If you read my blog post last week, you know that I had to make a painful, but necessary decision to move out of my home due to a long-term, on-going addiction issue. Friends, I want to thank you for your respectfulness of our family, especially my husband and children in your comments. We are ever so grateful for your prayers.
Do you remember that scene at the beginning of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy gets hit in the head by a piece of wood and she wakes up in the middle of a tornado? There she is sitting on her bed, flying through the air and watching parts of her life fly by the window. Dorothy can’t do anything in that moment but watch and go with the uncontrollable flow.
This is a pretty apt description of my life.
Like the rotating wind in a tornado, my life is spinning real fast. Storms are uncontrollable and scary. Not only that, but they can cause a lot of damage! Last week, a small tornado struck the town next to me. A Facebook video showed a SUV sitting in a parking lot minding its own business before high winds whisked it away from its former place. Likewise, much of what I’ve known, loved, protected, wished for, or dreamed about feels swept up and away. I see everything and everyone moving around me, but much of my life is out of place. Each day I wonder when and how things will land. I wonder what will be left when the fierce winds die down…
What will survive the storm undamaged?
What treasures will be broken, but salvageable?
What will be mourned, swept up and thrown away?
The past six weeks have been pretty rough and painfully raw. However, the reality is that this crisis has been going on for a long time. It’s become a form of normal that I’d never wish on anyone. We’ve broken and been put back together at other times. So many times I’ve wondered how much could one relationship endure? For the past year, I feared another separation. I wonder if the third time will be the charm or if we’re looking at three strikes and we’re out. I don’t know.
If we jump out of my story for a moment, I’ve heard from so many of you. Wow. There’s a large and silent community of spouses whispering another form of “me, too.” In the middle of my tornado, I’ve felt an instant connection of new friends who understand the tension between the need to speak a painful truth while trying to protect the privacy of kids and struggling spouses. I’m so proud of each of you that shared your story with me and I’m praying for each and every one of you!
Then, I received a few emails from individuals who struggled on and off with alcohol addiction. They wrote to say that they needed to recommit to recovery and they asked me to pray for their families. Wow. Just wow.
God is always at work. Even in my crazy, swirling, unpredictable tornado.
One of the questions that I’m asked is “How do you get through this?” I like this question so much more than “How are you doing?” I don’t have an answer for that question because too much has happened. But, I do have an answer for the first question: Let God lead and the answers will come.
Letting God lead is the necessary cure for anyone that struggles with patience. Like me. Anyone else struggle with patience?
In my blog last week, I mentioned that I would share some of the mistakes that I’ve made. Impatience caused many mistakes and much heartache. Years ago, I pulled together a poorly-planned family intervention to force my husband into recovery. I was tired of hurting, so I decided that it was time to “fix” him. It was a disaster because I got in a hurry and pushed an agenda that God wasn’t in charge of. Yes, I prayed about the intervention, but I didn’t let God lead the timing. I made myself in charge of that.
When we don’t let God lead our plans, then our plans often lead us toward an outcome that we don’t want. In my case, Fear plus impatience equaled disaster.
Can you think of a few times when you struggled to let God lead and ended up with a disaster? Any of these resonate with you?
Your dream guy isn’t proposing fast enough so you compromise your standards in order to keep him….
You find a just-over-the budget dream home, but panic because you’re afraid of not getting it so you take out a hefty loan that keeps you up at night…
Your spouse is struggling or not getting with your program so you resort to nagging or lecturing to pressure him straighten up his wayward behavior.
It’s been said that while the early bird gets the worm, it’s the second mouse gets the cheese. Don’t jump too quick for something that God isn’t ready to give you.
How do we let God lead?
I love the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River before they entered the Promised Land (Joshua 3). God told Joshua to instruct the millions of Israelites to let the ark of the covenant start out toward the river before them. Joshua told the people to keep a half-mile distance or a 15-minute walk between themselves and the ark. Since the ark was the physical presence of God, the big picture principle behind command to stand back was this: Let God lead.
For me, this distance is also symbolic. Sometimes we get in a hurry when we’re trying to get something done. We pray and ask God for help or favor. At first, we try to be patient. But when God’s taking too long to get us what we want, we rush ahead into the unknown just because we’re too scared to stand still. But there was a reason why God told the people to wait for the ark to lead. “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” (Joshua 3:4 NIV).
When life is uncertain, this is the most important time to slow down and let God lead. Let’s be honest, when you don’t really know what you’re doing or where you’re going, there’s a greater chance that you’ll mess up or hurt others figuring things out. But, God knows exactly what He is doing in your life at all times! There are no dark corners in God’s vision. He will always lead you to His best for you.
What’s a clue that you’re rushing ahead of God? You know that you’re rushing ahead of God when you start stressing out, controlling people and worrying about details. When you wait on God to lead you through uncertain times, you ‘re far enough back to let God pave the way for you.
Learning to be patient and let God lead is a hard lesson. But every time I let go and let God, He shows up and leads me through uncertainty in a way that allows me to sleep well each night and manage through tough days with peace, strength and courage.
Eight months ago, we were all feeling tremendous pain and strain from an addiction that was advancing and not retreating. I began praying for direction. I stayed put and waited for God to reveal an answer. Six months ago, an event occurred and I heard a clear whisper in my heart that it was time. It wasn’t time to move in that moment, but time to begin the process. First, I sat down with my husband and let him know. I asked him again to pursue recovery because we didn’t want to leave. As the months unfolded without any change, I kept praying, wiping many tears and starting to prepare for what I’d hoped wouldn’t need to come.
But it did. So, I let God lead even though I didn’t want to go.
It was amazing how God dropped the details into place. An affordable and ideally located place to live opened up. As a bonus, the apartment was owned by a friend. The timing of the move left room for my girls and I to settle in and to grieve before getting back to work. By letting God lead, I didn’t have to force a single solution. He provided what needed, even in the middle of what seemed like chaos to me.
Letting God move means that we learn to wait on Him. Even when our lives feel like a tornado or we stuck in a season of uncertainty, we wait. God likes to make us wait so that we can watch Him move miraculously in our favor.
LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you struggle with letting God lead? When do you get impatient and want to rush ahead of God?