Something I struggle with most, especially in this season of my life, is the UNKNOWN. I’m pretty sure most of us don’t like being left in the dark or being told to wait. We like to know what’s ahead, to carefully plan and prepare, to cover all angles. It gives us a sense of comfort to know what’s coming up, but as we all know that is just not real life. And it’s certainly not God’s design for us.
When my husband joined the military I was terrified! We were engaged at the time and it was so much change so quickly. His first station out of Coast Guard boot camp was on the other side of the world! Well…OK, it was just the other side of the country but to me, it felt a million miles away. At first I thought God made a mistake. “Surely you are not asking me to move across the country away from everything I’ve known!”
My soon-to-be husband Sam was stationed on a ship in Virginia, while I was in California, planning our wedding, working full-time, and going to school. Every time I asked him a wedding detail question, he would respond with “I’m not sure yet” or “I hope so”…not something a stressed-out bride wants to hear! The day after I sent out invitations to over 200 guests he informed me that he “may or not be able to make the wedding” with his ship’s schedule. Greeeaat. Long story short, he did indeed make it to our wedding in the nick of time. It was beautiful and my favorite day ever.
Since our wedding day there have been countless unknown details. When and where are we moving next? When are you coming home? When will you get into school? Most questions seemed to be answered at the very last minute.
I refer back to that time of our wedding often because it was the start of God working on my heart and taking me on a journey of trusting Him like I had never known before. In the beginning I felt like the unknowns might kill me. I felt like worry and anxiety might just swallow me up…or at least turn me into a crazy person. The first couple years of marriage we were 2,700 miles from home. My husband would leave for two months and then be home for two months. The schedule was far from ideal and I cried and prayed a lot. I felt like a baby. I missed my family and friends on the West Coast, my comfort zone.
But as I saw those “comforts” get stripped away, I saw God in a new way. I was desperate for Him. So much growth can happen when you’re forced to do hard things. It reminds us of our deep need for Christ and his sufficiency – it can be easy to forget when things are easy-breezy. Every time I was tempted to freak out, the Holy Spirit would nudge me to be thankful. He would fill me with His peace when I asked and it really did pass my understanding, like His word says. Our problems always seem so huge to us in the moment, but they often aren’t. I’m glad God is patient with us and doesn’t laugh at us for being so silly sometimes!
A few key things I’ve learned (and will always be learning!) to help me on this journey so far:
His ways are higher, His thoughts are greater. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Even when we think we know everything and want to be in control, we have to remember who God is. He is sovereign over all things. Sometimes that means going straight to the Word and preaching to ourselves when we need it☺
Remember His faithfulness. Sometimes you just have to reflect and see how God came through for you in the past. I’m a list person, so I like to write it down or go through old journals. We quickly forget all the ways God answered prayers, got us through the seasons of waiting, held our hand through the unknowns. It helps us trust Him with our future.
Don’t put God in a box, or set up your own expectations. So many times, whether I realize it or not, I create a list of things I’m OK with., ways that God is “allowed” to answer my prayers…it’s absurd because He is GOD! But I still do it, and then I’m upset when things don’t go how I thought. Instead, I’m trying to have a heart of expectancy, without set expectations. Recently, I read Romans 8 in the Message Bible. It sums up what God has been showing me:
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who He is and we know who we are: Father and children.” Romans 8:15-16 (The Message translation)
I want to live like that – adventurously expectant! I want to live knowing God is good and worthy of our trust, even if it looks different than we thought.