I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. I was on a research trip with two of my author friends. They were researching for their novels, and I was along for the ride. It was the first time I’d been to Europe, and the beauty and culture overwhelmed me. We visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, went to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and sampled delicious meals in Belgium and Germany. Our next stop was Prague in the Czech Republic.
We arrived at our hotel near midnight. The hotel was painted pink and in the center of Prague. I didn’t know much about the city except that it was old. Unlike Paris and London, Prague had never been bombed during World War II, and the architecture in the Old Town was the same as it had been for 500 years—even longer.
We stepped out of our car and onto cobblestone and made our way to the front desk in the tiny lobby. The plaster walls spoke of age and history. The windows in our room opened up to narrow passageways that looked like something from a Charles Dickens novel.
“Let’s go to the bridge,” my friend Anne whispered after we set down our suitcases. We left the hotel and walked a short distance. There it was. A cobblestone bridge lined with statues of Catholic saints. The opera must have just gotten out because couples strolled along in gowns and tuxedos. The softest rain began to fall, and that’s when I turned around to see the castle on the hill.
Prague glowed in twinkle lights reminiscent of Disneyworld. But this castle was grander, more beautiful, and . . . real. I’d later learn that the castle was once the centerpiece of the Austrian-Hungry empire, but at that moment I didn’t need to understand history to know how magical this place was.
Emotion swelled within me as I stood on that bridge in the rain, and I felt God’s love as I never did before.
God loved me. He’d given me this gift.
God loved me. I’d traveled halfway around the world and this moment was a special treasure from Him.
God loved me. I felt it deep down in my soul.
I’ve been back to that bridge four other times. Sometimes in the middle of a crazy, busy, kid-filled day, I pause and remember it’s there. The Charles Bridge, with its street vendors, tourists, cobblestone, and saints, spans the Vltava River, and that gives me peace. Peace knowing I’ve been there. Peace hoping I’ll return again.
My love of that bridge and The Czech Republic is something I’ve passed on—an inheritance of sorts. John and I took our family to The Czech Republic on mission trips, and now my daughter lives there full-time as a missionary.Looking back I thought that moment was for me, but now I understand that it was for her, too. And it was for all those who she shares the good news of Jesus with.
I can’t think of a more beautiful love story than that.
Find more encouragement by Tricia in The Flicker Of An Old Flame
Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A USA Today bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com.
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