This has been the lightest back-to-school month ever and I cannot account for it because I am doing a lot more than I’ve done in past years. Despite regular hormonal hijacking by my body, there is seems to be a grace on everything I’m investing in. This month I’ll recount 2 of the biggest mountains of worry that quickly became molehills of happiness:
Big Worry#1: Like every year, we were asked to host a student in our home. How flattering, except that:
- we wanted to be free to do more ministry travel this year.
- This 12 yr. old was on 3 different meds for anxiety and health problems that caused her to miss too much school last year.
- She was abandoned by her parents at birth and was going through a little rebellious streak with the aunt that has devoted her life to raise her.
- She wasn’t thriving in public school, but our Christian school was a 2 1/2 hr. drive from home and train connections were complicated, so she would need to stay the weekends too.
- When we finally asked God’s opinion, He told us to take her in M-F. I laid out our limitations, expectations and charges in a long e-mail, hoping we would sound too puritanical or be too expensive for them.
Are you worried? We were. Then they accepted our demands without hesitation and offered more money, thinking I hadn’t remembered to budget for food! But 2 weeks later, it’s all good! Olivia loves being a big sister. Oceane loves our cats, our house, our American food, and our school! And she is showing it. Weekend accommodations with other families have not been as successful, so we may just have to adopt her!
Big Worry#2: We had an Alsatian wedding invitation waiting for us in our stack of summer mail. How wonderful, except that:
- I was asked to help decorate the (dull) sanctuary 5 days in advance.
- I was in back-to-school teacher meetings all week and had my first English class to teach the day before the wedding.
- I was asked to work with a woman in the church who had very different tastes from mine and insisted that she could not pull it off without me.
- This was the bride’s 2nd marriage late in life. She had no ideas and a $100 budget.
- David was in Paris all week for the annual YWAM conference, so I had no shoulder to cry on.
I went to bed Monday night alone, worried how to keep my peace and save this woman’s important day. And then God gave me the simple idea to re-orient the room towards the side windows and make a canopy tent (owned by the school) the focal point instead of trying to beautify an ugly stage. Chuppah!
I floated through the rest of the week: On Tuesday, my co-worker agreed to my idea while she focused on the flowers and I ran into a party store and spent just $40 to dress up the tent and get a runner for the floor. On Thursday, I painted a banner to cover a bulletin board for guests to sign while waiting to pick David up at the train station late that night. On Friday, my first English class was a blast, and afterwards, we had the tent up and the sanctuary decorated in 4 hrs. time.
It got rave reviews. We returned the room to its original state in time to still catch the reception and then enjoyed 6 more hours of a 4-course meal interspersed with games and dancing with live folk musicians! It was a great way to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year! So who’s happy now?
I’ll save the rest of my grace-filled news for next month!