With Open Hands

“Stay as long as you want – we’re so thankful for your help,” my sister and brother-in-law in Virginia assure me.

“When are you coming back home? We miss you,” my sisters back in Ohio tell me.

“If you come into Kentucky you must quarantine for fourteen days,” Governor Beshear’s website declares.

I feel lost and adrift as I drink my lukewarm coffee. It’s like my dreams – the ones that felt so real and good in January – have dissipated. Now they’re like a fine mist floating over my head that I’m chasing – grasping – missing.

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What I really want to do is jump in my car and drive, drive, drive. Maybe to Florida. Then Alaska. And of course, Yellowstone is a must. Or maybe I can go to sleep and wake up on the other side of all this craziness. Or go back to January and make it last – snow and all – for twelve happy months and then magically be in 2021.

What I want to do is escape. To find my happy little nook where I’m in control, things are good, and my plans, dreams, and hopes play out before me like a happily-ever-after book.

Recently in my prayer journal I’ve been doing an exercise where I write How I Feel on one side of the page then fill it will the emotions that are bumbling around inside me. Then I flip my notebook upside down and write The Truth on the other side. I take each of the emotions that I’d rather ignore and work my way through them, figuring out why I feel that way, then remind myself of God’s truth.

Then, as those emotions pop up throughout my day, I’m able to name them, remember the truth, and conquer them. Yesterday was enlighting to say the least.

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My feelings fell in two distinct categories – joy, fulfillment, and thankfulness when I thought about where I was at the moment. The fact that I could help my sister’s family as they deal with some of the same health issues I’ve had over the years made me downright happy.

But then when the future loomed in front of me feelings of restlessness, despair, confusion, and even anger took over.

When I stopped to ponder what the difference was, the answer was glaringly obvious and horrifying at the same time. What is going on now I can control. I’m choosing to be here. I’m choosing to stay and help. I’m choosing to be a good sister/auntie and make a difference. I have faith in myself to make my here and now good.

The future though? That I can’t control. I can’t change the health, the minds, the laws, and the outcomes. I can pray and wait and trust, but I can’t control. Only God knows what will happen. Only He can do what I desperately want to be done. When it comes to the future I can’t trust myself because I have no power – I have to trust God, and only God.

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I’ve always thought of faith as one of my strong suits – I’ve never been overly concerned about my future because I knew God had it all under control. I work hard and prepare and God does the rest, right?

But what happens when I work hard and there’s no guarantee that God will follow through with what I’ve always thought was His part of the bargain? One thing I’ve been learning this year is that the future I thought God and I agreed on might actually be wishful thinking on my part.

So here I sit. And stand. And work. In a place where I’m learning to rest and breathe in deep with open hands. In a place where I’m learning to be still and know that God is. In a place where I’m learning that my view of the world is minuscule and His view is all-encompassing.

I want to know what the future holds. To know what normal will feel like in the coming weeks. To know what to expect and count on and look foward to. But I can’t know. And at the end of the day, that’s okay. Because I do trust. Not in myself, but in the God who holds the future.

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