Be The Light recently published one of my devotions. 🙂 Thought you might like to see it.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

Philippians 4:11 NLT

My girlfriends will notice every detail of a new purse the moment it shows up on my arm for the first time. My husband, on the other hand, will have to ask, “What color is it?”

If my husband Bill happens to notice a new pair of earrings, he is probably thinking what a great pair of fishing lures they would make. Each of Bill’s tiny flies is a work of art that requires him to wear a weird-looking pair of micro-vision lenses.

Micro-vision glasses may be great for studying the minute details of fishing flies but are the last tools to reach for when faced with the challenge of an unexpected change.

Imagine the shock waves of sudden, unexpected change that hit our family when Bill was stationed at the Pentagon and told me one night over dinner he had been given a special assignment by the Secretary of Defense and we would be moving to Paris … in three weeks.

I was completely overwhelmed, had no clue where to begin, and no idea where to turn for help and advice. All I knew was it had to be done. So I did what I usually do when I am under stress. I pulled in, based my decisions on what little I knew, and focused on minutiae rather than the big picture. When we arrived in Paris, we all had new shoes to wear but no coats to keep us warm.

By the time I looked up from my micro-vision planning and said, “Whoa,” it was too late. It was a huge mistake, but one I learned a great deal from. Thankfully, and praise be to God, everything worked out with no cases of pneumonia.

While returning the sweaters, coats, and scarves we had borrowed, I was given an invitation to attend a newcomer orientation program called Bloom Where You’re Planted. I attended this program and was able to connect with a community of English speakers and Americans living in Paris, as well as other organized groups of Christian women.

Even with the effort I had made to see the bigger picture and the connections I had made with other Christian women, a strange thing happened. After about three months of living in Paris, all the magic was suddenly gone. I was experiencing what I later learned was the completely normal and to-be-expected “disillusionment phase” of an overseas relocation.

Nothing was fun, exciting, and romantic anymore. Everything was foreign and a struggle. I was miserable and it showed.

On the advice of a friend, I planned a day away from Paris and rode the train to Versailles. That simple day trip was a turning point in what would become two of the most memorable years of my life. It was also an event that renewed in me the importance of a positive attitude.

By taking that step back from the culture-shocked canvas of my life, the way an artist steps from the easel to better see what she is painting, I was able to catch my emotional breath. Now I could embrace the challenge of being a city dweller in a foreign country, rather than resenting the change of an instant overseas move.

I learned three important things through those difficult days:

When we shift our focus from our circumstances to the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, He is faithful to direct our steps and keep us on the path of peace.

Misery is an option.

Growth is a choice that hurts—but it’s worth it.

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