Thursday, January 5, 2012

Seven Years in France...

Seven years ago I was reeling. We'd taken a leap in the dark, accepting a contract for Ben which was so informal it was hardly written down, and we'd worked up to the last minute, trying to pack in between jobs. I'd tried to take a few French lessons but had very little success - the boys had more fun with a French woman who'd moved to our town, but I was paralysed by bad memories of school French lessons and could only rely on Ben, who'd spent holidays with French families as a teenager, and had continued with evening classes when the boys were tiny.

Seven years ago we'd spent one night in a French motel, inconveniently located far from our rented home, because I'd booked it over the internet and didn't really know where anything was around Toulouse.

Seven years ago we drove to our rental home, with no furniture and no fire lit. The boys played, Ben did something practical, and I huddled in the corner in a sleeping bag. I'd had a run of illness all autumn and winter, culminating in a recurring virus which kept me low for the whole of Christmas at Ben's parents' home.

Seven years ago I felt lost, helpless and incapable of analysing my own situation. I could only hope to press on.

Seven years ago we had breakfast in the motel and saw a French couronne de roi for the first time! We ate one again last night, to celebrate.

Seven years ago we drove out to the beautiful rental house which was so 'Ben and Flossie' that it infuenced our choice of home when we chose to buy out here.

Seven years ago we were welcomed by kind French motel staff and new neighbours.

Seven years ago the boys started free school, with free transport, before we'd even paid a cent of French tax.

Seven years ago I began to notice the weather, the seasons, the sky, in a way I'd never done before.

Seven years ago I began to break. I needed to break because I was too inflexible. The break took a few years and it hurt. It hurt me and it hurt other people as I tried to hold on to my inflexibility with ever-fiercer certainty.

But finally the break came to a point where I wasn't inflexible any more. I became open. I became, just a bit, softer.

Until I had broken, I couldn't take in more. Until I had broken, I couldn't become whole.

Something much more complete, much more real, is filling the gaps caused by that break.

This is a story you may recognise from your own point of view. From my viewpoint, as a Christian, all those years of singing this song now seem to finally be making sense;

Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.
Break me,
Melt me,
Mould me,
Fill me.
Spirit of the living God,
Fall afresh on me.

19 comments:

Juanita Tortilla said...

Did 7 years feel like a lifetime ago? Or was it a blink of the eye?

Happy Anniversary in France, Floss. And many more good years and memories ahead.

Loo xx from Jumbles and Pompoms said...

Thank you for such an emotive post.

Jackie said...

It seems to me like you made the absolutely right decision 7 years ago and that it has made you in to the lovely person you are now :O)xx

Carolyn Phillips said...

Thank you, such an honest and heartfelt post, and part of your story I've not heard before.

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

Change is always hard at the beginning. So glad to read how well it all is working. ; )
~Michele

Jane and Chris said...

Until we are broken, we cannot be mended.
Jane xx

Frances said...

Floss, what an expressive post you have written, with all your glimpses back to how it was when you arrived in France. How your life has been enriched by these seven years.

Best New Year's wishes to you and your family.

Fat Dormouse said...

God bless, Floss. This is a lovely post, which makes me think of our beginnings here in France. We'll be 7 years in September as well!

Angela said...

What a thought provoking post. I really appreciate your honesty - and you are so right to quote that old hymn.

Bless you all xx

Lorrie said...

Moving to another culture takes immense courage and strength. Breaking is part of growing stronger. Blessings on you and yours family, Floss.

Poppy said...

A post from the heart! Happy Anniversary in France to all of you...

Thank you for sharing x x x

Carol said...

You were all very brave and that bravery has been rewarded.
What a lovely post.
Carol xx

Nina said...

Dear Floss,
thank you for such a touching and strong and powerful post. You are a dear blogfriend though I very seldom write nowadays, there´s so much life to lead logged off, but I do follow and I know that you know that I´m still here though a bit more quiet than before.
Sending you a warm kiss.
And wishing you and your family a very happy new year!

TheMadHouse said...

I love the way you make me think. Happy anniversary

Purrfect Haven said...

your post was so special and truly open and what a post to share. Take care. We are gald that you have grown in the way that you have and feel lucky to share in some of your times with you. thanks. happy new year.. Love Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx

Luisa said...

A post with honesty and hope - sometimes I think move would do me good, to have to cope with those things that which we cannot control.
I'm going to share your post, Floss, with some friends who may be coming to France as missionaries......from Australia.
x

Pom Pom said...

Oh, Floss. Thank you for sharing your story of your beginnings in France so vividly. I felt like I was there! You have learned so much, grown closer to the heart of God. Breaking isn't encouraged among men but surrender is so eternal, so forever. What a beautiful post.

Kit said...

Wow!This was quite the post. I can feel what you went thru and I am so glad. And I am so glad we became friends. Kit

Vintage Jane said...

When they need to be women prove themselves again and again to be strong and courageous even when desperate, emerging stronger and wiser. You were brave to do what you did and it proved to be worth it - well done you! M x