It’s a long story, but Anna’s teaching 5th grade language arts now, Eden’s getting her first taste of conventional school, and this introvert’s quiet mornings of solitude are suddenly a thing of the past. All of this wasn’t even on the radar two weeks ago. Well, maybe that isn’t totally true. We’ve toyed around with the idea of Anna going back to work next school year. But we certainly didn’t expect a mid-week phone call during lunch that would lead to significant life changes all in a few days’ time. But here we are, on another unexpected path on this adventure. I hope we didn’t make a wrong turn.
It’s understandably stressful for Anna. She’s coming in right in the middle of the year, and these next few weeks are going to be taxing while she’s trying to gain her footing. On top of that, she’s getting far less time with Eden. I’m no longer getting my quiet, slow-paced mornings before going to work, so I’m a bit frazzled and ill-tempered. And Eden? Well, after three days, she’s loving school so far. That makes things a lot better. Anna and I have these wonderful, progressive little ideals about education and learning, and we want Eden to be free to explore the world, and yada, yada, yada… And now, we’re sticking her in a conventional school! I’m so worried that her creative, curious nature will be squelched, and she won’t understand all of the arbitrary rules and expectations. But in reality, she’s just excited to be going to school like everybody else.
Still, there’s a good deal of uncertainty. Anna asks if I’m confident that this is God’s will for us. And the truth is, I’m not so sure these days that it’s even possible for me to know something like that. I’m not really hearing God on this. Maybe it’s not that He isn’t speaking. It’s just hard to hear him over the imaginary voices of people like John Holdt, Astra Taylor, and Peter Kowalke in my head, crying “sell-out, sell-out, sell-out!”
I know that at a time like this, I need to be a source of strength and stability for my family. I need to step up to the plate and make the transition as smooth as possible for Anna and Eden, and I need to provide good, strong leadership. I know that means a lot of time at the feet of Jesus.
But Jesus seems kind of obscure right now.
I mean, I know He’s there. I know He cares. But so much just doesn’t make sense to me, and I know we’re supposed to spend time in His word and in prayer, not only talking to Him but listening. But at the end of the day, I still feel like I’m sort of rolling the dice. Maybe this is what God wants. Maybe not. I honestly feel that way more and more on some of the bigger, general issues. So when it comes to the specific details of our family lives, I really feel like I’m just taking a shot in the dark.
In fact, I sometimes wonder if that’s all there is out there: darkness. Nothing. What if I’ve been fooling myself for ten years? Dreadful thoughts, I know. But nothing good will come out of pretending that they aren’t there. But then, when it comes down to it, it’s obvious. I can’t unknow God. There simply is no existence without Him.
And God is sovereign, right? He works all things together for the good of those who love Him, right? That comforts me, until I think of my lackluster love. But then I consider that God knows that I’m only dust. He’s slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. But even to those like me, who struggle to believe? Yes, even when I’m faithless, He remains faithful, because He cannot deny Himself. Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere.
This God, the Holy Trinity revealed in the Bible, is the only God with whom I’d ever stand a chance. His Word so often makes me uneasy, and I so often don’t relate to His people, and my heart rebels so much that only a God with such relentless love and such self-assured patience and grace would ever endure with me.
And He does. He isn’t afraid of my doubts or my questions, and He doesn’t get beside Himself when my faith wavers. I feel like a legitimate grownup with great intellectual prowess, analyzing and questioning like a good thinking person. But in reality, I’m just a child struggling with rebellion and refusing to acknowledge that my Father really does know best. And that’s what He is: a patient, loving Father, letting the unruly child have his little vain protest. And when I’ve exhausted myself, I suspect He’ll gently pick me up and say: “Come, let us reason together.”
With all of this going on internally, now isn’t the ideal time to be making big decisions. So maybe we did take a wrong turn. It wouldn’t be the first, and there will be many more to come. But even if we did, we’re still going to end up at our intended destination. The God who wrote the beginning from the end has promised that much. So the only thing to do is to keep traveling this road, even though I feel like my GPS is broken. I do recall something about walking by faith, not by sight. Maybe in some weird way, that’s what we’re doing.