My phone pings. A text from my husband. He is back in Austin, Texas for work. He writes how good it is to be back. Austin, the place we used to call home and where I collected so many precious memories. The one city on earth I want to be most and the place I long for so deeply; I miss so badly, so often.
These past few months I have been struggling. I’ve wanted to trust God. But I can’t. He has given us so much. He clearly prepared a community for us. He answered prayers, even ones I didn’t even know we had. He prepared a place. But often I can’t see it. And oh, many times I don’t want to see it. I scream and kick and fight.
In the midst of those days I tried. I tried so hard. I wanted to be thankful. So, I spoke prayers of thankfulness in front of the kids, especially about the things that were the hardest for me to accept. I even called the kids inside one afternoon and we started baking a cake and writing a thank you note to their teachers.
But my heart didn’t embrace that thankfulness, not truly. While I kneaded the dough, I felt the pain inside of me, the pain of missing the community we had. The pain of missing the hard, but beautiful moments of home schooling, home, friendships and the sun.
While I heard myself give thanks to God for all the blessings we had in our new place – the house, the dedicated and loving teachers, the neighbors, the most beautiful spring flowers I’ve seen in six years, the bike rides – deep inside I was screaming.
I felt like I had failed. I didn’t trust.
Today, three of the kids were in school. I brought the youngest to the neighbor across the street. I made myself some coffee, packed some snacks, my phone, some reading material and notebook, and headed to the haylands.
To learn about trust. And about giving myself permission to crazy scream and kick.
There on my picnic blanket, in the middle of the beauty of the Netherlands, I felt peace come over me. It was like something was taking root in my heart. It was trust.
But it wasn’t just trust I was feeling. There was the stinging feeling of failing again.
Of course, I trusted now. After all, I was sitting in the warmth of the sun, beautiful scenery, warm coffee within reach and time alone. No responsibility for another human being for an hour or so.
I picked up a sermon I had heard years ago. A long time ago, in a faraway country I had started to read it through. So, I just picked up where I had left off.
Faith, trust, belief, hope are all action words is what I read. I knew it. I had felt it so often these past few months. The lack of it that is. I knew there hadn’t been much action in that area for me lately.
You have to do something or it is just hypothetical and theoretical and it is not even real – it doesn’t count for you.
Well, clearly it didn’t count for me. I failed. Big time.
It went on about how trust is not just knowing. Like if you are standing on the third floor of a burning building with firefighters below you with a trampoline. “Jump!” they yell, and all you have to do to be saved is jump. Just standing there and acknowledging that the firefighters will catch you is not enough. Trust is not intellectual understanding, not scientific information, not well-calculated information. It is knowing something to be true and having the faith to follow through and do something about it. Like in the case of standing in the burning building; trust is jumping.
While I read and ponder and sit there with my coffee, a little something inside me starts to change. I wonder, Did I jump? After all, we did pack all of our stuff. We boarded the plane to Amsterdam that January morning. We bought a house. We found a school for the kids. We are building our lives here.
I might have not always been confident, but did I trust?
You are not trusting until you are airborne.
You can be airborne and crazy screaming, but at least you are airborne.
Oh yes, I feel crazy most days. And screaming and kicking? Well, I’ve done plenty of that. But yes, I am airborne!
Sitting on the flat, stretched out Dutch haylands, I realize I have been airborne all these months. I have been trusting after all.
Oh yes, I have been fighting it, questioning sometimes, still screaming and kicking and feeling completely crazy on a daily basis. But yes, I am trusting!
So I make a home. Buy a couch. Paint a wall. Score a playscape on Craigslist.
I trust. Although it might be crazy, screaming and kicking even.
I am airborne.
Jacodien Vreugdenhil is a Dutch girl who learned to embrace being an American mom and is learning a lot from her kids (5,3,1) on subjects such as friends, friendship, enjoying the moment and climbing trees.