligne, le 18 septembre, un court-métrage de cinq minutes, dans lequel il déclare son amour pour la capitale des Flandres. Une semaine après, la vidéo a déjà été vue par plus de 32 000 internautes. Le début d’une jolie romance”

You’re uncomfortable? You’re evolving.

My three weeks in Lille so far can be defined as such:

Week 1: Croaky voice

Week 2: Sore throat (+ ulcer)

Week 3: Sniffly nose

Animal-wise this is how I’ve seen myself:

Week 1: Frog

Week 2: Ill Frog

Week 3: Frog turned Elephant

I wonder what Week 4 has up its sleeve.

Thankfully, my doctor in France didn’t hesitate to hand me a tissue when I welled up and then provide me with this impressive lot: a throat spray, paracetamol, a kind of syrup, and even a nasal spray.

NB: The title of this post – just some advice from my funny father.

Ah, bon?

Now I’ve started I just can’t stop. Blogging!

Just thought of another gem to post. Can’t help it sorry!

Went for a bank meeting the other day, you know the good old open-an-account meeting.

So, my current landlord is a pastor (pretty cool, huh?)

I tell the bank guy this, because, why ever not. I had to show Mr. Bank Guy a proof of address doc. anyway, and my nice Mr. Landlord Pastor was happy to write a proof of address document for me, so he deserved a mention.

In response to my, ‘My landlord is a pastor’ comment (which may have looked a little strange to an outsider, but hey, ho), Mr. Bank Guy tells me:

‘There are no pastors in France. Only vicars and priests’

To which I replied, (perhaps too nonchalantly), ‘Ooh?’

I don’t think Mr. Bank Guy’s looked very far, unfortunately…

There is that apparent divide between Catholics and Protestants in France.
I guess Caths and Prots are not totally united in the UK either, but I feel the difference is a stronger one in France.