Leslie: 10 Things

Life has been confusing lately. It’s been full of ‘wait a minute’s’ and ‘did God really say that’s?’ and ‘what if’s.’ God has been gracious to us- so gracious. He’s called us to a couple years full of adventure and change. We knew this part of our life would be brief, and it seems that we might need to make the ‘what’s next’ decision in the near future.

All of these thoughts and fears have collided to produce huge clouds of nostalgia. There is a lot that I miss about our old home and a lot that I love about our current home.  Lately however i’ve been finding myself looking forward and forgetting the present. In mentally preparing for our last months here, the things i’ll miss about our time in The Netherlands have been brought to the forefront of my mind.
Making lists helps me process. Lists of thanksgiving help me see inconveniences or things I complain about as unique opportunities and blessings. If you’ve been struggling like I have with discontentment, if you tend to constantly be looking toward the future instead of at the present, or if you’re in a difficult time of life and there seems to be little to be thankful for, feel free to join me! Write down five things you’re thankful for and tape them in a place you can see them regularly to remind yourself each day of God’s faithfulness in your life!
Here are ten things i’m thankful for in our daily life here in Holland:
  1. My husband- my best friend and partner in life. a
  2. My son- his sweet spirit brings my heart joy every morning.i
  3. Our apartment- it’s smaller than anything I imagined living in, but its walls are thick and hold in warmth in the winter. It’s cozy and homey in its closeness, offering hospitality and warmth to those who enter.f
  4. Springtime- sometimes it seems as if winter will never end, but once spring blooms in Holland it’s as if the gates of heaven have been opened and sunshine and blue skies pour down in abundance. Flowers bloom, leaves return to trees, and colorful life returns to our grey neighborhood. gd
  5. Community- living within a ten minute walk of Tyndale Theological Seminary (where my husband is getting his Masters) allows us to be close to a beautiful community of believers. This is such a rare gift in The Netherlands. Europe is an incredibly spiritually dark continent, and living near a body of believers is such an incredible gift!h
  6. Walking- this is something I’ve grown to love in our years here. We walk everywhere- to the school, to the bus, to the park, around our neighborhood, and to the grocery store, to the doctors office. It’s allowed us to stay in shape and enjoy being outdoors more frequently than ever before!b
  7. Bikes- when we aren’t walking, we’re biking. I’ve always enjoyed biking but, where I’m from in The States, there wasn’t much opportunity for biking (until recently- they’re stepping up their commuting game!). In Amsterdam the main mode of transportation is biking. We’ve been majorly blessed to have been given bikes instead of having to buy them, and we use them to bike to the tram (about a mile away) and into downtown Amsterdam regularly.j
  8. Diversity- the school my husband attends is tiny, but the students there represent over 40 countries. The professors come from a variety of nations and denominations within Christianity. This kind of intense living and learning opportunity is almost unheard of. We can’t believe how privileged we are to be learning and growing in an environment that supports cultural diversity within the Christian faith!c
  9. Our Church- this is a big one for me. The church we left in The States was our home. It was our family. It broke our hearts to leave such a fulfilling place. God has really used our church family here in the Netherlands, though, to teach us about how big and loving and gracious He is. He’s reminded me that even though we left something familiar and comfortable, He didn’t leave us. He showed me what His love looks like through a tiny body of believers that welcomed us with open arms and homes and tables. We’ve been so privileged to get to know the people of Waterland and truly appreciate the warmth and love we’ve received there.e
  10. This Journey- it’s been a crazy, crazy ride. When we moved here in 2014 we had no idea what life would look like. We jumped into the water holding hands, unsure of what the depths would hold. It’s been more wonderful, more painful, more stretching, more intense, and more satisfying than we could have ever imagined. We’re different people than when we began. I’m so thankful that God called us to this place. I’m thankful for all the things He’s used to grow us and show us who He is. I’m thankful for the past and the present, and i’m looking forward with faith and hope to the future.k

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