Friday, April 21, 2017

A Sister In The Produce Aisle

I have often said that "God meets us where we're at." As I quoted once previously when reading a book about Old Testament theology, "God desires closeness. His goal is intimacy. It always has been."

Well guess what? 

God met me even in the produce aisle, in front of a display of tomatoes to be exact. 


I have been working for a company called Demolicious for about two and a half years now. It's a long story how I got connected to them, but let's just say, the Lord set it up! It was quite "random". Nevertheless, the job has looked different throughout these years.

Sometimes I do food demonstrations on the weekends, and sometimes I'm in Wholefoods or other specialty grocery stores. I have represented lots of different brands and food products, and have learned a lot in the process! It sounds fancy, but essentially I'm the person who gives samples and tells you how great a product is. It's a fairly ordinary in-between job, but it has been helpful these years too.

Yesterday I was demoing local tomatoes, and a kind older woman came up to my table to say hello and try a sample. She asked me if I had tried the Sauerkraut around the corner in the store, to which I replied:

"Ooh, I haven't yet! But I love Sauerkraut! I grew up eating it all the time."

"Do you like the Wisconsin kind, or the German kind?" she asked.

"Well, actually, I guess I could say I'm used to Czech sauerkraut. I grew up in Czech, so that was a normal part of life."

Her face lit up.

"I'm from Germany!" she replied. "Were your parents missionaries?"

I was quite surprised at this point that without any hesitation, she had already guessed my background. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I didn't have an accent speaking English, or that the Spirit was just prompting her to say that, but that began the sweetest conversation.

We talked about where she was from (Stuttgart), where I was born (outside of Heidelberg, Germany!), and my future steps in returning to serve the Lord in the Czech Republic. She even spoke to me in German briefly, and I understood most of what she said (which is a huge surprise since I haven't taken German since 9th grade).


She began tearing up, and asked if she could give me a hug. Then she leaned in and began praying over me, starting with, "Oh, gracious Papa, thank you for this dear sister in Christ, thank you for placing a hedge of protection over her all these years..."

And then soon she had gone, encouraging me more than she'll ever know.

How is it possible that in the produce aisle in Wholefoods, the Lord would reach down to show his presence right there through this German sister in Christ? He knew that on that day I had needed his presence dearly. How good a Father we have, making himself known through his people!


Monday, April 17, 2017

All My Belongings in a Pile

Today was Move-Out/Move-In Day #1. 


Families from my church are generously hosting me in their homes during these next months as I raise support to head back to Czech to join God in his work among the JV Kids. As I have said before, this is a unique time of life. A friend of mine likes to call it the "nomadic life". I'm not sure what to call it, except frequent transition.


It's quite the odd feeling when you realize that all your belongings (at least, all of the ones in the US) can be packed up all at once. It's a bit thrilling too. I fit almost every bin and suitcase, box and pillow, lamp and shoe, into my little Saab (nicknamed "Sylviaaa" - yes, with the drawn out ending, just for the added flair). 

I think if my dad had packed the car, he could have found a spot for that last lonely tub that I couldn't fit in with everything else.  That tub got a special trip in a much more roomy spot on round #2 of moving belongings from one house to another. Lucky storage bin. 

But I was also really grateful that I was able to pack everything up and make a fairly smooth transition to my new "home". Multiple trips back and forth from the car with big and small items really didn't seem too bad on this lovely April day. 


The Lord has given me the ability for mobility in this season, and though that can feel rootless at times, it can also be fun too. 

This is a constant reminder of what it feels like for the JV Kids I'll be serving, who also understand this kind of constant change and a disconnect between "homes" when growing up on mission with their families. This can be both lonely/hard/frustrating and thrilling/new/exciting at the same time. I get that. These are the kids that I will get to do life with once I'm over in Eastern Europe, and I can't wait. 

And God takes the broken pieces of our lives, the messy ones - the ones with suitcases and full cars, and goodbyes and loss and the sense of constant change and not being able to hold onto any thing or place... and makes them something beautiful. He makes them into relationships with my church family, and a precious opportunity to see his name proclaimed among and through the JVK. 

I'll be here at my pastor's family's house until mid-June, tucked into their sweet guest room that has a pretty nifty Murphy Bed (the kind that folds down! Yeah!!). "Thank you for hosting me!!"

Move #1 on my journey here in the western suburbs: check! 

Or should I say..."Czech"?! I mean, I can't resist the opportunity for a Czech pun. ☑️ 



Pssst...I'll be sending out my first e-mail newsletter very soon! Don't forget to sign up, so you can get the first one! You'll find the sign-up box to your right, under the heading "You can receive my monthly JV newsletter!" 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Take Heart, There's Hope!


On this Easter Sunday, I not only remember the resurrection of Christ, but rejoice in the news being fresh and true today. Jesus still lives! His life and reign are still earth-shattering.

So take heart. You weren't left alone to figure out how to earn your way to right standing before God. Jesus changes everything.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Iowa and Kansas Have in Common

What do Iowa and Kansas have in common? 

Incredible people.

Sometimes God arranges connections with people in the most unexpected and wonderful ways. He did that twice this past week. 


I was in Kansas City, MO for a conference (more on that soon!), and I found out at the beginning of the conference that some family friends of ours live in Kansas City, KS. We had met once in Czech about five years ago, and I remember thinking the world of them then. My parents have kept in touch with Kelly and her husband through these past years, but I haven't seen them since that one visit when I was still a senior in high-school. 

I e-mailed Kelly on Monday to see if we could get together, and she offered her home as a place to meet up, but also as a place to share meals, to learn from her wisdom, hear family stories, and to enjoy a beautiful spring evening. 

Actually, on that Wednesday I had had a small mishap with my car. It was all ok in the end, but being met with Kelly's joy and hospitality was better than any other remedy on a tough day. God provides, does he not? 

Reconnecting years down the road with Kelly and her husband was the sweetest surprise. Kelly, thank you for saying yes (even spontaneously) and hosting me with such kindness and thoughtfulness. I am incredibly encouraged by you and your family, and I still think the world of you. 


The other sweet meeting was in Iowa with some new friends that felt like old friends from the very start. I've heard so much about Ben and Avery, and finally got to meet them in person in their sweet home. We shared a meal and talked of all the ways we are surprisingly connected. It all started when Ben's parents and my parents served in Germany together way back when!


Even amidst much change, constant transition, and preparing to move to Czech to serve the JV Kids, I am more and more amazed at the ways God is involved in your stories and in your present times as I talk with you and share journeys. Thank you for telling of his works and for walking in all the many uncertainties together...which also means rejoicing together in the little things.

If I have not met you in person yet, I hope I have the privilege of getting to soon. You know you can always reach me via e-mail (clairepatty@josiahventure.com) or Instagram (@clapatty). I really mean it - I love reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and staying in touch with those from all walks of life.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Reflected in Her Eyes

Fridays are one of my favorite parts of the week. Why? Because of this sweet 10-month-old. 


She's tenacious and curious, engaged and constantly learning.

As I sit with her and flip pages of books open and closed, listen to her say "wow!", put tiny pink socks back on, or try and wipe boogers off her face when she refuses to have a tissue go near her, I see the beauty of God's creativity.

When we walk in circles around the house with her clinging to me with one hand, and to her purple plush hippo with the other, I think of what it means to walk with courage. It makes my heart glad.

This is one of the many reasons why I love working with kids - I see our Lord in the reflection of these, the littlest ones.

There's a song that came out last year by Sleeping at Last called "Sight". The artist actually wrote the song briefly after his daughter was born, and it's about seeing God in the beautiful things in the world, and in the eyes of his own kids. There's a specific part in it that just captures the essence of how I glimpse this as well...

without assurance,
without insurance,
you believe.
without condition
or the promise of heaven,
you see the Holy Ghost in broad daylight.
and i see the reflection in your eyes.
i see the reflection in your eyes.

Ah, how beautiful it is that when we receive children, we receive Jesus! No wonder it is so sweet to hold the hand of a 10-month-old as she explores the world.

"And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:5


Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Library Card (Comments of a TCK)

 I never thought that my own joys and challenges of growing up in Czech, along with my Moody education in Children's Ministry, would be of such direct use to the Lord. But now I'll be going back to Central and Eastern Europe to serve the JV Kids* and their families. Who knew?!

It's been special to zero in on these kids and the stories they are living, and the one that God is weaving right now in Josiah Venture. Since now is the season for building a team of ministry partners, that means I get to share about the vision of Josiah Venture these JV kids often!

Speaking of these JV Kids (and thus TCK's) this often has made me acutely aware of my own little TCK tendencies that I sometimes forget about. I feel very comfortable both in America and in Czech, but I have moments of learning in both cultures, as do we all!


An example: Just two weeks ago, I learned that there is a white flashing signal at the traffic lights that turns on when there is an emergency vehicle nearby or approaching. Pretty nifty, right? Yeah, not sure how I never knew that before. This is probably obvious to some people who have grown up in America, but still struck me as new.

Example #2: Yesterday, I used my very own US library card for the first time!! And I was strangely excited about it. I just registered for a library card last week.

Now that I know that the suburbs of Chicago are my "home base", I can get a library card. In some ways, this is my TCK version of putting down roots, or should I say, of committing to relationships here. I may not always physically be here in the suburbs, but I will forever have relationships and a home church here!


You know what makes this library experience extra special?

It's actually the only library I remember visiting in the States when I was a kid.

I had some serious health issues when I was little, and had to come with my mom to the US to see doctors a few times throughout my childhood. On this one occasion, we stayed with a family friend from church (what I now call my church too, which is pretty cool!) and I remember her taking me there to borrow big floor puzzles. We never had floor puzzles in Czech, so I reveled in the availability of them and at the plethora of fun things in the American library.

Little did I know that one day I'd go back to that same library with my very own card, as an (healthy! Praise the Lord!) adult, to rent movies to watch with friends from church.

The way the Lord has brought so many aspects of my life full circle still surprises me. Now that I'm seeing some of these patterns, it makes me excited and curious to see what's next on the journey.

And just as a bonus: Here's an old-school photo from the 90's in Czech - yep, I was all about the leggings and pink accessories at that age!


*JV Kids are a group of over 100 children of Josiah Venture missionaries (most of the parents are North-American, though some are bicultural families too), who live across the 13 countries that JV is in. These are all TCK's, and most of them attend national schools. You'll hear more about these JVK in the future! 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Is Normal Anyways?

One could say that no day is "normal" right now in Claire's life. 

One could also say each day is unique. 

I guess it depends on perspective, right? Is the goal of life to settle in? Maybe in some seasons. This is not one of them, which is both exciting and hard at times. The Lord has been faithful though and has provided for each and every day, even with joy and strength for the little things. 

So, what does this week look like? House/dog-sitting! And working various jobs, plugging into Bible studies, small groups and sharing the vision of Josiah Venture and about the JV Kids. What will next week look like? Completely different, probably!

I remember that at Mission Training International we taught the kids the phrase, "Keep your expectations moldable like play-dough." That can be challenging, but it's been an adventure too. Thank you for your prayers and for joining along, friends! 


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Welcome to Seasons Changing

It was the second day of spring, 2017. You can only find a few first signs of the season changing outside, but you really have to look close. If you search hard enough though, you'll see a few new colors, and even notice some that have been there all along. 

There's something about the transition between winter and spring that makes you look for beauty expectantly and find it in the unexpected. 

Welcome to Wheaton in March. 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Stamped and Mailed (First Round)

I sent out the first stack of letters and prayer cards this week!! Yay! I'll be sending more in the coming weeks/months, but the first ones are going to be delivered soon. 

It's quite strange for me to be sending these out as extensions of my own story, since I remember sending out family newsletters during my own childhood. We even have a cork board filled with prayer cards in our kitchen, and I have always loved having a visual testimony to the work of the Lord right there in view in daily life. 

It's hard to believe that now I'm sending out letters as testimony of God's work too. 


How incredible is it that God would open up an opportunity to serve with the JV Kids though? I am continually going to be excited about that. Thanks for joining in and following along!


Pssst...e-mail me (clairepatty@josiahventure.com) your mailing address and I'll send you a handwritten note, a letter and a prayer card!  I absolutely love doing that. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Back to Basics

I fully intended to write about stamps, support letters, aesthetics and God's provision today...but alas, that shall wait. Today, simply enjoy a soothing vision of cooking in the morning. Without a kettle or a microwave right now, both my tea and oatmeal were cooked on the stovetop this morning.


I love the bright light that streams through these kitchen windows in the early hours of the day, and happened to step to the opposite side of the island today and look towards the windows. I saw the steam rising and the sunbeams glinting on the countertop, and it brought a sense of wonder to mind.

I hope it prompts you to look for that wonder (and worship of our Lord) in your everyday routine too! Amidst everything else that goes on in our days, amidst our to-do lists and meetings, it's nice to be reminded by the Lord of something so mundane and beautiful at the same time.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Church: On Embodying Grace

I have recently often been asked the question, "How have things been with your church?" or "How is it connecting in a new place you've never lived?"

Since day 1, my answer has remained, "My church, Grace Church, has been embodying its name. They have been the hands and feet of Christ, and I pray that I can be serving them as they are serving me in this season."

This is quite an odd and unusual time of life. I am working towards goals, rather than "settling in", and yet most of those goals include being present in relationships where I am at too. I am currently living with a family from my church, whom I will be with until April. Then I will live with another family from church until June, move again, and then switch yet another time in July, and probably move one or two more times before heading to Czech.


This is a sweet time of getting to know families from church in a very personal and close way, and they have so generously opened their homes to me as I raise support to go serve the Lord back in Czech and Central and Eastern Europe.

Beyond that though, it hasn't only been through the "host families" that the church has shown hospitality and grace. Others have bent over backwards to make me feel at home here in this body of believers.

Exhibit A: this key.


A friend from my small group has three roommates (also members at Grace), and she handed me a key to her home yesterday, saying, "just come on in whenever!" I held it up mid-air, dumbfounded, not sure how to respond besides with a beaming "Thank you!" I still don't feel comfortable just walking into someone's home unannounced, so I texted my friend today before stopping by this afternoon to get some work done in their sunny little living room.

This key is grace, which I struggle to receive, for I have not earned any of this love (which is the whole essence of the word anyways, right?).

The hospitality my church family is showing me is grace, which I can only respond to in thanks and offering of my own resources (namely - time, love, and service right now!).

The meals that we share as small groups at church are grace, which I am learning to depend on as we all receive nourishment from the Word of God each week together.

This season of life is unique. It comes with its own challenges. One day looks nothing like the next. As I said, I work towards goals these days, not towards checking off lists and rubrics. Things are not the way I have been used to for the past four years of my life (Czech schools didn't use rubrics much) in those respects. I'm learning to adjust, and to delight in these graces that the Lord has given.


I may not have a place to "settle" for the next 9-12 months of preparing to go with Josiah Venture. I may be working multiple part-time jobs to essentially pay for gas, insurance, and food. I may have many meetings with incredible people who want to be part of God's work.

But above all, in these times of transition, I may see the grace of our Father embodied in his people like never before. I don't want to miss that amidst the many life changes. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Cards Arrived!

Guess what arrived in the mail yesterday?? Josiah Venture prayer cards! Kinda hard to believe.


Would you like to receive a copy of this card and my letter that includes the whole story of how I will be getting involved with God's work in Central and Eastern Europe?

You're welcome to e-mail me any time (clairepatty@josiahventure.com), or ask me for one in person next time we see each other! You can also sign up for my monthly newsletters right below in this form. I'd love to stay in touch.

You can receive my monthly JV newsletter!

* indicates required



In other news, on Tuesday I was walking around outside just in a jean jacket, and then today I woke up to this - crazy March weather!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Chicago, Alaska and Czech?

Chicago, Alaska and Czech. How do those three connect on a rainy February day? 

I drove into the city yesterday (first time actually driving in Chicago!) to meet up with my boss for a part-time job I'll be doing out in the suburbs, and to share with some friends about what God has been doing in Central and Eastern Europe.

What I did not expect was to cross paths with two lovely ladies who have also been a part of God's work in that region of the world! Actually, both Hannah and Tiffany have done internships with Josiah Venture in Czech, and we all happened to be on the same floor at one point during our time at Moody (I really don't know how this happened, except by the Lord). 


Now, Tiffany is a junior at Moody, I graduated in December, and Hannah graduated in May 2016. I'm in the suburbs for these next months, and Hannah is in Alaska with her family, while Tiffany lives on campus. Yet somehow, I ran into Hannah in the parking lot, and all three of us ended up sharing a meal together in the city after a long and full (happily so!) day. 

It's these connections that make the world feel so small. It also reminds me that God is constantly weaving together unexpected stories, and we get to celebrate in that together. 


Shoutout to Tiffany too for her spontaneous kindness and generous friendship - she welcomed me into her apartment for the afternoon, offered rain jackets to us, and shared her clementines and time as a thunderstorm and tornado warnings kept me in the city for a couple of extra hours. 

I am more grateful than ever for the body of Christ, and for the tangible reminders that we do nothing apart from the Lord's grace given to us generously and lovingly! 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Smoothie Diaries with Lucy

If you've ever scrolled down and clicked on one of the blog links on the right sidebar here at Claire's Corner, then you have probably seen Lucy's Life, a whimsical blog full of witty and beautiful illustrations and stories.

It's been a little while since Lucy last posted, but her last post was about her continued saga of the "Smoothie Diaries", as she likes to call it. Well guess what?? I got to see a small episode of the smoothie diaries in person today!

I happened to be at Mariano's today, because I was looking for something specific, and I ended up meandering through the aisles...because who doesn't find those kinds of fancy groceries interesting?! I wandered past the prepared foods section when I heard someone call my name from behind the smoothie counter.

"Is that Claire?"


It was Lucy, who was beautifully blending up smoothies in her skilled fashion! I had just been over at Lucy and Sheldon's apartment the night before for dinner and a Czech movie, and then I got to stop and chat again today. What a treat!

Lucy and I went to middle school together. Her dad was my homeroom teacher in high-school. We both moved to the Chicago-lands together to attend two different colleges, and have seen each other a couple of times in these past 4 years.

Now we are only 15 minutes away from each other, Lucy is married, and I am finished with college. And we are still friends. And we still run into each other in odd places, like the grocery store, as if we were back in our little hometown in Czech.

It all seemed oddly normal eating dinner together last night, and seeing each other at the grocery store. Yet, this is far from normal seeing as we both grew up in a mountain town in the Czech Republic. The Lord has wonderful ways of crossing our paths, does he not?!

Here's a throwback to 2008 with Lucy!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Internationals and a Playground

Life right now is full of meeting new people. This can be a challenge sometimes, but I also get pretty excited at the opportunity to make connections and grow in relationships too! I'm about 56% introverted, after all, so that 44% extrovert has to come out somewhere...not that those tests are conclusive anyways!

I mostly get to know people in my church, but I have yet to discover the international community here in the western suburbs of Chicago. I have heard rumors that there are quite a few internationals in the area, and I have been wanting to meet them! I would love to connect with people in these local communities; and since I'm new, I figured a good place to start would be with internationals, since we would automatically have a connecting point.


I started praying a little while back, and asking the Lord for some of those relationships to form. Not only does it fill my heart with joy to connect with people from around the world, but I pray I can be of service to them too. My ears and eyes have been open towards any opportunity to meet new friends as I've taken walks and gotten to know the neighborhood sidewalks and prairie paths.

Guess what?? God is already answering those prayers. I was swinging at the playground (because who doesn't love swinging, right? I guess I am a Children's Ministry major...), when I saw a mom and her young toddler playing a little ways off. I guessed from afar that they might be Eastern European, then heard a familiar sounding language, so I went over and said hi. Sure enough, this family is from Romania, and we had such a sweet conversation.

I don't know if a friendship will come of it, but if nothing else, it was a reminder that when we pray, God hears. Even more so too, when we pray, our eyes are open to the paths the Lord opens for us to walk in.


I would not have noticed that mom and daughter if it hadn't been for God's work in softening my own heart. I don't have that kind of courage on my own to talk to "strangers" - it's all Him! It's just fun being a tiny part of what He is already doing.

Would you pray with me for continued open doors for meeting "neighbors" - whether they be from Illinois or India, pray that I can be the hands and feet of Jesus, to see them and love them with His eyes and His heart. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Citrus Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

While I was in Czech, me and my parents seemed to be on quite the salad kick. Something about those fresh vegetables from Lidl just called our names every time! We found a salad recipe (especially the dressing!) that we all really loved, so I wanted to share it with you as well. 


The original recipe calls for a mix of citrus fruits, spinach, avocado, and pomegranate.  I put a little twist on the salad ingredients to make more of a meal, so what you'll find in the photos below is this: blood oranges, avocado, goat cheese, sliced beets, spinach, rucola. 

The base of the citrus and avocado, along with the delicious dressing is what really makes this salad special. I know you'll enjoy it too!

Recipe HERE

Slight change on the dressing ingredients too - we used french whole grain mustard from Lidl, and I loved its texture for this salad. 


Friday, February 17, 2017

JVK's and JV Orientation

These were the Josiah Venture Kid girls of 1997. All six of us! 

20 years later, something unexpected has happened. 


You'll see a familiar face in the photo above - yep, that's me with my stylish 90's scrunchie. There's another face you should look for too - top row with the headband. That's Elyse.

Elyse and I haven't seen each other for quite some time now (their family moved back to Canada when Elyse was a teenager), but the Lord paralleled our stories this week for a special occasion.


Josiah Venture Orientation for new staff took place in Wheaton this past week, and both Elyse and I were there!

It's amazing to see how God weaves stories together. One of the reasons I am so thrilled to be joining the Josiah Venture staff to work with their JV Kids is because of how I have seen God work in the lives of JVK thus far. He has been faithful. The Gospel, which compelled these families to move across the world, is transforming these kids' lives too.

Many of these kids have now grown up to also be passionate followers of Christ and disciplemakers. It's a sweet blessing too that God called some of us back to Eastern Europe as well (6 from the photo below!), because it's a joy to be on a team with them. JV Kids are going to be a blessing to any workplace or ministry environment, no matter where they go.


I can hardly wait to join this team and continue to see God do amazing things among and through the JV Kids. Would you consider partnering with me in prayer and financially? (You can give online HERE.)

I would also love to talk more with you in these next weeks and months! It would be a delight to share with you not only what God is doing in that beloved region of the world, where only 1% know Jesus Christ as Savior, but also about how the Lord has led me to serving the JV Kids and their families specifically. Can we set up a time to meet in person or talk via Skype or phone?

Drop me an e-mail at clairepatty@josiahventure.com. I'm so excited to hear from you!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Landed and Adjusting

I'm in the United States!

Actually, I landed in Chicago on Monday, and have been easing into life here since then. I am living with a family from my home church here in the suburbs of Chicago. I'll be basing out of this area for the next 9-12 months as I raise support to join God's movement in Central and Eastern Europe as the JVK Ministry Specialist.

I'm adjusting to a new "not-normal". Life is not going to feel normal now, and it shouldn't. This is not the time for settling in, for feeling comfortable, for making my own "home". This is a different season with different gifts and challenges.

Guys, let me tell you something: I am SO EXCITED for what the Lord has ahead with the JV Kids. We get to go along with his work and participate in it with Him together! This is going to be quite the winding, wonderful path.

These next few weeks ahead feel a little bit like this photos I took while I was at home:


Blurry. Unclear.

And also filled with Light. With hope.

With Christ.

It's the beginning of months that will be filled with people connections, leaning on the body of Christ, serving, giving, loving, being loved, initiating, stepping out when I feel afraid. Yet God is there in all of those moments. I depend on him to keep on showing up each day like the rising sun.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Close

Today is a day of transition. Again. 

I found a quote on the last page of the book I finished today, The Suffering of God. It struck me, as it summed up what I had been reading for the previous 160-ish pages. This is the God who has been, who is, who always will be. 

His character never changes. 
Parenthesis added by me
This God of the universe, the LORD, created what we see by speaking. He is the God who makes the seas roar and mountains shake. He makes the world turn, and he knows all the stars by name. He rules over kings and nations. The earth trembles at his presence.

And he turns his ear to you.

Not only this, but his greatest desire is that you would love him as he loves you.

He desires closeness, intimacy. He always has.


On this day I have been packing and procrastinating because the inevitable awaits me - another goodbye. I leave Czech tomorrow, and fly back to the States on Monday. Although I will be returning here, and I look forward to so many people I love on the other side of the ocean in Chicago, this transition is hitting me more personally than I thought it would.

Why?

This marks yet another life stage transition. Post-college adult life actually-truly-for-real begins when I return to the States.

I will go back to Chicago and not return to Moody. I will make steps forward towards the calling the Lord has given me for this next season. I will prepare to join his movement in Central and Eastern Europe, and enter into a completely new role and world.

I am so excited, and I also recognize that with change there is always gain and loss at the same time. Loss - like of the stability of school schedules and syllabi and friends that are always nearby. Gain - the opportunity to grow in faith, connect more deeply at my church, and see what surprises the Lord has for each day in the suburbs of Chicago, and then eventually back in Europe.

It's ok to grieve the loss and celebrate the gain at the same time. They go hand in hand.

So on this day when transition is yet upon me, I cling to the Lord who actually wants to be near in times when my heart feels most vulnerable. He meets us in those places. Whether we are on mountains or in valleys, he is there. His closeness is always at hand.


The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

(Psalm 16:5-8)