Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Croatia #2


I went on a trip to Croatia with the youth group of my church. The drive should have taken us 12 hours..... well, it took 20. It was bad. Many hours waiting around on the autobahn, getting lost.... I went with a bunch of crazy kids and they transformed the autobahn into a big party....

I took this picture out of the window of my car. Croatia is very poor, but his place was pretty...

A croatian castle

We stayed on an island called Pag. We crossed over with the ferry. This is a church in the little town we stayed for the week.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Church Monastary #2

Here is the church from the inside.... I don't know why but back then they just put way too much stuff in a church.... every place you could possible put a figure or a painting is used up....

Here's the altar

Those angels don't really look like they could be of much help... maybe they are used to play the harp :-)

Monastary church #1

The entrance to the church

The church bells ring every 15 minutes..... just pray for a deep sleep or a room on the other side of the property

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pictures Monastary #3

This looks like a little watch tower to me. It's way up on the top overlooking the monastary and surounding area

Another view of the inner court. On the building you can see a clock that works with the sun

Another blue door.... this one is my favorite

I noticed lately that Germans really love fountains. There are fountains everywhere in every city or town. The kids love to play in them. One day one of the monks had a little waterfight with the kids. They loved it.

Pictures Monastary #2

This is the big inner court...

The library....

It really seems that the monks here are secretly fans of the movie "Notting Hill" with the blue door..... here is another one....

Everywhere they have this weird paintings from ages ago.... it seems to me that they all don't look too happy on those paintings... pretty depressed actually. Someone told me they never laughed on fotographs or paintings cause it would take a long time to make them and the people couldn't smile for that long..... However, I definately am a fan of smiling people

Pictures Monastary #1

Gate to the monastary garden

Do you know the movie Notting Hill? Well, there is not only a house with the blue door in Notting Hill. There is also one at the monastary. It leads to the forest

This was my view from my window. The monastary is on top of a hill and so you have a nice view on the village underneath.

This was my little room

My life at the monastary

I went on a vacation with Jesus for a week at a monastary. I had lots of time to write......

Day 1 @ the monastery
I arrive just in time for dinner. Before dinner there is evening prayer at the chapel. The chapel looks like a typical old church, with painted ceilings and fat little angels statues. The monks, called “Brothers” sit in front and all the guests take a seat wherever they want to. People of all ages are here and some children. The prayers are mostly sung, first the chief monk sings a few lines and then everyone else follows. In between there are times of silence that are supposed to help you to come to rest. I am thinking if I should skip the next evening prayer. I am more used to relational prayers instead of speaking and singing the same prayers from a page every day. But maybe I will find some beauty in it the following days. Who knows…..

After dinner I explore the huge property of the monastery. It’s beautiful. Old buildings, gardens, statues….. I am sure I will take many pictures the next days. I sat down on a bench overlooking the village underneath. In the background the monk-band is practicing the old song “You’ve got a friend”.

Now I am back in my room. I love it. Wood floor, antique furniture, a beautiful view of the city….. and silence. Now it’s just Jesus and me. I have great expectations for this time with Him. More revelation about Him and His word. Of His beauty and love. Of His strength and tenderness. I want to fall in love with Him all over again. To love Him deeper and stronger. To know His freedom and joy. And to hear Him tell me who He says I am. Not what others think I am or should be. Or even what I think about myself. His word is the only truth. Never changing truth.

The bells of the monastery tower are ringing. I look outside. Jesus has painted the sky for me in a blazing shade of red. He knows how to get through to my heart. I am in love. Jesus, you amaze me. I remember the words of a song:
I’m in love
From the moment that I saw your face
I’m in love
You never turn away your gaze
I’m in love
Now the reason for the rest of my days
Is to love you
I will love you

It’s just the beginning……

Day 2
It’s raining all day today, so I spent my time reading, sleeping, playing guitar and the piano. While playing the piano, a young guy who works at the monastery approached me how I learned to play like this. We talk for a while and He is sharing some of His life with me. I am surprised that He is living and working at a monastery but doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus. He grew up in a very strict home, his grandparents were missionaries, his dad is a “scientist for religion”. All He knew was rules all His life but not much love. He took off, his life got messed up and now his parents don’t want to see him anymore. Here at the monastery he is trying to get his life back together. He is left to himself and tries to be tough and tells me “what doesn’t kill you only makes you grow stronger”. I tell him about the love and freedom I found with Jesus. Not rules and religion, but true love. To have a home. To belong. To be accepted and loved deeply. To have hope. To be truly alive.
First He says everyone has to decide what is best for them and this is nothing for him. But somehow his interest is sparked. He has to leave but is asking me if I want to meet again after dinner. I ask why and he tells me something is different with me. I know what it is. It’s Jesus shining out of my eyes. Sometimes I am invisible enough that Jesus can shine through. What a treasure I have. How can I keep it to myself? If you have found rivers of living water, how can you watch someone next to you die of thirst? Jesus, help me to be invisible enough that people can see you in me always. Let them be drawn by your love in me. I want to be a shining light for you, Jesus.

You have made my heart a garden.

I remember the words of a song –there is always a song for every situation :-)
As for me I was dead in my transgressions
I was bound to my sin and bound to condemnation
As for me I was an old and filthy rag, fully deserving of death

You saw me there because of your great love
You saw me there because you’re rich in mercy

You’ve made me alive when I was dead
You raised me up and seated me with Christ
And it’s only by your grace that I am saved
And it’s through faith, it’s the very gift of God

Eternally I’ve been bought with blood
There will never be another sacrifice
Jesus, I am so glad you have found me and I can belong to you. I am so thankful for the gift of life and love. You have poured out your life for me and I am at home in your heart forever. You cherish and treasure me more than your life. I don’t get it. But I like it. Actually, I like it a lot.

Day 3
Today was a good day. I spent almost all morning taking pictures. Then I was reading all afternoon until dinner. I skipped evening prayer tonight. It’s the same prayer every evening. I already prayed it last night and the night before, so why should I pray it again if I believe God answered me the first time I said it.
After dinner I took a little walk around the property and through the fruit garden. Tonight I finally started to feel a bit lonely here all by myself. I even talked to the sheep of the monastery a bit. They always agree with what I say, so that’s nice.
Now I am in my little room having a date with Jesus. I smuggled in some candles and a comfy chair I found next door. I feel a bit lonely but the truth is I have the fullness of Jesus living inside of me. That means I am never ever alone. Love itself and the fullness of joy are at home in my heart. Here’s the song for tonight:
You’re my supply, my breath of life – still more awesome than I know
You’re my reward worth living for – still more awesome than I know
All of you is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with your love. And all I have in you is more than enough.
Jesus, here I am. I am all yours. Forever will be. Enjoy me.

Late nite thoughts:

Jesus in me is the answer to all my questions I will ever have
Jesus in me is the answer to everything I will ever need
With Jesus in me I already possess everything I could ever hope or ask for
Jesus in me – the fullness of love and joy
Jesus in me – the hope of glory

The blood of Jesus made me free. I am free and the only one that can bring me back into captivity is myself. I can only be bound by others or circumstances if I let them. I am free in my spirit and even if I my body would be captive, I could still be free to fly and soar if I am set on the truth. God’s word is the truth and He says that I am set free. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how I feel, it doesn’t matter how my circumstances are. It doesn’t matter what others do to me. He says I am set free. That’s what I believe. That’s who I am. I am what He says I am. He knows best. I can never be more free than I am right now already.
Does this make sense? If we really get a hold of this and live it out our lives will never be the same.
No, I am not becoming crazy. I ‘ve never seen more clearly than now. And I know this is nothing but a tiny glimpse. There is tons of revelation waiting for us. Straight from the heart of God. We only need to take the time so God can download it.

It’s time to actually believe what the bible says.

Day 4
Today I took the day off from writing :-)

Day 5
I am turning the monastery upside down… well, a little anyways. I prayed for healing for a retired Lutheran preacher. He didn’t really expect to get better but he got better. I also gave a prophetic word to a young guy who works here in the kitchen. He doesn’t know Jesus. I told him it’s a secret message from Jesus. I think he liked it. Every time he sees me now he is smiling from ear to ear. Tonight a group from the east of Germany (Sachsen, they have the funniest accent) will perform a little play for the kids. Snow white and the seven dwarfs. I won’t miss this one. Laughter in the monastery!!! I am sure Jesus is coming soon :-)

The Holy Spirit is teaching me everyday who I am in Jesus and who Jesus is in me. This cannot be just head knowledge and some theory. It needs to change the way I think and the way I live. The word of God needs to become a part of me.

By the way, I don’t think the weeping willow (for my german friends: Trauerweide) actually is weeping. It looks very happy to me.
I guess, thoughts like this go through your mind if you camp out on a monastery too long as a “silent guest” – that’s how they call me here. By now I talk to the sheep everyday and they talk back to me and follow me around. Maybe I should become a shepardess.

Day 6
Today is my last full day here. Tomorrow I will leave after lunch. I wish I could stay a bit longer. It was nice having so much time set aside with Jesus and to read and write. But I also feel this is not a place for me to stay for too long…. My parents and my sister are probably very happy about that… I think they were afraid I would like the life at the monastery too much and would decide to become a nun. But I want to live in the world outside these monastery walls. I want to be a shining light and river of living water for Jesus. I want to be in contact with people who don’t know Him.
Tonight I am having a date night with Jesus again. I LOVE IT! Candles, cookies and Jesus. There’s nothing sweeter than this. Isn’t it weird that after you have found Jesus you keep still looking for him? You can find him everywhere - in the sunset, in a thunder storm, in the face of a baby, in the old wrinkled hands of an old woman, in the fragrance of a flower, in the sound of a river, in the laughter of a child, in the beauty of silence, in the sweetness of a cookie :-) He makes it very easy for us to find him if we just go and look for him. I think he wants to be found so badly that he hides where everyone can find him who really wants to.

I have found my love and my heart is dancing.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Black Forest #2

I climbed the "Feldberg" mountain. It's 1.400 meter high, that's probably around 4.000 feet. Those are the flowers I found on top. I have no idea how they are called but they are pretty.

I am so glad they put a sign up there to warn me not to fall down the mountain.

This was my few from my balkony. The picture doesn't really show how pretty it actually was. When the weather was good I was able to see the swiss alps.

On one of my hikes through the black forest I found this red bench.

Black Forest - Titisee Lake

The black forest clock is very famous.... here in life size

I had dinner with some friends at a restaurant right at the lake. They had huge menues and like always I had the hardest time deciding what I want to eat

My new friend, the squirrel and me