My husband and 2 of our boys just left a few days ago on a cross country road trip. 2,471.8 miles. That alone is enough to make a woman wake up shuddering at the possibilities. Honestly, I’ve awakened most mornings lately feeling this way. There’s something about those first few moments of consciousness after a night’s sleep that seem to pull back the blanket on all the fears and worries that stay neatly tucked away during the day. As I lay there with my own thoughts, I feel vulnerable, alone and trying to waylay my worries with practical solutions or even platitudes that might help me feel superior over the feelings that could best be described as frightening.
Aren’t we really all still just little girls inside? We are trying to be strong and full of faith because we have people depending on us, but in the wee hours of the morning it’s really just me, a little girl who wants and needs her Daddy to hold her and tell her everything is going to be fine. I need to feel His strong arms wrapped tightly around me assuring me that He will NEVER let me go, that He’s somehow going to keep me safe and I truly have nothing to fear.
Some mornings I reach over to touch my husband and wonder how many days I will get to wake up with him next to me? I’d like to think we will grow old together, but we all know that isn’t a guarantee. Scroll through Facebook and see stories of women who have lost their husbands much earlier than they ever could have imagined and are now facing the harsh reality of raising their children alone.
Other times I wake up with a tsunami of concerns over each of our children: their present struggles, their spiritual lives, their decisions. Am I missing anything? Should I listen more, ask more questions? Are we in the Word enough, praying enough as a family. Am I speaking life into them? How do they see me? Do I seem hypocritical? Am I ever an obstacle in their spiritual walk for any reason? What about their future? What kind of a world are they going to be living in 10,20,30 years down the road? Will they be able to stand strong in their faith?
So I lay there trying to make sense of feelings that really aren’t even thoughts yet and when they finally make it to actual thoughts, it’s even more terrifying and overwhelming. I almost don’t want to pray because I can’t seem to stay ahead of the rushing tidal wave. Maybe if I just start doing something…anything. Get dressed, make breakfast, get coffee…anything but stay here in this place. We weren’t made to carry such things. It’s unbearable.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
The miracle of living out our faith is most often found in the little things. It turns out that these things are actually the BIG things and so when I begin to speak out to God my concerns, fears and worries, I give them a name. I give them a name and I call them out for what they are and God begins to move on my behalf. Suddenly the shift starts to happen and I begin to take my heavy yoke and place around the neck of Jesus. As I do that, he replaces the one I passed to him with something that is nothing but a perfect fit. It’s something I can handle, it’s bearable in the most joyful sense of the word. It doesn’t hold me back from moving forward in my day. It doesn’t make me feel weary or unfit. It puts a spring in my step. It’s perfect in every way.
This move across the country that our family is about to make is most certainly a defining time in our lives. We are leaving everything familiar to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. As the ramifications of this decision continue to come to the surface the only thing that helps keep me from freaking out is that I have so clearly seen God’s fingerprints all over it. At the same time it’s become a time of deep reflection.
Since the boys left I’ve been calling out many areas of my life that have been, for the most part, easily tucked away. I haven’t had the time or energy to really own up to them. But now I am in a season of calling out and giving names to some sins deep inside my own heart. I’m talking about those secret places that most wouldn’t even call sinful, but that my spirit is starting to be grieved by and that God is calling me to confront. It’s a time to let God perform “open heart” surgery.
He is meeting me so fully right here in this place. It requires me to trust that He is good and has no intentions but the very best for me. It often it feels like free falling, but there is clearly freedom here. I have no idea where God will take me, but I have no doubt it will be someplace more wonderful than I could have ever imagined, bearing more fruit than I thought possible, because that’s just how good God is.