Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

~ Helen Keller

She’s looking me dead in the eyes when she speaks, a gaze so deeply penetrating its intensity makes me want to look away…but I can’t.

God is getting ready to do a work in you not possible when you’re living in your comfort zone,” she tells me when I confide my secret.  And to my concerns she says, “And He’s going to meet your husband and turn him inside out when he’s alone and questioning what in the world he’s doing.

She speaks with such conviction and great assurance ~ a relative stranger! ~ but I want to believe her.  I do believe her. You see,

my husband and I have learned it’s not in the easy times we’ve grown spiritually, it’s during those difficult seasons of struggle…

…when we want to go back to “Egypt,” to the familiar; not because we liked it but because we knew what to expect.

At mid-life, an adventure has been given to us, a door not merely opened but flung off the hinges, and our only response is to step into the unknown.

My husband has accepted a new job; it begins with a  year assignment in Germany. We leave in three weeks.

I’m writing weeks before this is published but we’ve known this secret was a possibility for quite a while before that.  I’ve been a pressure cooker on the verge of exploding keeping this inside so long.

Logistics are still uncertain; how much time I’ll spend with him and what portion of the year our children will join us are the biggest considerations.  But this I know:

God has lavishly gifted us with opportunity and we’re humbled and grateful.

For two decades, my husband has worked for a paper manufacturer; a dying industry.  Through his company’s four-year bankruptcy and several rounds of layoffs he’s at least kept his job.  But working for a company with limited resources and sensing it wouldn’t be around at the end of his career gave him reason to keep his eyes open for something else.  Like countless others, we’ve learned “something else” is elusive.  He’s sent out dozens of resumes, interviewed a place or two, but mostly it’s been…disheartening Defeating at times.

We’ve struggled with that. Friends have gone months–years–without jobs!  So how dare we complain, even if it’s just to each other!  Heap guilt on top of frustration.

But the truth is a man’s identity is tightly interlaced with his job; if his work life is suffering, he is suffering. Regardless of our desire to fix our eyes on Christ and to be grateful for a job, it has been a challenge.   Add searching for a church home for the past year and additional relational challenges, and for me this has been

a desert season.

Yes, we’ve had provision; I’m mindful of the countless reasons to be thankful…

But our reality has still been peppered with void, loss, conflict, disappointment and discouragement at times.

Sometimes the hardest part of my life as a Believer is the inner struggle of knowing I’m blessed with every Spiritual blessing, understanding I’m wealthy when compared with the World’s economy…yet allowing myself the truth, conflict and struggle of my reality.  Again, how dare I? Yet, it IS my reality.

The beauty of faith’s paradox is even in seemingly undesirable circumstances, God is accomplishing a work of His choosing.

In an upside-down Kingdom way, Ancient Words have given me the greatest peace; when I didn’t like or resisted circumstance, THIS truth soothed my heart:

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts….” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

There is great freedom in believing God has my best interests at heart, and in surrendering my need to understand.

* * * * * * * * * * *

When my husband got the job offer, I cried.  I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for him.

This is about more than a job; it is a Very Kind Gift; unexpected and generous.

First response is to romanticize this amazing opportunity, to see only the “good” parts.  And while those things overflow in abundance, my stranger-friend’s words at the beginning of this post linger ~

  • My husband will be separated from family and home for months at a time.
  • Challenging new job, foreign language, VERY different culture.
  • I’ll be traveling back and forth multiple times this year…and I HATE to fly :/.

Adventure is the One Word that will define 2012 for me.  A month ago that word was prompted because of my husband’s job change; but more recently the Lord challenged me to know Him better this year, reminding me (again) in a very different way that real life is not about my circumstances.

I value the prayers of our (in) community. There are countless details yet to learn and decisions still to be made, but mostly would you pray that through our circumstances that God would reveal Himself to us in greater measure and continue His transforming work for our good, His glory and the advance of the Gospel?

If you’ve chosen One Word for this year, might you share it in comments or let me know how to pray for you?  (And…if you have any advice for living abroad, oh, how I welcome your suggestions!)

By Robin Dance.  You’re graciously invited to follow her Adventures in Germany at PENSIEVE.

  • Barbie

    Wow, that’s exciting! You’re about to launch on a new adventure, and I just know that God will be with you every step of the way.

  • handsfull

    Wow Robin, that’s exciting! I’m so glad that a new season is starting for you all after such a long, hard time. I’m sure there’s lots to still work out, but God is in the details of our lives, as well as the big picture… as I’m sure you know!
    Bless you as you step off the edge of the Cliff of the Familiar into the Unknown. Just keep remembering that it’s not unknown to God!

    • Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

      Thank you :). I like how you named that Cliff :).

  • Julie

    Wow. Would you believe something might be going the same way for me soon. And I just wanted to run back to the normal….the comfort. Aye….I may have to move forward here and be brave. And I literally mean move. Wow. Just that you would post this today of all days…..God is ironic sometimes.

    • Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

      The biggest irony, Julie, is the post was not supposed to run til now. So that you “needed” to hear it? A God thing….

      • handsfull

        Lol! I wondered where your post went… guess your words were needed early!

        • Robin Dance

          Kinda wild, huh. handsfull? :)

          I got a few emails on it, to say the least…!

  • Leigh Kay

    As the trumpet sounds, a chorus of supporters cheer: “Hallelujah!!”

    Glory to our King. For this provision. For this step. Even for all the in between questions still floating with seeming aimlessness in the air. I am very thrilled for you, for I personally understand pieces of what you and your family may have been feeling during the previous season of topsy turvy uncertainty.

    I am still in my topsy turvy, curvy in-betweens, but I know that God is glorious, and His children are never without their Father. With His still water leading and green pasture laying, we are still kept in His company. We are each known by name. And we are every day in His watch. Whether it be moves, oceans, opportunities, stagnation, a deep hallway with only closed doors – – whatever our “now” looks like, our tomorrow is not to be worried over. For He knows our needs, our clothing, our nourishment. And He never drops the ball to create more beauty. He specializes in Creation you know, not in death. For in case you haven’t heard brothers and sisters, he conquered death. Obliterated is more like it.

    So no matter our seasons, nor the depth of our valleys – Take Heart! He has overcome the world!

    (I say this triumphantly more to myself. For this pre-dawn morning and this long-traversed ravine of mine – I needed to hear it with great resound.)
    Thank you for prompting me to rejoice for you, and to rejoice for me. For what will always be true. Our safety in His arms.

    • Robin Dance

      I have a sneaky suspicion a few of us need to remember to rejoice in the NOW, even the hard nows. Maybe ESPECIALLY the hard nows!

  • Kristen Strong

    Oh, friend! What a time you’ve had ~ and will have! I’m sitting here laughing and crying for you, wishing like crazy I could talk about it all with you in person. You know I know some of those messy emotions you’ve become well acquainted with. While it always works out for good, it. is. hard.

    Praying for you and your family right this second, Robin Dearest. You are a treasure-extraordinare, and I am enthusiastically “Dance-ing” with you as your future unfolds!
    Much love, always and forever!

    • Robin Dance


      Your comment made me smile “then” and it makes me smile again now. I think since you have the height advantage, I’ll let you lead when we dance.

      Shall we? xo

  • Annie

    Robin, thank you for sharing your story so honestly here, while you’re in process, while it’s not all worked out with a neat little bow on it, but while you wait in hope. Thank you. We wrestle with vocation and meaning and career here too, and its good to know that we are not alone, and that I shouldn’t expect to have it all worked out by 8 years, 24 years, really should my security ever be tied to a job? Thank you for this tonight…

    • Robin Dance


      We can’t help but crave stability and knowing what’s in store…but the older I get, the more I realize their elusive nature. So thankful to know sharing my experience meant something for you as well.

  • Hannah

    Thank you for sharing this. Very encouraging, as I struggle finding a job but also accepting that my husband’s job (Army) may take us wherever they send us (but not without God’s approval first!). I know you will enjoy Germany! (My husband and I are currently stationed here!)

    • Robin Dance


      I feel for you realizing that much sacrifice is required of military families; thank YOU for supporting your husband through his service.

      Thinking of and praying over your job search now….

  • Kimberly

    How exciting! Embrace this season in your life, with all of it’s ups, downs and in-betweens. We are currently on our second ex-pat assignment, and I can tell you that it is a place of incredible growth in the Lord.
    We were in Germany last weekend, and on the drive home my husband said “You know, Germany was the most pleasant surprise about our life in Europe.” And I agree! It’s beautiful, a totally wonderful surprise to us seasoned travelers.
    Be blessed in your new adventure!

    PS If you’re in need of some encouragement, I write about our life in Europe quite a bit on my blog.

    • Robin Dance


      I bookmarked your blog and can tell I’ll wanna explore further. Germany is not the country I’ve always wanted to visit, but now that I’ll live there for the better part of 2012, I’m learning much about its beauty. And you just reminded me: I’m an ex-pat!!

  • Charlotte

    Germany is a really nice place to live…praying that you will have a blessed time.
    Three nice things you can do in Germany:
    – Visit the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea
    – Visit the Christmas Market in Lübeck
    – Swim in the baltic sea
    Have a blessed Christmas time!

    • Robin Dance


      Ah!! You might have just started my Bavarian Bucket List!

      (Thank you for your encouragement.)

  • joseph cantone

    congratulations. He knew what He was going to do with you all along.
    With this new adventure goes His provision for all you will need.
    Im so happy for you.

    • Robin Dance

      Thank you! :)

  • Lynn

    Living outside “Egypt” can be invigorating and hard. Go with the expectation that your life will feel “up in the air” most of the time. God is there too, so you won’t be alone. Go as a learner – you might often feel like a 2 year old that can’t adequately say what you want to say. It is okay. People are pretty gracious and understanding most of the time. It will be frustrating and yet a great adventure. Have fun and may the Lord bless your family during this time of being together apart and use it to bring you all closer to him.

    • Robin Dance

      Yes, Lynn! The last thing you wrote is my prayer! Amen and amen.

      And your encouragement to go as a learner; I *like* that perspective; it helps set realistic expectation :).

  • Debbie

    My word for the year is “endure” or “remain steadfast” from the verses in James 5:10, 11. May you be filled with the peace of God as you make His transition for you.

    • Robin Dance

      A solid word FROM the Word :).

  • Charina @ Pondered Thoughts

    Robin, like your husband… husband was laid off too and job was still elusive even after 3 years of waiting and apllications here and there. Needless to say it is very tough for us just depending on my income… so happy for you all!

    God bless you all!

    • Robin Dance


      I’m praying over your circumstance, hope-filled SOON your husband’s void will be met. All of them….


  • MCH

    Hi Robin,

    Where in Germany will you be? How great if we could meet up, though I am in Holland. If you have any questions about Europe, our money or whatever else, let me know!!

    I think most important is to find a church and thus fellowship. This change is big and you will need people to help you through this. Most people in Germany will speak English and I am sure you could even find an international (English speaking) church.


    • Robin Dance

      Hi MCH,

      We’ve already found a nearby evangelical church just blocks from where we’ll live. My friend I wrote about in this post also had that same advice.

      I’m praying as I write that the Lord will sing your word for 2012 into your heart, His gift to you, not you manufacturing something artificial.

  • MCH

    ps. I read about people picking a word for the year. I don’t have a word… want to pray for me and see if you can direct me towards a word for 2012.

    • Tole Porse

      Couldn’t settle for one, but
      Pray to:
      Never mind the “Weather & let the “Wind” blow as you may be given “Grace” threw all your trails!

      • Robin Dance

        I don’t think there are any official rules, so you just invented Three Words :).

  • Maureen

    Sufficient. As in “My grace is…”
    May our All Sufficient God go with you.

  • Christine Brosius

    How timely to read your message today ! I just decided my word for the year yesterday and that word is PRAYER. so, Yes Robin, I will pray for you !

    • Robin Dance

      I’m thankful, truly. :)

  • Audry Cece

    Wow, what an awesome and crazy adventure! This post just made me thank God that He grounds us in himself, and gives us a sense of purpose for everything. imagine doing this without Him!?

    I will pray for you today, sister, and my word for the New Year is Compassion:)

    • Robin Dance


      I *do* like your One Word :). And thank you for your prayers–now and whenever you think about it!

  • Bridget

    Robin! What an amazing opportunity! I am excited for you all and it will certainly be an adventure. Praying that you will all find comfort outside your comfort zone.

    • Robin Dance

      Bridget, That’s kinda like a new normal, right? (thank you xo)

  • rjb

    My word for the year is “adventure” too…and it may involve a new job for my husband and a new city for our family…which I didn’t exactly know when I first thought this word…Adventure sure is exhilarating AND scary, isn’t it?! Last year’s was “strength”, and I wonder if we needed that to get ready for this year!

    • Robin Dance


      You’ll have to keep me posted on YOUR adventure! Like a diamond, I suppose there are MANY facets to adventure.

  • Jennifer

    I am praying for even more hope, joy, and rich blessings for you and your family as you continue to surrender to His care. Your vulnerability here is beautiful. You bring freedom to me in your choosing faith over fear. Thank you so much. My words this year (the first time I have asked Him for words, or, even reflected on the year before!) are humility and relationships. I must surrender this heart of mine to His, even more, to trust Him to show me how to love, intentionally and with abandonment and humbleness, the friends and family He gives. Thank you!

    • Robin Dance


      What lovely thoughts here…thank you. I hear a sense of humility in your voice, it seems the Lord is already shaping you in that regard. Intentional love requires awareness and effort, and I like how you acknowledge that God IS the one who gives :).

  • Julie Sunne

    Wow, Robin, you are living an adventure! It must be exciting and daunting at the same time. Praying for the comfort of home in the midst of unknown. My word for this year is Boldness … for my adventure.

    • Robin Dance


      THANK you for your prayers…and DO share YOUR adventure! :)

  • Amy

    Hi Robin,

    You wrote a beautiful and vulnerable post about the adventures on your horizon. My heart swelled with anticipation for you… as a few years ago we got news of an international adventure for our family (kiddos then 2 and newborn). Three years later, as we look back, from our newly established stateside home – the words spoken to you about what God is going to do outside of your comfort zone… they ring so, so true.

    Excited for you,

    • Robin Dance


      There’s something reassuring in your comment. Very.

      I’m thankful :).

  • Alma

    Prasied God for the new oppurtunity He has given to you and to your family. This would be a great time for you and for your family to shine for Jesus. Wherever you are, remember God brought you there for a purpose. Living in a foreign country is quite hard in reality but when you have Jesus Christ in your life… nothing is impossible…all things are possible and believe that God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. God is forever faithful and true to His promises. God bless you always.

    • Robin Dance


      You’ve claimed some of the things I’m most thankful for in Scripture. And I’m ever-grateful the Lord put those promises in writing so we’d be able to savor them today.

  • Holley

    Robin, praying for you and cheering you on! My word? Impossible.

    • Robin Dance

      Oh, Holley…that makes me smile!

  • Anne

    My word is “pause”. I want to not miss a single moment of God’s presence in my life. It is only by pausing that I will accomplish this. I need to slow down this life so that He is obvious to me in everything.

    • Robin Dance


      All I can think reading your comment is Be Still.

      And know….

      Isn’t that wonderful? :)

  • Megan (FriedOkra)

    Oh, Robin. I’m so excited for you and thankful to God for this blessing! It will be an amazing year for all of you. Hard, yes. YES. But such a unique time and wonderful opportunity on so many levels. Germany is beautiful… so rich in culture and history. Being apart from one another will stretch each of you to new discoveries about love and commitment and teach you new communication skills. When my youngest was 9 months old, Al moved to Chicago, leaving baby and Mama at home in Atlanta. It was so, so hard. He was lonely and sad in a big city without his girls. I was tired and sad to be raising our daughter all-but-alone. But I wouldn’t give a single moment of our time apart away, because of what it brought to all three of us, and the JOY I still have, 5 years later, to be together again. I appreciate and adore and LURV and understand Al so much more deeply now thanks to the months of living without him.

    I will pray for all of you, that this unexpected gift will be a blessing to your hearts and souls (and pocketbook!) and that a year from now you will treasure the adventure for all that it has been and will continue to be in your lives and love.


  • Bekka

    I know the difficulty of managing the house while the hubby is away from home for extended periods of time. My husband has been working out-of-town since mid-March last year – sometimes gone as long as four weeks at a time. And we have a three year old and an 11 month old.

    I think this is a fantastic adventure and very excited to see you bravely accepting the mission, if you will.

    My One Word for 2012 is “Move”. I tried to pick something different, because I don’t like some of the possible meanings this word will have for us, for our family, but I couldn’t ignore that gentle nudging…

    I’ll be praying for you and your family as you make this adjustment for your husband’s work!

  • Susan Hill

    Okay, well…were you in my home this morning? {nervous chuckle} Two and half years ago, our ‘journey’ began. It’s been both exciting and terrifying. However, God just keeps ‘drawing’ us further and further out ‘there’. {yikes} We’re not overseas but…when you’re walking by faith, sometime another state can ‘feel’ like it. Thanks for your honesty. I can’t wait to see how your ‘journey’ unfolds. I pray God’s protection, blessing, and favor in your lives!

  • Kathy Sykes

    Yippee for you and your husband!! God is good ALL THE TIME! I was just watching House Hunters International and a couple was searching for a home in Germany. It looked like a really gorgeous place and lively…just like you. I also wanted to thank you for posting the part about a man’s identity is wrapped up in his job. I can now see that and how his happiness comes from his perceived success. I need to meditate on that word because it is needed now in my life.

  • Daune


    I have so many friends that have been sent to Germany due to husbands jobs…..they absolutely LOVE it! It has been wonderful experiences for all of them. I will be praying for you. When it was time to come back….they didn’t want to!

    Sounds like we have been in the same place…our past few years have included so many of the same circumstances as you wrote about above.

    I’ve been praying for my one word. I’m embarrassed to say a week ago the only word I could come up with for 2012 was “Ugh”. I know that’s not the one God has for me, though. So, I’m still waiting for it. :)

    I will look forward to keeping up with your Adventure!

  • Jules

    A word for this year…. I would say…. “CHANGE” ore “TRANSITION” I can’t believe I was just emailing friends to help me pray about a possible career move that is very scary for me… and reading all that you are facing…. WOW…. God definitely places people in our lives for all the right moments in our circumstances…. My words for you… Just keep doing what you are doing… keep moving forward… for HE who began a good work… will carry it on until completion…. That new job for your husband…. is just the springboard for what GOD has in store for you!!! Blessings!!!

  • Pineconegirl

    My advice – as trite as it is – Just do it. My husband travels almost constantly for work. I overheard him say he has been in his office for four hours since October. Take each day as it comes, with deep breaths and lots of arrow prayers foe everything that comes during your day. Accept help that is offered, even when asking for help seems like the hardest and most exposing thing ever.

    My One Word for 2012 is “Joy”. I want to recapture that deep soul thrilling joy that comes from a pure deep relationship with the Lord; the one that used to have my classmates say “What is with you? Why are you so crazy happy?”

  • Deborah

    Advance. (Away from comfort. Away from status-quo. Away from Egypt.)
    Manifestation. (Of His Presencce in all we say and do.)
    Blessings on your advancement and the manifestation of His Presence!

  • Danita

    I am praying as I write this post to you! God and His amazing grace are one of the greatest gifts we recieve at salvation! I thank Him for the testimony of this past season in your life and His faithfulness in it! My word for the year is just that”FAITHFUL” I will be looking for God’s FAITHFULNESS in my life , I will be looking and praying for ways to be more FAITHFUL to Him! God is going to bless this time as you and your husband/family find more imaginative ways to love and be family to each other -God Bless!

  • Richella at Imparting Grace

    I love Germany! What a wonderful place to be for a year. Sprechen sie Deutsche?

    Jack and I will have been married 27 years this June. And while I don’t have any advice to offer about living abroad, I do have advice to offer about living apart: do it as little as possible. You and your husband need each other. And when you must be apart in distance, take great care to stay close in any way you can.

    As for words for this year, I’m proud to say that I do have one. Why am I proud? Because this is the first year I’ve ever chosen one! Actually, I think God chose it for me; I’m just grateful that I was listening, since sometimes I forget to do that. Anyway, my word is willing. Psalm 51 was my inspiration.

    God bless you in your adventure! :)

  • Pattie

    First of all, congratulations to your husband on his new job! I can see you’re thrilled with this for him.
    This is Life–the greatest adventure. I’m reminded of Sara Groves’ song “Painting Pictures of Egypt” – focus on the Promised Land, as scary as the unknown can be, rather than reminiscing and focusing on the past, even though it is familiar.

    God bless you–and talk to some military wives who have been to Germany. They’re the greatest resource ever.

  • Hannah

    This was my post on facebook just yesterday about my word for the year:
    “Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I decided on a focus word for the year and chose DEPENDENT. The dictionary defined dependent as “weak, helpless”, yet I see being dependent as strong. You see, I’m focusing my dependency on God, and God alone. I will depend on His strength to get through hard times. I will depend on His timing, even if it means to continue to wait to become a mother. I will depend on His word to guide me through 2012. {Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11}”

    My husband and I are currently stationed in Baumholder, Germany, about an hour from Luxembourg and my advice is take it all in. Being from a small town, coming to a foreign country was crazy for me! But definitely take advantage of traveling around, seeing other places, and eat the food!! :) God bless and if any questions, ask away!

  • marina Bromley

    Praise God!! Praise Him for the job, the opportunity! YES – it will be difficult, but YES – it will grow you closer to Him in ways you couldn’t have before…or at any other time…without God opening this door!

    My one word this year is “intentional” – to be more intentional in my time with him, my prayer time (in addition to my “pray at all times” I want to have a place and time to meet with Him daily), to live intentionally, clean intentionally (not as many “random acts of housework”) and wake up with intentional things on my calendar to prayerfully plan and accomplish! Intentional it is!!

    Blessings to you as you live life in a new way, as you grow…closer to Jesus, deeper in marriage, and as a missionary to new fields (from the airport folks, to the region you’ll travel to).

    Grace and peace,

  • Heather

    Oh, Robin!! I am so excited for you! AND….guess where I live now? England!! Just a short drive away! (Well, probably. Where in Germany?)

  • Cindy Key

    Oh Robin! I can identify with your new adventure in so many ways! We started on our adventure fifteen months ago and it’s still in the process of unfolding. What we’ve learned and continue to learn is to lean on Him. The Lord increases our dependence on Him daily in some way.
    My word for this year is Grace. For myself, for my husband and for others and especially strangers.
    As for being separated, when one of us is out of town, we Skype every day, just to connect and see one anothers face. My other suggestion is for a scrapbooking or journaling activity. I love art journals. There are many, many online classes that you can do at your own pace but might give you a focus and kind of a pivot point during this time of transition. I find after a move, I need to figure out who I am in this new place. Having something that is a constant may help you keep your identity.
    Another exciting thing about moving, especially to a new country is that you can re-invent yourself! You don’t know anyone there so they don’t know what to expect from you. For me, that meant I didn’t have to be shy anymore. I could be bold, though my knees knocked and I’d break into a sweat, I pushed myself to be bold. There may be an aspect of your personality or behavior that you’re ready to re-invent. Be creative!
    God bless you and I’ll be following your tale of adventure!

  • Aline

    Surrender. It’s very difficult to surrender all of myself due to past hurts and being takend advantage of. God is making me to do things that I’m struggleing with. Sometimes it’s easy and then satan enters the picture and I start doubting and wanting controll of my life. Please keep me in your prays. I will be folliwing your “Adventures in Germany” and will be praying for you and your family.


  • Beth Ann

    JOY. I choose joy! No matter what I’m going through, or what God brings me to, I want to face it with joy. Because I know that He will be there to face whatever comes my way, so how can I not be happy with Him by my side? Challenging sometimes, I know, but it’s my goal for 2012. I wish you JOY too as you face this new adventure. Blessings to you!

  • Dawn Camp

    I am so happy for you, darlin’! My word is create.

  • Megan

    I am so happy and yet so sad at the same time! So are you moving to Germany forever? Maybe I didn’t read all of the story well.. Anyway, you and Tad are so brave for embarking on another great adventure together. We admire and adore you both! Love you guys ~ Matt and Meg

  • Sherry

    I have been praying about a word for this year. This morning it came — to KNOW. To know Christ as Paul sought to know Christ above all else.
    As for moving to Germany, I have a friend who moved with her husband and four kids to Germany about 6 years ago. They love it! They have taken every opportunity to travel around Europe and even Africa during this time. She even started a blog based on their adventures and experiences in Europe.
    I hope and pray for peace for you and your family during this transition.

  • Faran

    JOY. My word for this year is joy. Strength is found in *joy*, not (as Ann Voskamp so beautifully writes) in “flexing control’s muscle.” Joy found in the presence of the Lord. Joy is on the path of life. Joy changes my words. Joy changes my attitude. Joy is unearthed in my thankfulness. His throne’s foundations are strength and joy.

    So 2012 will be about finally killing off the irritability, the desire to control and about choosing Joy. It’s time.

    • Caroline

      Beautiful, Faran. I too choose JOY!

      “Joy found in the presence of the Lord. Joy is on the path of life. Joy changes my words. Joy changes my attitude. Joy is unearthed in my thankfulness. His throne’s foundations are strength and joy.”

      The joy of the Lord is my strength!

  • Tiffany

    So glad to see the big reveal, and I’m looking forward to following along as you write about your adventure on the blog.

    Our word this year is “rootedness,” as we are aiming to start planting some very intentional roots in Chattanooga, and make this our true home…where we will raise our children!

  • PegS

    Robin, I believe my word this year is contentment taken from Psalm 73:25-26. I have been where you are, but without God and being VERY young. My husband was stationed in Nuremburg, (West) Germany the 3rd year of our marriage. We were young. I was 3 months pregnant with our 2nd daughter when we decided I HAD to join him! So glad I did, even though it meant delivering our daughter at an Army hospital in a foreign country without a car to get there. One thing I remember well, the public transportation is EXCELLENT! Get on that street car and go see the city! It is such a beautiful place!! Lots of castles to explore.

  • Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    Thanks for sharing this new adventure God has placed before you!

    I am considering the word Expectation for the new year, Expecting great things from God!

    Psalm 62:5
    My soul, wait silently for God alone,
    For my expectation is from Him.

  • Karsey Long


    As I was reading the end of your post, about having one word to describe your year, my mom (not having read your post yet) blurted out what the name of her year was…it was absolutely perfect timing! My mom named her year the “Year of Abiding,” having been inspired from John 15. Her goal is to be completely at home in God’s love.

    On a different note, how exciting that you get to live in Germany! As a Military Brat, I have lived all over the place, including Germany (my favorite place so far:) and would go back in a heartbeat! We moved back from Germany my senior year of high school (I am sophomore in college now). My dad was stationed at Ramstein AFB, so we lived in the Kaiserslatuern area. Where will your husband’s job take you?

    Living abroad was a wonderful experience and Germany is so centrally located that it makes traveling so easy! As far as the language goes, almost EVERYONE in Germany speaks English! I learned to speak German, as I was dancing ballet at a German ballet school, but I would not fret at all about the language barrier because there hardly is one. If you try to speak the language, the natives appreciate it but they also like to practice their English. No worries.

    Again, I am so happy for you and your family! You will absolutely love Germany and I pray that your experiences there are rich and full! Respond with any questions, I would love to answer them!

  • Robin Troxell

    there is a blog called Design Mom that is fabulous, and this year she and her family happen to be living in France – they have lots of info about moving/living in a foreign country with children!

  • Melody

    Re: your comfort zone–I once heard someone say that if God had intended for you to stay in your comfort zone, then He would not have sent the Comforter. I laughd at the time, but I have never forgotten that! My word for the year if REST. Poppa’s richest blessings upon you, my sister!

  • Becki Woodsmall

    My prayers are with you and your family as you embark on this wonderful journey! God is so good and His faithfulness is unfailing. He is your Jehovah Jireh!
    My word for this year is “victory”. God gave me this word as I was driving to work this morning. It is going to be a year of victory for our family!

  • Beth Werner Lee

    I really like what you wrote. I think I had read it before, but it’s really good for me to reread! I too am looking to God more and more to be working in my life.

    I’ve not lived long in another country, but have for summers. I do tend to see it as an adventure, and I seem not to need as much stuff as I have back home. I don’t know how to advise you though, except to say, “Write about it!”

    I wrote about Time today at and linked the hymn Take Time to be Holy.

  • Jordan

    I lived there for some time and yes, it is a culture shock. Please email if you have any questions – I wouldn’t know where to start!

  • Jordan

    I lived there for some time and yes, it is a culture shock. Please email if you have any questions – I wouldn’t know where to start!

  • Christina

    Oh my dear friend! I am so excited for you and your hubby! God is so very good and I love that you shared you don’t quite know how it is all going to work out yet…..Luckily – He does :) Those are adventures of the best kind! Congratulations to you and to Tad! Love you tons!

  • Christy A.

    This is something I wrote yesterday about my word for this year, where I will be living ‘intentionally.’

    I’ll be praying for you as you tackle this adventure. A year after my ‘dad’ married his second wife (his first passed away after a long, full marriage) he had an opportunity to go work in France for a year. When they got back, his wife told me that the best thing she did while she was there to make life good got then was to do everything she could to learn the language. People liked the visiting American couple better when they saw that they were trying to learn, instead of speaking only in English and getting frustrated when they didn’t understand. The old “when in Rome,” I guess. Good luck!

  • Chantel Powers

    My One Word for 2012 is open. I want to open to His plan for my life. It sounds like you are so reading your blog was encouraging. With so much change going on in your life, you are open to His plan. WOW!
    I pray for growth this year and for recognizing when He opens the door to possibility so I can walk through it.

  • Shelli Bourque

    Praying for you and your family as you begin this wild adventure! My word? Reach!

  • Vicki

    I nearly fell off my chair when I went to the (in)courage site this morning to be encouraged! A few days ago God had given me a phrase for this year – it seemed to come totally out of the blue but so very obviously from God. The phrase was The Year of Living Dangerously! I felt so strongly about it that I started a blog several days ago named just that! I am excited to hear how God is using and will use that idea for you. Towards the end of last year I wanted to move both my job and my living arrangements but God said ‘no’ very firmly. I think my year of living dangerously is about learning to live in God’s safe place in the midst of what is going on, and stepping out with Him to do His stuff!
    I’ll be praying for you. I lived in West Africa for several years and although there were lots of challenges it was such an opportunity for God to work in me! He’ll be ding new things in you this year.

  • AmyNicole

    My word for 2012 is THRiVe. It means to grow vigorously; to flourish-Is often used with (Thrives on conflict) I think it might work for you too! Praying for you, My Sister!

  • Melissa

    Robin, what an incredible adventure coming your way! I will be praying for you and your family! And, my word is confident as in Philippians 1:6.

  • Jenny D

    Fearless is my One Word because I have come to realize that I’ve lived too long with fear as my motivator and God hasn’t called me to live in fear!

  • Joan

    My word for you is trust. Trust that the Lord is acting in your life and that he will provide the strength for you and your family to meet this challenge. He will be your strenght; A favorite saying of mine and one that I have as my screen saver is ….”nothing will happen to me today that does not first pass through the heart of God.”
    I will be praying for all of you.

  • Beth

    First, congratulations on this wonderful opportunity and new job! I will pray that the logistics and the emotions and changes and everything else that come along will be bearable and easily overcome for all of you.

    Second, I have got to put this blog in my reader. I could have satisfied my curiosity HOURS ago!

  • Becky W.

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity! Visiting Germany is on my bucket list. All of my ancestors came from Germany and I would LOVE to explore the country some day. I will pray for safe travels for your family.

    My one word for 2012 is “Refine”. Gary Thomas writes about this word in the beginning of his book “Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul” and the whole process just hit me. I would like my life to be refined this year with the bad stuff stripped away leaving me open to God.

  • Linds

    Hi, Robin – firstly, my word for this year is “joy”. And secondly, I am speaking to you from the Alps where I am visting my sister. Central Switzerland is very close to both Germany and Austria, and I am here many times a year, so it would be fantastic to try and meet you some time! And thirdly, I moved from South Africa to the UK years ago and was married to a senior officer in the merchant navy, so on so many fronts – being home alone wthi the kids, and being in foreign places, (and learning German too!) I can identify with you and where you are now. These are exciting times for you all. God opens amazing doors in His own time. . Let me know if there is anything I can help with – info etc. Wow. This is fantastic!

  • jodi

    I spent most of my young life in Germany. My father was in the Army and we were there for 8 yrs all together. It is an amazing place in which I hope to take my kids to visit. I got to do things a normal American kid does not get to do. There are great adventures to be had there by your family. You will love it! I know it will be hard at first w/the traveling back and forth like you say and all the unknown but I promise God is working on a big plan for your family. While you are there rememeber to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the amazing country and it beauty. Prayers for your family during this time of change!!

  • D

    I think my word will be FAITH.

    I am dealing with some severe job issues; thankfully still employed and but completely unhappy nonetheless. Your words hit my heart. And I will have to have FAITH that God has a plan for me (& family) and I have to trust in his timing. Even knowing that He has this under control doesn’t always make everything better in the moment, but it does give me hope.

    Prayers for you and your family as you embark on this new journey/challenge. Thank you again for your words.

  • Theresa Hartman

    My word for 2012 is restoration. Given by God I eagerly await all that He intends to do!

  • Lauren

    I’m debating. Authentic, I think.

  • Becky M

    Congratulations and “adventure on” . . . As one who wishes to return to an Egypt, you have my prayers — most fervent for you and your family. We lived many years with my Dad being overseas and my Mom and brothers and me here stateside. My parents have been married 61 years (this past Christmas Eve).

  • Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE

    Goodness…I have some MAJOR catching up to do! I’ve been out of pocket today but I’ve had so much fun peeking at your replies on my phone when I could. Thank you ALL for sharing these words, both your One Words and your encouragement and kindness.

    You have no idea how much that mattered today :).

    I’ll be replying to all soon, but in the meantime wanted you to know I wasn’t ignoring or didn’t care; I just had WORK to get done!

    Much grace, peace, joy and love…and hugs to those who need one.

  • Sarah Markley

    you are incredible and i LOVE you!!

  • Juanita Dueck

    Oh Robin, how exciting…..and scary! I feel for you. As your words poured off the page they were seeping into my spirit as I am now on the downward turn of a year like the one you are entering. My husband, for work, has been more than 5 hours away for most of the year. We’ve spent more times sleeping alone than together. My word for this year is Redeemed~ I felt like the Lord was speaking it into me for the past month. How will He Redeem our situation? I don’t know. I just know that He will!! I am praying/needing a miracle as our house has not yet sold and we are now past 6 months of separation where 2 kids are with me and 2 kids are with my husband(attending school)…loss, pain, disappointment, frustration, dissatisfaction…oh, I need to REDEEM all of these feelings and trade them in for Joy, Gladness, Patience, Gratefulness and Provision!! Praying for you too.

  • Janice Lee

    My word for the year: perspective.

    I often loose perspective on things. Or choose only to see things from my perspective. Yet, when I pause, silence myself, and breathe in the greater story unfolding in the lives and situations of those around me – the details that affect my details, both personally and professionally, my perspective shifts. I need to practice the art of perspective living more often!

  • Rayna

    My words for the year are hope and trust…

    As a college student drawing closer to the end of that time of life there are so many changes surrounding me…something I don’t always enjoy… I just have to keep picking out the blessings….keep hoping and all the while trusting that God knows and will do what’s best for me!!!

  • Bindu

    Such an amazing post…Can’t wait to read all that God does during this time for your family.

    My one word this year is Live. I am trying to more fully live my life more fully the way God meant it to be.

  • Hayley

    This is my first time to this site. I too am starting a new venture with my husband’s job in China and you expressed exactly what I am feeling as I prepare to go. For 2012, I want to live in God’s presence not in my circumstances, to know Jesus more intimately, to walk in the Spirit and glorify Him and to be filled by Him alone. Thanks for asking the question about a word for 2012. I now am praying for the Lord to reveal one to me. I am praying for you and your “adventure.”

  • Kat

    Wow! What a blessing indeed! My word for this year is Believe. Oh the reasons are countless, but to live in the basic “Believe, for with God all things are possible” every day of the year. Last year was Grace and I feel truly changed trying to purposefully live with Grace every day.

    Congrats on your new ADVENTURE and I will keep you and Hubs in my prayers :)

  • Kristina

    Thank you for writing this. You have put words to so many of the feelings I have been experiencing but didn’t know how to describe or felt too guilty to. “How dare I?”
    As I want to run “back to Egypt” & yet know God is directing me in an unknown land, He is faithful to carry us. Jeremiah 29:11 speaks and gives us promise. Your journey is an adventure pouring forth fruit yet unseen & not able to be imagined!! Praying.

  • Valerie

    Wow, awesome post!

    I have a hard time trying not to FIX my wilderness. Those seasons are from His hand to refine me and bring me closer to Him. All I want to do is troubleshoot and find solutions! Problems are not the enemy, the enemy is the enemy! Problems help us grow! One day I’ll learn these things, I’m typing, ha ha! :)

  • MCD/The Woodlands, TX

    Hello Robin,

    This piece is very thought provoking. Thanks for being so real and expressing the “human-ness” side of your faith with the Lord. He will meet you right where you are. Keep trusting in Him no matter what.

    Your husband’s job situation is almost similar to ours, except we moved from OC, CA to Houston, TX. My husband still has his job in CA, works from home, but his heart’s desire is to obtain the right position here in Houston, and the right opportunity has NOT opened up yet, and yes, we’ve “felt” all the negative emotions that come with waiting. Ultimately, God is in total control of our lives.

    My word of the year: Foundation
    Luke 6: 48-49
    48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

  • http://None Barbara

    My daughter almost fell off the stool this morning when I shared that I had named my year, “The Year of Abiding.” I guess I told her right as she was reading your post. God is so good! Anyway, we enjoyed three lovely years in Germany and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    May the Lord bless and keep you in this journey!

    All is grace,

  • // Betty thompson

    I have been to Germany. My Dad’s family derived from there, Being German and Irish, I wanted to visit the “land of my Father’s”. It was beautiful. The people were friendly, most spoke English and the food was great! I would like to go there again. It will be a good experience for you.

    My word for you is TRUST. Proverbs 3:5 and 6. God WILL direct your path if you acknowledge Him in all your ways.

    God bless you and have a wonderful new year.

  • Beth Williams

    What an exciting adventure God has placed in your lap. I’m happy for you & your family!

    Don’t know that I have just one word for 2012. I would choose “Faith” first. My job has changed drastically over last few months and I’m less busy at work now–worried that I might lose job. Hubby’s work very slow due to economy & worried about him also. I know God has plans for us–Jeremiah 29:11.

    Would follow that up with Hope, optimism, trust & endure. We trust that God knows what’s best for us & that He will provide–He always has. Hard to go through any trials, but trials produce patience & patience leads to endurance to win this race.

    May God bless each step of your journey this year! Congratulations on the new job & adventure!

  • Donna

    Dear Robin,
    May this new year bring you the best year of your life. With wonderful new places to see, adventures to have, new friends and memories to be made. God has opened a door to a new world full of changes that will make you look back and hopefully say it was hard but it was worth the struggle. Job well done good and faithful servant. My husband had cancer a few years ago and each month we had to travel to Cleveland where he would be checked by the doctor’s not knowing all the way there if he was sick again or well. But we made each trip an adventure and talked about what we would see after the appointment. Sometimes just a walk along the lake with a long talk to discuss the next step but we always found beauty in each trip and knew that God was there right with us carrying us through his plan. We always came back with something that we would smile about. After more than 50 – 60 trips to Cleveland in several years, we now look back and say how much we miss going. My prayer for you is to make it an adventure that God is sending you with him guiding you all the way.

  • neasha

    To God be all the Glory! Thank you for sharing your testimony, experience and journey. It has encouraged my heart tremendously and God has revealed His plans and thoughts for my own marriage during this season. May you continue to grow in Him and remain steadfast in the faith. May He continue to shine His light through you, your marriage and your life.
    Blessings, Peace & Grace be unto you from God the Father, the Son of God, and the Blessed Joly Spirit

  • Lisa

    I am so excited for you!! What an awesome oppurtunity! I know that God is with you and will continue to be right there with you through every step of this new year.
    But I really have to thank you for sharing this. Talk about perfect timing! But then again, God’s timing is always perfect. See, my husband got a new job just this past April and while it’s not overseas, it is 1 1/2 hours away from us. As a result of the shift changes and hours at work, he’s been living there during the week (and some weekends). Our time together has been sporadic and stressful. I had been really praying about this because in order for us to move our family there we have to sell our house first and take care of more than a few loose ends here. I have been hearing God tell me to wait, it’s not time yet to move. But it’s been hard and is getting harder, mainly because my husband is more than tired of living in a camper and being away from his family. But your post in my email box this morning was just what I needed. The reminder from God that He is still very much in control and His thoughts are nothing like mine and His plans are so much more than anything I’m imagining right now. So again, THANK YOU! so much for sharing this!!

  • Debbie Densmore

    “Believe ” is the word of the year for me. This is the first comment I’ve every posted to a website. I felt like I wanted to help with encouraging words…

    Everything happens for a reason, and you’ll learn so much about yourself by taking on a new adventure! Peace be with you. You’ll be fine just trust yourself and with God by your side, it’s all great.

  • Debbie Densmore

    Oh, I forgot to please say a prayer for my Son-in-law Andrew to land a job. He will find out about one today, so please say a prayer for him to get it. He went on his 3rd round of interviews on Wed. I have 4 granddaughters and I’m praying for him to land this job for the sake of the family as well as for him. Thank you kindly.

  • Liberty

    Of course I am praying. sure;y someone has already recommended BIKI very simple online language learning – you can download vocab lists, etc right to your smart phone. – plus they ALL love to practice their english… and as a german speaker i can tell you Deustch ist nicht so schwer zum lernen…
    I am and will continue to be praying for you all – so THRILLED you said yes – I always seek Him more and find Him everywhere in the deviation from what I had planned…

  • HopefulLeigh

    This is so exciting, Robin! An adventure indeed. When I made my big move to TN, I was excited but there were definitely freak out moments. I decided to count those freak outs as confirmation that God would use that decision in a big way- and He definitely did. With Adventure as your word for this year, I look forward to seeing how God moves and what all unfolds in your life.

  • Jennie@gotmyreservations

    Robin — what an amazing adventure for your family. My word for this year comes from Psalms 51:10. RENEW — “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” You will have an opportunity to renew your understandings of the world and your family’s place in it. Just think how your children’s eyes will be opened in another culture that they have not yet experienced. I am envious while understanding your trepidations. Just wear good leather shoes and you’ll be fine. :)

  • Christina

    Thank you for your honesty & for reminding me that His ways are not mine. I know that, & that my reality is still valid in it’s pain though in guilt I bludgeon myself for having the pain. I lived in Germany for 3 yrs. It was wonderful. The people are mostly kind & will reach out to you when you make the effort to speak their language & don’t assume as many do that they just need to speak English. They are more laid back & the history is fascinating look for the volksmarches on Sunday afternoons. Most towns have them. Depending on where you go finding a church May be a challenge Stephen Beck of Greater Europe Mission is there & is doing much in the field of growing churches& church planting. I will pray for you. I adored Germany, I know you will as well. Flying you’ll get used to. My struggle is I have beenarried over 30 yrs to a verbal abusive man who alternates between being so very hateful to incredibly kind. I am so very tired & just ache each episode to go home to Him. I know He is caring for me, but too often I’m so tired , discouraged , & depressed I just give up on almost everything. It’s almost like a blanket smothering me. Someday I’ll get to go home & then I will have joy. God speed to you on your journey & enjoy!!

  • Heather pelczar

    Just wanted to encourage you! You have a very realistic view of what it will be like to LIVE in Europe. It is not like being a tourist at all. beautiful, but your realism will make your transition easier. My husband and I just returned to the u.s. after three years in Italy. It was hard, but rich. There are wonderful missionary planted church families there. I attened one in Italy and he knows many missionaries around Europe through Portoerbrook ministries and Crowded house in the U.K. If you would like me to ask about churches in GE I can or I can put you in contact with someone. And Rothenburg is definitely worth a visit! Especially around Christmas. :) beautiful!

  • Keri

    My One Word for 2012 is TRUST! 2011 was a difficult year for me as my husband of 19 years decided he wanted a different life than the one we had built together. Finding myself facing 2012 as a single mom never entered my mind as possible. But it is now my reality. From finances to parenting alone to yard work I am overwhelmed. Yet God keeps whispering “trust Me! I’ll take care of you.” And He has. And will continue too. If I will continue to put my trust in Him alone.
    Praying for you, Robin on your new adventure. That The Faithful One would prove Himself trustworthy to you and your family!

  • McKt

    How these words of desert in the land of blessings resonate with me. Your honesty is so reassuring. I am so excited for you all as you jump into the adventure! I am excited to follow along with you and see what amazing things God had planned for you this year.