And there are times when it never seems to end. After 4 and a half years of building the ship is still not finished. That is what happens, when you are dependent on gifts, volunteers and miracles. They do come – all three of them – but not always at the time and speed that I would prefer.
But nevertheless – many parts of the ship are already beautiful and functional.
And one of the big lessons I learned during building is that things do not need to be finished or perfect to be useful.
Many people – especially those who grew up in a place like Germany – think that everything needs to be perfect before you can even start. Perfect finances, perfect plan, perfect setting.
In the ship I experience:
God lives in the imperfect, in the unfinished, the not yet ready…and uses all of this to meet people.
Like Evi, a wonderful, inspiring, passionate woman who came to the ship last weekend for a time out and a time of meeting one another and fellowship. I love what Evi wrote in her blog about her time here on her blog and took some great pictures.
A sentence that Joshua Lupbema, one of the chairmen at Gemeinsam für Berlin at the Transforum, said really moved me. The gist was this:
Peter bragged about how much he loved Jesus. Yet, when it came down to it, he betrayed Him.
John bragged about how much Jesus loved him. John remained by Jesus” side until His death on the cross.
You can”t construct a theology out of this, but what I became aware of was that it”s not our great or even weak love for Jesus that carries us… rather it”s the awareness of His deep love for us.
On this theme: the inspirational booklet, The Father”s Love, that personally formulates the loving affirmation of God, is going into its fourth print today. I can warmly recommend it for anyone who would like to be touched more deeply by God”s love.
And I am glad and thankful that, with this inspirational booklet, we can contribute a little bit to people being touched by God”s love.
Was I alive today?Yes! Especially during a short walk in the rain. What new thing did I learn about life? It helps to sort into categories! A while ago, a friend sent me a puzzle postcard from her vacation. She knows that I love puzzles, but this one was really annoying. It was a picture of hundreds of seashells. There was so much detail and so many shells that it was impossible to see a big picture. It was all photographed from the same distance, without big differences or perspective. The assembly took a lot of energy. As I decided to give it another try, I thought about how many people live their lives like this: tons of puzzle pieces that won’t assemble into a big picture, because they can’t see any picture due to all of the confusing details. Often, the job of a coach is about helping sort and finding perspective and categories. First, a border is built and then, discovering step-by-step (sometimes with painstaking detail work) what fits together. It helps when we sort first. I did this today while coaching someone who is searching for clarity in his life. We sorted things into different areas of life and then further into various categories. In the end, we found a coherent big picture, even when some of the pieces needed for deeper happiness were still missing. But now, he can go searching for those and add them in. What new thing did I learn about myself?I can be just as joyful about small things as big things. Today, in the late morning, I suddenly felt the strong urge to take out the trash. This is not normal for me ;-). As I arrived, I discovered in the top of the recycling bin a sheet of insulation that is wonderfully suited for sealing provisional doors which leak cold air. I took it and rejoiced like a child. Even more so because I saw the garbage man coming; just a minute later would have been too late. I thought about the Bible verse “He knows His own…” – God knows them inside and out and knows how He can bring them – in this case, me – joy… a total gift! Later, I received a donation that I used for insulation so that my guests will be comfy and warm in the future… I rejoiced about the “small” gift just as much as the “big” one… both are signs that I am seen and supported – how wonderful! – See more at: http://kerstinpur.de/erlebnisse/leben-entdecken-ebenen-wahrnehmen/#sthash.5gGG2pm0.dpuf
I often begin the day by reading Losungen – selected inspiring Bible texts… Yesterday”s was:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” (John 10:14, New Living Translation)
This touched me deeply on two levels:
My Job = Trust: It was a reminder for me that trust is asked for. Sometimes things don”t go fast enough for me on the ship. I would prefer to be further. And it”s sometimes a real challenge for me to let go and to trust that God is already leading me. There is a saying, “Many people want to serve God, as an advisor!” I often belong to this group. I have 1000 ideas about what He could do faster and better. It”s sometimes really dificult for me to let go and to trust that HE is the shepherd and daily gives me what I need for that day. I have decided to practice this more intensively and to declare to God my trust that He has everything in view. And He means well.
His Job: To be the Shepherd – and to care for me in the way that I need. “I know my own sheep” left an impression on me. It really touched me to be reminded that He really knows me. A few days ago, I did a really good personality test. The results were not really surprising: I am a visionary, am bored to death by housework, and live in the future, in what should be. And I”m hard on myself – more than others – when things don”t go fast enough.
As I read the verse, I thought and prayed, “Ok. I want to trust You. For today. But hey, it also says that You know me. And if You know me, then You also know that I need encouragement. I need to see that things are (quickly) moving forward. You know that there is nothing that brings my heart more joy than when things are moving in the right direction.
God must have heard my prayer… things are moving forward. I am rejoicing about:
Two friends who helped me yesterday to put up insulation so that we could come forward faster
2o 25 Euro donations for the ship project by Betterplace and Paypal… again two more hours of work further
Four friends from Portugal who wrote that they would like to come for 7 or 8 days to help on the ship and really make some progress
A friend who wrote that he would like to sponsor the trip of one of the Portuguese because 3 of the 4 are unemployed and don”t have any money
30 Euros worth of selling used books on Amazon… not huge, but every little bit helps
Over 400 Euros worth of selling books from our publishing house at a church bazaar. Of course the proceeds go first to employee wages and production costs, but anything left over goes into the ship
A woman who called and asked if she could help… she is currently doing a practicum in Berlin but has plenty of free time and energy and was looking for a meaningful activity to engage in… a friend told her about me…
My heart rejoices… because things are moving forward… and because I sense that my God sees me…
– See more at: http://kerstinpur.de/allgemein/leben-entdecken-hirten-und-schafe/#sthash.etNrLSsu.dpuf
Was I alive today? Yes! Doing laundry… the black “rim” is the wall rail. What new thing did I learn about life?A leak is only a leak if it’s under water. Until now, I thought: a hole is something through which air comes in. A leak is something through which water comes in. As of today, I know that this definition isn’t entirely correct. A hole is only a leak if it’s under the water line. So I don’t currently have a leak – which is relieving. But I have a hole through which water comes in. Not in huge amounts, but trickling… The hole is on the bottom edge of the wall rail. A wall rail is a kind of buffer that runs around the ship. It stabilizes the ship and also has the advantage of providing a little clearance when mooring. The wall rail is hollow. This means that if there is a hole anywhere above, water can accumulate somewhere in the inside of the wall rail (usually at the deepest point) and then it will, sooner or later, rust through the wall. I am currently experiencing this in one place. Which means: find the hole, dry the wall rail as much as possible (= practically impossible), and weld the broken places. I hope that it’s not too bad…What new thing did I learn about myself?I enter into deep bonds with people – which can also touch me deeply. It’s a little like the holes on the ship: where it’s open, something can flow through. And I seem to have many openings to people. I don’t know why this is, but I can let people deep into my heart. Some people have told me that they only have capacity to feel very close to one or two people. I experience that it sometimes only takes a little connection for people to find a place in my heart. Sometimes just a coaching discussion in which a person is very open about themselves, such as I experienced yesterday, and plop, they’ve fallen into my heart… and the closeness and connection that I feel remains. This is often wonderful. And sometimes also painful. Like this week. Sunday, Bernd (who has helped me so much on the ship these past months) had a stroke. I am thankful that the operation went well, but it burdens me that he is not feeling well. His right side and his speech center in the brain need healing and rejuvenation – through a miracle for the things that the doctors can’t do. Then Monday, I received news that the grandson of a beloved friend passed away. We had prayed for months for the preemie whose lungs didn’t want to develop… and although I’d never seen him – he was in the hospital since birth – I had taken the little guy into my heart… I cried and still cry when I think about how his family has to live without him now. My heart has a leak (or hole) and it’s trickling through. Even though he’s surely exploring unimaginably beautiful worlds now, without pain, beeping machines, and such. And then on Friday, I received the news that Esther Lanz passed away. Esther and her husband, Manfred, are authors at Down to Earth. Manfred, after decades as a performance-oriented and driven person, suddenly made the discovery: there is a Father in heaven that loves me. That loves me. That loves ME. That loves! Without demands or expectations. One that simply loves. Then together, they further discovered, explored, and enjoyed the love of the heavenly Father. And wrote about it. Their quadro “The Father’s Love” is one of the best sellers of our publishing company and has helped innumerable people to allow themselves experience more of God’s love. I cried when I heard that she had lost the fight against cancer. It’s just sad – for Manfred, the children, and all of the people to whom she was mother and encourager and companion. I would have liked to have had her here on Earth longer. I don’t understand. Bonds with people hurt – when the people experience pain, I sympathize… and I share their pain. This is one side. The other is that life flows through every bond… vibrant, wonderful, beautiful life! Like through the card that I received yesterday from a woman who I don’t even know in person but who is connected to me through this blog and my books and quadros. She wrote me a loving card and included some money I was to use for something that I would otherwise not allow right now… a piece of clothing, going out to eat, seeing a movie, or going to the theater. And she said that it was to remind me that God wants to tell me: I don’t just provide the most necessary things that you need for living or the ship but everything that you wish that is good for you. Another woman wrote to me: With2 Kings 6:16: Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs! (Note: the quote comes from a text in which – during a siege – a wise man said this to another man who was scared to death.), I send you heart-felt blessed greetings for a good start in November. That was so great! Thank you! Life is rich – sometimes rich in pain – and often rich in treasures. – See more at: http://kerstinpur.de/besser-leben/leben-entdecken-loecher-lecks-und-verbindungen/#sthash.ABl6ksPv.dpuf
Nothing new, really: Life can sometimes be really strenuous and full of fighting. You win some, you lose some. Again, nothing new. And when you (seemingly) lose a fight, it”s painful. This month, I have really suffered and prayed with a friend whose grandson came into the world seriously ill. Today, he took his leave of life in this world. As I was walking earlier through the garden and praying for his parents and grandmother, I felt like God was saying to me, “The fight was not for nothing.” I don”t know what that means. And I”m not trying to comfort anyone with cheap words. However, this was what I felt. I really believe that it”s never for nothing to do everything that is in our power to fight for life, even when it doesn”t bring the result that we”d hoped for… that they could share a long life with others here on the Earth.
What new thing did I learn about myself?
This phase right now is really stressful. There has been illness and failure in the team. Delays. Lower back pain that has increased again in the last few days. Worry about Bernd. 1000 decisions about the ship that are building up and that intertwine. Having all of the details in mind at once is definitely not my strength – so far. During the weekend, two people with this strength blessed me that it would also develop in me. As a person created in God”s image, I possess the ability, at least rudimentarily. And it could still develop.
Nevertheless: All these things stretch me to my limits. There are phases when I find everything to be terrible, and I suffer in silence. Or aloud. And then there are moments when a switch is flipped. This happened on Sunday evening. I saw difficulties and challenges without end. And instead of being sad about them and allowing myself to become discouraged, I thought to myself: now more than ever!
Now more than ever
– I want to tackle this
– I want to believe that God is with me
– I want to trust that there is a way
– I want to hope, believe, pray
– I want to keep going.
Now more than ever – not because it”s easy. That”s not it. But because it”s right. And it”s worth it. Even in the face of difficulties.
Now more than ever!
– See more at: http://kerstinpur.de/allgemein/leben-entdecken-jetzt-erst-recht/#sthash.sF26eEIb.dpuf
– Was I alive today? Yes! I had prayed that God would send me a senior that had time and skills and the desire to help me. God must have thought, “Well, if that’s all…” and He sent me a nice senior who has much building experience, likes boats, and has time. He has already helped me a few times and will continue on board. On Thursday evening he told me and another woman, who had also helped on board, while riding back together in a car (with seat-heating, which was wonderful for my stressed back) the story of how he met and fell in love with his second wife (he was a widower). It was simply wonderful to hear such a love story out of the mouth of a man. – What new thing did I learn about life? That people have very different questions for life and for God. After getting out of the car, the other woman said to me, “Sometimes I wonder why God gives some people a spouse twice and some like us not even once.” I was surprised. That question hadn’t come into my head at all. The next day, I was making a fruit salad. Again with hands that were oozing with mango juice. I am never successful with portioning mangos in a “civilized” way. I ask myself, “Why did God put such a delicious thing like mango in such an impractical package?” In short: The questions that people ask themselves and God are apparently very diverse. – What new thing did I learn about myself? Apparently, feeling jealous of happy couples is no longer an issue for me. For one, because I know that with most portions of happiness comes a good portion of work. But perhaps also because during a phase where I often struggled with jealousy when I saw happy couples, I learned how to bless them (like this unknown pair on the photo). Just say a short prayer for them that God will strengthen, preserve, and bless them and their relationship. Hopefully, this will be good for them – it’s certainly good for me. – See more at: http://kerstinpur.de/besser-leben/leben-entdecken-fragen-an-gott/#sthash.HoJSoxy7.dpuf
Spent the last two days with Derek and Amy, two great friends who are from the US and live in Prague and are linked to one another by art, heart, body, thought in a covenant relationship called marriage. Whenever I did something cool, Derek would comment “You rock”…which is one of my favorite compliments (for those who do not speak rotten English as their first language: “You rock” means: “You are totally cool, great fun to be with, you bring life to dead places, you are
an inspiring person, out of the box thinker, no bore to be with, you have rythm, style and the right beat in life and so on…that is why it is my favorite compliment).
Being with them showed me once again the value of friendship. In Andreas blog she (another friend) wrote: “Love is not genuine if there is no other option!” Love that. And love the fact that people choose to love me – even though they would have another option….