Holding On Tight

I am sitting on my couch with a computer on my lap, contemplating this strange season in the life of my family. Things are rather unnaturally calm at the moment, but there are rough seas behind us, and we cannot see what waits around the bend. It feels a bit like sitting in a rowboat in the eye of the storm. We don’t seem to be moving, but we know we should be taking the opportunity to get a good grip because things are about to get wild.

My Sweetheart lost his job two months ago. After 18 years, his co-workers felt like family, so even though his stress level at work had risen to nearly unmanageable proportions, to be cut loose was a difficult blow and left him feeling rather unmoored. Now, after more than two months of resume polishing and job searching, he is fighting discouragement.  He daily chooses to walk in faith, but I can see how hard he works to do so. Still, God is carrying him and providing the faith he lacks.

I, on the other hand, am daily battling the temptation to give in to fear or to try to “fix it” myself, which is my go-to response to uncertainty. This waiting and trusting business is not to be undertaken lightly. Actually, I’m discovering that it’s more challenging than all-out panic. God has assured us that His plan for us is good and that it was His will that Sweetheart move on from his long-time position. We trust Him–usually. We trust him until we look at the calendar and realize that we have only two more severance checks coming. Then we take deep breaths and ask the Lord again to guide us and provide the needed employment. We trust him until we hear the edge of worry in a parent’s voice as we discuss the situation. Then we take a deep breath, reassure them that God will take care of us, and choose to trust again. I now have a deeper understanding of the blind man’s plea when he said, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief.” God has been asking me, reminding me, over and over through this journey to take to heart His command to be still and know that He is God. Apparently, that “be still” part truly means “let go.” He requires that I release my grip on the wheel of my life, that I stop running back and forth trying to spin the plates fast enough to keep them from falling. Apparently, He is asking me to let them fall. He will catch the ones that need catching. Those that smash to the floor didn’t fit His plans or desires for us.

I am a planner. I like to plan our days, our weeks, our months…as far in advance as I can get away with. I have learned over the years to make my plans in pencil (literally and figuratively), but in this situation, I can’t even do that. It feels like God has taken my pencil away. Okay. He’s the Creator of heaven and earth, unbound by time, full of love and wisdom. He can take my pencil. It was His all along. I just like to pretend sometimes that I’m the one doing the planning. In this season, though, He seems to want me to simply wait for Him, to trust Him with everything, including my own hopes and desires, not just for myself, but for my family. He is asking me to rest in Him, and I am struggling to let go of my pretense of control over my life.

Clearly, His plan for us involves more than a new job or a new location. I cannot get away from the sense that He is doing something bigger, deeper, and more eternal than I can even imagine. I kind of want to ask Him if maybe he could hurry up whatever it is He’s doing. I don’t doubt His love for us, His wisdom, or His power to care for us. It’s just the timing that rattles my nerves and makes my heart race a little. Waiting is not something I do well. At all. Ever. Just ask my children.

But I want–no, need–to learn what He is asking me to let Him teach. I need to rest in Him. And I am excited (with the kind of excitement one feels when standing in line for a very big roller coaster) to see what He has for us around the corner. So, I’m trying to use this time in the eye of the storm to strengthen my grip on Him. Then He comes and gently reminds me that He will not lose His grip on me or my precious family, that we are His, and He knows how to care for what belongs to Him.

It’s a wild ride, this journey with God, but I wouldn’t travel any other way. I’ll let you know what we find around the bend. If it’s a beautifiul stretch of sunny, calm sea, that will be lovely. If it’s a waterfall, I know He will catch us at the bottom. If it’s white water that takes our breath away, He will steer us through it will perfect skill. No matter what’s coming, we are safe because we are His.

What about you? What sort of season are you in right now? Are you in a holding pattern like we are, waiting to see what comes next, or are you in a season of calm? Maybe you’re holding on for dear life as the wind and wave try to capsize your little boat. If that’s you, then I have good news. There is a Captain who wants to steer you through the storm, and He hasn’t lost a ship yet. In fact, the wind and wave have to obey His command. You can trust Him, but you must let go of the wheel…and put down the pencil.

If you’d care to share a bit about what’s going on in your life, I’d love to pray for you. I’d love it if you’d pray for me! Happy sailing!