The breeze is singing outside, making the world inside of our snug apartment dance. The sun, after staying hidden for the past seven straight days, is showing her face and it feels eerily synonymous to what is happening in my insides.
Let me back up. We have trudged through a year of unknowns.
Almost exactly 12 months ago, my husband unexpectedly lost his well-paying accounting job, and we were plunged headfirst into a season full of uncertainty and anxiety. When Cal decided to transition from accounting to aviation, the uncertainty increased. How will this look financially? How will our lives be different? What will happen with my career? How will we keep our marriage safe? Question after question tumbled out of our minds until we were exhausted, and yet- every time we asked the Lord to make His path clear, He seemed to be answering that Cal belonged in the clouds. And so, we marched on. Jumping over hurdles and under hoops, we made our way down the path that was dimly lit before us.
When Cal first lost his job, I was set on not “wasting our crisis.” I did not want to look back at this time of hardship wishing I had handled it better. My fear was that I would regret my inability to trust. So, I prayed and worshipped obediently during those beginning months, and I watched the Lord’s faithfulness unfold: from financially, to mentally, to emotionally- I felt guarded and protected.
Six months into our ‘crisis’, I realized that, unbeknownst to my conscious mind, I had expected this season to be short. The ambiguity, the meticulous planning of finances, the working temporary jobs and the waiting (OH, the waiting!) seemed to stretch out before me and suddenly my heart got all muddled up in a haze. I slowly stopped worshiping, and instead began asking. Before I worshipped the King in all His sovereignty, I began to first bow low to the answers I wanted that I had deemed our new savior. I found myself whispering in my head late at night, telling myself that “when this is all over, and my mind finally has some rest, THEN I will have the capacity to truly lay it all down.” Don’t get me wrong, I tried to surrender. It became almost a daily rhythm- the unclenching of fists and lifting of hands, only to find two hours later that my fists were balled up again, and my hands were lowered.
I fought to stay connected, but my mind grew weary, and my spirit grew hardened. I let myself believe that God was not going to provide answers; after all, we are never entitled to them. I gave into the whispers that the Lord has bigger issues to take care of, and that ours were tucked away and forgotten.
It wasn’t until this past weekend that life began to creep its way back into my heart. Cal and I, along with some of our dearest friends, went to a cabin tucked away in the heart of southern Indiana, to gather and bring respite to our souls. We laughed and cried and prayed and ate bourbon ice cream and hugged each other, a lot; a group of wayfaring strangers gathered together, once more.
And it was here that the Lord began to stir in my heart again. Through tears, I explained to my fellow disciples that I had failed the Lord: again, and again, and again I was given the choice to surrender, and yet here I still was- fists balled and mind begging for answers. I admitted that my zeal had shrunk and my heart didn’t feel quite so connected. It was in this space of confession that I was given the gift of silence. My heart beat a little slower, my mind stopped racing, and in the stillness of the unknown, I found peace. Peace unexplainable outside of the Holy Spirit, and a calm that seeped into every part of me. It was only when I was finally stopped running full speed ahead that I was given rest.
Funny how humans are sometimes, huh? We beg for what we reason is best for our lives, and inadvertently sabotage what we so desperately want … all for the sake of ‘control’.
I’m still in a space where we don’t have a lot of answers. We have guesses and we have plans, but nothing is concrete or sure. I don’t know where we will live next month or how we will make a living. But I do know that the Creator of the UNIVERSE, of beetles and cliffs and butterflies and corn stalks, looked down and spoke to me. The letter He wrote to me wasn’t long- just the three simple words of “I see you”.
And it was here that my faded red heart was pumped back to life.
It took those three words for me to throw my idols of security and answers into the abyss and turn my palms up in surrender.
Sometimes the Lord stirs our hearts towards change through conviction. We feel the Spirit nudging us towards a different path, so we repent and change courses. But sometimes, change happens through the miracle of gentle grace. The tender reminder that we are known, and still cherished. The whisper that we truly are not alone. The stirring that we are being taken care of.
And though we may be faded, we are still given life in the most unconventional of ways, in small whispers from a very big Creator.
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Good writing Abby. Glad you are doing well. Pastor Clapper