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Slow. Stop. Yield.

August 5th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Last Thursday I lost it. Or I came close to losing it. And as I was losing, I was finding…

Ted was in Portland at OSCON. Abigail was ill with a fever but we had made reservations and spent money for the weekend in Astoria already. Also Ted was depending on us for his ride home from the conference. I didn’t know what to do about the plans we had made months ago.

As my mom and I had planned though, she came over to watch the kids so I could paint. Abigail was happy cuddling on the sofa with her grandmother. I needed more tape and got in the car to head to the store. I was exhausted, frustrated and grateful for the quiet time alone to calm my tears and fears.

The streets near my home are under construction. It takes at least a few extra minutes to make it through the obstacle course of SLOW and STOP signs. I try to remember to change my routines, but I often find myself stuck waiting for a truck, frustrated with myself.

Sitting there in the car, I wondered whether we were supposed to go on the trip. Maybe we were supposed to stay home. Maybe this was Someone’s way of telling us to cancel our plans. Maybe God had other ideas about how we were to spend the weekend.

I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain Life. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have any answers some days.

But I know that sometimes I need there to be Someone bigger than me in the universe. Someone who makes sense out of suffering. Someone who can give me help and hope. Someone who is wiser than I am and who can see more than I do. Someone who is lacing together the fragments of life, putting the puzzle pieces in place, sewing the seams of a fantastic quilt.

Maybe there are people out there who get everything they want out of life. They’ve got the perfect complexion, the Barbie/Ken spouse, the 2.1 kids with the white picket fence. They’ve got jobs that pay for easy work and bosses who always forgive and promote. They are continually healthy and happy.

But I don’t know if I’ve met many. I’m not one myself. And I don’t know what to do with the missing jigsaw pieces of life. How to make sense when it doesn’t make sense. Unless there is a God.

Sitting there in my car, waiting to go to the paint store, watching the STOP sign and the trucks move down the street, I wondered whether God had something else for us that weekend. And I wondered whether I would be willing to let go of our plans to go to Astoria so that I could see what He had planned.

I started to think about the past year of our lives, the crisis our family has experienced, and how it has shaken my faith to the foundation. I’ve wondered whether God exists. Why He allows pain and destruction.

The road ahead of me was a mess of destruction. Dirt. Clouds of dust. Felled trees. Rocks. I realized that if I didn’t know what was happening, I would think that the forest was being destroyed. It was difficult to see that a sidewalk was being built. But things had to be removed and taken down before something new could be put in its place. If I looked for the path along the road, I could find it.

Then I wondered whether, like the weekend, I could try to see the past year, the past several years, of our life from God’s eyes. Maybe He has some other purpose. Maybe He has other plans. Maybe He had to take things down before new things could be built. I had hoped something else would happen. I don’t want to be in the time and place where we are now. But perhaps this is what is supposed to be. And I need to let go of my own expectations, dreams and hopes. I need to let go of what I wanted to do and wait for whatever God wants to do.

Waiting and watching the construction worker, I thought about traffic signs. Three came to mind…

SLOW: I certainly felt that Abigail’s fever was slowing me down. Perhaps I need to slow down more.

STOP: I need to stop thinking about how the past years of my life haven’t been what I wanted them to be.

YIELD: Yes, I need to yield.

Tags: faith

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Janelle // Aug 5, 2004 at 10:39 am

    Great post…very inspirational. I often feel the need for, or feel comforted by,there being a Someone behind the wheel that is driving my life. It takes some of the pressure off to think that maybe things happen for a reason. Life seems to give us little hints.

  • 2 Helen // Aug 5, 2004 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Julie. Life can be so very painful and it can be hard to make sense of it.

    Yeilding is good. Believing that He is good is key, even when bad things happen.

    ‘I am confident that he who has begun a good work in you will bring it to complettion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

    Keep hangin onto him.