Thursday, December 31, 2015

He Directs My Path

It's 12:29am, January 1, 2016, and Kandern is a bit of a war zone - before you panic, let me share that it's New Year's Day now, and at midnight, people you didn't even know lived here take to the streets to set off every form of firecracker, firework,  and sparkler imaginable, in the streets, backyards, and hills. So it's to that soundtrack that I write. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to reflect and thank God for the year this has been. There are the usual things that feel as though they were left incomplete, or the desires that feel unmet (the seemingly endless wait is so hard). I'd love to have logged more practice hours and written better lesson plans, or gotten in better shape.  But as the clock struck 12, and the church bells around town began to peal madly there was an undeniable sense of hope, and even more than that, trust. So this isn't a post listing resolutions for the new year...I'm still deciding on those. It's an affirmation that no matter what in the world (quite literally) is going on, God is good all the time; it is an affirmation that I will follow hard after Him this year because He directs my path. It's an expression of hope that by His grace and enabling, I will aim higher, think bigger, dig deeper, and love more richly than before. It's a determination to lay aside things that have held me back from serving completely.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

Thanks be to God

It's 12:51am, and it's past my bedtime...after all this year holds a rather...ahem...significant birthday for me. :) My heart is full. Frohes neues Jahr, Happy New Year, and may you walk into it confidently leaning on the One Who never changes.

Monday, December 7, 2015

December 7 - Reflections

I can hardly believe we're one week into December!! The last month has flown by, and I apologize for  taking so long to update you on life in Germany - although I would venture to guess that many of you are busy too!
During the last full week of November, my roommates and I had the pleasure of hosting 13 people at our house for Thanksgiving dinner. Since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, we don't get the day off, so we get creative and celebrate at different times and with different groups. During our meal, we went around the (very large) table and took turns sharing things we're thankful for, and things that God is teaching us. It was encouraging and humbling to hear how God is moving in the hearts of those around me. We have been blessed with some amazing people, and we serve an incredible God Who knows the burdens that we can't find the words to express.
Saturday held the annual school Christmas Banquet. It was a fun night that brought back lots of memories of the years I spent as an RA. I spent the afternoon before the event with a number of home student girls, doing hair and getting ready. I love getting to do life with these students - it's amazing how well you can get to know people while you have a curling iron in your hand! I'm thankful for the relationships forming in this new season at BFA.

With just over one week until Christmas break, my piano class is persevering through to their Showcase performance tomorrow after school. If you see this before then, pray for them! They are nervous! The have worked very hard, and are presenting two different songs for four pianos. Their technical skills and ability to play as a group has grown by leaps and bounds.

This year, the season of Advent has been particularly meaningful and reflective for me. It is a season of waiting, anticipating the coming of Christ, reflecting in wonder on His birth, and eagerly looking for His second coming. In spite of the many events swirling through the calendar, His love for me and those around me has become increasingly apparent. That God became man, giving Himself for mankind as the perfect sacrifice is overwhelming and humbling. He died, so we could live. He loves with an everlasting love. Have you accepted that love in your heart? Christ humbled himself to the point of death on a cross so that we could live forever with Him. What Love! Have you accepted Him? I pray that His love will overwhelm your heart like a flood. If we come to Him, acknowledging our sin, He does not withhold forgiveness. Do you know Him? I pray that you will. I pray that He would increase and I would decrease; that no matter how tired I get, I would more fully realize and embrace His sufficiency.

I would also like to say a HUGE thank you once again, to those who are prayerfully and financially supporting me. I am so grateful for your generosity, and I thank God for you every day. By your prayers and giving, God is enabling work in the lives of many students and friends.

To those of you who may be curious, I am going to be staying in Europe for Christmas, in an effort to save money for a ticket home this summer. I will miss spending time with family and my supporting churches, but I am looking forward to times of rest and quiet on this side of the ocean.

Please pray with me:
1. For the next week of school - for strength and perseverance for my students. They have been working very hard and are very worn down.
2. For health at the school - we have had a number of illnesses circulating among our students and staff.
3. For a restful Christmas break.

Praise God with me:
1. For great times with my small group girls! They are a joyful bunch and have become close.
2. For wonderful roommates. Sarah, Kristi and Jamie are a joy to do life with!
3. For a semester full of learning and growth! I look forward to more of it!


*If you would like to know more about how to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, I would love to share more personally. Please email me: Laurenholland25@yahoo.com