I stood on the threshold of her kitchen and said again how I feel like the trial of this year is the same one we’ve gone through five times before. And it’s getting exhausting.
A few days later, I was standing, hands all sudsy in my own kitchen sink, glancing over a text from her, completely unrelated, but it pointed my mind back toward that night.
"How many times have we gone through this, really?” I wondered to myself.
And I began to count backward.
…right now, new business still too new to fully support our family which is growing by one...
…this past summer, starting a new business…
…two summers ago, quitting my husbands part time job two weeks before our son was born…
…the year before that, starting a different business one month before we found out I was pregnant…
…and the year before that, moving across the country with no jobs and no home and only the knowledge that this was where God wanted us…
…and again, the year before that, getting married one week out of college and trying to get a job and a home before graduation...
…finally, ten months prior to our wedding day…the frustration and fear…kneeling on the floor of my parents living room…the phone call…that overwhelming awe at God’s answer, His provision…
And as I counted back, I hesitated to count those earliest two memories. They seemed so simple, so small compared to where we are today. Even the move to Florida seemed almost too small for the list. But that thought, from a reasonable perspective is laughable. Of course they count! They just feel small now, compared to the depths God has brought us to.
That first memory, the memory of that day Travis called from college, down to just a few dollars in his bank account due to a shiny new ring on my finger, to tell me that none of his references were returning her call and she never hires without references, was burning into my mind. I remember so plainly the fear and frustration I felt. Even more plainly, I remember kneeling down in front of my parents brown leather couch to pray, pouring out my heart and frustration, begging God to work.
I hadn’t yet finished when my phone rang again. While I was still on my knees, she had called him back and hired him, against her own policy, without any references.
I was shocked. I was awed.
That God would answer so quickly and completely, amazed me. I was ecstatic.
And the memory of that day burned strong as my hand swirled a soapy dishcloth across sticky plates and silverware. But something else burned strong in my mind along with the memory: awe and gratitude.
Because there is a pattern to our lives that we would be foolish to overlook. There is a theme to the how and what and where God is taking us. And as that memory from six years ago played again and again in my mind, I realized how deeply kind God is.
The stakes were so small back then. The real risk we were facing was so little, but in that moment it felt like our whole world.
Now, over six years, one move, and one child and one-on-the-way later, the stakes seem so much higher. The risks of following God, the risks of obeying, feel so much greater.
But the truth is, God power is the same today as it was six years ago.
His grace and provision is just much at work on our behalf today as it was that day kneeling in front of the brown couch.
And the often repeated saying echos in my mind.
"God will not guide where He will not provide."
He will not take us somewhere that He will not take us through.
He will not call us to a task that He will not provide the ability for us to accomplish.
He will not direct us to a place where He will not be with us.
He will not call us to a mission that He will not empower us for.
He is not going to leave us alone or stranded or hopeless. He is not going to forget us or abandon us or fail us.
Even when it feels like we are running in circles or spinning our wheels or hopelessly stuck, He knows. He is with us. He will provide.
He knows. He is with us. He will provide.
And yet, in all this I must remember...
He cares as much about the process as He does the destination.
To get me from A to C, He might not go through B. He might take me up and around and off to the side and what feels like backward for a long while, because what He desires to accomplish in and through me along the way is just as important to Him as the final destination.
Let me say that again. Because, oh! My own heart needs this reminder so often.
What He desires to accomplish in and through me along the way is just as important to Him as the final destination.
As I look back on the past six and some years, I realize how very tenderly gracious He has been.
He has taken me through the same set of fears, the same struggle to trust, the same hard spot in life, over and over again, not to prepare me for some ultimate test, but rather to draw me closer and closer to Him.
He keeps allowing the stakes to rise, the situations to feel more desperate, so that each time, my faith is stretched a little further and I learn to rest my hope on Him a little more fully.