About two weeks ago, Andy came home on a Friday night with take-out from our favorite taco place and some news. The tacos were good. The news wasn't.
In my last blog post, I mentioned that we were asking God to protect Andy's job. As the gas prices drop, the companies in the industry cut jobs. God said no to our prayer. Andy was let go, along with some other employees at his company.
When Andy told me, I was lying back on the sofa, my feet extended and my back on a heating pad, standard after-school position these days. When I lay like this, Story (that's our baby girl's name- Story Lamm. Lamm is a name that belongs to my maternal grandmother's family) likes to kick me in the stomach. It was the oddest sensation- my husband telling me that his job was over, while my baby created tiny pulsations that could be seen through my t-shirt. I thought to myself, "These things should not be happening at the same time."
Andy went through something sort of similar a few years back, and I did not respond well. Fear filled me and, at that time in my life, fear worked in tandem with anger. I was, shall we say, less than supportive when I heard that news. But God works slowly and beautifully, does He not? Even though there is much more at stake now than there was then, my thoughts went straight to Scripture- and then health insurance- and then back to Scripture again. Don't get me wrong, we didn't get up and dance a jig over this news. It hit both of us hard, but rather than fear taking over and worry taking root, we fought it by reading through the Psalms, focusing together on God's character and His promises to take care of what is His.
As the days have passed, God has kept me from despair and anger, but I'd be lying if I wrote that this is a breeze. There are a lot of variables in a time when I didn't want any. I like stability, predictability- I like that for myself, and I definitely liked that for Story. Bringing a baby into the world is unpredictable as it is, and there is this innate desire to control all other variables as much as possible, to help that transition happen as smoothly as possible. I'd like that, but God has other plans.
There are moments when I really dislike that He has other plans. Seems that it would have been a good idea to just keep everything status quo and let Andy and I bring Story into the world before shaking up the stability in our lives. The stripping away of dreams is never something that people desire for their own lives, even if we know that's what God uses sometimes, to make us grow. Take Story's nursery, for instance. I had this plan to use this week- Spring Break- to put it all together. My mom had a shower for me back in February and my aunt and uncle were going to bring my things down here this week. I was going to have the time off to spruce and primp and I had this vision of me sitting in there, by the end of this week, contentedly contemplating how, in only a few months, she would be in there with me. I'd feel put together, ahead of the game, having utilized my time and energy wisely. That was a dream I had that God never did. Not only are we not sure if that room is even going to be Story's nursery, but my uncle had a major surgery last week. He is recovering well, thank the Lord, but their plans, like my plans, were not at all what God knew was going to happen.
I don't feel angry about this, but sometimes I feel sad. Mostly, I just feel like I'm at a loss. I like plans. I like to make them, I even like following them, and I love it when a plan comes together. God is like this, too, but as He makes perfectly clear in Isaiah 55:8, we're not on the same page when it comes to ways, thoughts, plans, etc. I can only see what looks good in the moment, God can see what's best in eternity. I can see what serves my purpose, my own comfort, and God can see what serves His people, His kingdom. And He's asking me, "What do you desire more, Meredith? Yours ways? Or My ways?" When I toss and turn at night, trying to solve this "problem," I'm desiring my ways. I want this to be over. I want to know where we are going. I want to know where I'll put Story down at night, and who will watch over her during the day. I want to know where our money will come from and I want to make sure that this job-loss thing doesn't keep happening to us. But then there are moments when God gives me greater clarity- when the big picture opens up before me, and I see that He is up to much more than keeping us safe and giving us stability- and I have to trust that while He's doing that, He's answering my biggest prayers for myself and for Story.
See, He has reminded me of something promised in Psalm 100:5, something that humbles me and fills me with gratitude. The verse says, "For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." God has used this verse to remind me that He is not just my God. He is the God of all generations. He is the God of the generation that kicks me when I lie down on the sofa at night. He is Story's God, and He will prove Himself faithful to her, no matter what I do, sometimes through me, sometimes in spite of me. So when Andy and I prayed and asked Him to protect Andy's job, He said "no." But what is of infinitely greater importance than that prayer? The prayer that God draw Story to Himself in His perfect timing, and to that prayer, I believe that He is already saying, "Yes." Because what better way to draw her to himself than to remind her parents of who He is, so that we don't get in the way. "Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his." Psalm 100:3
Parents mean well to provide safety, security and prosperity for their children. It's innate, it's responsible, and it's incredibly tempting to think that you know the best way to go about that. But He is good that He would gently strip away my desire to control and whisper to my heart again, "She is mine." Yes, Lord, she is. Because you have fearfully and wonderfully made her. You have fashioned her in a way that defies mathematical probability, you have knitted together body and soul, and you have a plan that stretches so much farther out than I could ever see.
So here I sit, in the sunshine of my backyard on Dijon Drive, not putting together a nursery, not sure how we'll pay our bills, not sure who will watch her during the day or where she'll put her little head down at night. But knowing this- that her God is for her, that He is determined, more than I could ever be, to show Himself faithful to this generation. Just as He showed himself faithful to me, and my mother before me, and her mother before her (the one whose name we're borrowing). I want to know the rest of it, of course I do, but to be honest, I wouldn't trade. Because I can create a nursery, anyone can, but I cannot create this experience of trusting dependence for myself and for my husband and for our daughter. I cannot eliminate my own desire to control, it must be done for me. So rather than busy my hands with my plans-the strongest, the gentlest, the most trustworthy Hands, are slowly unfolding mine. They may lie open and empty for a while, but, in His timing, He'll put something in them. And as my grip loosens and I say good-bye to my plans, I can hear Him saying- "Not your plans. My plans. " And in my heart I can respond, "Yes, Lord. For you are good. Your steadfast loves endures forever. Your faithfulness endures to all generations."