Trusting I AM
Trusting I AM
“YOU DON’T COMBAT DOUBT WITH CONTRAST. YOU COMBAT IT WITH THE TRUTH”
You guys… I wish, with everything in me, that I could take credit for this idea! The only thing I can take credit for is having impeccable taste in friends (shout out to all my girls!) because this came from a very wise girlfriend of mine named Amy. She said this to me as I was falling apart on her couch; the mommy in me crumbling under the weight of fear of depriving my children of all the incredible things I knew Plano has to offer my growing girls. It was so unlike me to just LOSE IT like this.
When Jordan and I decided that it was finally time to make the move to New York. I kept waiting to feel that euphoria that I’d always assumed I’d feel. I mean, I’m a musical theater major! This is the city I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. This is the city that I wanted to be in so badly that I broke up with the man that I loved so I could put myself in the best possible position to end up in that incredible city! So why weren’t feelings of absolute jubilation hitting me today? I didn’t feel like calling all of my friends and squealing like a high school girl! I didn’t feel like starting the gigantic task of purging all of my stuff and getting ready to sell my house. I didn’t feel like brushing off the dust from my vocal book in preparation for audition season. I felt nothing like I thought I’d feel. I felt fear, anxiety, stress, tension… I felt like every muscle in my whole body was wracked with tension. I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
I was sitting in a home that I absolutely adored. It was basically my dream home. It wasn’t really extravagant, but it was perfect for us. It had just enough space for people to feel like we all had “our space” without feeling like we could hide from each other. I loved my home. I would sit in the house the days following our decision and just sit….quietly. This was my safe space. How could I leave this perfect place? I love it here.
Whenever I would visit New York, I felt like I belonged there. It truly felt like home, but I’d never lived there. How could I be sure? How could I be sure that my kids would thrive there? How could I be sure that I could give them a life like the life they would be afforded in Plano? How could I be sure the schools would be good or they wouldn’t hate sharing a room? How would they handle not having a backyard with a big swing set they can run through, jump off of, and fly through the air by? How did I know I could stand having them attached to me without that backyard or the huge game room?? Am I ready for that? Am I a good enough mom for that? Do I have enough patience, humility, grace and kindness for this adventure? Am I doing the right thing for my children? All of these thoughts went racing through my head in that one decision.
Every time I mentioned a slight concern about what we were giving up (which I tried not to do often because I knew that we were following the Lord), the response was always about what we were getting. I’m getting the opportunity to raise my children in an incredible place! You never had to sell me on how amazing this city was. I had fallen in love with it the first time I stepped off the plane in LaGuardia when I was 16 years old. I knew the city was amazing. I knew in my head that there were women that raised children in the city…and loved it. I had sat with women that I loved and respected who were doing it and told me that they would have it no other way. I knew in my head that it was going to be great for them. They wouldn’t have all the comforts of Plano living…and that, on one hand, made me sad because who doesn’t want to give their children every comfort and luxury they can?? But on the other hand, I was so glad that they wouldn’t have it so easy. I was excited to see the character that would develop out of them and me through figuring all of this out together! But none of those reasons made me feel any better. I still felt this sense of uncertainty and anxiety.
When talking with the church, we knew we had heard from the Lord. He very clearly said, “It’s time”. That’s what I kept hearing over and over, “It’s time”. I was so excited to hear Him so clearly. I am not someone who is able to brag about hearing His voice as often as I would like, but I knew I had heard it this time. It didn’t sound just like my voice in my head… it was deeper, softer, and came from somewhere else. It was so beautiful. And I only got two words… I’ll take it. But that had been months ago. When I thought about the move now, I was still left with anxiety. I would cry out to God for more answers! MORE CLARITY, LORD PLEASE! I’d beg Him for more assurance. A sign that we were doing the right thing! But nothing ever came.
Jordan and I prayed, talked, went back and forth on the decision so many times. It seemed like daily we’d change what we thought we should do. Until we had kind of run out the clock. We had come to the final “checkpoint”. We had met everyone we needed to meet. We had endless phone conversations, asked every question, seen every aspect of the church, prayed without ceasing and we needed to make a decision. I would fall on my knees in my closet and pray. I would pray in the car after dropping the kids off. I became so angry with God. WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME? WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME? I studied the lives of David and Job when they cried out to God for an audience with Him. Why would He leave me with so much confusion? I know that that was not from Him. I knew I could cut through the chaos with a word from Him but I heard nothing…I felt abandoned. I felt like He continued through life without me.
I called a woman that I have incredible respect for. I told her through tears about what my heart was struggling with and she told me a story:
A woman had a dream that she couldn’t interpret. She brought it to her mentor to see if she could help. There were three women crying on their knees. They were clearly in severe distress. Jesus went to the first woman. He knelt down with her, wrapped her in His arms and spoke words of compassion and guidance to her. Then got up and continued walking. He went to the second woman, and seeing her distress, gently placed His hand on her head, and stroked her hair in comfort. Then continued walking. When He reached the third woman, who was now wailing in distress, He simply walked near and past her.
The mentor asked the woman, “What do you think it means?”. The woman said, “I don’t know. All I know is I felt such pity for the third woman. Jesus must have had an incredible love for the first and apathy for the third. Why doesn’t He love her the same? What did she do?” The mentor smiled and said, “I think Jesus loves them all the same, but He knew what each woman needed. The first, maybe young in her faith, needed that extravagant affirmation and attention in order to be prompted to follow Jesus. Maybe she hadn’t walked with Jesus long enough to know His voice, and so needed His embrace. The second, maybe maturing, needed a little nudge. Just a tender reminder that her Savior was there before she could muster the courage she needed to stand in her strife and follow. The third woman had garnered so much respect from the Lord that He knew all He needed to do was cover her in His shadow and she would know to follow Him.”
I fell apart. Could it be that when heaven goes silent, it’s because it’s our move? Could it be that God had already given all the instruction that I needed to accomplish the next step of His will and now all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and remain in the shadow of the Almighty God? Could it be that His silence was not out of anger but out of love and even respect? All of my fears of “Can I do this? Is this what’s best for my children?” All of my insecurities about HOW to do this…. weren’t nearly as important.
I was studying the lives of David and Job, but God showed me Moses. When God invited Moses to intimacy with Him at the burning bush, He charged him with a job. A job that would cause him discomfort and challenge him through change. Moses HEARD the audible voice of God and still his head was immediately filled with doubts.
“Who am I”. Is that not what we always do? “Who am I?” How can I do such a thing? The answer is so obvious. No. I can’t, but the response God gave Moses is the same that we need now. “I Am”. I CANNOT DO THIS. I cannot uproot my family from their very comfortable existence and endless luxuries and move them to a hard place. “I AM”. I can’t go to a place where I don’t even know HOW to grocery shop or do laundry.”I AM”. I can’t go to a place that is so hardened to hearing the Word. “IAM”. I can’t go to a place filled with people who don’t recognize their need for a savior! “I AM” I can’t do it! But He can.
It is amazing to me who God uses to speak into your life. I was searching the scripture for a word through someone else who hadn’t heard from God. Someone else who had experienced the silence of God and see how they got back into communication and intimacy with Him. I thought there must be a reason that God was not speaking to me and that He would show me the way to get back into good graces with Him! Surely, there would be a to-do list in Proverbs or something. But God directed me to a man, not who DIDN’T hear from Him, but one who did. And not in a soft whisper, but in a booming loud voice! He didn’t direct me to a time when God was silent because my situation is not about the silence of God, but about an action that I had been called to…a job I had been given. David and Job’s situation was not the truth I needed to be reminded of. I needed to be reminded to trust and obey. Remember that old hymn?
Trust and Obey
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
About a month later, I was trying my hardest to live out this truth. I wasn’t really praying as much as just taking an exacerbated breath and said to God, “Give me peace Lord.” And then there it was…. “Follow Me.” It wasn’t as clear as before, and I honestly cannot tell you if it was for sure Him or my brain bringing back to mind the story I was told about the three women. That story had so affected me in a powerful way that I had not been able to keep it far from my mind ever since I had heard it. But either way, it was truth. And either way, it brought me peace.
You see, when God told Moses to go and rescue His people, it wasn’t because of how incredible, equipped, talented and amazing Moses was. Moses was an outed slave by birth who had been ostracized due to a committed murder. But He was called by the I AM
and the I AM would get the job done.
Who knows what New York has in store for me and my girls, but I do know that, as harsh as it sounds, it’s better for us than what would be here for my family. That’s not because Plano is any less, but because what God has for us is not here. So, no matter what anxiety I may have, I know that what’s best for my kids is in Manhattan. Because I AM will get the job done.
My kids are going to be great. I am going to be great. Not that everything is going to be great at all times, but the best place for my kids isn’t Plano… because God told us to go to New York. The answer to obtaining peace in the midst of a time of doubt and uncertainty is not to make a pros and cons list of what you are losing and what you are getting. It is to acknowledge the I AM and live in the truth of His voice. Did He speak? Did you move? If so, find rest. If not, start walking. I’m taking my first steps….