Nathan Tivendale: On Relocating to America

I have lived in Tasmania since I was born. But in February this year my family and I moved from Hobart to Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. I had secured a job as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Horticultural Science department of the University of Minnesota. After being here for seven months, it almost feels like home. In those seven months, the one thing that has turned out just how I thought it would, if not better, is my work. My bosses have been fantastic. They are not merely interested in using me to generate data, but they are really taking the time to develop me as an academic. Everything else, however, has been a challenge. By nature, I tend to worry; I over-analyse things; I imagine every possible outcome and focus all my mental energy on the worst case scenario. So all of the hurdles we had to overcome were a significant source of stress for me. First there was our visas. I left our applications until the last minute, which caused me to worry that we wouldn’t get them in time. Then there was acquiring a car and figuring out the messy world of car insurance in the US. Then there was the fact that, due to our visa type, we were getting taxed much more than I had anticipated. So, I worried about our finances. Actually, finances have been my most significant worry since we got here. We’ve never had much money, but relocating to America has shown me that I found security in support from the government and knowing our families were close by, just in case things went horribly wrong. Now we’re on a different continent, we don’t have that luxury; it’s just us and God. 

Through all of this, I have finally taken to heart the words our Lord spoke so many years ago: ‘Who of you, by worrying, can add a single day to his life?’. All my thinking, all my analysing, all of the brain power I devoted to these things, brought me nothing but stress and mental anguish. Through every single one of these situations, God has been reminding me that he is in control, and I am not. I cannot control the world by thinking about it, I cannot change situations by endlessly thinking about them. God has taught me, through my circumstances, to stop trying. I have slowly learnt to trust God’s omnipotence and accept from his hand whatever he chooses to give me; I now believe, much more deeply than I ever have before, that God is working out all things for the good of those who love him, including me.

Through our relocation to the USA, all the things that I have previously used to find security, whether it be money, friendship networks, family, even Church (which are all good in and of themselves) have been taken away; I have been, and continue to be, stretched, molded and shaped into the person God wants me to be. God has used my circumstances to teach me to find my security in Christ alone. I praise God for all the troubles we have faced!