What We Miss in the Rush of Life

You might have noticed that it’s been awfully quiet around here for a few weeks.
The reason is that I have been traveling for the last five weeks.

One week of a TCK conference.
Oh, it was so comforting to talk to new and old friends and ponder the deep questions in life.

One week in Brno/ Czech Republic with the school choir.
It was really interesting engaging with my students and colleagues outside of the classroom.

Two weeks in the Philippines.
No work, just rest. Sleep, beach, crystal clear water, friendly people, culture shock. This break was so desperately needed and I have seen some of the most breathtaking places on earth.

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One week in Wales with a student exchange.
The girls were very open and easy to handle, so my colleague and I could also enjoy ourselves and get to know each other a little better.

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Five weeks of travel.
Five weeks of meeting inspiring people, admiring creation’s beauty, sharing deep connections, making new friends.
Five weeks of blessings.

This sounds great, right?
Well, yes.

But while I still smile at the memory of a conversation or a funny experience, I realize that I’m not grateful.

I can’t be.
Not yet.

The new inputs have been too many in the last few weeks, my mind and soul are too over stimulated to feel much of anything.
After every trip I got home and unpacked my suitcase. I did a load of laundry. I repacked the suitcase for the next trip. I didn’t even bother going shopping, so I just stare into an empty fridge or just buy take-out.

In the midst of all this, I have no time to unpack my heart.
To let memories flash past my inner eye and marvel at what I saw, heard, felt.
All I want is to sit by the window for a bit and daydream of  what I experienced.
To write, to reflect, to process.

Can you relate?

Life dictates us around so often – faster, faster.
But the more I travel, the more I realize – slower, slower.
Only when we stop for a moment, we discover the richness of our experiences, the depth of connection, the value of home.
Only then will we be truly grateful for all these blessings and how they will shape us.

P.S.: I hope to find some time to write and share about my time in the Philippines very soon!


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

More, Please!

I did not expect this.
After keeping it a secret for a few weeks I finally spilled the beans on Wednesday: I signed a book contract! (Insane, right? Here’s the full story.)
The entire day my phone went crazy with feedback. Some long lost friends sent me messages, people liked and shared the news, others left the most thoughtful and touching comments.

I did hope for some sort of feedback, but I never imagined… this. So much love, support, interest, excitement… I can only say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Reading all these lovely messages totally made my day, I felt like I was flying. My insides were all excited and I couldn’t help but walk around with a big smile all day.
Encouragement is like water for a withered flower, like a breath of fresh air, like a firm rock you can stand on as you continue your journey.

So why don’t we give it more often?
More laughter.
More kindness.
More time.
More encouragement.

It doesn’t take much to encourage others.
We don’t have to wait for something extraordinary to come along to encourage someone.
A smile, an uplifting comment or a hug can make a difference already.
A sign that says, “I’m glad you’re here. You don’t have to do anything, just be. That’s enough.”


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

A Deeper Voice

One of my earliest memories is my mom singing to us.
Whenever we went to bed she would sit down next to us and read us a story or sing a song. Songs about the moon and God’s love for the world. Peaceful songs. I must admit that I forgot many of them as I grew older, which is sad when I don’t know the words to sing to my godson.

Our house was always full of music.
We all played different instruments and I guess it must have been quite painful for my parents to hear us practicing.
Something we never had to practice was singing.
My sister and I would just sing along to a CD and improvise harmonies.
Often times we would meet as a family in the evening to sing a few songs of worship.

Since then a lot of things have changed.
We have gotten older, we have moved out, we don’t have that much time to be together anymore. But whenever my sister and I gather, we make time to sing.
We pick a song we liked on the radio and just get started.
No practice, no rules, just singing.
Sometimes she leads, sometimes I invent something.
We improvise and create together.

And most of the time it sounds magical and we can’t believe this just came out of our mouths.
A creation we can’t just repeat.
A one-time opus we have to enjoy in the moment.

Singing is a way to connect on a different, maybe deeper, level.
It’s a way to express yourself without using a lot of words.

There’s music all around us.
The trees softly moving in the wind.
The birds joyfully welcoming a new day.
The lady next to me humming when she’s busy.
The ocean powerfully breaking wave after wave.
The sounds of our lives coming together.
Sounds that tell us: I am here. I see you. I hear you. Always.
All we have to do is listen.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

How to Fill an Empty Soul

“Are you taking a break? I haven’t seen you on Facebook and instagram lately.”

That is correct.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t take it anymore. I just felt so unsatisfied when I looked at social media posts and how polished everyone’s lives where. They all looked so happy and perfect – while I was busy and alone and imperfect. I scrolled down feeds in search of some sort of meaningful news, but all I got was videos about cats and clickbait headlines.
The more time I spent on social media, the angrier I became and the emptier I felt.

It was time to get out.

The season of Lent provided a perfect time to go offline and see how my view of the world would change (hopefully).

It was quite surprising to see how much I didn’t miss it all. The white noise of cat videos, game invitations, gifs…It was all quiet out of a sudden. Finally, there was some space to listen, to breathe, to learn.

But it was also nice to rediscover some online friends who I’ve really missed during this time, I must admit. They use media very well to open my eyes for beauty and point me to unexpected treasures in the mundane.

The most shocking discovery was to realize how much time I waste on social media. It’s so easy to just pick up the phone when you’re waiting for something or feel bored. I felt almost conditioned to move my fingers towards icons, they were already trained to swipe down, to tap. It seemed impossible to just read a book, to just watch a book, to just ficus. I always needed something else. I was hoping that someone, anything, would care about me and entertain me. Shocking, sobering, eye-opening.

When I stopped looking at my phone for direction, I suddenly had so much time.
Time to really focus on the important things.
Time to intentionally connect with people.
Time to leave the camera behind and truly see beauty.
Time to listen to birds singing.
Time to inhale the smell of spring flowers and new life awakening.

Time to fill my heart again which things that matter and life that restores.

These weeks have definitely been a learning experience. The semicolon is a good symbol for it: I want to put a period – a stop – to wasting time on nonsense distraction – but I also want to connect with God, with people and the real world – focused and intentionally. Even if this means disconnecting online.

Have you ever taken a social media break? What have you learned? I would love to hear your experiences!

My friend Marilyn has written about this topic as well, check out her thoughts here!

Psst: I’ve also been working on some exciting news. Will share more about it next week! Stay tuned! 


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

Of Losing and Finding

In the last few years I had to deal with loss quite a bit.
I saw friends losing loved ones, and having nothing but pain leaves you speechless.
I lost relationships I thought I could count on, leaving me disappointed and disillusioned.
I moved and traveled to places, leaving me with a deafening feeling of not belonging anywhere.
I transitioned from university into work life and never imagined this change would impact me so much.
I am losing, or rather rediscovering, my faith and sometimes I feel like walking alone on a wide open sea.  Continue reading “Of Losing and Finding”

[Five Minute Friday] Keep

Things had to change.
After five years of studying theory at uni, it was time to put knowledge into practice. 
So I started a new job a few weeks ago. Actually, my first job ever. I am a teacher at a school nearby and the next 1.5 years I’ll be in training. People will watch and evaluate my teaching, there will be lots of late nights preparing and many early mornings.
I had heard quite a bit of rumors and horror stories about these years. 
“You won’t have a life during this time.” 
 “You’ll just live for school.”

So obviously I wasn’t that thrilled when I had to get up at 5.30 am for the first time in many years. 
I would cut all my extra curricular activities, no more social work. 
I would limit my relationships because I wouldn’t have time for people. 
I have to be an adult now. But is that really what it’s like?

Shortly after I started working I met a friend for lunch and she said something that stuck with me: 
“Don’t stop living. Keep the things in your life that keep you alive.”

I guess we all know situations that drain our energy. 
You might live through such a phase of life right now. 
You only go from day to day. 
You function, but you don’t live. 
And slowly by slowly you realize joy has left the house called your heart.

Don’t cut off everything.
Yes, life is not just about fun and easy going. 
Yes, there are times that really challenge us and take our energy.
But keep going. 
Keep the things and people in your life that push you forward. 
That touch something inside of you, below the surface. 
In German, we have a verb for that: “beleben” – it gives life to you.

Keep life inside of you. 
This might mean a good night’s sleep. 
A coffee date with a friend. 
Reading an encouraging and exciting book. 
Going for a run. 
In my case this means lots of cooking. 
Playing music in a band. 
Leading worship at church. 
Practicing my administrational skills at organizing congresses.

Find what gives life to you. 
Small things everyday, bigger things once in a while.
Don’t just function. 
Live!

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Friday means five minute of free writing over at Kate Motaung‘s place – come and join us!

[Lost and Refound] Give – and Give Generously! /Gib – und gib großzügig!

This post might be mostly a message to myself, but maybe also to a few others in my generation. I also don’t intend to preach morals here; I rather want to stir up a discussion about an issue I’m dealing with and would love to hear other people’s insight on this!

People in Western countries today have more money at hand than ever before: in bank accounts, in investments, in savings, in large amounts they can spend everyday in shops or online.

Yet, I feel that people in Western countries today spend less money for and in the kingdom of God than ever before. I cannot give any statistics or exact numbers, so I might be totally off with this assumption.
But when I observe my own way of handling money or talk to a few others (as well as the almost absence of this topic from church teaching)  I feel we don’t necessarily link up our money and God’s perspective on that.

Here are some questions and issues I tend to struggle with…

What does God say about handling and giving money?
“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” (Deuteronomy 16:17)

It seems the riches and blessings we’ve been given are not just meant for ourselves. Even though we work and earn money, everything we own is still a gift of God. And this gift has to be handled carefully. We should appreciate it (and its giver) by sharing our blessing with others. This also includes our money.

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrew 13:16)

Sharing is not always easy. It might even be a sacrifice. But we can be sure that it is not in vain. It is so easy to cling to money, even though it cannot really offer us any security. By giving it up and sharing it with others we might also make a statement about who we actually put our trust in. 

So why don’t we give more?
I think the tricky part about many of God’s promises is to actually stand on them, to apply them to our own realities, to turn them into practice. The reality is a fixed figure in our bank account, the amount of bills and coins we have in our wallets, the list of regular expenses per month. 
That’s when I realize that my faith reality is often marked by a great lack of trust. No more bold song lyrics or pieces of advice. Just the simple realization: I don’t trust you with my money, God. If I give I might not have enough for myself. If I share I might end up losing.  
There might be other reasons like not knowing where exactly you should give your money to, drowning in a sea of opportunities. Or doubting that your money will be used for a good purpose. 

I love the way God refutes our hesitations, questions and doubts:

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10)

The ten percent we give up for God’s kingdom and his purposes will always be rewarded. Our willingness to give will not result in lack or need. 

But what happens when we give? 
In human terms, giving away means having less. Spending means losing. Well, this is not how God works. His principles seem to contradict our often so set ideas:

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
    
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
    
and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:24&25)

There is the story of the poor widow who gives just a few pennies (Mark 12). And yet God values her gift so much more than the rich people who might not even realize their money is gone. I don’t think God cares so much about the exact amount we put in the offering box. He is after our heart and our attitude while we give. Are we ready to let go of certain things and experience a change of heart in return? 

This is the mystery of faith: Everything you invest will be given back to you in amounts you can never possibly imagine. I am not saying you’ll be trouble free. I am not saying we’ll all be millionaires. But the water you give will come back to you in streams of life, grace, and blessings. Withholding equals want, but giving freely will lead to a richness only the giver of all riches can provide.

Now this was/is me rambling…What are your thoughts on this? How do you handle your money? Do you invest financially into the kingdom? How has God blessed you through this? Would love to hear from you!


Dieser Post ist vielleicht nur eine Botschaft an mich, aber vielleicht trifft sie ja auch ein paar andere in meiner Generation. Ich möchte auch keine Moral hier predigen; es geht eher darum, eine Diskussion anzustoßen über ein Thema, das mich beschäftigt und bei dem ich gerne die Meinung anderer hören würde!

Leute in westlichen Ländern haben heute mehr Geld zur Verfügung als jemals zuvor: auf Bankkonten, in Investitionen, auf Sparbüchern, in großen Summen, die sie jeden Tag beim Einkaufen oder Online ausgeben. 

Trotzdem kommt es mir so vor, dass Leute in westlichen Ländern heute weniger Geld für und ins Reich Gottes investieren als jemals zuvor. Ich kann euch keine Statistiken oder genaue Zahlen dazu bieten, deswegen liege ich vielleicht auch völlig daneben mit meiner Annahme. Aber wenn ich mich selbst beobachte, wie ich mit Geld umgehe oder mit anderen darüber rede (oder die fast Abwesenheit dieses Themas in Predigten) denke ich, dass wir nicht unbedingt unser Geld mit der Perspektive Gottes darauf verbinden. 

Hier sind also einige Fragen und Probleme, mit denen ich normalerweise kämpfe…

Was sagt Gott über Geld und Geld geben?
“Aber niemand soll mit leeren Händen vor demHerrn erscheinen, sondern jeder mit dem, was er geben kann, je nach dem Segen, den der Herr, dein Gott, dir gegeben hat.” (5.Mose 16:17)

Es scheint, als ob der Reichtum und Segen, der uns gegeben wurde, nicht nur für uns bestimmt ist. Obwohl wir arbeiten und Geld verdienen, ist alles, was wir haben, immer noch ein Geschenk Gottes. Und dieses Geschenk muss man kostbar behandeln. Wir sollten es wertschätzen (und seinen Geber), indem wir unseren Segen mit anderen teilen. Das gilt auch für unser Geld.
Wohlzutun und mitzuteilen vergesst nicht; denn solche Opfer gefallen Gott wohl!” (Hebräer 13:16)
Teilen ist nicht immer einfach. Es kann auch Opfer erfordern. Aber wir können sicher sein, dass es nicht umsonst ist. Man hängt sich so leicht an Geld, auch wenn es uns eigentlich gar keine Sicherheit bieten kann. Wenn wir es aufgeben und mit anderen teilen, machen wir vielleicht gleichzeitig auch eine Aussage darüber, wem wir wirklich vertrauen. 
Warum geben wir also nicht mehr?
Ich glaube, das Schwierige an Gottes Verheißungen ist, sich wirklich darauf zu stellen, sie auf unsere Wirklichkeit anzuwenden, sie in die Praxis umzusetzen. Die Realität ist ein bestimmter Betrag auf unserem Bankkonto, die vielen Scheine und Münzen in unserem Geldbeutel, die Liste an regelmäßigen Ausgaben im Monat. 
Immer dann merke ich, dass meine Glaubensrealität von Glaubensmangel bestimmt ist. Keine mutigen Songtexte mehr oder Ratschläge. Nur die einfache Erkenntnis: Ich vertraue dir beim Geld nicht, Gott. Wenn ich etwas gebe, habe ich selbst nicht genug. Wenn ich teile, habe ich am Ende zu wenig. 
Es könnte noch andere Gründe geben, wie etwa nicht zu wissen, wo genau man sein Geld hingeben sollte, da man in der Flut der Möglichkeiten ertrinkt. Oder der Zweifel, ob das Geld auch wirklich gut genutzt werden wird.
Ich liebe die Art, wie Gott unsere Zurückhaltung, Fragen und Zweifel ausräumt:
“Bringt den Zehnten ganz in das Vorratshaus, damit Speise in meinem Haus sei, und prüft mich doch dadurch, spricht der Herrder Heerscharen, ob ich euch nicht die Fenster des Himmels öffnen und euch Segen in überreicher Fülle herabschütten werde!” (Maleachi 3:10)
Die zehn Prozent, die wir für Gottes Reich und seine Zwecke geben, werden immer belohnt werden. Unsere Bereitschaft zu geben, wird nicht im Mangel oder Not enden. 
Was passiert, wenn wir geben?
Menschlich gedacht bedeutet geben, dass man am Ende weniger hat. Ausgeben heißt verlieren. Tja, aber so arbeitet Gott nicht. Seine Prinzipien scheinen unseren festen Ideen so oft zu widersprechen:

“Einer teilt aus und wird doch reicher;ein anderer spart mehr, als recht ist, und wird nur ärmer.Eine segnende Seele wird reichlich gesättigt,
und wer anderen zu trinken gibt, wird selbst erquickt.” (Sprüche 11:24&25)

In Markus 12 gibt es die Geschichte der armen Witwe, die nur ein paar Pfennige gibt. Aber Gott schätzt ihre Gabe so viel mehr als die der Reichen, die vielleicht gar nicht merken, dass ihr Geld weg ist. Ich glaube, Gott geht es gar nicht wirklich um den exakten Betrag im Opferbeutel. Er will unser Herz und die Einstellung, wenn wir geben. Sind wir bereit, bestimmte Dinge loszulassen und dabei zu erleben, wie er unser Herz verändert?

Das ist das Geheimnis des Glaubens: Alles, was du investiert, wird dir in Summen zurückgegeben, die du dir nie hättest vorstellen können. Ich sage nicht, dass alle deine Probleme gelöst sein werden. Ich sage nicht, dass wir alle Millionäre sein werden. Aber das Wasser, das du gibst, wird zu dir zurückkommen in Strömen des Lebens, der Gnade und des Segens. Zurückkalten führt zu Wollen, aber freies Geben wird zu einem Reichtum führen, den nur der Geber aller Dinge geben kann.

Das waren/sind meine Gedanken…Was denkst du darüber? Wie gehst du mit deinem Geld um? Investiert du finanziell in das Reich Gottes? Wie hat Gott dich darin gesegnet? Ich freu mich, von dir zu hören!