I am in the middle.
It’s a story that feels so vulnerable to share. Not because I don’t trust that God will be faithful to us. I have no doubt that 20 years from now, I will look back with utter amazement at how God worked so perfectly, so precisely.
But right now, I’m still walking the middle. I’m leaning on God’s promises, wading through the questions and the wait and the wondering.
That is where God calls us. To the deep. To cast off from shore altogether and fully trust Him where we can’t stand on our own.
That’s what God asked of me several years ago. To let go. To relinquish and trust Him. Maybe God is wooing you to trust Him. It may be in something completely different from the kind of trust that God asked of me, but sharing our stories encourages our faith.
Or maybe you’re in the middle of your own story – trudging through the questions and the wait and the wondering. You know God is good — you’ve sung it, you’ve even proclaimed it — but the dust of reality is making it hard to keep propping your faith up.
This is for us. Because faith lives in the middle. But first I need to start with some background.
I was in our long hallway with an armload of dirty clothes headed to the laundry room at the other end of the house. It was an ordinary, almost thoughtless chore on a most mundane day.
If I didn’t mean for women to have children after 30, I wouldn’t have made them able to.
The noiseless words invaded my thoughts with crystal clarity.
I already had five children. Dan had wanted two and was perfectly satisfied after our first boy and then girl was born. I thought three was a perfect number and after promising Dan that a third child wouldn’t forever prevent him from going fishing or hunting, we agreed not to do anything permanent. (As it turned out, Dan did do lots of fishing and hunting and loved nothing more than to take his kids along with him.)
We got pregnant with our third child a little sooner than we’d expected, but we were thrilled to be expecting. I’d been working as an attorney but had slowly been able to cut back my hours so that I was working only two days a week by the time our third was born.
Life was going just as I’d planned it. I’d wanted to have three children close in age by the time I turned 30. No children after 30 was for some reason my self-imposed directive and I mentally checked that box off. I could now forecast my next two decades: I’d raise kids and work part-time while they were in school.
And then I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child.
Our surprise was quickly replaced with excitement but this meant even more change for our family. It felt like we were now in the large family category. We needed a new vehicle. Juggling a baby, nanny, preschool and two careers became too complicated and so we took a huge leap of faith as I quit working altogether to stay home. We slashed our budget and got used to the new rhythm of four little ones.
Until we found out I was pregnant with our fifth.
Wow. We were two over our dream-size family. Our three bedroom ranch felt full. We were the largest family I knew and the doctor was writing words like multigravida on my chart.
And while we were in love with every one of our children, we were done. I’m sure, I told the obstetrician when he asked, emphasizing to me that this would be permanent.
My heart and hands were full. Overfull on most days. So a few hours after delivering our fifth, I was wheeled into the OR for a tubal ligation.
I had zero regrets. I was too busy with four little boys and a beautiful little girl all seven years old and under. My original plan had been thwarted with two bonus babies but I loved being mommy to them. I was deeply satisfied. Good one, God. Our blessings overflowed. But we’d ensured there would be no more surprises.
* * *
I’ll push pause on this story here for today and pick it back up on Thursday.
ETA: You can read Part 2 here.
If you’d like to know when new posts are up, you can subscribe here and I’ll send a free downloadable gift to you.
Charity Angya says
Your story is running so close to mine, I can’t believe I am not the only one hanging in the middle and not too sure how all this is going to work out. But I believe that God is faithful . I can see His hand in my coming across your story.
K. Ann Guinn says
I look forward to finishing your story (at least for now), on Thursday! I too feel “in the middle” right now, especially when it comes to outside work, although my story is much less traumatic than yours. I’ve been trying to figure out what my purpose is in this next life season, especially over the past two years since I was no longer needed at my teacher’s aide job of ten years at a local Christian private school. It’s been a blessing in disguise mostly, giving us the push we needed for me to work part-time (rather than full-time), and be home more.
I’ve also been able to start a blog and that continues to be important to me. But the pleasant, part-time jobs I’ve done in these past couple of years, keep ending for one reason or another after just a few months. I just finished work at a farm this summer, which was very refreshing, but once again find myself in that foggy place of unclear direction for work.
I just know that the things that are most important to me are not in the outside workforce, but right where they always have been, here under the roof of our modest but comfortable home, and being involved in our growing church, helping others to know God more.
Lord, help us be faithful in the middle.
I, too, am in my own “middle.” We all have them, I suppose, only to differing degrees. Or maybe each “middle” feels overwhelming and heavy at times in its own individual ways. So these “middles” are the same, but different. 😉
Mine is hard for many reasons, one of which is due to the fact that I simply can’t share it broadly. I can allude to it in my own blog posts or share the lessons learned, but I cannot make it known apart from to a very few people. Particularly since I am in a “ministry marriage.” Sometimes I think if this were a terminal disease or a prodigal child, I could be so open about it. But my load to carry is just more private–and I’m the kind of person who really likes self-revelation.
But the growth that comes from this is probably growth I wouldn’t have experienced through any other avenue. Which Jesus knows…I can see it in my life after all these years, and I am genuinely thankful.
Sarah Koontz says
Can’t wait to read more….
Tiffany Parry says
Oh, the middle. Yes – I know it well. I think it’s the “ends” and being able to look back and track God’s faithfulness that girds our faith, helps us lift our heads, and get through one more middle. He is a good Father and He promises to get us to the other side. Can’t wait to read more, friend. xo
Tonja Thompson says
Thank you so much for this story. As I read it, I realized that I too, am in the middle. I’m a divorced mother of 3 adult kids, Registered nurse and doctoral student who has experienced heartbreak from ending a relationship 10 months ago. I’m currently working on an empowerment book project in which I’m co-authoring with 11 other wonderful women in telling our stories to Empowered others. I also have two more books in my heart that I’ve begun and want to complete. I’m in the middle of figuring out what God’s plan is for my life as I seek Him daily about it. I also have a vision of starting a nurses’ retreat for nurses, such as myself, who are burned out in the field entitled Angel’s Heart- A place for those with healing hands and hearts. I can’t wait to read the rest of your story. In the meantime, I’ll praise God while I’m in the middle. God bless you!
Looking forward to reading more!
Kristi Woods says
Oh goodness, yes! I’m in one of those seasons of letting go and simply trusting. You get it, sister. I’ll saunter over to part 2, although I think we’ve discussed where this story goes. It’s a testimony to God, and that’s never tiring. Please keep pressing forward in trust and faith. He’s doing beautiful things in and through you, displaying His glory more each day.