I want to preface this whole article by saying that I am very careful to relate the following story with great humility. Much of what I am going to tell you seems absurd to me, too. But I want to make sure I relate the facts as they are, and not bury them under my tendency to self-deprecate. Please be advised.
I have spent so much time telling you about the 22 in 22 that I haven’t even gotten around to telling you that I launched the French version of the blog on January first. Here!!! Take a look!!!
It’s a bit different than what you find here. It’s quite a bit more linear (I know, I know. YOU only read me because of how scatterbrained I am. But I was afraid that the French, with their Cartesian thinking, might not get me the way you do.)
Well, there’s that, and…well…I, in a complete twist of fate that a girl from Northeastern Ohio would never expect for herself…I have something of a…I can’t say notoriety, because that sounds like celebrity, which is decidedly not true. But, in the circles in which I run, I do have, what could be called, a goodly number of fans.
The community of Christians in France is not what it is in the United States, you see. There is no “Christian Culture” the way there is in the US. There is no “mainstream Christian Culture”, nor is there the “countercultural Christian Culture…” There are very few “flavors” like we have in the US.
As it happens, the church I attend, the one I have the honor of worshipping at, is one of the largest churches in France. But beyond that? It has a global reach. Twenty thousand people follow our services either live or via re-broadcast. It’s a big deal on the French-speaking church scale.
I’ve been on the worship team since 2010. I was “recruited by force” by my friend Aline, at a time when I had said I would never sing again. It has been a wild ride: I had never had to use a handheld microphone before, for example. Using in-ear monitors was a calvary for me. It was a steep steep steep learning curve.
God gave me a very particular gift, which I have been discovering since 2010: There are moments when the Lord choses me to sing a new song. Times when he tells the worship leader to be quiet and that I am to sing in tongues (I know, it sounds so weird. It feels weird saying it. But…that’s how we roll here.)
There have been times when immediately afterward, someone will interpret what I sang, with words. There have been times when I have received a text message with the interpretation. There have been times when years later, someone will see me on the street and stop me and tell me about some consolation they had received from the Lord while I was singing.
I don’t deserve this gift. I am so, so, so undeserving of this gift. But no matter how awful I am, how far I stray, how nasty I am to family, the Lord still shows up, using me.
It is, by far, the very most humbling experience I can have: to have been short and impatient with my family on my way out the door, to arrive at church; as I am walking into the building, to beg that the Lord forgive me for just how awful I am as a wife and mother, and then, during the service, the Lord lead me to sing a new song…It is the very evidence of my unworthiness. And, that the Lord can use very very very flawed people to do his work when they are willing.
These last 12 years of being that person has meant that 20000 people around the world have been discovering this strange gift along with me. In addition, my time at the radio station here deepened some of that connection, as I would tell personal stories on-air and people would feel like they “knew me.”
During these years, I miscarried twin babies. I had a first scalawag, then a second. Both of them were dedicated from the same stage I worship on. People on the street know my children’s names and ask me how they are doing. That is weird.
A few years ago, Aline started an orchestra. She and my friends François and Caro and I have enjoyed pursuing our musical follies all over Alsace (and soon in Le Territoire de Belfort!)
So…I have a few “fans.” Let’s put it this way: there is a not-insignificant audience for something that I might put out there.
In addition, my indulgent husband has become a regular guest on our church’s weekly interview program, as their resident philosopher.
The show, called On s’y retrouve, is really, really really really really a great show. They impress even me by their willingness to take on really tough topics most Christians wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Plus, the production quality is amazing–but, then, it is my buddy Jonathan who produces the show. I shouldn’t be surprised.
So, there are people who are discovering my husband for who he is (and not just as Mr. Lily Fields), and developing an affection for the charming, intelligent philosopher prince that he is, as well.
So, the French blog is stories about faith. It is the stories of how the Lord has directed my husband and myself through our lives together, to bring us to where we are today.
I launched it on January 1, 2022. It was my little New Year’s gift to myself. And it has been surprisingly successful. The “sleeper hit of the year,” you might say.
What is fun is that after I write the article, my indulgent husband and I have to sit down and correct it together (I may make a few mistakes in English from time to time, but in French I desperately need the sharp eye of a person whose job it is to read what other people write to make sure it is understandable!)
I’ve been digging into the archives for photos. He and I have been remembering why it was we came to France in the first place…and now…I’m wondering if I don’t understand that call from back in 2007 a little bit better. It sure took a long time.
Yesterday, I ended up at the radio station to pick the brain and get schooled in the ins and outs of sponsorships and partnerships for the podcast. This was in all ways completely unrelated to the French blog…it was because I don’t want to be a deer in the headlights the next time a visibility exchange is offered for the podcast. The station manager is someone who is quite well-respected in our city, having worked for many of the big-name stations here in town. I figured he could help me out.
I ended up telling him about the TikTok videos my marketing guy wants me to make, and about my plan to “make virtue sexy again” by taking those sixty some-odd virtues and doing 1-minute videos targeted to teenage girls. I asked, in an off-handed way if there would be a market for this in French.
Here: take a look at what it looks like to “make virtue sexy”
As I was walking out the door from our meeting last night, I was already scheming about how I could create 250 1-minute spots on the subject in French. I’ll be making the videos anyway for TikTok. Why not quickly record them in French, while I’m at it?
Right. Why not.
So that’s where I’m at with my French Thing. I have no idea where this all is headed, but I am trusting that wherever that is, I am going to be wholly unworthy and undeserving of it every single step of the way.
PS: That photo up top? That’s Jonathan again. He shows up everywhere.
Episode 4: MacGyvering KonMari dropped on January 20. It’s a pretty fun episode. You should give it a listen!