No I'm not just speaking of Alans and my breakdown on the autobahn last night. Officialy I've had two total breakdown/meltdowns this week that I'm not proud of. The first came Wednesday night when we were trying to get to housegroup on time. I was driving and about 10 minutes into our drive Alan realized he didn't have either his bible or his German lesson book that he was going to study on our way to housegroup. He knew he had them when he was heading out the door and thought he either put them on top of the car or on the stairs going down to the car and so we decided to turn around to find them. When we got back home his bible and book were nowhere to be found so I told him to check the apartment and sure enough he'd left them in the kitchen. No emergency after all but now we were going to be late to housegroup. Ugh - we hate being late.
So we're driving and we take this route which I hate but the satellite nav insists it's the shortest way. The reason I hate it is because it goes through the mountains and the German drivers insist on driving right up on your tail to try to intimidate you I guess. Talk about stressful! Well Wednesday night was no different and as we drove out of the mountains and we got to the bottom of the hill we found a huge line of traffic waiting for the light before you go onto the motorway. So we waited... and waited... and waited. About 20 minutes later I'm getting really frustrated because the line of traffic we are trying to turn into continue to block the intersection making it impossible for anyone coming from our direction to turn. It's too congested to be anything but a bad accident and I'm watching the clock and saying, well now they're having dinner and now they're singing and now they're praying -- all the while knowing we were still 20-25 minutes out even if traffic started moving right away. Ugh.
You see - I really, really needed to get to housegroup. I had been feeling so incredibly depressed this past week with adjusting to life here in Germany. I had experienced off and on anxiety about being a first time mom and the language learning, especially for Alan, has become another big stressor. Being around other believers and being encouraged is something we look forward to all week and it didn't look like we were going to make it or if we did, it would be for the last five minutes only... ugh.
Have you ever noticed that when you get stressed, others around you start getting stressed too and suddenly it's no longer about the German tailgaters or the terrible traffic or having to turn around to try and find something that wasn't lost to begin with but suddenly it's about you and the other person and you're taking jabs at eachother over nothingness and that makes you more stressed, etc., etc? Well this was what was happening with Alan and me. In a matter of about fifteen minutes I had gone from being upset about our circumstances and my depression over the past week to being upset with Alan. I can probably safely say that my pregnancy hormones had taken over but when I started to cry I just couldn't stop. This in turn stressed Alan out unimaginably. Needless to say we turned around and went back home. We sorted things out between us after a good prayer time and I was able to call my mom and get encouragement from her as well which I needed.
Then last night we decided we wanted to go and see the English version of The King's Speech which was playing in Mannheim. Unfortunately our car had other plans and as we were driving along the autobahn it decided to breakdown. Fortunately Alan got it over to the side of the road but German drivers on the autobahn drive so incredibly fast that we knew we couldn't stay there for long. Someone could very easily hit the car so we needed to get out and phone someone for help. As my week would have it though my phone decided to die at the exact same moment as the car and my phone has all our church friends numbers stored in it. Alan brought his phone but the only number it had in it was my mobile phone, our home phone and Cathy Thompsons phone number in Hungary. Alan thought it would be a good idea to walk down the autobahn and cross over into a field where there was a road we could walk on into the small town about a mile away but I was terrified of walking on the autobahn so I made him climb over a metal barrier and cross a big field. Unfortunately I managed to get caught on the metal barrier and my favorite maternity jeans tore from my butt to almost my knee. Insert breakdown number 2 here.
I won't go into the details but it wasn't pretty. Here I am over 6 months pregnant, walking through a plowed field trying to make it to someone who could give us the phone numbers of our friends, a tow service and a mechanic. My jeans are torn and Alan is saying how we just need to relax and trust God. At this point I didn't care about trusting God. I was mad at God. Mad at Him for calling us to Germany, mad at Him for not giving us a reliable car, mad at Him for letting my phone die, etc., etc. AND I was mad at Alan. Mad that he hadn't gotten our car fixed when it started acting up a while ago, mad that he didn't manage to help me over the barrier so I wouldn't tear my jeans, mad that he kept insisting I was going to fall in the field and so could we please walk on the road instead. Yeah breakdown number 2 wasn't pretty either.
You know the one good thing about being with someone that loves you? Truly? He'll forgive you when you're freaking out and blaming him for everything. Alan always does and God does too. For some reason that hit me in the face later because I attribute God to having so much less love for me than my human relationships and in reality those relationships don't hold a candle to how much God loves me. AND He doesn't abandon his children when they need him. Yes they might experience a breakdown, get hurt or damaged trying to get help, stumble a bit for a while through a dirty field but He's always there and all things work together for good for those that love God. All things. Not the occassional few or most things but all things. This was no exception.
For example: God provided a newstand with a sweet lady that loaned us her phonebook. We rang our pastor who gave us the number for a recovery service in addition to calling our other friends in the church and asking them to drive out to help us. He provided a sweet man in the newstand who told me where I could find a bank and then he followed me there to make sure I found it ok. God provided a recovery service that towed our car to the church where we could leave it until we figured out what to do with it. Finally he provided our friend Matt who came to meet us, picked me up from the train station where I was waiting for Alan, drove me to the church to meet Alan and then he gave us the church van as the pastor said we could use it until we got our car sorted. Provision, faithfulness, unfailing love.
Today we got to see The King's Speech and loved it. We spent a few hours before the movie enjoying Mannheim, walking Webster and eating 1/2 meter long bratwurst.
Is living here easy? No. It's really hard sometimes but is it worth it to see God working in your life and watching over you so evidently? Yes.
God willing Alan and I will be parents in 12 weeks. We'll either get our car fixed or God will provide something else. We're learning German and we're meeting some great people from around the world while we do it. Yesterday I took orchids to two of our sweet neighbors that we've met who have been very kind to us and just knew this was where God wanted us.
Will I have more breakdowns? I hope not. I hope I can become more grounded in the assurance of Gods love and faithfulness so that when these acute stress moments come I can take a deep breath, widen my vision, pray and deal with them constructively rather than destructively. It's all about Gods grace and I'm so glad for it.