You won’t believe where I am. I can hardly believe it myself! Like a wealthy heroine in a 19th century novel, I’m on a Grand Tour of Europe. But this trip isn’t purely for pleasure, although I’m certainly having a lot of fun! My husband Ken and I are here in the Netherlands after a stopover in Copenhagen to watch as our son Benjamin is awarded his PhD in Biblical Studies from the University of Leiden. You can’t imagine two prouder parents.
Leiden is a beautiful, ancient city with scenic canals and art museums and buildings that date from the Middle Ages. Even the graduation ceremony is like something from another era, with scholars in majestic robes and my son in a tuxedo.
Now the three of us are cycling for a few days on Holland’s amazing bike trails, something that has long been on our “bucket list.”
A few days from now, we’ll begin the next stage of our Grand Tour. We’ll travel by train to Paris where my husband Ken, who is a professional trumpet player, will meet up with the other members of the American Legion Band to perform for the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. For the next ten days, the group will travel and perform in ceremonies and concerts to commemorate the Allied landing in Normandy during World War II. I’m thinking I might find some ideas for a future novel as we tour France, Luxembourg, Germany, and the Netherlands, visiting famous cemeteries, museums and battle sites.
Then on to the final stage in my journey. My German publisher, Francke, has invited me on a week-long book tour with fellow authors Tamera Alexander and Elizabeth Musser. We’ll have lots of stories to tell and plenty of pictures to share when we return home.
I take none of this for granted. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined an adventure like this—and I have a wild imagination! Ken and I met as college students when he was a very gifted trumpet player who wanted to serve God with his talents—and now he’s doing that. When God first called me to write, I merely dreamed of serving Him here in the U.S., let alone in foreign countries—yet here I am. And after countless prayers and a 7½ year battle with infertility, our son Benjamin was finally born thirty years ago. We couldn’t have known that this long-awaited baby would one day serve God as a Bible professor, training future pastors from a multitude of nations, as he has done at Tyndale Seminary here in the Netherlands. The God we serve “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
Ken and I have experienced times when our prayers seemed to go unanswered and our plans and dreams weren’t fulfilled the way we’d hoped. But in the end, God’s plans always turned out to be better than ours. Always. And those struggles drew us closer to Him.
And now we’re off to rent bicycles to enjoy the magnificent Dutch countryside. You can bet I’ll be praising God with every breath I take, every mile I travel!