I Give Up

“We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally. It’s a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

“Well, the nanny quit,” said my husband, late one Friday night.

“What? What are we going to do,” I replied back.

Panic shook my trust and worry set in.  We were in an impossible situation and I knew it.  And before I could harness my self-reliant problem-solving thoughts, which could see no solution, the darkness of anxiety distracted my gaze from the Faithful and True Unseen to the confusing seen.

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.” ~Hebrews 11:1, The Message

It had been my dream since I was a little girl.  For as long as I can remember, motherhood was something I longed for. And with these longings to love and nurture others, came expectations of what that would and should look like.  I wanted to be the mom who kissed her husband goodbye as he left for work, holding a baby on her hip as the other kids played in the background.  I wanted to drop my kids off at the elementary school where I knew many of the parents and teachers from my church, and be only a phone call away from being able to drop forgotten homework off at the office.  Surprise lunch visits were also on my agenda, as well as being on the list of moms who would bring Valentine cupcakes to school.  I loved the ordinary and predictable picture of motherhood I had etched in my mind…

But then God said “Go” and we obeyed

Jesus doesn’t ask us to lay down only part of our lives, but all of our lives. For me, this included how I would raise and educate my children.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?” ~Matthew 16:24-26, The Message

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” ~Matthew 16:24-25, NIV

I didn’t quite understand until the first day I watched my oldest child jump on a national bus full of non-English speaking children and ride to a school that I am barely familiar with.  I didn’t quite understand until our first nanny walked in speaking zero English and I had to leave my crying daughters with basically a complete stranger.  The “what-ifs” plagued my mind as I imagined all that could happen to my daughters behind closed doors.  My daughters clawed my legs and screamed “don’t leave me” as my husband smiled gently at my terrified face and closed the door behind us.  As we waited for the elevator, I could hear crying.  My heart broke.  This was not how I pictured being a missionary.  In my glamorous day dreams of what mission work would look like, this was not it.

But the grace of God is sufficient. Jesus is worth it. Everything in our situation felt out of control, but the Spirit faithfully whispered, “trust me.” Though my trust may have been weak, He still gave me the strength to put one foot in front of the other as I endured and pressed on in our first months here.

Weeks turned into months and our youngest children never grew fond of our first nanny.  I would leave crying children with a woman I still could not communicate with, ride on a crowded bus for over an hour to our language school, sit through 4 hours of language class, ride the bus back home for over an hour, arrive to stressed out children who would say “why do you hate us?”  I would struggle to stay awake through the exhaustion of culture shock and I would push through my dread of the grocery store as I would feel clueless and lost, trying to figure out what to buy to make for dinner.  I’d cook dinner, clean up, bathe children, do bedtime, and then try and tackle homework.  I would go to bed dreading the next day of leaving my children. Trusting God wasn’t the first thing on my mind…mourning the loss of my idea of motherhood was. The glory of Jesus which involves sacrifice wasn’t the first thing on my mind, and so joy wasn’t found and hope faltered.

Our children were taken care of, but it was always difficult to leave.  Then after some personality and monetary conflicts, the nanny quit without warning. She quit on a Friday night and we had school the following Monday.  We had been asking everyone we met for weeks if they knew anyone looking for a job as a nanny, but never had any luck.  We had two days to figure out what to do and missing school to stay home with the kids wasn’t an option.  We had a final exam quickly approaching and missing even one day puts you behind.  There is an attendance policy at our school and if you miss 3 classes, you fail.  We had to find a nanny in 2 days.  We just had to.  I felt helpless and hopeless in this gigantic city that still seems very foreign in many ways.

During our house church on Saturday morning, we asked our group if they would pray that we would find a nanny.  I’ll never forget as we bowed our heads and a fellow believer in Jesus asked boldly that He would bring us a new nanny by Monday morning.  That seemed impossible, but I remember in that moment letting out a big sigh and realizing that we were out of options. God was going to have to provide.

I remember saying “Ok Father, I give up. I trust You.”

My heart surrendered to the God who has called us and who promises to equip us.  The Provider gently captured my attention as the Spirit reminded me to trust. Slowly but surely, I let go of all worry and allowed my heart to feel the pounding of hopeful trust, dancing in freedom and walking in light.

It was Sunday afternoon and our clock was ticking.  I was still trusting that He would provide.  He called us here and I knew He wouldn’t leave us.  If language learning is necessary for the task at hand, I know He’ll make a way.  He is always faithful.

Just then, our doorbell rang and in walked one of the sweetest women I have met in this country so far.  It turns out that earlier in the day, one of the new friends my husband has made knew this woman and set up the interview for us.  As we spoke with her about our wants and desires, the Lord settled my heart and I just knew she was the one. She started work early the next morning and several weeks later, she is still surpassing all of our expectations!! God answered our prayer!! He is never late!

She is wonderful. She arrives early and makes us breakfast, which was never expected of her.  She patiently speaks slowly with me and the language practice is invaluable. She does my laundry and cleans up my kitchen, and she sometimes has dinner ready on the stove when we return.  Our children love her and run to her when she walks in our door.  Every morning, she hugs me and her cheerful disposition is a breath of fresh air. She had our family, along with a couple national families, over for dinner this last weekend. While we were sitting in her living room, sipping tea and doing our best to understand the foreign language that was being spoken all around us, she looked to one of the men and said something that will stick with me forever.  She said that my husband is different than the men in this country.  She said that he helps around the house and is a good example.  I sat there amazed, thinking back to all the worrying I had done as the Lord was faithfully orchestrating the most amazing nanny for my children.  Oh if I had only trusted Him from the beginning!  His plan is more intricate than I can imagine and His timing is more wise than I can comprehend.

This morning she arrived with a gift for me.  As I unwrapped the beautiful blue scarf, my heart could not have been more thankful for the gift of her new friendship…

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“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”
― Dietrick Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Why is trusting the God of the universe so difficult with something as simple as a nanny for the children of the couple who has given up everything to follow Him?

I wrapped the scarf around my neck…

…and clutched the gift tightly as I worshiped Him for His faithfulness…

IMG_5432editWEB As I held fast to the scarf, my heart rehearsed the Truth of who God is and of the life of trust I am free to live.  I was once again reminded to hold fast to the hope which anchors my soul and makes trust possible.

“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.” ~Romans 15:13, AMP

“He who leans on, trusts in, and is confident of his own mind and heart is a [self-confident] fool, but he who walks in skillful and godly Wisdom shall be delivered.” ~Proverbs 28:26, AMP

“But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you…For you have rescued me from death;
you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
in your life-giving light.” ~Psalm 56:3, 13

Just as I sat the scarf down…

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…my focus lifted from the scarf, to the buildings out my window. Please pray that I will trust Him at all times as we seek to reach the lost that we live among.  Please pray that our new nanny will become a believer and that we will continue to shine His light as we love each other and love her! I also ask that you would pray that I would continue to lay down my idea of what motherhood should look like and trust God to lead our family in the way that will impact the Kingdom and glorify Him!

He is worth every sacrifice!

IMG_5449editWEB“Trust is not a passive state of mind. It is a vigorous act of the soul by which we choose to lay hold on the promises of God and cling to them despite the adversity that at times seeks to overwhelm us.” ~Jerry Bridges

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