Hi friends~ I made it back from vacationing in Germany, Austria, and Italy. As my eyes feasted on the beauty of the Alps, I felt the urge to twirl around like Julie Andrews in the opening scene of The Sound of Music…
Look at God showing off. He did a fantastic job didn’t He?
Not only was the scenery a delight to behold, but the food was a delight to inhale. I could survive off German pastries, pretzels, and spaetzle!
This trip was also educational. I learned that:
- sitting in the backseat while two Air Force pilots with the “need for speed”*** drive on the Autobahn is quite… thrilling.
- the toilet seat in a German gas station WILL ROTATE around and around as a little machine cleans it. It’s pretty trippy to look down and see the rim rotating if you do not expect it to move. You do NOT want to be seated on the toilet when you flush it.
- I need to watch out for frogs on the road while driving through Bavaria. Apparently, they are rather large and have caused accidents and fatalities. So beware of the frogs.
- chocolate Haagen Dazs stains white shirts.
- tourists should pay attention to signage and never assume anything. Do not assume that you know how to enter the looming castle right in front of you. Do not assume when you have 10 minutes to meet your tour guide, and the distance from the bus stop to the castle entrance is a 15 minute walk…
Ok, allow me to expound on my last point~ I promise you that I saw the castle sign. I just didn’t pay attention to the direction of the arrow below the castle symbol. Sheer panic and adrenaline caused me to ignore the blessed arrow.
Several precious minutes later, Chad noticed that we were sprinting the wrong way, causing additional panic to overwhelm us. Thankfully, we DID make it in time (with 4 minutes to spare before our tickets expired) for our tour due to the grace of God and our frantic sprinting. After the tour, we had a hearty laugh over my astute leadership skills, and figured we photo bombed several tourists’ pictures with our frantic American faces as we raced by their camera lenses. Sigh.
On a more reflective note…
As I ponder the last couple of weeks, I remember stepping onto the airplane worn out and weary. The last year has been a tough one, so I prayed for my spirit to be refreshed during our time abroad.
“…Be still, and know that I am God… ”
~Psalm 46:10a NIV
Enjoying the beauty of the mountains and Bavarian countryside returned my spirit to a state of awe. Everyday distractions and responsibilities often squeeze the awe out of me. All I had to do, all that I needed to do, was to stand and behold the glorious handiwork of God.
So I did.
I became still.
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”
~Proverbs 15:13 NIV
As we landed in Berlin, my spirit felt crushed. I believe that God used the threat of ginormous frogs, rotating toilet seats, a chocolate Haagen Dazs stain, and a caged plastic pig to change the countenance of my heart and face. They caused me to do something I hadn’t done, or allowed myself to do in a really long time- laugh.
So I did.
I laughed a lot.
God did not bombard my mind with a flood of Scriptures or some great Theological truth on this trip. God used awe and laughter to remove my weary. He allowed me to leave routine and responsibility. He helped me become still and to know His beauty and majesty. He taught me how to laugh again and how to enjoy life. He rescued this weary and crushed spirit.
And though God blessed me with a brief stay in Bavaria, He hasn’t called me to remain there.
So I am back in my living room, twirling my toddlers around and singing “the hills are alive” just like Julie Andrews. (All right… I sort of sing like Julie Andrews. Ok, my singing skills are severely lacking!)
I have more awe and laughter in my heart than I’ve had in a long time.
“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.”
~Isaiah 40: 28 NIV
My travel tip for you:
God never needs to “get away.” He has never and will never grow weary.
So fellow traveler, it does not matter if you drive to the city pool or fly over an ocean this summer, God is with you. He sees your weary. He hears your requests. When God calls you “away” from routine and responsibility, He will bring you back changed, for your good and His glory.
So enjoy wherever your summer plans take you. May you experience awe, laughter, and some delicious Haagen Dazs.
Just remember that chocolate Haagen Dazs will stain your white shirt… beware of phantom drops!
***this is a line from the movie Top Gun. I am not referring to the drug known as “speed” here, so do not worry about Chad. He’s doing good and handsome as ever!