There’s a lot of pleasure to be had in moving to new…everything. We came with some clothes, a few shipped books, and some toys stuffed in random corners of our luggage. Other than that, we are starting over completely. So simple. Rediscovering, rebranding, remaking, whatever you want to call it, we get to rethink how we do things, and what we will spend our pennies on as we start fresh. I love a clean slate, and here we are.
But I have to let you in on a little secret. It’s also been super stressful. Especially when there’s no fresh paycheck in the bank yet. And we’re in limbo with our church, schooling, and housing. All things we really want to have figured out sooner rather than later. We are starving for a new church family to be active in, and school starts August 15th, so kind of a time sensitivity there. And housing, well it’s a need shortly too, though we have a house to sell in Oregon first, and there’s all this stuff that goes into making offers with money you don’t have yet. God has provided every step of our journey, but He hasn’t let us in on what the future holds, and that can lead to moments of doubt, fear, and…a lot of stress.
On Sunday, we visited two churches, one during their first service, the other during their second. It was warm out even at 9am. We’d driven a half hour to get there, and our kids were already asking why we had to go. After an hour and a half of being crawled over, sat on, having my hair rearranged and pulled on, taking kids to the bathroom/water break, and trying to keep sweaty littles occupied, we drove to the second worship service. A shortage of donuts to Little Guy’s liking during the fellowship time and we added tears to the list of gripes already on the plate. Then a trip to the bathroom, and the fun was over. Little Guy saddled up to the toilet, arranged himself, and….. PEED all over my dress!!! I don’t think it was an intentional “I’m out to get you” moment but I sure felt picked on as I washed my dress in the sink.
It wasn’t the worshipful morning I’d prayed for, or the first impression I was hoping to make. There was no running back home to change (the parsonage would have been nice right about then!) and now Little Guy’s tears had turned into all-out sobbing. Stress won, and any bit of humor the moment could have afforded me was turned down as I decided to go with irritation. I was done mom-ing. The faster I could drop these kids off so I could go “worship”, the better.
Can I just say, God is so good! At this church, we discovered there were no older kid’s classes provided during the summer. I knew Little Guy and I couldn’t make it through another service and didn’t have the guts to ask if they’d let a five year old in the nursery. Jonathan took care of the others, and Little Guy and I walked to the van. The rest of the morning was going to be just me and him. I didn’t say much as we pulled out of the parking lot.
But He did. After a few random comments about people he missed and toys he wanted to buy, he spoke up loudly, “Mom! God is the only TRUE God, and, I love you.” I melted right there in my mini-van seat. Out of the mouth of babes, God tuned my heart to sing His praise.
All this stress I let sour me is not of Him. He creates order, not chaos. He is the Author of good, not evil. He is guiding our steps, and all these decisions to be made are not outside of His care. The bank account, His. The house, schooling, church, those are His to provide too. Our hearts and hands are open to whatever He puts into them. We shop, but He provides. We look, learn, and wonder, but He is the one who causes all things to work together for good. That’s not our job, or responsibility. Stress lifts when I release back to Him the job I never was asked to take.
And that boy who peed on me?! Haha! I can laugh about it because it turned into a beautiful morning of mom and son time that left us holding hands and singing praises to Jesus on that glorious day of church hopping. We rolled down the windows as we traveled new roads for an hour and blasted the praise music loud as we spent some quality time remembering that worship is in spirit and truth, not in perfect first impressions, or liturgy, or having everything seemingly figured out.
My Sunday clothes may have been soiled, but I was given a fresh perspective. We may have stresses, but they are working in us a greater trust and reliance upon our Father who knows the future and has our best in mind at all times.
“Hear my prayer, O LORD and let my cry for help come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress. Incline Your ear to me; in the day when I call answer me quickly.” Psalm 102″:1-2