I’ve heard it said that you find your truest passion when looking back at childhood dreams. In doing so, it appears I’ve been passionate about a lot of crazy things. As a child, I wanted to be everything from a secretary to a veterinarian. I think it was because at 7 years old, computers seemed so cool and I was in love with animals. I don’t know how much weight that theory holds, or else America would have thousands of firemen, astronauts and ballerinas hard-pressed to find work. Passion comes in many different forms. Sometimes passion leads to a career, but by my definition, your truest passion is something known as calling. One of the wisest men I know, Shane Duffey, says that this calling, in turn, is defined by two things: a burden and an opportunity.
I wasn’t raised in your typical 2-parent, 2.5 kids and a dog family. The life I knew was as an only child split between two families, spending Summers on the west coast and the school years in the wintery north. My west coast family is 100% Dutch and I often found myself gravitating to understanding and being part of a culture that wasn’t stereotypically American. I don’t mean to exclude other parts of my family that make up the other half of my genes, but there was a part of me that always wished I could be fully Dutch. I would absorb everything I could about language and culture around the world from my European grandparents. From watching Rick Steve’s Europe and dreaming about backpacking the continent, to sitting on the floor pouring over world maps as Opa would tell me stories of his travels, my heart always longed to know more about life outside the US. And it wasn’t just to learn about it; I wanted to experience it all.
I can’t tell you the number of hours I spent researching ways I could move to Holland. I took three years of German in high school because it was the closest language to Dutch. Finally, after finishing college, part of my dream came true and I was able to visit my Vaderland. If you don’t know much about it other than Gouda cheese, tulips, legalized everything and wooden shoes, The Netherlands is a tiny, tiny country at the top of the European continent. It rains all the time and everyone rides bicycles. Most importantly, the country is incredibly irreligious. Faith seems to be the last thing on her priority list.
My visit to Holland in 2008 is a blur, but I remember highlights of meeting family and taking in the beautiful countryside. I prayed a lot while I was there, and one early gray morning, clear as day, I heard the Lord tell me I would one day be back in the country doing ministry. Now it seems six years and several moves later, that opportunity is now in front of me.
I’ve written my last few blogs about detours and waiting to get to my destination. If I go back to what’s been in my heart since I was a young girl, I knew all I wanted was to connect with my heritage. As I’ve grown up, a love for music and a passion for ministry have taken me on some incredible adventures. Suddenly, everything is coming together. Had it not been for other dreams and big faith moves, I don’t think I would have arrived in this place, so I have no question every crazy move has been part of the bigger plan.
I need to be clear that I have made so many mistakes on this journey. Every step I’ve taken hasn’t always been following God. I would often allow discouragement to speak to me, and failure has sometimes enticed me to do things absolutely outside of God’s best for my life. I’ve taken incredible leaps forward, and devastating spills backward. In this moment, I cannot believe the grace God has extended to me despite my selfishness. It truly shows that, as Fuse Pastor Brad Cooper once said, “You’re not big enough to mess up God’s will.”
Because of my involvement with NewSpring Church, I got connected with an amazing group of people in a little town called Hereford, England. Their vision is one that my heart immediately latched on to and it extends far beyond the borders of their small town. They are called Freedom Church and their movement is inspiring. Freedom has a vision to launch locations all over the world; one of them being my beloved Holland. However, I know being part of Freedom is more than ministry in that country.
I’ve known for over a year that God was calling me to Freedom, but timing has always been an issue. When I lost my job this spring, in my heart I knew it was because God was preparing me for the next thing. As I wrote previously, I decided to take a detour to Nashville, and it so happened that it was only to figure out that Freedom was truly my next step. I assumed it would take me another year to save up and prepare to go and serve the vision of Freedom, but I have been challenged to take a GIANT step of faith and move to England next month. When this challenge was proposed to me, I knew it was impossible, but I also knew it was the Lord.
If it isn’t God, I’d be crazy to think all this could come together in a matter of weeks. If you’re reading this, I ask you to stop for a moment and pray a BIG prayer with me. I seem to be at the perfect place in life to take another step towards this calling, but financing it will take and absolute miracle. Each step I take is simply an answer of yes to what it is God is asking of me. I said yes to an interview, and now I’m saying yes to purchasing a plane ticket and taking on a life of student and volunteer this year. A key phrase I’m praying is that I would believe God is my absolute and entire provision. You see, if this were happening a year from now, I would have tried to make it work on my own. I would have taken on as many jobs as possible to save up enough money, pay off my debt, and then think about asking for help. Instead, God is leaving me no other option but to ask for what only He can provide.
Some of you reading this may not be in support of me moving across the world to volunteer for a “religious” organization. There’s no security, no future, no direction, you might think. However, there is no purpose in my life I’ve felt more called to or more passionate about. This isn’t some new thing I’ve randomly decided to do. This is something God placed in my heart, I believe, from a very young age. This burden has found its opportunity. Regardless of what I’ve sought after in the past, I now fully know this is what I have to give my life to.
I believe that Jesus is the hope of the world. It isn’t religious rituals or a buildings that save people or offer them that hope. However, I do believe that the Church can be what she was originally created for: a place to love the brokenhearted and clean up their wounds. This is who I believe Freedom is and why I want to be part of its mission.
If any of this is resonating in your heart and you are willing to support God’s calling on my life, please contact me. I would love to know how I can pray for you and encourage you in whatever He is awakening your heart to do as well. Don’t be afraid when He asks you to do crazy things. He just wants you to know how big a God He truly is. He comes through. Always.
For online donations, please check out my Fundly site Next Stop: Freedom