Yesterday morning, while taking a long and warm shower, somehow these words stuck to me, refusing to be flushed away by the streaming water. The words kept speaking to me and I took the decision to explain the words that I always use to sign my mails:
Dutch by Birth, Sweden by Choice, Kingdom by Grace
Yes, 65 years ago in 1951, The Netherlands was my birthing-ground, the place where my parents received me in total love and in a growing family. Three brothers preceded me and one brother and a sister would follow. It was a family in a very insignificant house, a very insignificant street and a little sailors-village on a riverside. Dutch Reformed, praying mother an a father that was away, always traveling the seas as a diver. I have a vague memory of my youth and I always questioned myself being part of the family. When you are surrounded by a lot of muscles and strength, being a tiny, an even skinny wide-eared young man, I had all the reasons to doubt my original part of the family! But I was and somehow I always felt myself being in God’s spotlight, set apart, different… At least that is part of the sense that stayed over time.
Oh yes, I was Dutch, very Dutch, very present, very loud although I loved to redraw myself and think, reflect and even question myself. I was my own biggest dispute!
It took me quite a while to press myself through the struggle of identity and without going through the details, my identity was also the reason for bumping into others, being outspoken, being called a rebel every now and then.
The day God presented me the most defining verse for my life, I did not realise how it reflected the cry of my life: Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
With the many questions I stalked my teachers with and drove them to despair, it was always the part of me that felt: No, this answer is too obvious! I felt this search for the ‘far beyond’, the ‘for all unknown’, the incomprehensible!
I will not go further, but the day I found my identity, the day I recognised the preachers word and concluded: I am not crazy after all, after 48 years in the year 1999 (as God promised us that ninety-nine would be divine) I found my part in God’s Kingdom! And although I was born in 1951, born-again in 1968, I really came alive in 1999!
Although Sweden stands for the Choice, are we in Sweden as the result of a choice? Well I have to be honest, it was not really my choice, or my wife’s as I even resisted the option of moving in the beginning of 2008. I am even glad that I did not pick the nation, checked the pro’s and con’s and made it the nation of my future for whatever reason since over the years my choice would have been challenged in many ways. No, I can honestly say that the choice was not mine as the only choice that I (we) needed to make was to be obedient to the choice God made for us. A prepared place, long before I was born and even beyond my own generational line but through the legacy of my wife’s side!
Yes, it was His choice presented to us as a question: Can I send you? And that is where the fine line is crossed, the line of being send or just going! It has been His soft but securely prepared work, the way He added me to a process, all birthed from the cry of a nation and the way God formed us as a family-unit to be, just to be and not to do!
I already noted that 1999 would be a divine year as we started a journey with God. A long, intense, sometimes (for others) scary journey since it was the start of a “walking on water” experience! And yes, even with the sinking part and the laughing part too of those in the boat! But the absolute certainty of His promise made us bold and strong enough to move wherever He was leading us. The big problem of God leading you without any visible cloud is that it can easily be the subject of questions for others who see you wandering!
And this is where the Grace comes in, the Trusting Him, the “knowing” with trembling feet that at the end (although life is a ongoing journey) He proofs Himself faithful, full of Love and… full of giving the incomprehensible answers!
Grace when you can honestly say that the journey wasn’t really about building a bankaccount, securing a life of stability, but about leaving the limeting environment and entering the full and prepared purpose and Destiny He has established for us. When nothing around you is the result of human effort, self control and ability, but only the result of His Grace, that’s where you land, set your pins strong and stable and Live in The Kingdom of His Grace!
When Grace is the only reason for your life, when Love is the only signature that can be put under the paper, than you know that, although totally beyond your own control, He is FULLY in control!
Dutch, Sweden, Kingdom, all part of the journey, an intense, amazing and beautiful journey where my offspring can live in peace and assurance of purpose and identity in Him! From where they even can be send into the calling of their life!
I needed to add it to my Blog, to open up so you too can conclude with us that His Grace is sufficient!
Please listen to a new single released by our friend and singer-songwriter Mark Tedder, “Jesus Is Enough.” Mark writes: “This song of lament is reflective and deeply personal. Allowing for musical space, it draws the audience into a common theme. “I’m at that awful stage where the child becomes the parent, and the parent retreats into childhood.” By the final chorus this is a hopeful melody for all generations.”