It’s been twelve years since we were in Europe. This is incredibly hard to believe. We traveled there annually for years, touring musically in international churches and enjoying time with Patrick’s family and in his native culture. But, as we attempted to return in 2012, plane ticket prices doubled. We have tried several times through the years to get back over the pond, but the door has never opened to us.
Patrick received a grant through the Indianapolis Arts Council to put us back on European soil in 2020, but Covid reared its ugly head. It was devastating to lose that trip, and even more so to lose Patrick’s father, Christian, a few months later. The girls could’ve finally gotten to know their grandfather on that trip, but it was not to be.
Lillie had traveled abroad five times before age four. The last time we were in Paris, we sat on a picnic blanket in front of the Eiffel Tower eating pastries on her fourth birthday. If we had known we’d not be back for twelve years, we’d have been heartbroken. If we had known this trip was the last time we’d be with Christian, the sorrow would have been unbearable. And, how does one go so long without returning home? My husband, of course, finds his home wherever we are, but country living in the midwest is hardly a substitute for his beloved Paris.
There are so many ifs, ands, and buts to recount over this past decade: however, we are on our way back this August! It will be a whirlwind adventure through England, France, Belgium, and Romania. We will spend some much-needed time with Patrick’s mother and brother. William is fighting stage-four cancer, so we cannot wait to squeeze him and offer our prayerful encouragements.
Ifs, ands, and buts concerning this trip bounce around in my noggin every day as we prepare to be gone a full month:
1. What if-we-had-known moments will we learn this time?
2. What ands and buts will there be on the journey?
3. Can we stay healthy?
4. How will we afford this?
5. Will all that we leave behind be okay back here?
When we doubt or fear or find ourselves anxious, rather than listen to ourselves, we must speak truth to ourselves! I remind myself daily of these realities:
1. Christ knows what’s around the corner, so I don’t need to know.
2. Christ allows hiccups for our growth, so I can face them confidently.
3. Christ gets to choose the ifs, ands, and buts, so I need not fear.
4. Christ is my Provider, so I can rest.
5. Christ holds all in His hands, so I’m not responsible for what I cannot control.
We are abundantly blessed to have this travel opportunity, and we covet your prayers over us. We will be ministering musically at the All Saints Church in Marlow, England, and at the International Church of Bucharest. May Jesus Christ be praised in every scene, even, and especially in, the ifs, ands, and buts.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:4, 5)
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