It started with a night shift on Sunday, a busy Monday full of errands and very little sleep, and a quick turn around to day shift on Tuesday. I am really physically worn out from the constant transition between day shift and night shift. (My left eye won't stop twitching!) But I'm still a bit embarrassed that I'm so tired when I'm technically not working overtime, just working often. I've started praying again that I would find rest and security in God, and not in the perfect schedule.
Mid-week, I started thinking about eating disorders and shame and body image in pregnancy.
In the midst of all that, I also had 3 different conversations with several different friends about control, and the freedom found in realizing that God is bigger than your plans and ambitions.
Coupled with the time of year, and an upcoming anniversary of sorts, I kind of absorbed all of this and stored it away in my heart until I could start to verbalize some of it. By the end of the week, I was replenished once again with the peace that comes with surrender, even as I could barely keep my eyes open. Yes, I'm learning to cherish the freedom in being out of control! Because I believe in a God who is big enough to break into our meticulous plans and show us his love in beautiful, unpredictable ways.
The conversation that started the week off had to do with job offers and a friend's decision-making. I am so easily paralyzed by decision making: what if this decision is the crux upon which my entire life rests and I choose the wrong thing and it's all downhill after this? (Please tell me I'm not alone here?) As this woman struggled with similar musings early last week, another friend told us,
"God had so much purpose in my decision to take (job A) even though that's not where He wanted me to stay. The way it all worked out, I needed that job in order to get the job I have now." She reminded us, "God will get you where he wants you, even if it means taking a road you didn't intend or want to take. I believe God took me down the road he did so that He could get the glory. Was it difficult? Extremely. But now look at the story God made to show His sovereignty! ...Don't limit God's power by assuming that everything hinges on this one decision."In turn, I was able to remind a different friend on Thursday night that even when we make plans, God is bigger than them. His will WILL be done. It's not a sin to make plans, per se. To proceed forward with the information you have, knowing you're treading into unknown territory. The sin comes in holding onto your plans so tightly that you can't see any other way. The sin comes in believing that your way is better than God's way.
Then amidst all this thinking about freedom and control, I started thinking about the fact that most of these good conversations have been with women I didn't know 6 months, 12 months, 18 months ago. And I can't help but wonder if on March 9, 2012 when I unintentionally opened an email that wasn't meant for my eyes and my world came crashing down on me, God wasn't already showering grace upon grace upon grace on me. I'm starting to wonder if it wasn't the worst AND best thing that ever happened to me.
In the months that followed that day, I learned that emotional heartbreak really can make you physically ache. I learned that tears never run out. Thankfully, I learned that God's love doesn't run out either. Even two years later, as we approach that anniversary of sorts, I can see the ripples of grace that that terrible season allowed into my life. The aftermath of the storm has actually been beautiful. When I had nowhere to turn but to God, he softened my heart. When my previous self-sufficiency failed, I learned to be vulnerable with others. God used my loneliest moment to bring about such a richness in my life, and a few budding friendships I'm not sure I would've sought out otherwise.
I think about this post when I look back at the last 3 years:
grace. oh!Jami's response to grace resounds loudly with me this time of year. The last few years have held some of my most deeply cherished and thought-out plans, and then seen them all washed away. I feel like I was swept out to sea on a tidal wave, completely at a loss for how to proceed, but then it somehow dumped me on the shores of "happy, married, and pregnant," but via a very painful, circuitous route that I'm still trying to wrap my head around. God's funny like that. Grace is powerful like that. It's bigger than all of us, and I'm so grateful!
it swallowed me up this year, spit me out, and now i'm laying on the beach thinking, that's not what i thought it would be.
it has knocked me around. i've thought for so long it was me and Jesus working together and now i see it's just him. grace is telling me it's all Him and NONE of Me. how painful it has been to truly believe that i can take no credit. that i must rely on Him for every.single.tiny.step.
the stirrings in my heart. they were given by him, then stirred by him, then brought to fruit by him, or even not brought to fruit by him!
it's not on me. even my response to the call is not my own. i can't even get over that thought.
the repentance and the peace that it brings are treasures. i can't stand up, i'm knocked over with grace.