Four years ago today I had a major surgery. Before I drifted off into the anaesthesia induced sleep I did not know how many days or even months I had left. It was only the next day that the surgeon told me he had managed to get everything out and the cancer had not spread. I learnt that I had got a very precious gift – a new lease on life . The news took some time to sink in properly since I couldn’t quite believe it – I had prepared myself as well as I could before the surgery to face the consequences of chemotherapy, radiation that might prolong my life a bit more than six months. To hear that I didn’t need either, to live longer than the said six months was more than unbelievable. As the news that I had been given this incredible gift of life started to sink in, I knew that I had to use it even more responsibly than I had before. So I finally started doing the things that God had laid on my heart since some time which included a special birthday trip and an anniversary celebration three years ago. And I finally started setting healthy boundaries for my life.
Today, four years later, I am living and working in the Netherlands. I had never thought that we would ever live in the Netherlands, let alone work here. Leaving my job at Amazon, taking on a new role with Lippert and moving here was a big step of faith and obedience to what God was asking me to do. We moved here in March last year and it feels like we have lived here for a much longer time.
There is one word that best describes what I feel when I look back at the past four years – grateful. My heart is filled with gratitude at God’s faithfulness and His Goodness. Moving to a foreign country; taking on a new and challenging role; navigating work and travel while in and out of lockdowns; not speaking the local language and not having time or energy to learn it; not being able to meet friends very often due to travel restrictions and work….the road has been and continues to be more than challenging at times.
And yet it is a road that I am very grateful to be on.
I am grateful that although most of my working days are very long; I get to work with leaders who inspire me and for a company that puts its vision of being a force for good into practice. I am grateful that even if I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the work I see that needs to be done; I am in a role where I can make a difference and I am living a purposeful life. I am grateful that although I don’t speak the local language; most people speak English very well and Google translate is a great help! I am grateful that even though we are in and out of lockdowns; we live in an area that is a nature reserve with beautiful walking paths and very nice neighbours. I am grateful that after being a “remote” member of my home church in Stockholm for over eight years and attending church in person every 6-8 weeks; we are now members of an international church that is led by a pastor who radiates with life, is passionate about his faith, has a lovely inspiring wife and the church is not only 15 minutes away but even has many mixed couples like us. I continue to be grateful that although Covid travel restrictions don’t allow us to meet dear friends as often as we would love to; we can still keep in touch over social media, WhatsApp, Email,Messages and we could not only travel to Stockholm in summer with Jaden to meet some of them but we could also spend time during the year end with friends. I am grateful that even though I don’t have the time to walk, run or exercise as much as I would love to; I can and am physically able to be out with Jaden to catch some sunrises and sunsets or to enjoy dawns and twilights. I am grateful that although
the process of ending toxic relationships and putting up healthy boundaries was a very painful one; it made room for new and healthy
I am grateful that although I am not where I want to be; I am where God wants me to be at this moment. I am grateful that although my emotional wounds were huge and gaping; the scars remind me of God’s healing love and power. I am grateful that because I am broken and imperfect; God’s love can shine through and be seen.
And I am grateful that even though the prognosis was that I wouldn’t make it to the summer of 2018; I have been given the precious gift of four more years and I am as healthy as I can be today.
“And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
‘Cause Your goodness is running after
It’s running after me”