Another Lesson Learned in Heidelberg

IMG_6584This summer has undoubtedly been the most violent, tumultuous periods of time in the world that I can remember in my life. It seems like every day there’s a new shooting, bombing, or terrorist attack of some kind (if not multiple). Many of these incidences are centered in Europe, and now in Germany in particular, and it breaks my heart to watch them unfold. Reading the news has become even more depressing than usual, and often leaves me posing the exasperated question, “What is this world coming to?!”

This weekend I returned to Heidelberg, the city where I studied abroad for eight months my sophomore year of college. It is such a magical town, a town that fills me with incomparable joy every time I step across its boarders. I still can’t believe I was privileged enough to call this place home. The sheer beauty of Heidelberg is enough to take my breath away. As I strolled the charming cobble stone streets munching on a sweet from my favorite local bakery, my body was flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace. I realized that even if I were to be killed by a terrorist attack today (which is a real possibility), I would be satisfied. I have been able to experience more in my short 21 years on this earth than many people are able to in their entire lives. I am richly blessed, and all I have to do is look around to know it.

As Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” I don’t know the future, but I do know it is my duty to appreciate the present. As Christians we are set free from the crippling fear of death, for Christ says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” The darkness and devastation in our world are real, and should not be overlooked, but take comfort in the fact that we can have abundant life despite the present darkness.

Thanks again Heidelberg, for teaching me exactly what I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed to hear it. You never cease to amaze me. Until next time little city!IMG_6595IMG_6570IMG_6573IMG_6579IMG_6591IMG_6604IMG_6608IMG_6617IMG_6624IMG_6628IMG_6632IMG_6639IMG_6640IMG_6655IMG_6689IMG_6693IMG_6699IMG_6705IMG_6732IMG_6739IMG_6744IMG_6753IMG_6760IMG_6768IMG_6764

Life Lately

IMG_0534.JPGWell hello there! How are you? I am in shock over the fact that I leave Germany exactly a month from today. Where did the time go? The summer here is in full swing and the temperature is finally rising after a month of rain. I thought I’d share a few photos from life lately if you’d like to see. The one above was taken on a walk downtown near the train station. I love the old-timey quality with the faded colors and people on motorbikes! Reminds me of photos from the 60’s.IMG_6488^Fourteen people were baptized on Sunday! Praise Jesus, the angels are rejoicing. I had never seen so many people commit their lives to Christ on the same day. It was truly a celebration I will never forget.IMG_6534^A friend snapped this photo of me in the garden the other day. Aren’t the wild flowers behind me pretty?IMG_6553.JPG^This photo is so blurry but I love it anyways! The little goofball in the lower right corner is my number one man. He finally learned my name and I was ecstatic!Processed with VSCO with c1 preset^Snapped this photo while chilling by myself in a little cafe. Western Europe does coffee shops right. Bravo.IMG_6309^I helped with children’s face painting at the neighborhood summer festival two weeks ago. No matter what they asked for, it always came out looking like a colorful blob…Processed with VSCO with c1 presetIMG_6224^My lovely internship supervisor and some friends after a christian concert we went to a few weeks ago! And this random biker guy also made an appearance…IMG_0514.JPG^The flower market on Friday is gorgeous here!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this collection of random thoughts and even more random photos. Have a great one friends!

Hidden in Plain Sight

IMG_0503.JPGSince the time I started thinking about college around age sixteen, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of finding “God’s will for my life.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the word vocation during my years in the christian community, and at my university in particular. In my mind, God’s will was this giant, life-altering thing that was up to me to decipher, and if I missed the mark, might as well just throw in the towel on the good life right now.

The thing is, up until a few weeks ago I wasn’t even allowed to legally drink alcohol in America, so how could I be trusted to discern God’s will for my entire life at age 21?! It seemed an impossible task for a flawed human like me. Couldn’t someone else just tell me what God wants for me?

Then when I arrived in Germany I started reading the book “Follow Me” by David Plath as part of my summer internship. Plath’s writing is filled with convicting, even radical, truths about the Christian life– truths moderns cultural Christianity often wishes it could just ignore. He writes:

“With good intentions, we try hard to use various methods to find God’s will. But what if God’s will was never intended to be found? In fact, what if it was never hidden from us in the first place? What is God the Father has not sent his children on a cosmic Easter egg hunt to discover his will while he sit back in heaven saying, ‘You’re getting colder…warmer…colder…’? And what if searching for God’s will like this actually misses the entire point of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?…God has a will, and he has made it clear. From cover to cover in the Bible, God wills is to redeem men and women from every nation, tribe, language, and people by his grace and from his glory.”

Lightbulb! It’s so simple, why didn’t I realize it sooner? God has no specific will for my life. Yes he created me with unique gifts and talents, but he also created me with a functioning brain and free will. We don’t have to ask God to reveal anything to us, he has already revealed his will for all of us. We just have to ask him to help us align our lives to his will. His will is not something intended to be found, but rather to be followed.

I no longer have to stay up at night nervously asking God, “Do you want me to live in Germany or America? Should I major in Creative Writing or Journalism? Should I date this person or wait for you to show me someone else?”

The holy spirit lives in us and is constantly in the process of shaping us to be more like Christ. Therefore, our decisions should naturally be coming ever more and more in line with Christ’s decisions and our lives organically looking more like his. When you are in constant relationship with Jesus, you experience total liberation, ease and delight knowing that if you make a wrong decision he will check you. And if he does check you, stop at once, reassess, and keep moving forward. To be able to do that is a sign of true spiritual maturity and friendship with God. And who doesn’t want that?

I hope this was somewhat interesting and helpful! I would highly recommend reading “Follow Me” if you get the chance. Have a good one friends.

 

 

This (Pretty) Family of Mine

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.52.28 PMBefore I left in May, we took a few family photos for my mom’s belated birthday present. Our family friend Safeena Padder of Little Boat Photography was kind enough to take them– and isn’t she incredibly talented?! She can make even a motley crew like us look good :p If you’re looking for a friendly, affordable photographer who knows how to make possibly awkward situations funny and relaxing, Safeena is your girl! I thought I’d share a few photos with ya’ll if you’re interested.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.52.48 PM^Attempting to capture us all in the air at once…easier said than done.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.54.58 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.55.46 PM
^All three El Segundo Eagles in front of their alma mater. And my pretty mama:)Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.56.33 PM^Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.40.35 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.40.51 PM^Probably one of my favorites. We were reenacting a photo we took ten years earlier when we first moved to El Segundo! So much and somehow so little has changed since then.Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.41.10 PM^Siblings casually strolling along the beach at 7am…Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.41.33 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.41.50 PM
^My favorite guys around (plus you too Luke!)Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.42.35 PM
^You did good parents, you did goodScreen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.42.49 PM^The tough Lambert guys. My dad looks like he might kill someone shortly after this photo….Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 12.43.13 PMPeople always say I look exactly like my mom, but I could never quite see it. But after examining these photos, I can definitely see the resemblance! We are not one of those ‘cookie-cutter’ families who look exactly alike, but I can see the family resemblance in all of us in various ways. We are cut from the same cloth. And I think it’s a good cloth if I do say so myself:)

A Day In Königstein

IMG_5987Last Friday I took a day trip to the charming town of Königstein to visit my grandpa and his girlfriend Gabby. It is about thirty minutes outside Frankfurt in the foothills, and it was exactly the peace and quiet the doctor ordered! Sometimes you just need to get out of the big city and breath in the clean mountain air or take a walk through the forest. Gabby and I went to the swimming pool (though I did more sunbathing than swimming to be honest), visited the local burg (a defense fortress that looks like a castle), and wandered through the adorable streets. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!IMG_5918IMG_5925IMG_5926IMG_5927IMG_5928^Me trying to work up the courage to actually jump in the cold water!IMG_5930^Sweet Gabby. She is a dream.IMG_5940IMG_5953^Oh hello, there’s a face on this tree!IMG_5957IMG_5961IMG_5963^The quaint evangelical church where Gabby’s daughter was baptized!IMG_5965IMG_5967IMG_5977^The preacher’s house– not a bad gig!IMG_5990IMG_5993IMG_6001^This Burg was built in the year 1,200! WHAT?!IMG_6008^Those skyscrapers in the far off distance are downtown Frankfurt!IMG_6017IMG_6018^The beautiful German countryside, dotted with little villages.IMG_6022IMG_6025IMG_6034^Posing awkwardlyIMG_6037IMG_6050IMG_6056IMG_6058IMG_6060IMG_6063IMG_6066Don’t you agree that Königstein is the picturesque little town that comes to American’s minds when they think of Germany? I love it. Have a good day friends!

A Day In The Garden

IMG_5835I am a known plant killer. Exactly none of my thumbs are green. But Germans are notoriously great gardeners who love to spend hours upon hours tenderly caring for their plants. My internship supervisor has a garden plot in a community garden area here in Frankfurt and it  is just gorgeous. She always invites people from the church to come help work in the garden if they like or just kick back and relax! I and a few others joined here there for the majority of the day, and I even learned a thing or two about horticulture ;P Below are a few photos if you’d like to see.IMG_5902^Sweet little BenetaIMG_5781IMG_5776^Me posing as a garden expert…IMG_5887^Please no photos!IMG_5879^Wahed is so sweet with the kiddosIMG_5774^Ayrich is a five year old goof ballIMG_5872IMG_5814IMG_5813IMG_5806IMG_5805^Selfies in the garden house windowIMG_5802IMG_5798IMG_5793IMG_5792^Love these wild flowers!IMG_5864IMG_5863IMG_5847Have a good one friends!

Lions, Tigers, Bears– Oh My!

IMG_5740Yesterday I ventured to the Frankfurt Zoo! Although there were only lions (no tigers or bears per say), I thoroughly enjoyed this outing. The zoo is just big enough to have interesting animals and houses, but small enough to see everything in just a few hours. I hadn’t been to a zoo in ages (probably since childhood) and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself. Below are a few pictures if you’d like see:IMG_5619^The front of the Zoo- isn’t it classy?! I love the architecture in this city.IMG_5624IMG_5627IMG_5641IMG_5652^Is it just me, or do camels look incredibly uncomfortable to ride?IMG_5661^These sea lions were so graceful in the water!IMG_5664IMG_5673^Just when I began to believe I was in Africa, I saw a wood house like this and was reminded I’m still in Germany!IMG_5685IMG_5687IMG_5697IMG_5710^I love that you can see the downtown skyline from inside the zoo!IMG_5719IMG_5720IMG_5728^I was obsessed with this baby monkey. I spent way too long watching him just sit there.IMG_5734IMG_5739IMG_5743^Leave it to Lufthansa to meet all your animal transporting needs…IMG_5746IMG_5749IMG_5752IMG_5754IMG_5758Have I inspired you to take a trip to your local zoo?!

Have a great day friends.

Palmengarten

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I went to the Palmengarten on Saturday with a few ladies from the church. It is a beautiful, peaceful botanical garden smack dab in the middle of urban Frankfurt. You can even see the skyscrapers downtown from the middle of the garden! It was such a relaxing morning, and some of the plants (like the cacti pictured below) really reminded me of California. I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in Frankfurt– the cost is seven euro for regular adults and three for students.

I hope you’re having a great week!

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Happy Father’s Day

13419286_10209731997919007_1274956409053100290_n-1Happy Father’s Day Dad! They don’t celebrate Father’s Day here in Germany, but I sure as heck won’t let that stop me from celebrating you today! I was in Germany last Fathers Day as well, so we haven’t been together for it in quite a while, but I hope you know how much I love and respect you. I don’t always do the best job of showing it, but I am incredibly honored to call you my dad. I won the lottery where fathers are concerned. I’ll see you again before we know it!

Happy Fathers Day!

A Prayer to Remember

IMG_4810As I mentioned in this post, I am a part of a weekly small group made up of nine or ten Iranians and Afghanis, my internship supervisor, one other American missionary and myself. We were having a great time singing, talking, and praying last night. Towards the end the leader turned to the three Americans and said something in english to the effect of, “We want to pray over the three of you and ask forgiveness for our country’s hatred towards America. We were taught from an early age that America and all Americans are evil. You three are ambassadors of your people, and this small group is an example of the inter-cultural love and unity that is possible when God is involved.”

We stood in the middle of the circle and the group prayed over us in Farsi. Though I couldn’t understand the meaning of the words they were speaking, I could understand their hearts. Soon enough, big fat tears sprang into my eyes and began to roll down my cheeks. I just kept thinking, This is what the world needs more ofnot political peace talks or conferences or charismatic leadersbut God. If we could all interact with one another as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ instead of adversaries, how much pain, suffering, hatred and death could be avoided? How many misunderstandings could be sorted out through the power of the Holy Spirit? 

When you travel, power is automatically bestowed upon you as an ambassador of your country, whether you realize it or not. Your behavior is a reflection of your culture and it absolutely does matter. I am just glad that although I am an American, I am a Christian first and foremost, and therefor am filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, who is infinitely greater and wiser than I could ever be in my human weakness.

Last night was powerful. I will remember it always and carry it with me where ever I go, reminding me of the only true healer and best politician this world will ever know.IMG_4823IMG_4904