One of the most tangible times I have experienced God’s presence was during my second year of college. After another failure in learning French, followed by a series of stressful cultural situations, I sat down on the corner of the sidewalk. There, under the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, I curled up and wondered Was this the right decision?
When I first heard of a this college in Paris, I knew I had to apply. When acceptance and financial aide fell into place and when a trip during dreary February confirmed that I could imagine living in the city of lights for four years, the choice to move abroad seemed like a no-brainer.
Until it wasn’t. Until learning French didn’t come as easily as I’d hoped. Until the eight-hour time difference to call home to ask for advice seemed like an eternity. Until living all alone in a cute little studio at 19 made the idea of dorm rooms filled with instant community seem alluring.
So, there on the street, I felt lost and confused and questioning my easy decision. And then I felt something, a presence surround me. It was like I was enveloped in safety – I could physically feel something or someone hug me, right there on the dirty sidewalk. And, even though I still had a French failure to figure out and cultural mishaps awaited, I knew that I had made the right decision. That this was where I was meant to be, and that God would use these experiences. Maybe not for something grand, but for something.
I still don’t really know why I went to Paris – or stayed. Yes, it has shaped me and my worldview but looking at my life now, I could have easily gone to a college down the street from my parents. But, I didn’t. And I’m thankful for the resilience I learned, for the friends I made, and for the worldview I couldn’t learn from books. I hope to pass along that spirit of adventure and trust to my daughters. And, I’m thankful for that day when God reminded me that our decisions aren’t always easy but they are life-changing.
Do you have a choice that seemed obvious at the time but changed you unexpectedly?
Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt was “decide.”