We received some news recently that rocked our family. We were scared, worried, angry, and confused. But then my very wise husband, Corey, told me a few things we needed to remember. I asked him to share with you all what God taught him and what he shared with me.
What do we feel? What do we know? These are two questions that our family was forced to wrestle with over the last several weeks. Before we moved to Amsterdam, we were informed that non-Dutch workers could obtain paperwork from the government that would reduce our tax rate (Dutch taxes are 42%!). This ruling was explained to be a mere formality, and it would be granted without any issue. However, a few weeks ago, we were informed that the Dutch government intended to reject our application for the tax ruling. The result for our family would have meant an increase of several hundred dollars to our monthly budget. This is simply money that we did not have. In the moment I received that letter we were confused, worried and angry all at once. Over the next few days, God taught us an invaluable lesson. Although our emotions were raging in every direction, what we felt could not be the driving force in our lives. We had to live by what we know. We know that God drew our hearts to Amsterdam. We know that he provided the funds for us to move in May. We know that He is already opening up relationships with the Dutch people. We know that He is good, and that He is faithful. The next few weeks, we were stretched to live in this realm of knowing versus feeling. Finally we received the email with the final result of our tax ruling. IT HAD BEEN REVERSED! I’m not one to normally use all capital letters in my writing, but I feel this news warranted an exception. For reasons unknown to us or our lawyers, the government changed its mind! Our emotions while reading that email soared to new heights of joy and relief. Interestingly enough, what we knew did not change. God has brought us here, provided, and opened doors. He is good, and He is faithful. Though our emotions may change tomorrow, we can live by what we know of the God that we love and who loved us first.
Before you act on what you feel, what do you know?
With Corey’s work at CityHouse almost every day I have to have a way to get around the city with both girls by myself. Right now a car really isn’t an option because it is so expensive and I am terrified to drive in this city. (Waayy too many bikers to look out for!) Also, my balance isn’t very great yet, so it would be kinda scary (for me AND the girls) to have a seat on the front and back of my regular bike. (Right now, I have one on the front of mine for Eloise and Corey has one on the back of his for Lyla.)
So, that leaves the bakfiets. (We have one with two wheels in the front and one on the back instead of one wheel in front and one in back. They are easier to ride for a beginner and a lot cheaper, but a bit heavier and bulkier.) While this is entirely necessary, I have been complaining about having to ride it A LOT. It’s hard to steer, and super slow. On the way home from visiting Corey at CityHouse for lunch yesterday, I was having a pretty bad attitude. (It had NOTHING to do with the fact that Lyla peed her pants. Again. At the grocery store.) I was pretty grumpy and taking it out on the poor bakfiets. Then, the Holy Spirit convicted me.
He brought to mind Philippians 2:14-15:
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
How are people going to see Christ in me if I’m always complaining about things as silly as a bakfiets? I am set apart. A light in the darkness. They need to see that. And if through not complaining about my transportation people can see Jesus, I am going to have to stop complaining about my transportation.
He also reminded me of 1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Instead of complaining I need to be thankful for the circumstances God has me in. So, I am going to list a few reasons why I am thankful for the bakfiets.
- I have a bakfiets to get the girls and I around.
- I live in AMSTERDAM where a bakfiets is necessary.
- We have churches and friends who gave so that we could buy the bakfiets and continue to give so that we can live in Amsterdam.
- The reason I need the bakfiets is that I have two precious red headed girls to take places.
- I get a lot of exercise!
From now on I am going (try really hard) to remember this list of reasons I’m thankful when I am tempted to complain about the bakfiets. My life will be more pleasant and more importantly God will be more glorified.