2018 was clear for us our time is up in our present place, we need a change, we are stuck, we can’t move forward like that. Several spiritual leaders proclaimed that 2018 would be a year of Breakthrough and of New Beginnings. Cause of the number 8 that stands for a new beginning. Number 7 stands for complete, perfection. With the number 8 s. Th. new starts. So we believed in it and were expectant and pumped up for the new year. But on the 2nd of January we already got a slap in our face with a rejection of the visa for my husband for Canada. We had booked a flight by faith for the whole family put our hope in moving to a country that is more opened for foreigners and an english speaking country. We were shocked, cause we were so sure that it would work out. But now, what did that mean for us? Did God close the door because it was not his will and He even wanted to protect us from s.th.? Or was it the devil who didn’t want us to make progress and wanted to kill our excitement for the year?
At the same time it was clear that my husband couldn’t continue with the Master that should have also ended in the same year but there were a lot of stones in his way and he had to leave his studies after the 3rd semester when we had already imagined how many great job possibilities he would have had as a graduate in Photonics, Master of Physics. It felt like s.o. took the ground of my feets. We both were discouraged, disappointed in life and God, had sleepless nights and were depressed at some point. All of a sudden we found us registered with Jobcenter, receiving money from the state which was all time s. th. we wanted to refuse. This time we didn’t have a choice. In the beginning it was really humiliating and embarrassing. So many changes and uncertainties over the years. We felt as such a failure. We were done with Germany. Too much injustice had we faced as a Cross-cultural couple, too much of racism for my black husband. We were just simply not fitting in the system, everywhere we went to people stirred at us, we were too exotic and too good for this country. With the 7 years that my husband served and invested in the country, what did he get back? Rejections of visas, discrimination because of his skin color and isolation from the society. It was heavy and I would not lie or exaggerate but we faced a lot in the five years of our marriage and I was so shocked how I got to know my home country from the time we got married.
At some point we took heart again, we had to fight, we couldn’t give up… My husband went all the 500 km again to apply for his Canadian visa and he started to do some courses in sports to become a sports agent and a sports coach.
At the end we can still say: 2018 was a wonderful year. There are so many highlights and things that I’m grateful for to mention:
1. Emmanuel and I had some very special dates. For example we could spend two days together in a wellness hotel while grandma and uncle took care of our kids. Later in the year the kids even stayed for 5 days alone with their grandparents the first time. That brought such a new freedom for us as a couple and refreshment to our marriage reminding us we are still young and in love with each other.
2. The biggest family highlight of the year was our long journey to Vancouver, Canada, that went sooo extraordinary smooth (after we had gotten the visa ;)) and was a very blessed, fun, favored time as a family where we experienced so much of the goodness of the Lord. Even so it didn’t work out as we expected that this great move of faith would bring a real movement out of Germany we are still grateful for the amazing 3 weeks we had in our dreamland Canada.
3. The journey out of Germany helped us to take the courage of canceling our apartment with the hope and faith of getting a job and apartment then at least in the south of Germany, close to my family. Last minute, thank God, God was so merciful and made Emmanuel overnight a teacher at a Christian school without him having a teaching degree. Two weeks later he started to teach and three weeks later we actually moved in our new well fitting apartment in the very south of Germany in one of the most beautiful areas of the country. The kids even got a kindergarten place in the same month and I also got a job one month later which I really like. God really shocked and surprised us with that move. We are still processing and trying to understand it cause itz amazing how HE worked all these things out for us but at the same time sure not completely as we had expected or could have even planned or ever prepared for. 😀
4. Besides that I also enjoyed some really good and special times alone – myself and God – mostly hiking in the mountains. And I could make a Two days trip together with a friend to US, from Vancouver. That was really exciting for me as a mum with two little kids and there were also some other good friend times that I’ve enjoyed and that I value because those times are more rare with family responsibilities.
5. We got to drive as many different cars in 2018 as never before. Our car broke down so we had to rent some cars. In Canada we even got blessed with some of Emmanuel’s dream cars that we could use althrough the time there for free. We really felt like big boys, the Lord really honored and blessed us beyond our level of living standard. But we have been definetley rich in Him – Blessed in a way as only HE can do it. With our last car rental we got a big bill cause the rental company wanted to make us pay for a damage that was not caused by us. It brought a lot of headache to us, in the midst of our movement, and time of financial challenges, exhaustion etc. I had to go to a lawyer and fight. But praise God we won the case.
6. As I mentioned already briefly, I’ve got a job that I really like. Only God and a little bit my spouse know how much that means to me. It’s been a long process of taking the courage again to search for a job. My Job experiences as a social worker have not been the best so far so I was afraid and doubted if I could ever find a place to work where I feel good, where there is a good atmosphere in the team and where I like the work. S. th. that would give me strength and that I could easily combine with my family. Besides that I was really confused what is the right thing for me to do as a mum and homemaker. Is it right at all that I would start to work already and put my little 2 year old girl to kindergarten? And would I be even able to combine work, household, family altogether? I’m so glad that I jumped in the water because it turns out with my new working place that it strengthes me and is gain for my family. Even the household goes better and it feels like as I’m fulfilling my destiny.
7. Last but not least we could register Attap/ JEA foundation this year in Nigeria. A church had strongly on their heart to give us a bigger donation to invest in our pet-project. That was sooo amazing and helped us to make a lot of progress.
All in all I’m so glad that I took some time to reflect on the last year and to prepare for the new year. Honestly, my heart was quite heavy as 2018 was ending because I had not found peace with the year yet and I lacked understanding. But the Lord really helped me in the process so that I’ve gained hope and peace again. In counting and reminding myself what the Lord has done already in one year shows me that HE has great plans for me, HE loves me, knows what’s best for me and has everything in control. God is a God who can change anything overnight. But He doesn’t like to rush things because He is ways more interested on the health of our soul and character than just on our circumstances. When He works s. th. out for us HE is interested on everything. He is interested that we would be able to enjoy when He would change our circumstances, that we would be changed and that we would be able to maintain the blessing.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.