This past December, a tremendous gift was given to us. We were invited to spend a week in the mountains with my husband’s family, a week with fireplaces, snowy evenings, tons of food, and plenty of family time. It was especially sweet as his parents live halfway around the world and holidays spent together are never guaranteed.
Our second to last night in the cabin found us grown up “kids” up late, talking and sharing life around the table. What began as an opportunity for one of the couples to share intimately about the way God has been at work in their life grew into a time of each person sharing, lamenting, and rejoicing about the deep things of life. When my time came, words escaped me. I knew things were wrong in our life. I knew that I needed God more than ever to show up and change our situation, to take me somewhere different and new, to reenergize me as I was so exhausted and burnt out and really uncertain about where I was headed. It was too easy to avoid the messy, uncomfortable emotions. It was too easy to defend the people who had hurt me, betrayed me, and ignored me. But family doesn’t allow you to walk away that easy. The conversation took a turn as family members began speaking truth and life and tough observations into my life. There wasn’t anything deep or dark to be revealed, to be honest. But it was a lot of complacency, a lot of waiting, a lot of begging God to change things but doubting that he would. I was settled and comfortable, even growing comfortable with the pain. This late night, table discussion involved a lot of tears, a lot of voicing those doubts, and a lot of the light driving out the darkness.
That conversation happened six months ago. It’s been six months of wrestling with God, desiring him to show up, doubting that he had more for Andrew and I than the life we were currently living, questioning whether or not we were on the right track.
I’m told these doubts and questions are very stereotypical for our phase of life – still relatively newly married, finishing up a masters program, kidless, and open to something new. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
I began 2016 focusing on one word, a new form of a resolution that I had never done before. Over and over again I poured out my heart to God, about the ways I felt uneasy and uncertain, the ways I trusted that God could do big things but doubted he really wanted to do anything about the small things. As I poured my heart and tears out, the word I kept coming back to was grounded. I wanted to be grounded in my faith, grounded in my calling, grounded in my relationships. I wanted to have deep, deep roots so that when the storms of life come I could boldly proclaim, “I will not be shaken”.
“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”
Psalm 1:1 – 3
The past six months have involved opportunity after opportunity for that truth to be tested. Opportunities to choose whether I was going to doubt, allowing fear and insecurity to cause me to stumble, or to choose whether I was going to cling on to the truths of God we read over and over again in scripture. These are lessons I’m still learning and clinging to as each day currently is filled with new people, new jobs, new living arrangements. Well, we prayed for things to change and they certainly have changed!
I need to share our story. Not because we’ve done anything grand because, truly, we haven’t. But because our story is solely dependent on the faithfulness of God. This faithfulness is founded in scripture, in experiences, in testimonies. God has done some amazing things over the past six months in our life as we wait, wrestle, pray, and listen. We are still very much doing those things, working hard so that our first reaction when something happens, our muscle memory reaction, is to pray, worship, and trust.
Six months ago, God used some amazing family members to speak life, truth, and love to us. He used that table and late night to awaken us to who he wanted us to be, how he wanted us to trust him with everything. These are the stories of how Andrew and I are moving 1,000 miles away from everything we’ve ever known. But, oh so much more, these are the stories of how faithful and trustworthy our God is.