Stepping Out

I haven’t always known how to react when Christians say definitively that “God told me to do ______” or “God led me to do _____”…you can fill in the blank with many different things. Move to Africa. Choose this vocation. Marry this person. Attend this church. Reject this theology. I admire their conviction but wonder how they can be SO certain. Because God speaks to me in whispers at a deep heart level. In songs or words that inspire me. It is a place where I can only hear if I am still and honestly even then He is not extremely clear. There is a lot left up for interpretation and my understanding can be skewed by my broken humanity. He has never picked up the phone and told me, directly, to do anything…EVER.

Since the spring of 2013 I have been feeling like I should go back to Seattle.

Was it God leading me? Was it me not wanting to be alone and missing my family? Who knows, but it was this gnawing thought in my heart and mind. The idea of going back was tempting but there were some mountains keeping me in place here in the Netherlands.

  1. I have a great community in Groningen. Friends that have become family…and deep relationships I have forged in my time here. Thinking about good byes (or even see you later’s) was heart breaking.
  2. I hate moving…with a white hot burning passion. I hate moving across the city…but across continents is on a completely different level. This is more than just packing a few suitcases and going. When we moved here Philips relocated our things and since then I have collected more. What do I do with it all? Ugh. Even asking the question sent shivers up my spine. Plus it is EXPENSIVE. Do I have the resources? Can I do this alone?
  3. Health care. Can I just move back to Seattle as a cancer survivor without a job and get on an exchange plan? I know they can’t deny me but what about coverage? What specialists do I need? All my medical documents are in Dutch and they need to be translated. I am on a couple maintenance prescriptions…how to I reestablish them? I don’t even know the cancer care system in the US…I only know the Dutch one…where do I even start? To say this is daunting is an understatement.
  4. I did not want to face some heavy emotions. I am looking forward to being with family/friends again but there are some extremely difficult things waiting for me in Seattle. It was much easier to avoid and not think about them in the Netherlands.

So…in the Spring of 2013…looking at this long list of things and recognizing that the inertia of my life was more towards staying…I crossed my arms and told God (seriously, who am I?) that if He wanted me in Seattle…HE needed to move me back.

Sometimes I wonder how He reacts to these demands of mine. With rolling eyes or exasperation. Wondering when I will ever learn…

Honestly, I don’t think so. I think it was more of a gentle “OK, if you’re willing…I will show you. Have faith that I know what you need. Trust me”…but again an e-mail confirmation would have been nice. 🙂

I was hoping for an easy, safe internal transfer with Philips back to Seattle. Something Faith MLK Jrwhere I could see a defined, secure path. I should know by now that God’s path is often not defined and you can only see the security in hind sight. It requires faith which can be incredibly uncomfortable.

I took a leap of faith this spring…a year after I made that demand of God. In April I wasn’t certain whether my cancer had returned and the overwhelming anxiety of those few weeks confirmed that my place was around my family… it was the push I needed to finally take a step…to face the mountains… and make the difficult decision to move. So, on May 23, 2014 I booked my one way ticket back to Seattle. I was afraid. I was insecure. I was uncertain. But I was also HOPEFUL. Because when I step out in faith…I am giving God the opportunity to show up in my life and that is exciting…or should be exciting.

But what if He doesn’t? These doubts are real in our broken world.

He provided for my tattoo but this is so much bigger. The fears start to erode the trust I have in God’s provision…and the mental attacks on whether this was the right decision grow stronger. Lies about how I am not good enough batter my heart. Trauma from past hurts haunt my thoughts. Is this really what God is asking me to do or am I pushing too hard? At this point I would settle for ANY concrete confirmation that this is the correct path.

For 2 months I prayed for protection and trust. I held on to the promise that God knows what I need better than I do and is absolutely FAITHFUL. I closed my eyes and accepted that I have no clue how this will all work out. But I do trust that something will work out.

Blessings,

Lynnea

Choosing the adventure

It was not easy for me to make the decision to move back to Seattle.

I like my life in the Netherlands. I have great friends and colleagues. I like my work and developing coffee appliances. I feel fully supported by the health system and have gotten used to not worrying about costs or coverage. I enjoy the freedom of visiting interesting cities for a weekend. I have grown quite fond of the relaxed lifestyle and spending hours sitting at a café drinking coffee/beer. I love my apartment and am settled in Groningen.

There are definitely some difficult things but my life here is very comfortable and honestly…really good. I could have chosen to stay.

But there was something deeper in my spirit moving. It was as if God was presenting a choice between staying in the Netherlands and returning to the US. I know that I had complete freedom to choose either one.

I could stay with what I know and what is comfortable. I could continue to travel and explore. I could continue walking along the secure path in front of me.

OR…I could risk.

In that same deep place in my spirit I have a feeling that there is somethingGod Adventure bigger and more beautiful waiting in Seattle. Not necessarily from a travel/life perspective but from a hopeful, heart transformation, redemption perspective. Something more meaningful. The potential for pain is high but also the potential for beauty. It will require a tremendous amount of courage to face all the unknowns and there is no guarantee it will be worth it. But that’s risk right?

And it is my choice.

I have NO IDEA what my life will look like in Seattle. There are many things I am looking forward to and many things I am not. But I bought my ticket and I’m choosing the adventure a midst all the uncertainties. I feel God inspiring me to a life bigger than the comfortable one I have in Groningen. So, this decision is a step of faith.

Only time will tell how it all plays out but you guys are along for the ride. 🙂 God prepared me through my journey with the tattoo. I risked a lot by fixing a day, facing my fear and trusting God to fill in the practicalities. I am so glad I did because it worked out better than I imagined. Now God is building on that faith experience. I am risking much more with this move but I trust that God’s faithfulness will continue.

In the end…life is too short to stay comfortable… I’d rather choose the risk and adventure.

Blessings,

Lynnea

End of a Season

One thing I have learned to embrace these last few years is…transition. And I am now in

Sea-clogs coming to Seattle

Sea-clogs coming to Seattle

the midst of another major one. After 4.5 years of Dutch living this Seattle girl will be packing up and moving home in September. There are so many things I love and will miss about the Netherlands/Europe but it is time to be closer to family. Expat living can be difficult even under the best of circumstances and I’ve had a few extra challenges. But I would do it all over again. I appreciate the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the lessons I’ve learned and the way I have grown as a person…I am returning to Seattle a very different Lynnea. And I know Seattle has changed too. We will need a period of re-acquainting.

This summer will be a bit of a limbo land as I close things here and anticipate what’s next. (Which I truly have no clue) It is overwhelming. How do you say good bye to a place that has become home and people who have become family? I don’t know…but I have 2.5 months to answer that question. I imagine it will be a mixture of laughter, tears, gratitude for how my life has been profoundly changed and…lots of Belgian beer. 🙂

And once I am settled hopefully this video by FStopSeattle inspires you to come visit…it truly is an incredible city.

 

Blessings,

Lynnea