Year in Review | 2022

11 minutes

Hello everybody! It’s been over a year since I last posted a blogpost after making a deliberate decision in 2022 to step back from blogging for a while. I had no idea my ‘brief’ hiatus would last all year. I equally had no way of knowing to what extent my life would be upended in that same year. This one thing I knew beforehand; that I could always count on God’s goodness, and that he would be with me every step of the way if I invited him in. I am here as a testimony of his faithfulness.

January of 2020 opened with both my son and I in agony having finally contracted the much-dreaded covid after a trip to NYC to renew our Belgian passports at the Embassy. Having resumed work just before Christmas, this took me out again as my body worked hard to fight off the infection. By God’s grace, we both recovered; Jan, a day or two later, and me, a couple of weeks on.

I even managed to attend my friend Merab and Alex’s wedding in the sunny Californian weather.

Also, I had a couple of sessions with a therapist that were so effective I didn’t need to see her again for the rest of the year. Some truths hit us like that all at once, and before we know it, we are set free. Such is the work of my Father in my heart, only he has the capacity to unstick us and push us forward if we cry out to him. I still find ways in which I need healing, and that’s okay because life is a journey.

Notably, I registered a company for my creative business, opening a related bank account, and set about to draw up a five-year plan charting the way forward.

February, like all Februarys, was super cold. I remember being home on vacation during a snowstorm and shoveling snow all night into the wee morning hours. I cried because my quarter acre yard was too big for just me to shovel; there wasn’t anybody ready to help me. Repeatedly and for hours on end, I shoveled 1.5 feet snow from the driveway and backyard, piling it high up against the fence. With every scoop, I declared that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ with tears pouring nonstop down my face. Faithfully, he gave me the strength to do something I was not built to do. My finger hurt so bad I couldn’t feel the tips for months, possibly due to nerve endings damage. All this with a snowblower tucked away neatly in my garage, only that I didn’t know how to operate it -still don’t. I have since learnt that men often drop dead while shoveling snow. Only by God’s grace did I survive that ordeal and live to tell the story of how he kept me.

I made acquaintance with a professor of Theology who was bringing riveting biblical truths to my attention, all in tandem with my still ongoing weekly bible study classes. Things about Christianity that had never made sense before now clarified. For instance, I could never understand why Israel was favored by the same God who claims no favoritism. I learnt about the three covenants: the Noah covenant -God’s commitment to his creation; the Abrahamic covenant -God commitment to project humanity; and the Mosaic covenant -God’s commitment to Israel for a limited time and scoop. Seeing this as an arc or a rainbow in rank and importance really helped me begin to put the pieces together.

March is the month I fully resumed work after my two-year hiatus aided by the worldwide pandemic. Having been out for so long, I’d had my doubts whether I would return to flying, and now here I was doing just that, even enjoying it. Resuming my weekly European trips, I was finally able to continue meeting up with my friend Lexi, with whom I had grown very close during those two pandemic years. Through her, I started discovering parts of Amsterdam that I didn’t known existed. I was also excited to resume restocking my house, particularly my kitchen, from my weekly European work trips. Ah, let the good times roll, it felt like I was back living in Belgium, and I wasn’t missing anything at all.

This marked three years of my walk with my Father and I felt every bit loved, cherished, cared for and protected.

I rapidly purchased a “Brother” embroidery machine, my first, and a brand-new “singer” sewing machine as the next logical step in preparation for my creative business, The plan was to practice, practice, practice, such that when the Attic Atelier was ready, I would be skilled enough to hit the ground running.

April showers brought with them warmer weather. I had long planned to renovate my unfinished attic and turn it into an atelier to fuel my creativity and artistic endeavors. With the bitter cold behind us, Jan and I ventured upstairs and started the demolition work, bringing down cracked walls and bagging everything straight out to the dumpsters. It was hard work but I reveled in the vision I had for just how pretty my attic would be from the hundreds of pinned ideas I continued to gather from Pinterest.

I kept practicing my embroidery with dismal results as I considered using different textures and fabrics that would be easier to work with.

May swung by stealthily as I gained momentum back at work with trips to amazing destinations as I found a new appreciation for the access to travel that my job affords me. The demolition work in the attic was ramping up as a priority list emerged; we would go systematically room by room until half the rooms in the attic were ready for new electrical wiring, plumbing, insulation, followed by sheetrock. I was in my third month of flying steadily and things were looking up.

My chats with both my bible study teacher as well as the theology professor were converging beautifully, giving me a clear picture of topics that I had always grappled with concerning the faith that had saved me.

My sewing machines were out all the time and I practiced every chance I got when I was home. It’s amazing to be feeling happy, settled, and secure enough to move forward with future plans for my life.

June is the month I could have lost everything that matters to me in this life, but God in his infinite mercy saved me from that fate. My house caught fire while I was away at work. Firefighters pulled my son out unconscious, with the paramedics on scene quickly taking over his care. I see God’s hand in this event every step of the way. I see his invisible hand guiding those that saved my son’s life, those that helped me get to his hospital bedside that same night. I see how he kept my mind as I willed the aircraft to fly faster. I see him willing my son to breathe, preserving his life for a greater purpose. Other things happened in that month too, but this one event overshadows everything else I could say about June.

July found Jan fully recovered, and us displaced from our home owing to the fire the prior month. Living from hotel to AirBnB rentals, our lives trudged on, now slowed down by uncertainly. Listlessly, we wondered how to occupy our time. We had packed up whatever belongings we could salvage from the fire and stored them in one of our garages. Armed with just a suitcase, we moved from one hotel to another in New York City, a place we had always wanted to experience, and now had the chance to. We explored Stated Island one-week, Long Island the next, Brooklyn after that, downtown Manhattan by the Financial District; by the end of the month, we had lived in each of the five boroughs of New York City.

I contracted covid a second time, this time while away on a layover in London, forcing me to stay on in my Chelsea-Kensington hotel room and quarantine for 2 weeks as Jan figured out life by himself in NYC.

August found me fatigued. Between working and switching abode every week, I could feel myself slowing down, needing to catch my breathe. It made sense for me to go to Dallas and rest with family between trips even as Jan continued on with his NYC adventures. There, I could spend some time in deep prayer, connecting with my Father in a more meaningful way. I remember being on the aircraft from one of my many European destinations, maybe Barcelona if not Madrid; it occurred to me that I might not want to be doing this long term, that maybe it’s time I wrapped up this career and got into another one.

September started a three-month stint of me going from one sick episode to another. Once more stuck in a London hospital being treated for uncontrollably high BP, I contemplated my future in aviation as well as in general. Jan having resumed college and now living on campus was one concern alleviated momentarily, now I could simply focus on just me and where to live between trips, a lot of which ended up being in Philly hotels, and occasionally at a friend’s place in New Jersey. As I lay in my London hotel room, sick as a dog, I dreamt again of moving to Houston. It wasn’t the first time I had had this dream. The first time was in May of 2019 when I was being displaced from everything familiar and praying to God for direction. How can it be that three years later, in yet another ‘displacement’ situation, I was having a dream that was directing me to the very same place?! And not just state but city! Dallas would have made more sense because I have family there and my work is headquartered there, making it a viable base. California would have been preferrable and I couldn’t have gotten there fast enough -but Houston?! Really God -Houston, as in Texas? Red-state Texas? Governor Abbot’s Texas? Ted Cruz’s Texas? Energy crisis Texas? Gun toting Texas? Now what do I do with this information?

October found me in yet another emergency room in New jersey seeking treatment for what turned out to be an acute sinus infection. Downed from flying because of my clogged ears and nose, I contemplated life as my job came under threat owing to my now frequent absences. A meeting with our Union Rep didn’t help much and I found myself truly depending on only God to see me through to the other side.

Someone stole my wallet in Connecticut where I had gone to conduct business at my address. It was a great inconvenience to lose all my cash money and card monies. It all remains unrecovered.

Back in Texas, my sister and I embarked on the four-hour road trip from Dallas to Houston to find me a place to live in obedience to God. Having viewed five different places, we circled back to the first place we had toured, settling for the accessible location and its proximity to every single store you can think of.

November found me losing my handbag and having to replace all my stolen cards for the second time. Sick still from sinus infection, I visit yet another Urgent Care in New Jersey and took to bed for pretty much the rest of the month, first sheltering in place, then at my sister’s place in Dallas. Here I was, paying for a place in Houston, yet I hadn’t even been down to collect the keys! Well, at least I was walking in obedience to my Father’s prompting.

I caught my breathe in December mid-month when I was finally able to move into my new place in Houston. My mama, my sister Terry and Alisha drove me there for the four-hour road trip from Dallas. Armed with an air mattress from my sister’s place, I was ready to spend my first night alone at my new crib. After dedicating the place to God and his purposes, we picked up much needed essentials from the store, then they started back on their drive as I locked the door behind me and took up residence for my first night in my home alone. I bought a brand-new car the very next morning as there really wasn’t any other way to get around in Texas where everything is big and spread out; it’s the only way I could bring my bulk shopping home. Jan joined me on his Christmas school break, and together, we set out to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. Knocking on every door on our block, we gave out gift bags which included a card with my phone number, and much to my delight, I made a friend and we have already become part of each other’s family.

We spent Christmas with the family in Dallas for a week, then headed back to Houston to enjoy our new place and get ready for the new year, which found Jan in Boston with his friends, and me at work in Amsterdam.

It’s quite surprising to me that Lakewood is now my local church, just a mere half hour drive away. I met so many lovely people when I attended then spent hours in the church library after service perusing through books on sale and casually chatting with everyone else.

That summarizes the looser details of our 2022. Looking back, I see God’s hand in everything. Every move I made, I see why it had to be that way. There’s a lot I still don’t see, but it sure feels good to be nested in your place of obedience. First of all, let’s talk about me escaping winter just on time! Remember in February I cried because the snow was so oppressive. I still cannot believe that we are wearing sandals and t-shirts while the rest of the world as we know it, continue to struggle with winter and snowstorms. I hear the other day we had a slight flooding here in Houston, but I wasn’t there to witness it. There was also a tornado watch that came to naught.

My mama has pretty much moved in since and I couldn’t be happier about it; at least now I’m not paying for an empty place : ) She and I go shopping all the time. We found a Kenyan store about an hour away that we love to visit every time I am home, allowing her to stock up on her favorite Kenyan foods. We have also been walking to the stores across the street more so she’s comfortable so she’s comfortable doing so in my absence. My neighbor has adopted my mother for hers and so they do everything together even when I’m gone. I think they’re both extroverts so they keep each other company. She is God’s provision to my mama and the feeling is mutual.

What I wish I had more of is time at home. I am having to work so hard, flying almost nonstop out of necessity and I find that unfortunate. My prayer is that this changes sooner than later so I can spend more time at home, enjoy my mama, explore Houston, resume my creative endeavors, find a local gathering to study God’s word together… I miss that the most, time with my Father. I try and pray on the go, but it’s just not the same. My best moments are when I get home and lunge myself into my prayer closet to spend some quiet time with him in prayer. I often don’t say much, just sit there and let him love me back to health. It’s been a difficult year, but once again, he did not let the waters overpower either Jan or I (Isaiah 43:2-5), and so we’re here to testify of his goodness and faithfulness. As I gradually allow my life to unfold in Houston I wonder why he sent me here, what he sent me here for… I hope we find out together. Stay a while, won’t you?