Faith, In Park
And there I was, sobbing uncontrollably at a random park during my kids’ play date. I had used almost half a pack of baby wipes blowing my nose and wiping the tears falling down my face. I’d like to blame it on my pregnancy hormones, but I can’t. I was sad, lonely, and disappointed. I felt like God had let me down.
I know. I can’t possibly start the story there. Allow me to explain.
Put In the Work
It all began one Monday morning. I was in my prayer closet reading while simultaneously praying that my children would stay asleep just a little longer. I had three children ages four, three, and one, and I was pregnant with our fourth child.
As I read Genesis 12:1, the words “Go from your land of your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” stuck out to me more than usual. I read it over and over and couldn’t seem to move on. I thought to myself, “Really? God told Abraham (named Abram at the time) to pack up his stuff and leave. And Abraham just wandered off with no plan!” I had read this story many times before, but for some reason, it seemed different at this moment.
A few moments later my husband, who worked as a full-time executive minister, came to me and said, “Babe, I had a dream that we moved to South Carolina.” Uh-oh! My husband rarely ever dreams. So when he does, it’s a big deal.
“That’s crazy!” I replied. “I just read about Abraham packing up his family and leaving for a foreign land. South Carolina is about as foreign as it gets. We don’t know anybody out there.” Up until that moment, I had lived in California my entire life.
So we decided to pray and fast to see if the Lord would send confirmation. And oh, did He! Everywhere we turned there was a sermon, podcast, or devotional about the faith of Abraham. Even our own church was doing a sermon series on Hebrews 11, the “Hall of Faith”. From there we thought, what would it take to sell our Southern California home? Lucky for us, home prices had started to rise in the Spring of 2021. Long story short, our house was in escrow two weeks later for a 30-day close. “Welp! I guess we have to leave now!” we thought.
And just like that, full of faith we packed up our three children, shipped our belongings to a warehouse, and drove across the country with no job, no home, and no friends awaiting us; just with the instruction from the Lord to go. It sounds crazy because it was. Yet, the conviction in our hearts was so heavy. We knew that faith without works is dead (James 2:26) so we had to put in the work to demonstrate our faith in the Lord.
A Delay in Plans
Hours after we arrived in South Carolina, our offer on a home was accepted. We spent the first 45 days in Airbnb and hotels. A few months later, we had family and friends from other states coming to stay with us in our new home. It seemed like our community was growing. We had visions of opening a second-chance, non-profit coffee shop dedicated to ministering to the community. Faith was high. Hope was moving. We thought we were about to truly live out the purpose God had for us. We hoped to show everyone who thought we were crazy the plans the Lord had for us. Then our plans started to be delayed. It was clear that the coffee shop wasn’t happening. At least not anytime soon. It was also evident that we didn’t have much of a community.
Before I knew it, I was having a breakdown in the park during a playdate for my kids. I was sobbing. I was lonely. I missed California. It was hard to adjust to the new state, new stores, and new people. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, I felt trapped in the house with the kids while my husband traveled for work and met new people with his new company.
“Where are the blessings and the promises, Lord? You said Abraham was blessed because of his faith. If we were so obedient, why am I so sad? Why does it seem like we keep hitting brick walls? Why don’t we have anything to show for our acts of faith? Why do my days still only consist of dirty diapers, cleaning, schooling, and grocery shopping?”
I went back to reading the story of Abraham. Maybe I missed something in this whole faith journey. For the first time, the gravity of the fact that Abraham waited ten years before his faith wavered weighed on my heart.
There were ten years before he and Sarah took matters into their own hands and tried to build a family by their own means through their slave Hagar.
Ten years of faithfulness. Ten years of waiting before their faith buckled.
Here I was 10 months into the journey and was having a full meltdown. Packing up and leaving California while God’s voice was loud and clear was the easy part for me.
Faith in active, drive mode is exciting. Faith while everything feels like it’s stuck in “park”, is hard.
Enduring the realities of being lonely without visualization of the blessings was difficult. Hearing the Lord say, “Not yet”, so many times was disheartening. Waking up to endure each challenging day was more than I wanted to bear.
Take the Leap
This realization showed me that sometimes the hardest part of having faith is being faithful before the blessings come. It’s hard to be obedient when God is silent or grateful when God’s reality doesn’t match our hopes. My husband’s assignment was to start a house church. My instruction was to raise our small children as disciples. This was tiring and daunting. In my mind, I was ready for the next chapter.
I wish I could tell you all that the Lord has intended for us for this cross-country move. After two years, we are still faithfully waiting. Not idly waiting, but serving the Lord in righteousness as we wait. Ministering, serving, loving, caring, and making disciples. And honestly, trying not to get too distracted. Like Abraham, we too have received so many blessings while waiting. It doesn’t always feel good, but it’s reassurance that God is still with us and for us.
In the end, God did not fail Abraham and Sarah. It took many years, but He was faithful to them. I believe that will be true for my story and yours as we pursue God with all of our hearts.
Whether you’re anxiously considering taking a leap of faith, in the midst of the waiting period, or enjoying the blessings, my encouragement is to do what you are called to do in this season with all of your might. So take the leap! While you’re waiting, don’t quit on the Lord. Each day, do what the Lord has told you to do. And while you reap the blessings, return all of the glory to our Lord. We belong to a good, faithful Father!
Let me pray with you:
You are good. You are faithful. You are all-knowing. You want what’s best for us. Help us to rest in knowing that Your ways are perfect. Your timing is immaculate. Your plans are without flaw. Holy Spirit lift us up when we get weary and renew our strength. Lord, hold on to our tired arms with Your righteous right hand. Allow us to rest in your provision.