Now that I’m an adult (I just turned 30) there’re lots of things I have to do and responsibilities I have to accomplish, that I don’t really want to do or accomplish: go to my kids’ school events, pay bills, submit to my husband, get up in the morning, be civil. I view these things, and similar ones, as normal adult responsibilities that you just have to deal with and get over yourself, right?
But what happens when God asks you to do something you just… don’t…want…to…do?
What happens when God asks you to do something BIG, life-changing, and soul-sanctifying??
Well, welcome to my world. God has asked me to make numerous life-changing decisions. Some I’ve done willingly, most I’ve done kicking and screaming.
- The first was when He prepared me to wait and then marry my husband. I was all set up to go to a nearby college, and I was ecstatic about it! I was totally comfortable not being married ever! I was raised to be self-sufficient and was proud of my independence! I didn’t need a man! And then God used the book Experiencing God to throw my life plans off course. Through that book, I felt a supernatural calling to wait to go to college. I thought I was crazy! And then 6 months later I was married. And it is still the best decision I’ve ever made!
- Then He asked me to move across the country: from dirt-road comfort of Arizona to the turnpike thruway of Philadelphia. I had only been married 10 months, and I was only 21. And He asked me to transport my life to a strange land, with no support system, no friends, and no job, giving up my close-knit family and any church I had ever known. And it was hard. So hard. And I was terrified to do it, but I knew I had to obey.
- Then He asked me to be a mom. When we unexpectedly got pregnant, it rocked my world, and not necessarily in a good way. I knew, confidently, what it took to be a mom and I didn’t want to be one. It was selfish and I was ok with that. I liked my freedom and independence, plans, schedule, sleep, body and I did not want to give that up. Right after I found out, I went to my front yard, and cried out to God. I cried in anger, and confusion, and fear, and unpredictability. “You said you would take care of us and now we’re pregnant. What are we going to do now?!” Very soon after that, my husband got hired at our new church, where we built our life for the next 7 years. Over the course of my pregnancy, bags of baby clothes showed up at our door step. Now my daughter is 7-years-old and I am happy to say I am a completely different person than I was when I found out I was pregnant. God used (and continues to use) this child to conform me into the image of His son. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, being a mom. And yet I’m so astounded at how God cares for me and all my emotions through the journey that is motherhood.
- Then He asked me to put aside my dream of a career on the mission field. That was all my heart desired: to build sustainable housing and irrigation systems in Africa. When we got pregnant, I gave that up. My husband and I decided it was easiest and best for the family for me to take a break from school to work part-time waitressing and stay home, so that my husband could finish his degree and work part-time at our church. I did that for 7 years. God asked me to lay aside my wants and needs to support my family. I waitressed, long into the night, long into the years, so that my husband could finish school and my kids could have a backyard they loved, in a house they could grow up in.
- Then He asked me to move again. We had spent seven years in our suburban Philadelphia church. They loved, supported, saw me through, and prayed for me during 2 children, my twenties, shifting theologically from Baptist tradition to Presbyterian tradition, and from my first year of marriage to my ninth; a church my kids were born in and grew up in. He asked me to move away from all that support I had built, from a job I loved (first waitressing job I actually liked), from friends, neighbors, co-workers, and adoptive-family I had shared life with. Needless to say there were countless tears on my last day.
So my husband and I and our two young daughters moved to New York’s Hudson Valley. On a complete leap of faith, excited and scared, we had no job or career, no friends, no local support system, and I couldn’t even find a waitressing job that was working for us. I lost 3 jobs in 4 months! It was crazy, to say the least.
Six months after we moved, I remember having a really long talk with God. I was honest with Him, like Job was. My husband and I were scared we had made the wrong choice. It was a leap of faith after all, can’t those things go wrong? So my husband and I pleaded with God for many weeks. We pleaded with Him to show Himself faithful and true to His word. We asked Him to take care of us, to prove to us that we had made the right choice. After all, we had uprooted our entire life, everything we knew and everyone we loved, for this move.
Then the confirmations came. I received a call with an offer for my dream job: to work at a pro-life pregnancy center as an advocate, working with the girls, dealing with unplanned pregnancies. Then my husband received an official job title and salary for the church we were attending. Then gospel-loving moms started connecting with me, and asking me on play dates. Then I started connecting with some older women who could shepherd me. Then we made some genuine connections with other families that love Jesus. Then we had a couple of people offer to babysit our girls so we could go on dates.
Then all of a sudden, we were here. Without much doing on our part, within a few weeks, I had a career I was super excited about, my husband had a job and co-workers he loved, our kids had other kids their age with families that loved Jesus and fought for His Kingdom.
I was humbled, and I was grateful. We felt loved and cared for by the God who asks us to do crazy things. A few verses rolled around in my head through this journey. We sat for 3 days with $11 to our name. As stressful as that was, God’s word says He will take care of us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25 & 32)
I can’t speak for all leaps of faith. I can only speak for mine. God has graciously and supernaturally cared for not only my emotions and feelings of inadequacy in motherhood and being a pastor’s wife, but for our family’s financial and spiritual needs.
Through this journey that He has called me to, I have had honest conversations with Him. Every emotion I have felt, I laid out in my prayers, knowing that this God who created me and knows me, can handle it. Through this journey I’ve had to assess my own feelings after spending a few seasons of feeling ignored, written off, and used for others’ gratification.
I’m sure those seasons will come again. Currently, I feel humbled He would create me and build me and mold me into this new job position I have at the pregnancy center. I feel grateful that He would give us a true village up here in the Hudson valley, just like I imagined. And I am confident He will shepherd me through spiritual shifts and schedule shifts that will come.
As hard as all those decisions were to make, God made Himself known. He reminded me that He alone is the source for all satisfaction. He taught me that waiting usually means He has something really good down the road. And He’s helped me remember that I, too, am made for building His Kingdom.
So after all, Jesus loves me. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
When has God asked you to do hard things?
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Thank you, Erin, for sharing. What a journey it has been -and will continue to be. Continue to Follow Him.