In the beginning of July of 2016, my family and I will be going on a prayer tour to Switzerland!
As I have made quick mention in an earlier post, Switzerland is significant to me because Papa Love has stirred a deep longing for the place I once called home.
Here's some backstory...
When I was 6 years old my family moved to Switzerland! Why? Well, my parents had been talking about how they would love to go there, even waaaay before I entered the picture! For some reason, they both had a deep yearning to go. Years went by. Four kids and 6 years later, the opportunity fell in their lap!
Now, as I share this story, you will undoubtedly see why I play into my wild imagination and see signs all around me that I know are from God!
My mom has shared the stories several times about all the little, subtle signs God gave them, which kept their hope alive for it and calmed any doubt along the way. Whether it be the name of the lodge they stayed in for their Honeymoon or a street they lived on. Interestingly enough, they have ended up living in those actual places! Sure, I could share all their stories.... but this is my story, and how I am finding myself seeing similar signs.
When my grandpa passed away, my dad received an inheritance, which is what moved us from California to Switzerland. The circumstances were sad, but so much life came out of that loss. Surely, we will be with him again!
Like I stated earlier, I was 6 when we moved. My mom easily found work as a dental hygienist . That, in itself, is a miracle! She went before us and got everything in order. When we moved over there I felt like we were rich! We weren't, but we were extremely blessed! Our homes we had lived in over the course of 5 1/2 years were extravagant to me! I mean, living on the side of a mountain?! Really? I was like Heidi! I even used to be the one to walk up to the dairy farm to fill my milk can with fresh milk! There was nothing about Switzerland's landscape that was anything short of breathtaking! We went on numerous hikes and bike rides. We went camping all over Europe! That part was the dream of living there!
However, I constantly felt as though I was in a nightmare, wanting to wake up.( Wow! Talk about a sharp turn!)
I had a real difficult time fitting in. And it wasn't even due to any language barrier. In fact, my siblings and I learned the language well and fairly quickly! By the time school started, we had done pretty well. By the way, the German language makes so much more sense than the English language! Just a side note there. English is almost a code language.!
Back on point...
Life was difficult because I was a foreigner to them. I was much more accepting of them than they were of me. Sure, I had made a few friends, and throughout my time there I had maintained a small handful of friends. The rest were aquaintances, and not by their choosing. I was lucky enough, however, to have been able to develop a couple close friendships while I lived there.
Having a difficult time making friends was never something I had anticipated for myself. I am very outgoing. It never occurred to me that my social life would be the highlighted area of attack by the enemy! Even to this day, I still struggle with knowing who my friends are and who the enemy is using to destroy me. However, I have learned to intentionally keep my friends few and close.
I have always had an incredible amount of love and compassion for people. I was more inclined to befriend those who seemed rejected. I find it so important to make sure everyone feels they are loved. Kids are mean. Teens are mean. And some never grow out of it.
When I was going to school in Switzerland I was bullied, a lot. I think the hardest time for me was when my best friend was the one who'd lead the pack at times. Confused? So was I... Here's a little backstory on her...
When we had moved to the second town, she was my neighbor. I remember the first time I saw her. She would ride her bike up and down our neighborhood street just watching me. She always smiled at me. I was a little scared at first. She had short hair and dressed like a boy so, I thought she was. Finally, she introduced herself to me and, soon we were best friends! We did everything together. She'd come over to my house and teach me Bruce Lee moves... well, actually, I'd just watch. I wasn't nearly brave enough to try them! I'd go to her house and watch Power Rangers. Her family was nice to me. Her brothers mistreated her, though. In fact, all the males in her family were womanizers. I met her mother, who didn't speak German. She didn't seem to like me much. Something had happened one time, which was traumatizing to me, and it caused my friend's mother to be kicked out of the house. This was just their customs. You see, my best friend's family were Muslim. I had seen a lot of things that were new to me and broke my heart for her. She would have extreme mood swings. Some days she would look at me with pure hatred. And the very next day she'd knock on my door to come out and play. I remember arriving at school one snowy morning... my classmates came up to me saying she's looking for me and wants to fight me! What had I done? I was 9 years old. I wasn't going to fight back. I wouldn't even know what to do. Besides, I had no reason to. I wasn't mad at her for any reason. She came up to me, my heart beating out of my chest, and pushed me up against the wall. She didn't say a word. She just huffed and puffed and drew her arm back, as if to plow her fist in me. Then she let go, took slow breaths to calm herself down, and walked away. I was so puzzled. And I was heartbroken for her! I could see her pain so much that I felt it. Even as I write this, my vision is blurred by the tears welling up. I'm sure she blamed me for her mother being kicked out. I would too, probably. It wasn't anything her mother did. It was her uncle. But, being that it was her mother's brother, that was cause enough for her father. So, after school, that same day, I began walking home from school with another friend. Half way to her house, I get hit by a snowball. I turned around and saw people from my class ready to throw. They weren't throwing them at my friend, just me. We began running to her house. Do you want to know what else hurt about that incident? The boy I had a crush on was the first to throw one at me. That would devastate any girl... and it became a pattern in my life. So, we get inside her house and go upstairs to wait until it's safe for me to walk home. A few minutes later, my "best friend" lets herself in! She calls me downstairs to face her. At this point I am completely freaked out and so very confused! I sneak out a window and go a different rout home. I remember crying and asking God why this was happening and what was wrong with me! I felt so lonely. I don't even know if I told my parents what had happened.
It was around that time in my life that I became very depressed and began having thoughts of suicide. Not because I really wanted to die, but because I wanted someone to notice. I wanted someone to care. Things had been tough from the get go, but this was a turn for the worse! I felt so out of place. I was so different from EVERYONE! I hated it... and I hated myself. I began having panic attacks. Crying when my mom would leave for work because I feared I'd never see her again! Pretending to be sick so I wouldn't have to go to school because I was afraid to. I remember asking my parents if we could just move back home, to California. I just couldn't wait to leave! Finally, when I was 11 1/2, we moved back home.
I'm sure you are wondering right now, " Why does she want to go back?" And to that I say this, sometimes we have to step out of our situation to see the picture more clearly. You know, moving back to California didn't make anything better. I went through all the same bullying here, too! And even by my new "best friend"! Don't I know how to pick 'em! The problem is, I'm too nice. I've been told that quite a few times. I'm too forgiving. I must say, I don't find those to be weaknesses. However, I will admit that I have been far too gullible for my own good! And I always seemed to have crushes on the guys who eventually were the first to humiliate me publicly.
It's taken a looong time for me to be able to step back far enough to see what was really going on. I'm there now. I see it clearly. Even though patterns try to repeat themselves, I am finally fully aware of the forces behind such destruction. I am reminded, constantly, that we do not battle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ( Ephesians 6:12)
Would you like to hear something that made someone so irritated by me? I was once asked, in Jr. High, why I was always smiling and so happy! HA! And you wanna know my immediate response? I said," Because Jesus loves me!" I kid you not. Not even a hesitation. Generally, I seemed very happy. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. On good days, when I was getting along with people, I lived fully in that moment! It was when I was alone that insecurities crept in. Or when something triggered a response. But I just wanted to mention that because it makes it so evident to me that the enemy was furious that he had not been victorious! Nor would he ever be! Though, it never stops him from trying.
I am finally in a new season! Papa Love has revealed things to me this past year. He has given me visions and words of knowledge. He has made clear to me why I have endured such trials. And, by the words of my testimony, He will draw many near to Him. He has activated certain gifts within me and poured out many more, all for His glory! I will never be ashamed to speak of Him and all His wonders! And He knows me to be faithful in this. I could never reach an end to His praises! He has made me bold where I need to be bold. He has given me promises through visions and confirmations of other's visions! He has stirred within me the desire to return to a land that brought me much pain, so that I will give the afflicted hope they were blind to before! He has given me a broken heart for all who have suffered as I have so that I could go, victoriously, and call an army to rise up in His name!!
I refuse to live my life routinely, just waiting for Jesus' return! I am stepping up, to the front lines, ready to do as He says! And He has already given me the beginnings of my army, my children! And they are fierce in their love for Jesus and all He loves! Papa Love has given my children and I pictures of different regions He will send us to! He has placed a missionary's heart within each of us! This is only the beginning!!
Throughout the past several years He has given me dreams of Switzerland. He has also shown little treasures here and there along the way. For example, the children and I recently moved to a new town. As I was looking for a good school, I made a turn onto a street that led me into a neighborhood with European street signs! Such as Zurich, Matterhorn, St. Moritz, etc! In the heart of that neighborhood was the school. I was beyond amused! I immediately called my mom to share the irony. I was experiencing signs similar to what they had experienced! I must say, Papa Love has given us so much favor at this school! My kids love their teachers, who go above and beyond to care for the children. Lunches are even offered to my children who have food allergies. I am very careful with what they consume. Papa Love knows it and has honored that! Also, as I go to thrift stores every now and then, I always find something to do with Switzerland! It's little things like this that keep my expectation and hope passionate! Paying attention to details is extremely exciting and rewarding!
May you be inspired to seek God and offer up your life completely for His will! If you do that, I promise you that no trial you face will steal your joy but, rather, fuel your anticipation for victories!! He is good! Oh, SO so good!
P.S: If you'd like to partner with my family by helping us financially and prayerfully, please contact me by email or private message on my Facebook page. It would be so appreciated, and we need it. You will also be abundantly blessed in doing so! I am trying to figure out a fund system that would be best. I will keep you all posted!!