God really keeps blowing my mind – He’s really pulling me through what’s probably the biggest challenge thus far in my life. And let me tell you, I’ve stumbled a lot along the way, and I’ve banged my fists and I’ve screamed and shouted – going on and on about how difficult it is and how it’s just not fair. Picture a 4 year old in a toy store, throwing a tantrum because her dad just said she can’t have one of the toys she really wants. She’s lying on the floor, kicking and screaming, tears pouring out of her eyes and snot pouring out of her nose – her little face looking anguished and turning bright red – yip…that’s me. And God just stands beside me, calmly, waiting for me to regain some form of composure – waiting for me to realise how silly I’m being and how ugly my little red face looks. And all He can offer me is a smile and a hug – but still, true to my ridiculous human nature, I remain defiant – saying I don’t want a hug, I want the toy!
Ok, I’m sure you get what I’m saying. You know, this process of trying to move to Berlin started months ago. Unfortunately I often get lost in the here and now, and I don’t realise that up until this point, things have been falling into place – I’m not just where I am at this point by some sort of coincidence. “He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake” – Psalm 23:3
Basically, yesterday I went to the German Government department that deals with the applications of foreigners who want to live here. I’d been praying the entire morning, and in my prayer I remember asking God for strength, no matter the outcome of the meeting. Luckily Mani was with me, since my speaking-German is pretty much limited to “Hi, my name is Carmen and I like Bratwurst” – our number got called and we met with the official dealing with my application – it took a total of about five minutes – he just said it wasn’t possible for me to apply for a Work Visa from within Germany, especially since I am only here on a Tourist Visa – I have to apply from South Africa. I nodded my head and forced a smile and a thank you, but my little world started crumbling as I gathered all my papers and tried to find my handbag under the table. As I walked out of the office and down the stairs, passing loads of people who were hoping to have a more positive outcome than mine, the tears started coming and I just couldn’t stop them. Months of uncertainty and frustration seemed to have come to an abrupt conclusion.
I could tell Mani was upset too – but he’s a guy and they seem to have this autopilot mode that girls just don’t have. He offered a hug but I was just too upset (and silly) to accept it. Instead, I was focussed on what had, apparently, just transpired, and also on using the only tissue I had available to mop up the mess on my face.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” – Psalm 23:4
Let me fast forward at this point. I got home, spoke to my mom and some friends, and then started to study for my German test and at some point I realised (thankfully!) that being told I cannot apply from here is by no means a deviation from what my original plan was – I had a “DUH” moment. When I boarded the aeroplane in SA, my plan was to come to Berlin to find a job. I knew that I’d then need to return to SA to apply for the Work Visa – so my mission was simply to find a job. And that happened quickly – I was offered one I hadn’t even applied for – it literally fell into my lap. It’s at that point that Mani suggested we try to apply from here and see if it’s possible. It was a gamble we were taking, but it was never part of the plan. So…the plan is still moving forward and so far, it’s actually working out! Silly Carmen!
I’m learning lessons every day – and more than often I walk into walls because I learn my lesson the difficult way – but eventually, I get there 😉
Only by God’s grace I tell ya!