I still remember very well how we moved into the apartment we are currently living in. It’s already been nearly 5 years now. Some moments it feels like yesterday. The five story building right a cross Central station.
Some amazing friends from our home church in Ede had gathered a little army to make it happen. It all went like a well-oiled machine. People in the North of Amsterdam loading the 2 vans, others driving, and a dozen of people here in the center to bring everything up. There was a chain of people in the staircase that would hand over boxes to one another instead of 15 people running up and down. Before 3 pm it was a fact. We had moved from the North of Amsterdam to the city centre of Amsterdam with our 3 kids.
Nowadays when people ascend our ‘killer stairs,’ as someone once called them, up to our apartment they are not rarely speechless for the first (couple of) minute(s), mostly depending on how much in shape they are. Main reason… they need to catch their breath. Once they start talking I genuinely think the most frequently asked question is “How do you do it? With your kids, your groceries?” a good number two is “Can I have a glass of water?”
I have to admit that the first couple of weeks when we started living here, I have been praying for an elevator. But realizing my prayers actually weren’t so faith filled, but more about serving myself, I took those steps as a necessary evil I had to overcome in order to get home. The other option was becoming a hermit and that was never really part of the plan. I think I have truly struggled with the fact that the time it took me to get up felt like a waist of time. Especially during the ‘I-want-to-walk-up-by-myself-without-holding-mama’s-hand-toddler’ kind of rides up. Those seemed to be never ending. Thinking about it now makes me laugh. First world problems.
But then I had a brilliant idea,
since I just had to accept that those staircase climbs were going to be part of my life, weather I liked it or not, how about I would use them as a time to pray? Being a mom, I have figured in the last ten years, is not the best set up for the most regular regular schedule when it comes to prayer times. I decided to use my ‘stair time’ as a ‘prayer time.’ Double gain.
No, I have not counted the times in those five years, I have climbed those steps, but especially in the beginning years this really had become a habit. Instead of wishing for this elevator that never came, and complaining my way up, I decided to thank God for this amazing building. For the incredible place it is to live, and to speak out Gods destiny for this place, for His provision and for new ideas to come from this place to serve the city and it’s people. Don’t make this more spiritual than me, because coming home late with 3 or later 4 sleeping kids and a car that can’t be parked in front of our building, were not really the right circumstance to stir up a prayer in me. And there are more situations like that, trust me. I will spare you the details. Something with tired kids. Oh, or the sweet child that REALLY needs to go to the bathroom NOW, right when you’re just about to put your foot on the first step. And also no prayers when going down, because that is either a competition or showing off from how high you dare to jump of, or a good moment to text someone ‘that we’re really finally on our way.’ But yes, there have been countless prayers mumbled on those stairs walking up the 80-something steps.
In the recent period of time God started to lay it on several people’s hearts in our YWAM community to see something new happen from this building. Something fresh. Something that reaches out into the city. From this ever so special place that God has given to YWAM that shouts truth into peoples faces day and night telling them ‘Jesus Love You,’ and ‘God roept U’ (God is calling you).
If you hear me talk about life you will soon catch me talking about the seasons of life. There’s beauty in them all. Now there is a new season that is about to enfold for this building. Instead of me rephrasing it, I would love for you to take 2 minutes to read the following article on our website www.ywamamsterdam.com. It just get s me so excited!
I’ve been involved with the developments of this new vision and the plans for it, but reading this article it brought me back to our staircase. Our 80-plus steps of my never-asked-for-daily-workout. The complaints that I chose to turn around into prayers. Not so much for my good, but for God to be glorified most. These plans would probably have happened regardless of my prayers. God’s plans for this city do not depend on my prayers. But I love how God uses the most simple daily things to make us a part of the story that He is writing here in this city, in other peoples lives and all around the globe.