When We Were Sure

I miss the way it used to be. I miss when my steps were sure and confident, when we packed all of our stuff into a U-Haul and a mini van. With a smile and a “because God told us to,” we moved from Muncie Indiana to Atlanta Georgia the day after I walked across a stage in a robe too short for me. I had to borrow that robe from a friend of a friend because I had accidentally packed mine. We were young, crazy, broke, and sure. We were so sure.

We still live in Atlanta, where God sent us. The church we came to start never started. We found a different one. We have a house now, two babies, and I have lost somehow that fire in my belly, the sureness of my step. “Because God told us too” has more often turned into “I’m not sure” and “I don’t know.” I don’t know is becoming the holiest phrase I have.

The sermon this week was on Jacob and Esau. We were encouraged to wrestle with God. After the kids went to bed, the wrestling began. For me, the story of Jacob and Esau is like The Great Gatsby. By the end of the story I hate everyone and wish misery on them all. The Great Gatsby at least grants me that ending. Jacob sends his whole family to go face Esau because he is too scared, and he ends up having an extreme encounter with God.

I do what I do when I don’t know the answer to anything. I google it. The answer that keeps popping up is that Jacob was favored, as though that is supposed to make me somehow feel better. I can’t be the only one left wondering, and what if I’m not? What if I heard wrong, what if it won’t all pan out in the end.

I don’t mean the END end, I still believe in ultimate redemption. But how long does that take? What happens when you heard, and you are sure, and then it isn’t at all what you were so sure you heard?

This once sure and steady path is starting to feel like walking on a water-bed. It probably has for longer than I realize, and my legs are so tired from the effort to just stand still. But what I remember from the times I ran around on ever-changing surface, is that the standing still is actually far harder than the moving. If you just keep moving, you feel more secure.

Reading the scriptures lately has been like holding jello in my hands. Squeeze it too tight and it looses its shape and slips right through the cracks between my fingers. I know that there are promises in there for me, but I can’t quite get the right grip. Perhaps that is the point of reading scripture, to get me to keep my hands open.

Keep moving. Hands open. The posture sounds familiar. I wonder if that was the way it was, the way I was, when we heard God and moved here. I wonder if that is the way you are sure.

14 thoughts on “When We Were Sure

  1. I think life beats the sure out of you and I don’t know comes and takes it’s place. I don’t know if God wants us all sure in this life anyway. I think he wants us all in; that we stay true to the things in His word we know and do those and open ourselves up to opportunities as they present themselves. The daily grind may well be the daily molding. We do not have to see the whole picture or know the grand plan to be part of it… that takes us willing; willing to do what is before us in a manner that is in line with His word. Do that; relish the journey and see where God takes things.

  2. Wow. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability and your questioning heart with us. Thank you for trusting us that much. I pray that you stumble on some Scripture that helps shape things back up for you, and I want to reassure you that we all feel that way sometimes. Have you read up much on Mother Teresa? There were times she felt separated from God (not that you defined your feeling exactly this way, I realize, but I sensed a sort of a parallel here), yet she steadfastly continued praying and serving Him and loving others. If I remember correctly, she felt it may have been God’s way of testing her, of proving her allegiance. But I am often wrong. I am also reminded of the saying “The teacher is always silent during the test.” Hang on to the cross, sister, fight the good fight, strive on toward the mark of the high calling. Sending love and prayers.

  3. I love your blog. I don’t remember how I stumbled across it, and I read it even though I no longer identify as Christian, or at least not the kind of Christian I used to be, fundamentalist and very, very sure. I’m older now and changed. I, too, have had experiences where I have been sure and taken big, scary steps on faith and those moments are exhilarating. And then the day-to-day reality sets in and the exhilarating feeling drains away and you wonder whether you were hallucinating or what. Yes, I get it. I don’t have any wisdom for you, I think we each find our own, but I’m guessing you know that, or at least are in the process of learning that. Blessings.

  4. We get less sure because we have more to lose, and we know it. Not just (or even mainly) material things, but support for our kids. It was hard enough to face major change when it was just the two of us, but now with a baby set to come basically any day now, it’s terrifying. We’re both job hunting at the moment, and if nothing comes through, I just don’t know what we’re going to do, and that scares me. I just keep trying to keep in mind the Norman Family Motto (“Well, God hasn’t screwed us yet”) as well as our own (“We’re smart people. We’ll figure it out”).

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