Go by Robin Densmore Fuson *
Do questions about your direction swirl around your head? Do you have direction but are afraid? Does your gut wrench?
Every day of our lives we face the unknown. To some degree, each day is filled with uncertainty. Answers to questions may arise that directly influence our life from that moment on. Life gets interrupted and sometimes derailed.
In the Bible, Abram (later called Abraham) received a call from the Lord to “go to a land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Without hesitation, he unwaveringly left his family, house, and friends. As soon as he moved forward, his life changed.
Sarai (Sarah) went with her husband. Can you imagine? One afternoon you’re sitting on the front porch drinking tea with your best friend, and the next day you’re wrapping your favorite vase and placing it gently into a box.
Scripture doesn’t say how they felt. Did Sarai voice her opinion? Did she rapidly pack up her life, kiss her parents good-by, and scramble up on the camel for the great adventure? The journey was long and exhausting. Did she hope they would turn back? Had fear wrapped its ugly talons around her mind and emotions? Or, did her heart delight in the obedience?
Sound familiar? A similar thing happened to me. My son and his wife started a new church in Tennessee called NewPath Community. He desired us to come and be major players in the building up of the congregation and the systems needed, for a thriving church. At that time, my husband and I lived in a small town, in Colorado, nestled in a high valley surrounded by rugged bluffs and mesas. I prayed the Lord would tell my husband what He wanted us to do. Also, I asked the Lord not to tell me what He wanted, only impart His will on my husband’s heart. When the hard trials come, and they always do, I didn’t want my husband to look at me and ask, “Are you sure He told us to do this?” I wanted this command, to stay or go, to come from the Lord directly to my husband’s heart.
After months of praying, my husband discerned the call to “go” and help my son in this new church ministry. He texted me from work saying, “I pulled the trigger.” Meaning, he gave his notice to retire.
Believe it or not, I didn’t want to go. I had a wonderfully fulfilled life with friends, writing buddies, choirs I sang and performed in, and a great Bible study group where I enjoyed an amazing opportunity to share God’s word, not to mention the beauty of creation surrounding me.
All this, I’d leave behind.
Tears streaming down my face, I agonized over this move. I pleaded with the Lord. Yes, my son and his lovely family awaited us. My husband and I have children and grandchildren scattered all over the country. To hug one portion of them regularly would be incredible, but in my mind and emotions, the scale tipped to the Colorado side of things. My comfort zone would be shattered. All my adult life I’d lived in Colorado. I had deep roots planted in relationships that didn’t grow up fast, but took years of cultivating and watering with love and time. My parents and my sister, along with most of her family, lived in Colorado.
I would be lonely. As an extrovert that recharges around my peeps, this would be a very dry depleting journey.
Obey? Yes. With my mind a little numb, my hands packed boxes. Plans were made. Tears fell. My husband retired from a steady thirty-six year income.
Announcing to my special friends, co-teachers, director of the choirs, and family we were leaving Colorado was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I kept tissues near as tears were a constant issue.
At night, anguishing sobs racked my body. Why Lord?
Right then, I had a choice to make. Do I physically go through the motions or do I change my heart and mind to obey? Both. But how?
Prayers of pleading turned to prayers of—help me see this through Your eyes. Help me change my heart to conform to Your heart. Help me see the bigger picture. Please give me the strength to get through this transition.
In the early days of our adventure, I prayed those prayers through, every single day. Now, four months later, I still ask the Lord for help, but my focus is a bit brighter and clearer. Not as bleak.
Do I still mourn the loss? You bet! Tears still come. A picture I unpack reminds me of my loss. Emails from my friends bring joy mingled with regret that this is a new normal way to communicate. My buddies are still meeting on Thursdays to study together and afterward meet for lunch, while I sit alone in an uncertain environment. My world is filled with strangers, new sights, smells, and sounds. The weather is radically different. Bugs love to sneak upon me and nibble, unfelt, until the swelling and itch drive me crazy.
Tears and frustration are near the surface at any given moment. What can I do? Wallow in my loss? Pack up and give up? Those thoughts creep in at times.
Instead, I turn my tear-filled eyes to Him. I ask Him to show me the good out of the struggles. I remind myself as I surrender, yet again, that obedience brings the ultimate blessing. Some days I see the hand of the Lord and some of the “why’s” are answered. The hurt didn’t leave—it softened. I will never know all the reasons why He chose us to “go.” The yearning for the past will fade a little at a time. New friendships will eventually start to flourish. Time. Time will help. Different can turn into familiar, if I allow it. The struggle will bring deeper, more meaningful things into my life. I just need to be patient.
At any moment, we might experience an upheaval of change in our lives. A huge one or a small one that can feel enormous at the time. Any one of us, at any given instant, might experience smaller but still impactful events or make decisions that can change the course of our lives. Some days contain only one—turning right instead of left. A smile given to someone who needs encouragement. A soft answer to an angry spouse, child, or client. The day may start fine, but in the midst of it all, it unravels. On any ordinary day our lives may be filled with these upheavals.
How will we respond? My mother used to say, “Don’t react, respond.”
Take it to the Lord. He can handle your crying, anger, frustration, and dark thoughts. Lean in. Give Him the burden. He desires to carry everything.
The Lord never said we couldn’t question or get angry. The question is what we do after raving at Him—how do we go from there? How do we respond? This is the difficult part. Sometimes this battle can rage for weeks, months, even years. The choice is ours as individuals. The emotions and mindset of anger can be turned around when we release its hold on us, by taking one small step in His direction.
In all the turmoil of our move to Tennessee, God never left my side. His arm waited to hold me. I only needed to tilt a bit, and I could rest my head on His shoulder, and feel His loving arms. Then the hot angry tears turned into cleansing tears. Joy waited around the corner. His Word rested on the table for me to open and glean refreshment, where the Psalms are a balm of ointment on a tender heart. Also, a simple twist of the dial on the radio to joyful praise music lifts my soul.
When the Lord says, “Go,” what will your response be? Have you prepared your heart for an unexpected prompting, leading, move, or other life changing event? We can never be totally ready but we can shore up the sides of our faith. Stay in the Word. Pray with a willing heart and attitude. Be flexible and open. Practice faith on a daily basis by giving Him every little detail and moment to Him, to deal with and lead.
Extroverts need to find friends. I joined a Bible study group outside our new church. Introverts need time alone. Find what works for you to help you get through the transition.
This and other verses in the Bible helped me as I obeyed and inclined my thinking to His.
Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.
*Written in 2018. We followed the Lord again when we took up residence in Florida. That is story for another time.