A God that provides

I will confess upfront that I don’t know how to begin or write this blog post. So many things changed so quickly that every time I thought about writing I stopped…overwhelmed at the thought of attempting to summarize even a portion of what I was experiencing. The longer I waited…the longer the list got…the more daunting it felt…and then it was easier to just avoid. I’m breaking the cycle now and going for it.

I have spent these last few months in awe of the way God has shown up in this transition 27cebb510da807eaa58fdd5462145c4bprocess and how it has been confirmed over and over that Seattle is the place for me right now. Things I needed were abundantly provided for and (at times) it has actually been difficult to believe and recieve. I found myself holding my breath afraid that the slightest disruption would cause everything to unravel.

I don’t know if you remember this post from the summer about stepping into the unknown (It’s been a long time, I understand 🙂 ) but I’ll recap. I had been drawn back to Seattle since the spring of 2013 but due to some large obstacles, uncertainties and things I didn’t want to let go of I stayed in the Netherlands. I told God that “If He wanted me back in Seattle…HE needed to move me back”.  And boy did He ever…but it took me stepping out in faith and making a bold decision to move before I knew where all the pieces were going to land.

So, I booked my ticket and took a deep breath…apprehensively ready to face the checklist involved with in an intercontinental move. The big ones:

  1. Moving: Packing, Selling, organizing and shipping my stuff – UGH
  2. Job hunting from abroad: Updating my resume, searching for positions and with any luck interviews – DOUBLE UGH

I will be honest and say that I had resigned myself to the fact that I might find some job prospects from Europe and maybe even have some phone interviews…but practically speaking it would be difficult to actually land a job before I was physically present in Seattle. I did trust that God would provide the right place in the right timing, I guess I just assumed some practical boundaries on that timing. Silly me.

In preparation for the impending job search I dusted off my LinkedIn profile and began reaching out to old connections. I searched Craigslist and other job sites. I was internally connected to a few positions at Philips in Seattle but roles that didn’t seem like the perfect fit. LinkedIn, in its helpfulness, would send me opportunities I might be interested in…in China…and California…and a few in Seattle but again nothing very inspiring. One day there was a banner ad for an engineering position at Starbucks. Really? Why does Starbucks need engineers? It was something that seemed more like a click generator rather than an actual position.

My curiosity was piqued and through a little internet hunting I was able to find the original job position on the actual Starbucks website. Hmmm…this could be a legit job posting. I guess Starbucks needs engineers? Strange.

So, I tuned my resume and submitted all my info into their web based hiring portal – also known as the black hole of time and energy since the response rate from these things is abysmal.

To my surprise they contacted me. I guess someone does read these submissions. 🙂 After MANY Skype interviews over a few weeks…they made an offer for a role as a Senior Equipment Development…and I accepted…5 weeks before I was scheduled to leave the Netherlands.

It all moved so quickly but I felt complete peace about the role. I just didn’t really believe it was real.

This position is a fantastic fit for me…technical and relational. Starbucks is a very dynamic environment and, from my experience so far, they really do care for their employees. And it turns out, they need engineers…DESPERATELY. Next time you stand at the counter look beyond the barista and your foamy beverage…they touch a tremendous amount of technical equipment. And now one of the people developing that equipment is ME.

Coming home with a job was already a HUGE provision but this is where God blew me away. Do you remember me telling God that if He wanted me back in Seattle He needed to move me back? In making that statement I felt stubborn and selfish but I was also exhausted. Life had just knocked me out with a 1, 2, 3 combination and I didn’t have the energy (or desire) to make that step on my own. If this was a direction He wanted me to move I needed the door opened…I needed something.

Well…my new position at Starbucks included a relocation package that took care of EVERYTHING. Packing in the Netherlands, moving, unpacking in Seattle, flying, translating my medical documents. EVERYTHING. I was honest with them. They knew I was coming home either way but they wanted to do whatever they could to make my experience working here as positive as possible. Crazy.

God not only opened the door, He kicked it in off its hinges.

OK…I guess Seattle is where I need to be.

I never would have found this position if I hadn’t already made the decision to move back to Seattle.

I RISKED into uncertainty first and took a step. The initial 2 months after I bought my ticket were extremely difficult. But I trusted and it felt as if God was encouraging my faith and trust by completely blowing me away in this move.

I am going to end this by saying that God ALWAYS provides. Not always in the way or the time we want  but ALWAYS in the way and in the moment we need. In this phase of my story the provision was exactly what I wanted and needed. It doesn’t always happen like this. I have other parts of my story that were definitely NOT what I wanted but I recognize in hindsight were what I needed. Or years of praying the same prayer that never seems to be answered…where God seems silent.

But I wanted to share an update and testimony on my journey back to Seattle. I know that my faith is encouraged by hearing how God works in people’s lives and my prayer is that this does the same.

Blessings,

Lynnea

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

Just when you need it

If the couple we saw last week was us 1 month ago…I can only pray that the couple I saw today will be us sometime this year.  I followed a man and woman out of the hospital today who were walking arm in arm and the woman had obvious post chemo hair.  I assumed she must have recently finished a treatment for something and her hair was just starting to come back.  All of a sudden she lets go of him, crouches down, does a giant leap with her arms to the sky and yells “Waaaahhhhoooo!!” Whatever it was, they obviously just got good news.  I needed to see that today.  I needed to see someone who has walked the road and was walking out the other side a survivor…of whatever she was fighting.

Today was a hard day and I am choosing to share my thoughts and experiences because I have been encouraged and inspired by other brave women who have opened themselves up to the internet during their process.

1. One of the major side effects I am experiencing after the mastectomy is a lot of swelling. The nurses are able to remove the fluid but it is kind of like a large water balloon that keeps getting inflated and deflated. I must add that it is a very odd and often uncomfortable feeling. I was planning on getting it “deflated” today but at 3 am I woke up soaking wet. My brain was still in the “I just woke up fog” and I couldn’t quite get my mind around what was happening. Oh crap. I sprung a leak!! Sure enough a small hole had opened up in my incision and was causing fluid to go…EVERYWHERE…soaking the sheets, blankets and pillows. Jonathan went to grab some towels while I try in vain to contain it. What a mess! Fortunately, the fluid is easy to clean because it is relatively clear and odorless…it just added a giant pile of laundry to an already emotional day. Side note: after I wrote all this out I am totally laughing because it was pretty comical. But I must admit it is much easier to laugh when the clean sheets/blankets are already on the bed. 🙂

2. I had 3 more diagnostic tests today – just to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread to my bones, liver and lungs.  So far my experience with diagnostic testing is 0 for 1. I came in a month ago “just to make sure” nothing was really wrong…and there was no good reason why it would be wrong…and then my world turned upside down.  So it was extremely hard to keep my mind from entertaining the “What if?” questions. What if they are positive? What if the cancer is global? The liver ultrasound felt an awful lot like the ultrasound that was used to check my breast. The technician would stop every few minutes to take a photo and make some measurements. What if she sees something? I wanted to ask every technician to give me their quick opinion to put my mind at ease. Last Thursday after we got our pathology results it was easier to visualize the next 6 months and draw a box around the specific type of cancer I am fighting. It gave me targeted information. What if that wasn’t complete? The box could now be bigger. Honestly, they probably will be negative but the questions will be there until I know for sure on Thursday.

I needed to see that woman jumping and yelling to turn my useless worry back into hope.

Thank you Jesus for showing me a woman celebrating a victory to help me let go of my questions…you knew I needed a positive end to this day…I trust you will continue to provide in big and small ways during this journey.

Lynnea