Double Down

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Five years ago this week, Ryan and I doubled down. Our twins were born on 11-1-11. It wasn’t exactly a gamble on our part, but there was plenty of uncertainty to go around. We had no idea what to expect.

To be honest, if God had approached me before I got pregnant (which He didn’t) and offered me twins, I’m quite sure I would have said, “Oh, wow, that’s so nice of you to offer.” (Gotta be polite, right?!) “But I’m much more comfortable with the idea of three children. We don’t want to have four…never even considered the possibility. So, thanks, God, but no thanks.” To think that in my desire to stick in our comfort zone, I would have actually passed up such an amazing blessing. The real gamble is when we don’t put our trust in God’s plans.

But, still, uncertainty is very uncomfortable isn’t it?!

Being up in the middle of the night with two babies who didn’t sleep at the same time was uncomfortable. Doubling down definitely more than doubled the chaos and tears around our house. I couldn’t have imagined the messes, the exhaustion, or my ability to hit peaks of anger I had never seen in myself before. (And of course, I couldn’t have grasped the joys that lay ahead either.)

Most days, life feels just outside of my control. And that is just the way God wants it to be. Instead of mastering our lives and our days, God asks us to submit to the One and Only Master. EVERY day, I lose my patience. I struggle with yelling at my children. To put it simply, my kids often drive me batshit crazy (sorry).

I am not in control. I misplace my priorities regularly. I make mistakes every day.  Get this…yesterday I washed two mini iPads in the washing machine with the laundry. I kid you not. I cried. Does that sound like a mother who has everything under control?

Control is really just an illusion. For me, control is even an idol. I’m learning, very slowly, that lack of control and a bit of uncertainty in our lives is not bad.

“Our natural inclination is to be so precise– trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next– that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (April 29)

Chambers goes on to explain that the nature of a healthy spiritual life is to be “certain in our uncertainty.” Despite the fact that we are uncertain of what tomorrow may bring, we have peace in our “gracious uncertainty” because we are certain of our God.

If faith is having confidence in what we cannot see, then we must double down in the face of uncertainty. I love how Stefani Gretzinger sings in “Out of Hiding” of God’s promise to be our “lighthouse when we are at sea.” When we lean hard into this faithful God, His love beyond measure brings comfort that no amount of certainty will ever bring.

There will continue to be uncertainty ahead. There will be many dark days in all of our lives. There will be days where any sense of control has simply gone out the window.

Again, I am encouraged by music. Chris Tomlin sings of our “Good Good Father” and reminds us that our God knows what we need before we say a word. He is perfect in all of His ways. And on those hardest of days, I pray that I will listen for His tender whisper and rest in knowing that I am loved by Him. It’s who I am.

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“Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in– but you can be certain that He will come.” Oswald Chambers
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Leaning In

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Living with Uncertainty…And Seeking God’s Plan, Part 2 of 2

In Don’t Take the Boat to Tarshish, I considered how and why Jonah fled from God…and how we can personally relate.  Jonah was directed by God to go to a new place, and that kind of calling can be daunting to me.  Jonah set a pretty good example of ‘what not to do’ in seeking God’s plan during times of uncertainty.  In an interesting twist of mercy, after hearing Jonah’s prayers and cries of distress, God made the whale ‘vomit’ Jonah onto dry land.  You know you’ve had a bad day when the best thing that happens to you is that a fish vomited you up.

Uncertainty can hang like a clouded haze over the future.  Anxiety and fears can overwhelm me.  But allowing anxiety about the future to take root in our hearts robs us of the joy in the now.  I write these words, not to tell you that I have conquered anxiety and doubt, but as a reminder to myself.  Fear is not from God.  Instead, God promises to be with us and grant us peace.  He asks us to put our hope in Him – to lean in just a bit more.  And in the midst of hope, He can provide strength to our feeble hearts. “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” –Psalm 31:24

As I continue to wonder about God’s plan for our family, I am thankful for our good health and the love of amazingly supportive family and friends.  These blessings, I will never take for granted.  But the uncertainty and possibility of moving away from our lives here in Santa Fe does bring me sadness.  I am tempted to be a Jonah and seek my own desires above God’s leading.  But then, I am reminded of another well-known figure in the Bible.  Joshua provided a better example for us to follow.  God told Joshua, “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“God originally spoke these words to Joshua (Moses’ successor as leader of the Israelites) while presenting him with a new opportunity.  Joshua’s assignment was to lead more than two million people into a strange new land, claiming it as their promised territory…What if Joshua had allowed the unknown to keep him from saying yes to God?  What if he gave insecurity and doubt permission to keep him firmly within his comfort zone?  Joshua would have missed out on the blessings.  He would have missed his calling in life.  He would have missed the adventure with God.” – Leah DiPascal

Gosh, Joshua was called to lead more than two million people to an unknown land. If we leave Santa Fe, we’ll only be leading 4 young (and extremely flexible) young children to a new place within our own country. Just like Joshua, we can’t allow fear of the unknown to keep us from saying yes to God.  God’s command to Joshua to be strong and courageous doesn’t end there either. God’s commands are not empty.  God goes on to assure Joshua that the LORD our God is with us wherever we go. And from Psalm 31:24 quoted above, we are reminded this same God provides strength in our hearts as we face uncertainty and are placed in new circumstances.  Another promise I am grateful for.

Where in your life do you need to rely on God more?  Would your heart feel stronger if you put your hope in God and leaned in a bit more?  Mine would.  More than 100 times in the scriptures, God commands us to not be afraid.  I think He’s made His point.  But will we take Him up on the offer?  I need to take a bit of my own advice from Taking Up Too Much Space and remember that there is much to be learned when we step out of our comfort zone like Joshua did.  Perhaps, God is calling our family to learn that lesson again.  If not, He’s got my attention…and I’m leaning in.