Faith to me, is knowing that as long as we are in constant communication with God, seeking discernment and following the path that He has set out for us, each and every step along the way is the right one.
I read a quote once that said,
If you think you’ve blown God’s plan for your life, rest in this… You, my beautiful friend, are not that powerful. – Lisa Bever
How lovely is that.
I do trust God. I trust in His plan. And I truly want what Jesus wants for me. Even when it means saying no to what my flesh wants. Even when it means waiting patiently.
God’s timing. Not mine.
It reminds me of the story of Abraham and Sarah.
They wanted a baby so bad. They were told by God that they would receive one. But they took it into their own hands. They did receive a baby. But it wasn’t the one that God gave–it was one received outside of their marriage, something he did not encourage. Yes, He allowed it because we have free will. But it’s not what He commanded.
And so when Sarah was 90 years old, she finally conceived God’s gift. The child that God had promised, the one that God intended.
They were confused, because in their mind they had already conceived and raised their child, they thought that was what God provided. But God made it clear to them that the first born was not of Him.
God knew that in their haste and need of control, they showed very little faith in God’s plan for them.
They thought they could speed up the process according to their own plans and found a way to conceive outside of their marriage, outside of God’s plan and timing.
God saw this and needed to know whether or not they were truly strong in their faith.
Abraham claimed to believe and have faith, but was this true? And so to prove his faith, He asked Abraham to sacrifice his newborn son. An extreme testament to his faith, no?
How heartless of God to ask that when this is the child they waited for, the child made in love, between man and wife, instead of a surrogate servant? When Abraham went to obey and sacrifice his son, God stopped him… Why? Because He knew then that Abraham was now faithful in His belief and in his word. If he was willing to do such a thing in the name of God, he truly had unfailing faith.
God knew that from this day forward, Abraham would now live in God’s timing–that he truly understood what it meant to live in accordance to God’s will, not his own.
It was never that He wanted Abraham to actually sacrifice his son. It was merely a test in his faith.
To let go, and let God.
I keep that story at the forefront of my mind and heart when I start to feel anxious about my life.
To remind myself that yes, I can plan and try to manipulate all sorts of things in my life. But ultimately, the one that will bring most peace and clarity, the one that will fall into place with ease, the one that is in accordance to the light, is the one that God places. No man can stop that. No man can PLAN that. I pray often to stay in communication with Christ and have Him put on my heart what it is our next steps should be in order to grow into the people He created us to be. It is then my job to be receptive and obedient to that.
In college, I had a professor who wrote out our syllabus and said “Plans Carved in Water.”
I loved that.
Plans carved in water. Impermanent. Flexible. Intended but not promised. Because life throws curve balls and we do our best to stay on target with that, but sometimes we must adapt and change within the current. We might still reach point B, but we might make a pit stop at C first, as well.
That’s a lot like life, isn’t it?
We can make a lot of plans in this life. But we must not cling to them. Idolize them. Feel frustration and anxiety when they don’t pan out how WE feel they should go. Instead, my husband and I strive to talk with God and ask ultimately what HE wants for us. And then we follow.
We are not the stewards of our life. We shouldn’t be, anyway.
If we choose to live by Christ, we must choose to live by His plans. Not by our flesh. Not by the world’s. His.
It is how my husband and I have made every decision regarding our life together so far, and it’s the way that brings us the most peace when we start to feel anxious. It’s how we decided on how we would raise our son, came to the decision to move to New Jersey. None of these things came without sacrifice. My husband has to work harder to support us and I had to (not-so) gracefully unpack all of the plans I had for my life and rearrange them in the ways that now felt right in my spirit, emotions that conflicted with every other notion I had before the birth of our son. I had many mental-tantrums about this. Why is it that I was once so sure about EVERYTHING and now I felt led in a completely different direction? Why can’t I do both?! Why am I breaking? Why am I not more?? Why am I becoming every woman my pre-mom self once judged? I felt weak. Defeated. Judged as well.
But we prayed. And we prayed. And prayed. And listened. And then we obeyed. And we see a change.
In the same respect, my husband loved his job so much in Baltimore City and still misses it every single day. Moving here was not a decision that was easy for him. It was scary. We both cried many nights, hand in hand, praying about it. Having doubts. But we felt led. He felt God speak to him. And so even though we felt fear, we pushed that aside and obeyed. My husband still feels doubt. It’s not that he is ungrateful by any means. But we are human. And we will always crave the power of being in control. Of knowing with complete certainty what’s next. But that’s not how this works, we have learned. We instead surrender…because we give God the reigns to our life and we TRUST in Him. We ask Him to lead us and USE us in the way that He intended all along. In His image, in accordance to His plans, in His perfect timing. We ask Him to show us His plans, step by step, piece by piece.
We no longer ask for the full picture, but rather the next step. We ask Him to be explicit about it, and then we submit.
Moving to New Jersey has taught me a lot about myself as well. We temporarily live with my husband’s parents, an opportunity that we are incredibly grateful for. It’s the only way we could have made this move, as he went through a new academy, a significant pay cut, and completely starting over. However, this is what he’s always wanted– to move back to his hometown and be close to his family. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t struggle with this at times. I know this isn’t easy for them either lol having a houseful of people 100% of the time, sharing space and energy. I try to stay sensitive to that. What I’ve learned during this time is that I am a very open person in my writing, but I am so very selective about how and with whom I share my energy with–I did not recognize the extent of this until now. I get overwhelmed, I don’t know how to share my son always. I desperately miss the times when it was just us two during the day. When just after breakfast he turned to me for puzzles and crafts and cooking. When quiet moments turned into snuggles in his glider, pulling one book from another to another and another, until eventually those snuggles melted into naps.
It’s been difficult for me navigating how to be both flexible and structured. To both share my son and allow natural moments to occur with his grandparents. With adhering to my parenting, to allowing a village to take part. Since we share communal space and time, questioning whether or not I’m cleaning up after us two… Did I pick up this activity timely? Are they getting enough time with him? Am I giving too much time? Questions I didn’t have to ask myself when we lived on our own. Often times our days felt freer, more fluid in our space. I didn’t have to struggle for his attention, I didn’t have to overthink Every. Little. Thing.
I admit that I haven’t always been graceful about this.
I often felt that I didn’t know what to do with myself, and my role as mother and wife felt incredibly shifted.
And although I am seeing so many of my downfalls and areas that need grooming and growth, I am seeing how moving here has started to propel me forward in a way that perhaps I wouldn’t have by staying in our safe place in Maryland.
When I am overwhelmed, I am out and about with my son. When I see my son occupied with his Grandma and Grandpa, I use that time to read the Bible, to write, to work on my blog, to work on myself. Because I miss our home and also feel the security of having a village, I am motivated to start substituting for extra income, and feel safe leaving my son in order to work outside of the home.
My ministry was inside my home as merely wife and mommy, and it was a beautiful chapter. I was able to bloom and heal in incredible ways because of that. But the tide has turned again and as a result, a confidence has bloomed within me that was not there before. I am trying to take my walls down so that I can open myself up to this experience.
Something inside of me is growing, something that had been put to rest, that I thought I had lost altogether.
God is pushing me. And I am obeying.
I feel that God oftentimes will allow us to sit with our feelings of uncertainty, if it means it will grow us into more faithful Christians. He will allow us to be uncomfortable. Scared. He doesn’t want these feelings for us, and I do feel it’s oftentimes the enemy that whispers these doubts in our heart. But I also feel that God will allow us to sit with those feelings if it means it will propel us forward into who He needs us to be. If it in turns solidifies and tests our faith….I believe He allows us growing pains, because when I think about it, some of the most beautiful experiences in life start out with a whole lot of discomfort. In turn, this pushes us to bloom in the most beautiful possible way. I believe the outcome is worth the uncertainty, the transition, the unknowing… and I lean into that.
Jesus will comfort us and He will lead us. and it doesn’t mean that we aren’t afraid. It just means that we choose faith over ego. And we ride that wave with Him anyway…
Because God is already there.
Love and light.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 15:26
ESV Study Notes: “Sovereign God overrules the plans of men to fulfill his purposes.”