It has been a season of tremendous confusion for me…no easy answers, no straight, lighted path before me, nothing uncomplicated.
I kept asking God to just make things clear to me. I kept telling Him that I would go or be wherever He wanted me to go or be…just please tell me!
But as I have shared before, I kept looking to others to help me decide…to wrestle through decisions with me.
I wanted friends willing to listen to me say or ask the same thing 15 times in 15 different ways. I needed to grapple and ponder and brainstorm. And I didn’t want to do it alone.
This single parent decision-making thing can be a lonely business.
And for someone who likes to think out loud, it is torturous…unfortunately I think I’ve been torturing everyone around me. I put my friends and family in the position of having to hear me think out loud a lot.
I spent a lot time trying to find someone…anyone…that would tell me what to do! I’m surprised they all didn’t run away from me.
I felt such a burden to figure things out…just to make a decision already.
I wanted to talk (and talk and talk…)
And it struck me
Why not talk to God?
Maybe that desire to think out loud is really more about a desire to pray. I just hadn’t thought of it that way before.
I’d been so busy looking for someone to lead me that I’d missed talking to the One who is my Leader. I’m truly like a silly little sheep. I have The Good Shepherd as my guide and I’m not looking to Him. I’m looking around to anyone and everyone to give me answers, direction, and guidance.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11
But God in His graciousness did indeed provide.
First it was a dear friend who, while in the midst of her own health crisis, willingly listened to my life circumstances and shared her thoughts. I’m in of God’s provision.
She asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years. She said, “Focus on where you want to be, rather than all the little things that need to happen to get there.”
At first I thought, “How in the world do I do THAT? There are things that need to be done…decisions that need to be made and actions that need to be taken!”
But the more I thought about it the more I realized that if I trust God’s leading, I must also trust that He will provide a way.
I kept thinking of the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant who had to step into the river before it parted. Maybe I need to be willing to do that as well…take a step of faith.
So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away… Joshua 3:14-16
A lot grabs me in those verses…but one thing that stuck out was that the Lord wants us know that this was not an easy wade in the water…this was an overflowing river. Probably seemed a bit daunting to those priests, but they trusted that God was going to make a way for them to follow His leading and they took a step of faith.
God gave direction and then provided the way.
I want that.
I want direction…clear direction…obvious direction…a well-lit straight path ahead. I’m finding that God doesn’t often choose that path for me. My path is more often than not a little dark so I can only see a step or two in front of me. I cannot even see a bit up the path. It is always, and I mean always, a bit curvy and rocky. I’m walking slowly, deliberately and with anxiety in my heart for what lies ahead. I want to make decisions that I know will turn out well…decisions that have a happy ending.
I know I can trust God. I also know I can trust that God’s word is true. And His word says that I will have trouble. I’ve been living in the trouble times…I long for peaceful. I’m always worried that my decisions will lead to more troubled times. Lord, forgive me for my fear and anxious thoughts.
But I also know that there is peace in making a decision and trusting God with the outcome. I want to make a decision and have the outcome guaranteed…guaranteed to end the way I want. But God says that He guarantees the outcome to be for His glory and my good…not that it will be my “perfect” outcome.
As I was wresting with my hope for perfection, God continued to bless me. My one sister, who loves me and all my goofiness, was willing to listen, brainstorm and pray with me until the wee hours of the morning. My sister, the one I grew up with, is also my sister in Christ. And what a blessing she is to me!
I shared with her all my thoughts, concerns, fears, and ideas…and she listened patiently, and even laughed at all my jokes! (That is definitely a blessed thing J!)
As we talked through my situation, she said some things that really struck me:
If I love Christ and live my life for Him, He WILL lead me.
If my desire is to glorify Him and bless others, He will work in my situation to those ends.
Sometimes a decision just needs to be made and God will take care of the rest.
And finally, she reminded me of Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
That term guard was what she wanted me to notice. It’s actually a military term. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says that to guard means: “‘a sentinel, guard’ – to guard (keep watch) like a military sentinel; (figuratively) to actively display whatever defensive and offensive means are necessary to guard.”
God’s peace guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect our hearts and our minds.
So if that is true…why do I so often feel so little peace?
I don’t believe it is because God is doing anything wrong…I believe that it is because I’m seeking that peace in my circumstances…in my decisions.
My sister pointed out that God’s peace is something I have regardless of my circumstances, my decisions and their outcomes.
It is my decision to live in that peace that God does and will always guard. I’m blessed by that realization…that reminder.
And I’m grabbing hold of that reminder…no, I’m grabbing hold of that peace.
My big decision is one of the biggest of my single mom life…and one of the top ten of my life to this point.
I know that regardless of my decision, God will not leave me nor forsake me.
And regardless of my decision, God’s peace is mine.
Oh how desperately I want that peace. It seems so “christianeze-ish” (my word) for me to say I will live in God’s peace regardless of things going on…and it also seems a bit sketchy that I would say that after all I’ve written about struggle and anxiety and fear…BUT….
That peace is God’s…not mine. It’s a God thing. And I will grab hold of it and I will focus on it and I will study it and I will live it because God is guarding me with it.
I’m so thankful for my Lord, for my friend and for my sister.
God will lead me even if it isn’t with lightning bolts and neon signs…it might be a late night talk or a quiet morning studying His the Word or a little bit of both or He might just guide me to make a decision and trust Him.
My decision right now is to take a big step of faith. I’m moving forward without a definite plan, but with hope and peace that as I step out God will guide. I’m taking a big step and praying fervently that God will make clear paths where I see none right now.
I’m trusting God will lead me…and I’m excited to see what He shows me.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24