Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Are you happy there?" Part I

Today, during a Facebook chat with a friend back in the States, I was asked, "Are you happy there?" 

It was a thoughtful question, but I did not know how to answer it. It was the "there" that threw me.

I think she was speaking geographically, as if to ask, "Are you happy in France?" But where I am right now is not just a point on the globe.

Where am I?

Geographically, I am 20 km south of Paris, but far from friends and family.

Financially, I am totally dependent on the generosity of others.

Mentally, I am being stretched in some areas and losing brain cells in others. I swear that every new French word that my brain absorbs costs me a bit of knowledge in another domain.

Socially, I am isolated by a language barrier which, though shrinking as my language skills progress, still looms large.

Emotionally, I am somewhat detached--not because I am devoid of feelings; rather, because I cannot keep up with them.

Spiritually, I am thirsty, always feeling needy for more of Jesus.

This is where I am. And it is so much more than a place.

"Are you happy there?"

The past ten months have been some of the most challenging months of my life. And the challenges continue.

The past ten months have also been some of the most exciting months of my life. And the excitement continues.

The past ten months have changed me. They have also made me painfully aware of the ways in which I still need to be changed.

"Are you happy there?"

I hadn't really thought about it. I am certain that God called us to France. I believe that His plans are best. I trust that He is always working everything out for my good and for His glory. I'm banking on these promises.

And for all of that I can honestly say, "YES! I am happy here!"

"Here" is a hard and messy place. "Here" is also beautiful. It takes everything out of me, yet it gives me hope. Maybe, as a result of being here, I might someday be just a little bit more like Jesus. In this way, "here" = "the refiner's fire." Not comfortable, but necessary. For the joy set before me, I am happy here.

What about you? Where are you? Are you happy there?


  1. Great post, Jenn!
    love you,
    p.s. making spinach ravioli for Emily's birthday...always think of you when we make it...thanks for the great recipe!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. (= Annemieke)
    I'm glad you're here.
    'Cause it makes my 'here' just a little bit more easy.
    I didn't now God would give me another great friend. But He definately gave it in you.
    Love you!