Leaps of faith are a fact of life in our family. Our family life has been built on radical acts of trusting that everything would work out one way or the other.
John and I had been married eleven months and had a baby on the way when we abandoned good jobs in Washington, D.C. and moved back to my hometown, where we had family but no prospects at all. Oh, we tried to find jobs before moving, but our failure didn’t put a damper on our plans in the least. In the year it took for John to gain resident status so he would be eligible for in-state tuition at the University of Tennessee College of Law, he worked at the UT Traffic Office by day and sold shoes by night. I got a secretarial job just weeks before I could no longer conceal my pregnancy, which would have severely limited my ability to find a good job.
We had one kid by the time John started law school and the third was on the way by the time he passed the bar exam. There were hard and scary times, uncertain times, and often it was only looking back at what we’d been through that we could see how our prayers were always answered. Not necessarily in the way that we thought we wanted them to be, not always immediately, but always, in God’s time.
That doesn’t mean I sit around serenely trusting that everything will work out all right. I am as frantic as anyone and I have to keep reminding myself of God’s past care for our family. Real trust is hard because it means giving up the illusion of control. Most of us spend so much of our lives trying to keep dozens of balls in the air, thinking that if one falls it will mean certain disaster. Radical trust in God calls on us to believe that God will keep the balls in the air for us, or help us pick them up if they fall, one or the other. And because we can control SOME things, or think we can, it’s hard to let go of the illusion that we can control it all, or that we are even supposed to.
Any illusion of control over my life was shattered six years ago, when our house burned down. I was forced to trust God; I had literally no other option. We’d been out of town thankfully so we had some changes of clothes and our computers and one car and that was about it. We had no money, no possessions, no home. We trusted in God because what else could we do? And He met all our needs with the help of His hands on this earth: our families, friends, and communities, many who did not even .personally know us.
But I don’t want to make myself sound like a saint. I am only human and I still struggle with fear. Daily I remind myself to turn my worries over to God. I pour out my struggles into my prayer journal and tell myself that God will hear me. I repeat my favorite mantra: “Cast your cares on God; That anchor holds.” And I continue to hope that a day comes when I feel serenity more than anxiety.