Two years ago my husband and I, got on a plane to Germany, with so much baggage, so many expectations, and a lot more to learn about ourselves, each other, and God. Now two years later we look back rejoicing for the experiences, friends, and opertunities we were given, but also thankful for the hard times because of the way the Lord used them to grow us and challenge us. When I look back and think of what I wish someone had sat me down and told me to do before I started this journey, there are three things that come to mind (true back then I might not have listened, but I pray that you do):
1. PRAY. It seems so simple and yet how often do we not turn to prayer in the midst of change. Prayer is something I have always struggled with, and yet in these two years I was challenged to set up multiple prayer events within my ministrys and among our friends. Honestly sitting in prayer with like minded believers for hours on end may sound boring, but those time are truly my favorite memories from our time. Do not do it alone, gather together with others and do it regularly. Sit in the silence with the Lord, let the empty moments fill with Him. Also set up a prayer team in the States, I had a facebook message with some of my closest friends that I could just send a prayer request out at any momment and know that it was being covered. WE CAN DO NOTHING WITH OUT PRAYER.
2. DO NOT COMPAIR. It was so easy as an introvert to look at the extraverts that I worked with and compair the progress I was making in my relationships, hobbies, language, and ministry. It took a lot out of me that could have been given to serving. Once I stopped worrying about what others were doing, silenced my own praide, and just embraced who God made me to be I saw such beautiful things happen. My friendships were not many, but they were deep and rich, I was able to fill behind the scenes roles that many did not want to do, but I was able to do joyfully (serving without talking to people? Perfect!). Whoever God has made you to be is perfect, because it has purpose. Do not use it as an excuse not to grow, but grow into the Lord's plan, do not fight against it.
3. BE VULNERABLE. When you are struggling ask for help. Johnny and I had been through a lot right before coming to Berlin, and we did not talk about it. We allowed our pain to define a lot of the beginning of our time and that hindered many relationships and ministry oppertunities. We are not designed to go through things alone. Find someone you can trust and TRUST THEM. Be honest with your emotions and how you are doing, this is still hard for me. There is a difference between being open and being vulnerable, and even as I type this I still struggle to go to that deeper place of vulnerability. But people can not help you if they do not know.
Moving overseas for two years is going to have a lot of twists and turns, hard things and good things. And it is SO worth it.