For our first Sunday in France, we decided to attend the small church down the street from our house. Everyone was exhausted and processing all the changes moving had thrust upon us. Since the kids wanted to stay with us, we brought some paper and colored pencils to keep them occupied. Evelyn drew this masterpiece, and it now hangs prominently in our apartment. Since we have not received our pallets of goods, it is a refreshing reminder of how we are making this home. Art, especially “kid art”, has a way of making a space feel warm and loving.
So what is this picture that I am proudly displaying for everyone to see? There are several cats in our neighborhood, and we are not sure if they are fully feral or just “neighborhood cats”. One afternoon, Evelyn and I witnessed 2 cats fighting for a seat in a tree outside our apartment. The cat who was in the tree had no interest in sharing his spot, and you can see from the picture he is happy due to his big smile. It was a humorous exchange which we watched for a few minutes. There was a brilliant yellow foliage still clinging to this tree, so you couldn’t see him, except for when the second cat made attempts to climb up. There was wild hissing and paws flying as the grounded cat launched assaults without success. You could literally see the dejection on the cat’s face. It didn’t seem like he was angry, he just wanted to be in the tree! Sometimes these crazy moments etch into your mind in living color and I won’t soon forget Evelyn’s hysterical laughter. That is one of her best qualities, when you get her going, her laugh is so contagious.
To the left is a building with a French flag, that is the bakery that is at the end of our complex. “Le Paniére” is the obsession of our kids. They BEG to stop at this corner bakery all the time. Who could blame them? The smells are incredible and there are so many delectable treats inside and it’s literally at the entrance of our small apartment complex. At the time of writing this, our kids are on absolute strike against “regular” bread. They want a baguette, or nothing! It is no surprise that they have fiercely accepted at least a few of the cultural norms of French life, even in just a short time. They are well practiced with adapting. Praise God for this, and for the good baguettes!
As Naomi and I worshipped and tried to grasp a few words of the message, we were getting affirmation of this life choice as we watched the drawings pour out of our brave children sitting beside us. It is easy to spiral into the million what-if’s regarding our decision to move here. It hasn’t been all smooth, but the little glimmers God shares with us reassure us that He has us (and our children) in His hands and He loves us so much more than we could ever comprehend. As the lyrics rest in our minds in French and translate to our hearts from the worship song “Tout Mon Espoir” we are reminded “I lean on you. I will hold on, I will count on you.”