Inside the Mess

On Wednesday I had visitors come over who wanted to stay the night.
I was looking forward to their visit, but I was also a little nervous.
My schedule was completely packed because I had been in and out of the city for the most part of the last two weeks. There were clothes lying around on the floor, unpacked bags on the chairs, piles of paper on the table. A fine layer of dust covered the surfaces. My apartment was a mess.
How could I invite people into this place?
So I started cleaning on Tuesday night, frantically getting rid of the chaos and presenting the best version of me and my place.

Why do I do this?
Why do I care so much about what others think?
Why do we polish our lives online and offline?

Sometimes I wonder if we do similar things with God.
If our lives were like an apartment, we would only show him the living room where everything is neat and tidy.
We would clean up and present the best version of ourselves.
We would keep him away from the dusty corners and the dark sub-basement.

The visit was great and it was really nice to meet all these new people.
For those who know me a little also know that I love hosting people.
But the next morning I woke up with the worst headache.
Suddenly I felt really uncomfortable.
Me, the hostess, couldn’t host anymore.
I had to drop my facade and allow others to see inside my mess. They looked into cupboards and drawers, they moved around in my house.
They saw a little bit more of me.

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And somehow they didn’t seem to mind at all.
What if we stopped worrying for a second and decide to let go?
What if the moments of seemingly “losing it” lead to greater depth and connection?
What if God wanted to see it all?
What if he was more interested in our darkness than  our superficial perpection?
What if this mess actually leads to true healing?


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

Everyday Heroes

Three years ago, my mom and I started a tradition.
One weekend per year, we do a ladies’ getaway. Two days of hiking, relaxing, stuffing ourselves with delicious food and talking through the night.

My mom is no longer the woman who cooks my food or does everything for me, she is a friend I can talk and laugh with.
She is a great cheerleader who texts early in the morning to wish you a nice day.
She somehow manages to stay up to date with all of our crazy lives.
She advises or just listens.
She encourages to take a risk and say No sometimes.

On Sunday, we celebrate Mother’s Day here in Germany.
When I went to the post office in Wednesday to mail something for my mom, the guy behind the counter freaked: “Oh, is it this Sunday? Thanks for the reminder, I need to get something then!”

I can relate. But it also made me think.
Moms invest their entire lives, love and soul – so why do we only give them one day a year to truly appreciate them?

I am not a mom and I don’t know if I’ll ever be.
But luckily I’m surrounded by friends who are great moms.
They model the depths and challenges, but they also allow me to partake in the love and joy children being to your life.
They are the everyday heroes.

Motherhood comes in different forms and shapes.
So what makes a woman a mother?

My friend Sophie, a brilliant mother herself, explores this question in her new photography series define: mother.
Read touching stories and intimate images on her blog.
The cover image is from her beautiful series as well.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

Shut Up, Narrative!

You should do more exercise.
You should finish that project at work like…yesterday.
You should make more time for your friends.
You should go to bed earlier.
You should read the Bible more.

Should, must, have to.
Isn’t that the narrative constantly playing in our minds?
It pushes us to impossible heights sometimes, but mostly it drives us crazy.
It eats us away.
It kills the life we are supposed to live.

So let’s stop for a moment and dig a little deeper.
Why should we do all these things? And why do we give in to the “shoulds” so often?
Because we think we need more money.
Because we think the world will stop turning the moment we lay our hands down.
Because we think that we can rest later.
Because we think that we are what we do.
Because we think that God expects a special routine.

We think and think, and slowly by slowly these thoughts become beliefs.
Beliefs about ourselves, God and the world.

If we give ourselves permission and rest for a while, we might hear a different narrative, softly whispered into our hearts.

Hey, I’m so glad you’re here.
Why don’t you sit down and relax?
The world will continue turning, I got this in my hands. Literally.
You won’t be able to just drop everything, but you are free to choose.
Do the things that are beneficial to you. In body, mind and spirit.
Or do nothing at all sometimes because you are who you are.
And that’s enough.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

A Writer’s Dream (major news below!)

BIG NEWS!

In the summer of 2016 I was stuck in a period of waiting. At first I was impatient and angry to have nothing to do and feeling so lost and uncertain. But then I decided to use my unexpected time off well, so I sat down and wrote. Ideas kept coming and words kept flowing.

About two years ago a dear friend of mine put a fly in my ear. She kept telling me how much she enjoyed reading my blog. She said I should translate some work into German, so that more people could read it.
That my words mattered.
That I should put them in a book.

I hesitated.
Were my words good enough?
Am I really a writer? Would anyone like to read what I had to say and even pay for it?
But I thought I would try and so I talked to publishing houses.
For the first time I dared to believe in my words.
I dared to dream.

Now this dream has become a reality.

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A few weeks ago I signed a book contract!

Fliege ins Leben , lande bei Gott. 52 Zwischenstopps einer Alltagsreisenden will release in September 2017 and I couldn’t be happier.
It is a guide throughout the year with texts to make you think about God, yourself and the world. The Lord’s presence and gifts are everywhere if we train our eyes and hearts to see them. This might mean to practice new routines or to embrace doubt, but it will definitely be rewarding.
I hope these words will bless you on your faith journey and lead you to many new encounters and discoveries. This book is written for YOU – with lots of space in between for questions, practical prompts and thoughts about your journey.

As you can read from the title, it will be in German – sorry for my English speaking friends! – but for my German readers I am excited to offer my writing in my first language. So far the publishing house and editors have been really great to work with and the more we work on it, the more excited I become. Birthing a book into this world is quite some work, but a rather elating and fulfilling one I must say.

THANK YOU to everyone who’s been on this journey with me so far!
Thank for encouraging me through messages and comments.
Thank you for your questions that inspire my thoughts.
Thank you for your prayers when writing is a struggle sometimes.
Thank you for being such faithful readers.
Thank you for all your support.

This book is my gift to you.

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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.

Embrace the Now

I am angry.
A feeling of dissatisfaction is my companion these days.
I don’t feel at home in this new place and I hate the fact that there is no time to make it a home.
My eyes have forgotten to capture, my heart has lost its song of gratefulness.
I am caught in between – between the past and the future – and that’s one of the most unsettling places to be.

I am panicked and stressed.
I am not happy with how busy I am these days and how little time there is to actually live, but many days I don’t manage much further than falling into bed with heavy legs at night. I often can’t do much more than to embrace the fact that starting any kind of new job is hard.

I am afraid to move on.
My faith feels stuck these days between not wanting to go back but also without any clue on what comes next. I fear to have nothing left.
I have to embrace the fact that being lost doesn’t last forever. And to trust that those who seek will eventually find.

In the midst of life -in the struggle of mourning the past and awaiting the future – I have to embrace the present. It’s all I’ve got right now and I have the chance to turn it into a past worth remembering.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

What a Table Can Do for Community

In my short twenty-eight years of life I’ve traveled the world quite a bit and spent
some time in different cultures. The best thing about other countries are the people
who invite you into their homes and lives to show you a few of their traditions.
Traditions I can then take back to my own life and introduce others to them.

When I lived in the States a friend invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family.
I got to experience a whole day of family fun in the mountains, great food and good
conversations. A day to reflect, appreciate and give thanks. It was such a treat and
blessing for me. So I took this tradition back home and introduced my family to it.
Ever since then, they keep asking, “Can you please cook Thanksgiving dinner
again?”

Last Thanksgiving was a little different.

I am sharing my last Thanksgiving experiences on Kristin’s blog Turquoise Table today. Read the rest of the story here.