A couple of weeks ago, my family, sans my husband this year, traveled to Missouri for our annual church-building mission trip. I thought myself to be very fortunate because I was the lucky one -- out of the 120 crew members on the trip, my three little kids and I got to skip the agony of sleeping on leaky air mattresses and got to stay in a small camper that one of the local church members had lent out for our use.
And it was good. All the ladies complained of freezing at night -- I controlled my own air. I got to sleep on a real mattress. I did have to traipse inside to take a shower since there was no hot water, but that was no biggie.
Then the last night of the trip came, and with it, a mighty thunderstorm. The gusty wind woke me up about one in the morning, and I lay in the bed watching the lightning flash outside the windows. I listened to the thunder. I felt the wind pushing the trailer's side. I kept hearing this slicing whistle of a wind that really freaked me out --- I later realized it was a train that had stopped on the track just across the street. My three little ones snoozed as I rocked in the wind.
And then, as my mama's mind often does, I started to plot out what to do if things got really bad. I started walking myself through "my plan" of how to get the kids out of the trailer and into the main building. This was a feat that would have forced me to leave little ones alone and get drenched in the process. I couldn't really come up with a great plan and wasn't so sure that I even needed to get us out. I finally decided that since I had to be up at 4:30 to prepare breakfast for everyone, I really needed to just get some sleep.
So I prayed. I told God that I just needed him to give me peace and rest. And he did. The next thing I knew, my alarm was beeping for me to get up, and things were clear outside.
I was never in the danger that I felt I was in. But my control freak tendencies took over, and I started to obsess about the "what if's" like I often do in life. In the dark of the night, when I felt that I didn't have much control at all, it was easy to let go and let God take the reins.
I have two favorite Bible verses:
Jeremiah 29:11 > "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Philippians 4:13 > "I can do everything through Him who give me strength."
These are my life rafts. When life veers out of control, and I can't see the upside, I cling to these words to remember that God is with me. Just as He was in that tiny camper. But not only is He with me, He was there before I ever get myself into sticky messes, and if I allow His plan to come to fruition (rather than trying to change it myself), He will walk me through it on a path that will make me a stronger person.
But what about when the storms of life become more figurative?
What about when there is conflict that I just don't know how to solve?
What about when I can't quiet my mind to stop and listen to what God is trying to tell me to do?
The winds of these storms are blowing in me now. There are some things that I have been praying fervently for all summer, but now that I see how God's will is panning out, I don't know if I'm strong enough to accept His will.
I've been here before... I prayed and prayed for something, those prayers were answered, and the path that the answers came on were slippery at best. I remember kneeling on my son's floor and crying out, "Really God? THIS is how you answered me?"
So there's this knot in my chest. This "something" that won't release me. I have spent hours on the phone or huddled in the hallway at church with several of my dear friends trying to find the light at the end of the foggy tunnel. And I'm split. I know what I think I should do, but it's becoming pretty clear to me, that what I think I should do may not be what God is telling me to do. And for me, this is where the thunder and lightning strike up. I very well believe that God may be about to make me walk on a slick, messy, muddy path that is going to make me quite uncomfortable.
And I wonder.... will I weather this storm?