I was going to post a fantastic recipe for minestrone today (and I’ll still post it for you later), but I felt a nudge to write instead about what God has been doing in our lives this week. So that’s what I’m going to do. But first I just want to say, fasten your seat belts.
Because when God gets busy, your life can turn into Crazytown. In a good way.
I learned several years ago – and I learned it deep and hard – that when the future is foggy, if you can let go, relinquish all the unknowns and all the uncertainties, if you can place it all on the altar of the Lord and make yourself step back and watch what He does with it, you had better be ready to be amazed. Because when you let go of your life, when you move in obedience rather than from a position of control, God will move.
But this story today is not about me or how I learned about the way God moves all those years ago. It’s about how we’re living it out now as a family.
Over the past couple of weeks, E has been through quite a bit of push-pull. First, he got good news: he’d been accepted into a paid honors internship program with the government, an opportunity that could very well lead to a permanent position. So we scrambled to get L enrolled in a preschool program by his start date. Then, he got disappointing news: his start was delayed, maybe as much as three weeks. At that, I felt our bank account start to wheeze. Then, some confusing news: an offer to start right away if he agreed to work temporarily in another department that needed help, a department in no way related to his training.
He wanted to say no, he’d wait until he could start in the right kind of position.
He didn’t want to go work in that other department, and understandably so. What if he got stuck there all summer? What if the internship turned out to be a detriment to getting a permanent job because of it? He asked me what I thought.
I was having some really intense gut feelings: mainly that if he said no, if he waited, it was going to be a big, fat mistake. God had opened a door. All he had to do was walk through. The thought that he might slam that door shut made me feel physically ill. I was positively frantic inside. Clearly, there was something bigger at stake.
“Just get in there,” I said. “This is an opportunity. An opportunity for a paycheck to come sooner, yes, but an opportunity for something else, too. I don’t know for what, but I feel it.”
So he called them back and said yes, he’d be there Monday morning.
He left before dawn on Monday, rode the cattle car-like commuter train downtown to Union Station, took the Metro a few stops, walked a few blocks. A 90-minute commute.
Mid-morning, he sent me a text:
It was really important that I started today. I’ll explain later.
Gulp. Thanks, gut instinct, or Holy Spirit leading, or whatever you are. Glad we listened to you.
When he got home, I was fairly dancing with impatience.
Turns out there was a job posting perfect for him – an internal posting with an application deadline that he would’ve missed if he hadn’t started this week. Turns out he wouldn’t be spending weeks in that other department, because they realized they needed his skills elsewhere and they were going to move him right away.
All the worry, about money and the right position and opportunities? It was for nothing.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap, or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:24-34, NIV)
After L was in bed for the night, E sat down to fill out the lengthy job application, and I sat at the table with him, more for moral support than anything else. And then we were hit by two interesting pieces of info. By applying, he was agreeing to attend training. For weeks. Away from us. He was also agreeing to go wherever they might send us, which could mean relocating. We had about half an hour to do some quick research and select preferences.
You’re probably wondering if I am convinced E will get this particular job. The answer is no. But I am convinced he was supposed to apply for it. And I’m open to him getting it. Who knows where that application will lead? What’s clear to me is that God is opening doors and pointing the way, one step at a time. And that he knows our hearts, knows our needs even better than we do. He’s proven that to me time and time again – he proves it every time I let go of my life and let him take the reins.
And there is something to be said for preparation. When you step back and let God take over, when you relinquish the future to him, he will find ways to prepare your heart and mind for what he has planned. This job application the other night – it is preparing me for change. Change that might look like being without E while he’s completing training, or a relocation, or both. These specific scenarios may never come to pass, but if they do – or if something just as momentous comes along – I’ll be ready, because I’ve begun to open my mind and heart to the unexpected and the unplanned. I have begun to receive the possibilities.
Here’s the thing, friends: since the day E got his graduate school acceptance letter, there has been one provision after another. Not always in the way we expected, not always at the time we thought we needed or wanted it, and certainly not always looking like the vision in our minds. But always, always provision has come – and it is often better than we could have imagined purely because it has God’s recognizable signature on it. It defies logic, flouts the notions of luck, fortune, and karma, and leaves us humbled.
I think it’s safe to say that we ought to approach life as an adventure, a wild ride. We ought to get out of the driver’s seat and into the passenger seat, fasten our seat belts, and hold on. Because if we let him, God will get behind the wheel. And when he does, we will find ourselves in places we could never have imagined. Better places than we could have dreamed up on our own.