Without skipping a beat, my dad will always let women go first, he will always drop me and my mom off at the door when it rains, and he will always ALWAYS either carry or offer to carry my bags. I will never forget that.
I remember times in high school and college when I would come out of the locker room after a basketball game and my dad would always grab my duffle bag on the way to the car. On several occasions, I would pull back saying defiantly, “It’s fine dad, I can carry it.” Other times, when I would come home, my parents would pick me up at the airport and my dad would carry my bags because I was just so exhausted.
And you know what? I miss that like crazy!
In Germany, I often walk back from the grocery store with lugging a large bag all the way home. It’s pretty much an everyday thing here and I am sure there are ways around it, but I am still learning the German way. It’s just one of the many challenging transitions I have had to endure adapting to my new life here in Germany. And honestly, it’s been really hard at times.
It’s funny though, I went to my German friend’s family Christmas and when her dad and brother picked us up, they grabbed our bags and carried our stuff to the car.
This seriously made a huge impact on me because it wasn’t just the bags it was the weight of everything I have been through in transitioning to Germany. When you live in a new country and culture, you can go through so many different changes and some of them you don’t even realize because you need to buck up so that you get through everyday life.
Well, that moment at Christmas was so relieving, but what’s even more encouraging is this.
Often, I can act like my immature teenager or college kid days and says “No, dad it’s fine, I can carry my stuff.” But what I am learning is that I can’t do this on my own. I can’t handle the weight of my baggage. And it is so funny how when we walk through those arrival gates fully exhausted from the ride, only then we come to realize that we really need someone to carry our bags!
Please God, carry my bags!
One of the greatest things about God is that he always ALWAYS offers to carry our baggage because he loves us! I am learning this lesson over and over. And on top of that, being a foreigner in Germany and experiencing the everyday hassles of being the outsider has given me a much bigger heart and a good glimpse into what my refugee friends (who I am ministering to) are going through every day. Talk about incarnational ministry!
I want to be clear, this isn’t an article to say “Ah, poor Jo.” No! That’s absurd and would totally miss the point. I just wanted to remind everyone of God’s love in our struggles and how he uses obstacles for his glory and our good. Let him carry those bags, I know I am going to.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28–30