I am wondering if my guardian angel takes the form of a ladybug. Ladybugs have shown up in my life at the most bizarre times. At times it seems like God sends me one when I need to be reminded of Him the most.
Ladybugs were a special creatures for my mother. She passed that love of them on to me. They were also a special connection with them for her and my daughter, Iris. They would go out in mom’s garden and search for them. The most incredible incident happened the first Christmas after my mother died, we cut down a Christmas tree. We brought it into the house, set it up, and decorated it with all the lights and ornaments. Overnight it was like a miracle had happened! That next morning the room was filled with hundreds of ladybugs. There had apparently been a hidden nest in the tree and once it got warm they all came out. The connection wasn’t lost on any of us Who witnessed it as we felt they were a gift from heaven to encourage us.
This week has been one of progress for me. After about 8 weeks of struggle to break free things like buying a car, getting my French paperwork in order, and finishing all the administration of getting established here, things finally started to move forward. Everything takes a long time to accomplish here and it has to all occur in an established sequence. I finally managed to buy a car. And then had the challenge of getting insurance in France while I still have my American drivers license. After getting lots of French phone practice talking to about 10 insurance agencies over 3 days, I finally succeeded in getting the car insured so I can drive it. In addition, I finally got appointments for getting my driver’s license and my residency card. Working through all of that can be hugely frustrating and discouraging. Thanks to your prayers, I feel like I made some progress.
Being a missionary is challenging. This week challenged me in ways I never imagined. The Camp is run both by the Greater Europe Mission and on the French side by a non-profit French Association. We had an Association meeting this week. I was asked on Thursday to be considered for appointment to the Board of that Association. This was a huge challenge, but I resolved to accept every opportunity as I discover the full reason why God brought me back to France.
More challenges came with the language as I am required to speak more and more. I am still retraining my brain to think in French. For some reason, that Greek I learned after French keeps popping into my head at the most inopportune moments! Ugh! I still struggle and I am very conscious of my rusty language skills. For every successful conversation there is another where I feel I failed. I feel inadequate. How great it is that God’s power takes over in our weakness! In the same vein of “accepting every opportunity”, I accepted to have a fondue lunch with the French leadership. It was an honor, but I have to admit that I was nervous and very afraid of failure in the language. It was going to be just me and 3 French in a social-business situation. I haven’t been in that situation for 2 decades. After pacing the floor a bit, I mustered up the courage to go and ended up enjoying myself immensely. Then it was a full day of meetings and a great dinner with more French friends: Another day filled with fear and feeling inadequate that ended in victory. God again blessed. Your continued prayers for courage to speak are so very welcomed.
This weekend brought yet another victory. I am now helping with worship at the small church here. This means the challenge of learning 6 new songs in French every week. Again God helped me conquer those thoughts that said I’m not adequate.
Yet, I have been thinking long and hard of the one instant yesterday that I did not take the opportunity to speak as I should have. I had a golden opportunity to share God’s hand at work and I let my inhibitions prevent me from doing so. I didn’t realize the extent of that opportunity at the time. Now I see it and it has kept me awake at night as I pray expressing how I failed and relive how I should have handled the situation. (That’s why I’m up at 2am writing this!) I count it a miracle God chooses to work through us at all!
Just as I was wrestling with all those thoughts, I glanced up and fluttering around the light fixture was something that looked somewhat out of place, especially given we have several inches of snow outside. I had to get up to see if I was seeing things correctly. Sure enough, it was a ladybug. Of all the times and places, God sent me a ladybug to encourage me and lift me up. That ladybug tonight felt like God placing His hand on my shoulder to remind me that He is in control and works all this to His plan. I have nothing to fear. In His arms, I have adequate power to do everything He lays before me. He has a plan that is perfect. And all it took was a tiny ladybug flying around my room in the middle of the night to remind me of those promises.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”Joshua 1:9
“He said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”2 Corinthians 12