[Five Minute Friday] Because

I remember certain conversations (or rather arguments?) with my sister or my mother when I was younger.
Normally we would fight about who would play who when we played “House”, who was supposed to clean the stairs, who would have to watch our little brother…

In the German language there’s this wonderful word that can solve every argument. DOCH (as English speakers, try to pronounce it, it will sound like a machine gun).
To any why question or why not not question, or even to a “you will threat” you can simply say Doch. It stands for everything you might be for or against. And for a child’s strongest will.

In English I sometimes miss this word, but BECAUSE is a pretty good contestant.
And interestingly, I still find myself in arguments (or was it rather conversations?).
This time, however, I am at the other end, and my partner is the Lord.
We talk about life, why things are hard sometimes.
Why I can’t be somewhere else now.
Why he still hasn’t done this and that.
Why I haven’t grown in such and such way.

And his answer often includes BECAUSE.

Luckily, he gives more than just this word.
Whenever the Israelites argued with the Lord, he sure gave them a whole list on why’s.
The Bible is full of BECAUSE.

Don’t hate yourself BECAUSE I love you.
Don’t give up BECAUSE I am with you.
Don’t be afraid BECAUSE I will carry you through the fire.
Give freely to others BECAUSE I have given everything for you.
You’re not worthless BECAUSE I have redeemed you.

His BECAUSE silences any kind of why or what we could ever come up with.
I am glad that the Lord and I can talk, yes even argue at times. But I am even more grateful that he wins every time.

Linking up with Kate Motaung for five minutes of writing, no editing, and sharing with a wonderful community!

[Five Minute Friday] Ready

There I was, at the airport, about to take the biggest step of my life.
I would get on that plane to Johannesburg, South Africa, to spend the best year of my life.
Finding God, finding people, finding myself.
But was I ready for that? After months of planning and paperwork it all still seemed unreal. Maybe even frightening. What was I thinking?

I guess we all know these moments.
The first steps into the adult world after school.
One last major exam that makes up our university degree.
The walk down the aisle into married life alongside a person you’re still in the process of getting to know.
The first day on the first job.
The first child.
The sudden diagnosis that turns your life around.
The realization that life on this earth has an expiration date.
Are we ready for all that? Will we ever be?

It doesn’t take much to make our lives spin. Often it’s the little things that push us off the cliff and make us lose ourselves.
It reminds me of little birds that are pushed out of the nest at some point.
Sounds cruel, but it forces them to spread their wings and actually fly.
Taking the plunge makes them realize that the air carries them and there’s a whole new world out there to be discovered.

Life and its changes is like that bird mother pushing us out of the nest.
Again and again, with big and small things.
Shaking up our comfortable nests. Making us take the plunge.
But only then can we realize that there’s something there.
When we spread our wings we realize there’s something underneath carrying us.
The One who was always there and always will be.
His comfort enables us to spread our wings and fly.
Into the next step of life, into  a world out there to be discovered and conquered.

After a short break I am back to the Five Minute Friday community with Kate Motaung! One word. Five Minutes of Writing. No editing. Linking up with fellow writers. Come and join us!

Hold your breath because I’m holding it, too

My brother just turned 18. 
This is not just a big deal for him but also for me (and maybe my sister). We are his big sisters and watched him grow up. And I guess, every parent or big brother and sister can relate to such feelings. 

I remember the times I took care of him, put him to bed, took him out for a fun day, made him food…he was the little one and I had to watch over him.

Well, he’s all grown up now and things have changed. 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re still close and I love my little brother who’s so much taller than me now. We might even have more fun today, I often can’t do anything but laugh at his jokes and entertainment. And marvel at the same time at his wisdom and thoughts he throws into a heated discussion.

But I don’t have to watch over him anymore. 
I see him making his own decisions, going on adventures, making his own mistakes. 

And I can’t deny that I’m worried. Honestly, I’m quite scared at times. I don’t really know about what, there’s just this feeling.

This feeling of holding your breath and see life taking place. 

Absolutely necessary but so hard at times. 
Holding my breath means letting go. 
Knowing that in the end God is taking care of him. 
Walking where I can’t go. 
Watching over him when he’s out of my sight. 
Holding him close to his side in his almighty hands.

While I wonder about life and its fears and worries I suddenly hear this quiet voice in me: God’s teaching me a lesson.

Hold your breath for him. 

Because that’s what I do for you. Every single day. 
I hold my breath when you walk through the day, take on challenges, meet people, 
and do your work. 
I hold my breath when you take risks and step out onto the water. 
I hold my breath when you walk away from me, my beloved child. 
I walk with you, watch over you, and wait until you come back to me. 

I want to learn to see the Father holding his breath and watching over me as I take on life everyday. 
And even more, I want to learn and try to hold my breath for others, knowing that He will watch over them as they take on life.

Mein Bruder wurde gerade 18.
Das ist nicht nur ein wichtiges Ereignis für ihn, sondern auch für mich (und vielleicht meine Schwester). Wir sind seine großen Schwestern und haben ihn aufwachsen sehen. Und ich denke, dass alle Eltern oder großen Geschwister ähnliche Gefühle kennen.

Ich erinnere mich an all die Male, wo ich mich um ihn gekümmert, ihn ins Bett gebracht, eine Ausflug mit ihm gemacht, für ihn gekocht habe…er war der kleine und ich musste auf ihn aufpassen.

Jetzt ist er groß und Dinge haben sich verändert.

Versteh mich nicht falsch, wir stehen uns immer noch sehr nah und ich liebe meinen kleinen Bruder, der nun so viel größer ist als ich. Vielleicht haben wir heute sogar mehr Spaß, oft kann ich einfach nur über seine Witze und Entertainment lachen. Und gleichzeitig staunen über seine Weisheit und Gedanken, die er in eine hitzige Diskussion einbringt.

Aber ich muss nicht mehr auf ihn aufpassen. 
Ich sehe, wie er eigene Entscheidungen trifft, Abenteuer eingeht, eigene Fehler macht.

Ich kann nicht leugnen, dass ich mir Sorgen mache. Ganz ehrlich, habe ich manchmal Angst. Ich weiß nicht genau um was, aber da ist dieses Gefühl. 
Dieses Gefühl, die Luft anzuhalten und Leben geschehen zu lassen.
Es ist absolut notwendig, aber oft auch so schwer.
Die Luft anzuhalten heißt loszulassen.
Zu wissen, dass Gott sich letztlich um ihn kümmert.
Dorthin geht, wo ich nicht bin.
Über ihn wacht, wenn ich ihn nicht im Blick habe.
Ihn nah an seiner Seite und in seinen allmächtigen Armen hält.

Während ich über das Leben und seine Sorgen nachdenke, höre ich eine leise Stimme in mir: Gott zeigt mir etwas neues.

Halte die Luft für ihn an.

Denn das ist es, was ich für dich tue. Jeden einzelnen Tag.
Ich halte die Luft an, wenn du durch den Tag gehst, Herausforderungen annimmst, Leute triffst und arbeitest. 
Ich halte die Luft an, wenn du Risiken eingehst und aufs offene Wasser trittst.
Ich halte die Luft an, wenn du von mir wegläufst, mein geliebtes Kind.
Ich geh mit dir, wache über dich und warte, bis du zu mir zurückkommst.

Ich möchte lernen, den Vater zu sehen, wie er für mich die Luft anhält und über mir wacht, während ich jeden Tag das Leben in die Hand nehme.
Und noch mehr möchte ich lernen, die Luft für andere anzuhalten in dem Wissen, dass ER über sie wacht, während sie das Leben in die Hand nehmen. 

[Five Minute Friday] Reach

For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. 
                                                                                                                        (Psalm 108:4)

In my walk with Christ –called life– there are times when I find it quite hard to believe.
To take his words for truth, to let them come alive in me because life around me just speaks something completely different.
His words don’t reach me because I don’t take them in.
I don’t allow them to penetrate the very core of my soul, the point where I need his words the most.

Yet, here they are.
His words of truth.
His love is great and his faithfulness is not limited in its reach.
Familiar words, yet full of power everytime you meditate on them.
He reaches out to his, the heavens and the earth are a testimony for that.
And there’s no place I could go, no mess I could get myself in where his love and faithfulness don’t reach. I am covered in it, whether I know/want it or not.

I guess I need this reminder today. I need it often.
When I reach out to him, he’s always ready to welcome me with open arms.
When I reach out to him, I allow him to reach me.
To let his words go deep until they’re engraved on my heart.
When I reach out to him, I am overwhelmed by his love and faithfulness, taking it all in, learning a bit more about him.
And hopefully, his reach reminds me to reach out to others as well today who need to know they’ve already been reached for.
Will I reach out today? Will I allow myself to be reached today?

Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung. One word. Write for five minutes flat. No editing. Link up with a great community of writers!

[Five Minute Friday] Change

We can try as hard as we want – we can’t stop it. Change.
No matter how many plastic surgeries you’ll have, your body will eventually bear the features of age.
No matter how much money you spend on a house, you’ll die in it one day.
No matter how much you care for your children, they will leave home one day.
No matter how many friends you have or how often you meet for coffee, they will move away one day or you might move on.

Change is everywhere. Some of it we can delay, most of it is out of our control.

As a TCK change almost seems to be part of your genes.
There’s a voice inside of you saying, “you cannot go a year without change. Two years in one place is already too long. Just wait for it, your friends will move anyway. You can’t stay here.”

As I move into this new phase of my life , I find a certain reluctance to change inside of me.
I don’t want to change anymore.
The thing I loved about being a TCK – the moving – feels strange and exhausting to me out of a sudden. At least for the moment.
There is this yearning inside of me to just be.
To just stay where I am.
At least for now.

I guess we need both.
We need to change, it will happen if we want it or not.
To change is to live.
So rather embrace it than just be shaped by it.
Appreciate the way things we get to experience now.

In all of this we need a firm place to root ourselves.
A place that doesn’t change.
A person we can go back to when change breaks us apart.
The One who says about himself “I am the same – yesterday, today, and forever.”

Linking up with Kate Motaung today over at Five Minute Friday!

TCKs and the Mirror of Erised

When I was a teenager I read the Harry Potter series and I am currently listening to the audio books as a nice distraction from studying for my finals. 🙂

In the first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the young boy Harry is given the news that he’s a wizard. 

His life changes within seconds: he is not just the forgotten orphan who never met his parents; he is now part of a new family at the Hogwarts school, with real friends and an adventurous lifestyle.

And then there’s this one scene in which Harry wanders the dark corridors of the castle one night and discovers the Mirror of Erised. 

Harry looks in the mirror and he’s suddenly surrounded by his mother and father – the people he never really met and misses the most. 
It’s such a sweet description of this eleven year old boy relishing a moment with his family and finally a sense of belonging. 
But when he shows his best friend Ron and he looks in the mirror he doesn’t see any of this. Instead, he sees himself as head of Griffindor house and Quidditch captain. He finally feels special since he normally has to fight for attention as one of five boys in a big family.

The Mirror of Erised is not an ordinary mirror. 

It doesn’t show you what is. 
It reveals your deepest desires, no matter how deep they might be hidden in your heart.
Yet, as soon as you take a step back the illusion is gone and you’re face to face with reality again.

Harry just can’t stop looking in that mirror. Night after night he goes back to see himself and relive the idea of a perfect family. But in the third night Dumbledore, the headmaster, finds Harry and tells him that “this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth.” Eventually, Harry will have to take that step back into reality.

I feel like Harry sometimes. 

I am still surprised how much this relates to what many TCKs feel like. 
There’s this deep desire within us to belong. 
To be understood. 
To be ourselves without explanation or excuse. 
Sometimes the ache for people and places we had to leave behind is physically painful. 
All we want to do is to jump on a plane, fly to one of the places we call home, meet familiar faces, and feel that everything’s going to be fine. 
We can spend hours looking at pictures of what used to be. 
We harbor that warm feeling spending time in the past gives us. 
Skype calls with friends half across the globe better never end. 
Night after night we could go back and look into our Mirror of Erised.

But we can’t stay there forever. 

We, too, need a Dumbledore calling us back and guiding us through the reality of the present. We sometimes need this gentle reminder that our past façades don’t offer us anything. 
There’s no knowledge of truth in them. And unfortunately not much comfort either. 
They only increase the desire because whenever we put down our photographs, shut off our computer, or leave our houses we are still here. 
In the present, in reality.
What a disillusionment to let go. All enchantment’s gone within seconds.

But the reality we’re left with is not just bleak and empty. 

It is full of opportunities we’re supposed to seize. The gifts of the past we had the privilege to enjoy were not given to us in vain; they made us fit to take up the challenges of the present and turn them into an even better future. 
The things we endure and accomplish, the people we invest in today are the very memories we will dwell on tomorrow.

So let’s do it together. 

Let’s take a step back from the mirror. 
Let’s choose to face reality and the challenges it puts before us today. 
Let’s be grateful for our past, give into desires from time to time, and be even more excited for the future.

Als Teenager habe ich die Harry Potter Reihe gelesen und gerade höre ich die Hörbucher, das ist eine schöne Abwechslung nach einem langen Lerntag…:)

Im ersten Buch “Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen” erhält der junge Harry die Nachricht, dass er ein Zauberer ist. Sein Leben ändert sich in Sekundenschnelle: er ist nicht mehr nur der vergessene Waisenjunge, der seine Eltern nie kennengelernt hat; er ist jetzt Teil einer neuen Familie in Hogwarts mit echten Freunden und einem abenteuerlichen Leben.
Und dann gibt es diese eine Szene, in der Harry eines Nachts die langen dunklen Korridore entlangläuft und den Spiegel von Erised entdeckt. Harry schaut in den Spiegel und ist plötzlich von seinen Eltern umgeben – den Leuten, die er nie kennengelernt hat und am meisten vermisst. Eine wirklich schöne Beschreibung, wie dieser elfjährige Junge einen Moment mit seiner Familie genießt, endlich fühlt er sich zuhause.
Aber wenn er den Spiegel seinem Freund Ron zeigt und der hineinsieht, sieht er nichts davon. Stattdessen sieht er sich selbst als Anführer von Griffindor und Quidditch Kapitän. Endlich fühlt er sich besonders, da er sonst immer um Aufmerksamkeit kämpfen muss als einer von fünf Jungs in einer Großfamilie.

Der Spiegel von Erised ist kein gewöhnlicher Spiegel. Er zeigt dir nicht, was ist. Er enthüllt deine tiefsten Sehnsüchte, egal wie tief sie in deinem Herzen vergraben sind. Aber sobald du einen Schritt zurückgehst, ist die Illusion weg und du stehst wieder der Realität gegenüber.

Harry kann aber nicht aufhören, in den Spiegel zu blicken. Nacht für Nacht kehrt er zurück, um sich selbst zu sehen und die Idee einer perfekten Familie wiederzuerleben. In der dritten Nacht kommt Dumbledore, der Schulleiter, vorbei und sagt Harry, dass “dieser Spiegel uns weder Wissen noch Wahrheit gibt.” Harry muss also irgendwann den Schritt zurück in die Realität machen. 

Ich fühle mich manchmal wie Harry. Und ich wunder mich immer noch, wie sehr das mit dem zu tun hat, wie es vielen TCKs oft geht. 

In uns ist diese Sehnsucht, dazu zu gehören.
Verstanden zu werden.
Wir selbst zu sein ohne Erklärung oder Ausrede.
Manchmal können wir den Schmerz förmlich spüren, da wir Leute so sehr vermissen, die wir zurücklassen mussten. Wir wollen einfach nur in ein Flugzeug steigen und an einen der Orte fliegen, die wir Zuhause nennen, bekannte Gesichter sehen und das Gefühl haben, dass alles gut werden wird.
Wir könnten Stunden damit verbringen, Bilder anzuschauen von Dingen, wie sie einmal waren. Wir bewahren dieses warme Gefühl in uns, das die Vergangenheit uns gibt. Und Skype Anrufe mit Freunden am andern Ende der Welt sollten am Besten nie aufhören. Nacht für Nacht kehren wir zurück und schauen in unseren Spiegel von Erised.

Aber wir können nicht für immer dort bleiben.

Wir brauchen auch einen Dumbledore, der uns zurückruft und in die Realität der Gegenwart führt. Wir brauchen manchmal diese sanfte Erinnerung, dass die Fassaden der Vergangenheit nichts für uns zu bieten haben, es ist kein Wissen oder Wahrheit in ihnen. Und leider auch nicht wirklich viel Trost. Sie verstärken eigentlich nur die Sehnsucht, denn wenn immer wir unsere Fotos weglegen, unseren Computer ausmachen oder unser Haus verlassen, sind wir immer noch hier.
In der Gegenwart, in der Realität. Es ist schwer, loszulassen. Aller Zauber ist innerhalb von Sekunden einfach verschwunden.

Aber die Gegenwart, die uns bleibt, ist nicht einfach nur leer. Sie ist voller Möglichkeiten, die wir ergreifen sollen. Die Geschenke der Vergangenheit, die wie erleben durften, wurden uns nicht umsonst gegeben; sie haben uns bereit gemacht, um die Herausforderungen der Gegenwart anzugehen und sie in eine bessere Zukunft zu verwandeln. 

Die Dinge, die wir aushalten und meistern, die Leute, in die wir heute investieren – das sind die Erinnerungen, die wir morgen in Ehren halten. 
Also lass es uns zusammen tun. Lass uns einen Schritt zurück treten, weg vom Spiegel. 
Lass uns bewusst die Realität sehen und die Herausforderungen, die sie uns heute stellt. Lass uns dankbar sein für unsere Vergangenheit, manchmal der Sehnsucht nachgeben, und noch gespannter auf die Zukunft sein. 

[Five Minute Friday] Fill

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow (Desert Song. Brooke Ligertwood)

This song often speaks to me. It encompasses all the seasons of life, all the moods of my soul. It never stops at one place, but always seeks for more, looks out for the Lord. 

Life seems to be a process of being filled and being emptied again. 

Having times when people just pour into you. 
You feel as if God’s just opening the heavens to shower you with blessings. 
Your heart and mouth are flowing over with the joy you experience.

And then there are times when it’s your turn to give. 

When you pour into others, pass on from what you’ve been given before. 
Invest your time, money, thoughts, and emotions into someone else. 
There are situations and challenges that just drain your energy. 

The big challenge we have is to find a balance between these times. 

We cannot be happy all the time, not everything will go smoothly. 
But we’re neither supposed to struggle all the time. 
There will be joy in the morning after the sorrow of the night. 

On our own strength we won’t be able to maintain this balance. 

We have this privilege to go to the One whose strength and joy and encouragement are far greater than any we could ever come up with. 
He can fill us with more than we can ever imagine. 
And he loves doing it! 
He enjoys it when we come empty-handed and ask to be filled with his abundance. 
And he rejoices when we leave joyfully and fill someone else with this gift. 


For the first time, Kate Motaung is hosting Five Minute Friday – Welcome! Everything else stays the same: one prompt. Five minutes of writing. No editing. Sharing.