It was May 2009.  We had a newborn baby boy, and we were living in New Jersey, thousands of miles from all of our family and friends.  We were brand new parents, longing for the support of grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.

Combine that with changes at the company I was working at, and we were faced with an open door to move back to Minnesota, where all of those family and friends lived.  We just needed my husband, J#1 to find a job.

He interviewed a few places, and after having phone interviews at what would become his current company, he mentioned to me, "They are an international company.  Maybe I'll get to travel internationally.  Hey, we could even make it a family trip."

We are not people who ever imagined living overseas.  I know there are people who dream of living in a foreign country--because I've met them.  But that wasn't us. 

Fast forward about a year, maybe a bit longer, and there is an offer on the table for our family to move to the Netherlands.  Say what?

It didn't take long for us to make the decision.  He had called me at work at about 2:30 with the news, and by 6:30 that evening at a local restaurant, we were talking about the 'what ifs' and the 'but what about thats'.  And in the next breath figuring out how to break the news to those very same family and friends that we had moved back from New Jersey to be near.

Even though it wasn't something we had ever dreamed of, much less talked about--we both knew we had to do it.  I'd almost say we both had the same gut reaction that we were meant to take our then one-and-a-half year old baby boy and the sweet daughter that was growing in my belly on the adventure of a lifetime.

It is the single most important and unexpected (because we hadn't prayed for it) prayer that has ever been answered in my life. 

I could write a book about how difficult life can be for an expatriate. I could write a few books about the longings I've had to be near those family and friends.

But without this adventure I wouldn't have changed.

And clearly God knew that I needed a chance to change, a chance to learn how strong I could be, and how strong our little family--my husband, son and daughter--could be on our own.

  • He knew I needed the experience of delivering a baby in a foreign speaking hospital to prove to me that I can do pretty much anything. 
  • He knew that I needed to have the time to learn to love exercise.  
  • He knew that I needed the chance to step out of my comfort zone and become a little bit more outgoing, so that I could make friends in not one, but two foreign countries. 
  • He knew I needed the time and the loneliness for my faith to grow. 
  • He knew that I needed to build my confidence; to learn how to worry less about what other people think of me, and worry more about what I think of me.  

Just over seven months remain until our move back to Minnesota. We will move back to those same family and friends.  We will move back to familiar surroundings, stores and customs.

I wonder, though, what is left for me to learn during these seven months?

Clearly one lesson is that it is sometimes the unexpected...the prayer that we don't even pray... that is the most important prayer of all.

* * * 

There is a brand new link-up party that I'm joining over at Chasing Blue Skies. The whole idea is to write about something that was out of the blue relating to the prompt that Kristen shares each week. This week was prayers that were answered "out of the blue".  Next week, its about friends.  Click on over to learn more about it.

Out of the Blue


Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies said...


I could not love this more. And these words here:

"Clearly one lesson is that it is sometimes the unexpected...the prayer that we don't even pray... that is the most important prayer of all."


I hope I never get over all the amazing ways our God loves us. Thank you *so* much for linking up! Your words are golden.

Erica Ladd said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel. Moving to Arizona was the same thing for us, and it is amazing to see all that has come of it in us as people. This is beautifully written and perfectly captures that growth that comes from stepping out of that Midwestern comfort zone :-)

Our Stories God's Glory said...

What a journey. And how wonderful you were so open to what God had for you. Can you imagine what you would have missed. God bless you on your journey back!

Beth said...

What a beautiful story. I'm getting on a plane or would write more but loved your trust in God's plans for you and how through it he taught you how strong you and your family are. Many blessings to you as you return back to family and friends.
...stopping by through Kristen's link-up and love the opportunity to read how God is working in others.

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