This past week the kids and I got on an airplane and traveled from our home in the Middle East for our biennial vacation to the good old state of Texas. This time around we will be here for 7 weeks, visiting friends and family and soaking up all the amazing Texas food (think: bacon).
As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time preparing and planning for our trip. In fact, as soon as Christmas was over, my countdown began. Since we left on March 2, we had about 2 months before our epic journey, and I had several large projects to take care of in the meantime, plus taking care of the house and dishes and meal planning (which had been thrown for a loop because of new dietary restrictions for my 3 year old), and the every day kid stuff of homeschool, correction and instruction, napping the baby, and pregnancy aches. Throw in an incredibly busy husband, and multiple overnight visitors, and it was pretty hectic.
And that was just the pre-trip stuff.
On top of all that, I was trying to plan for the trip itself. Since we can only afford to go every two years, I wanted to make the most of every moment. I made extensive lists of places we want to go, food we want to eat, people we want to see, and things we need to buy. This last one is important because if you’ve ever lived overseas you know that some things are just not available. We have access to a lot, but there are certain things it’s just easier or cheaper or better to get “back home”. And since I have horrible mom brain, I needed to make sure I wrote everything down so I didn’t get back home to the UAE and have to wait another two years to get it!
I also tried to think ahead about how I was going to be able to cope with all the kids on my own. The first four weeks of our trip will be without Steve, because he has to work and can’t be away from home for that long. I’m so glad we have the opportunity to spend more time with family! But I was growing increasingly concerned about my ability to take care of all four kids with my growing belly and limited mobility and energy. In particular, our 3 year old that has some behavioral issues, and our 1 year old who still needs a lot of walking and rocking to sleep. I had no idea how I was going to deal with all that! The past few weeks, every time the baby would have a hard time going to sleep, or the 3 year old threw another epic tantrum, I started to freak out in my mind. There might even have been some tears.
Okay, there were a lot of tears.
Normally I am a pretty laid back person. It used to take a lot to make me worried and anxious. But pregnancy seems to bring out the worrier in me, and during this time of planning I have been particularly prone to it. I used to wonder how anyone could be so worried about something that it kept them from sleep! But let’s just say I have some personal experience with that now. I can’t tell you the number of nights I laid awake the past few weeks, trying to plan and think and figure out how to solve my own problems. There might have even been more tears.
Now, I would be the first person to say that I trust God. Of course I trust him! I believe that he is completely sovereign over my life, over my kids, over my circumstances, over every speck of dust floating in the air! Of course I trust him to take care of my trip and work out all the details!
I don’t. Not really. I say that I trust him, and I say I believe all those things. But if I’m honest, I don’t. Because if I did I wouldn’t be laying awake at night, fretting and worrying about so many things.
I don’t like to admit that I’m a worrier. I don’t like admitting that I don’t trust God like I say that I do. But as I’ve been processing all this, I’ve realized what amazing grace it is that he has allowed me to walk through this worry! That doesn’t seem to make sense, but what I mean is that he has used this time of worry to reveal my lack of faith. Without it, I would have just gone on my way and never realized that I didn’t believe him like I should! I would have been left in my sin and ignorance. But God is so gracious and good. He didn’t leave me with a lack of faith. He allowed me to walk through all the worry and sleepless nights to show me that I didn’t trust him, even when he is completely trustworthy.
So now that we’re a few days into our trip, you might be wondering how everything is going. How is the baby sleeping? How are we coping with the time change of 10 hours? How are we doing without flying solo without dad? Were my fears legitimate?
I have to tell you, some of the big things that I worried about have come true.
But this miraculous and beautiful thing has happened. I am trusting God. He is giving me faith in him! He is opening my eyes to see his faithfulness even when the circumstances are less than ideal. The baby isn’t sleeping great, but he is giving grace. There are other stresses I didn’t even anticipate, but he is giving wisdom and patience and I can see him working even when I feel so unable!
This verse has been running through my head so much the past few days,
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34, emphasis added)
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. My, isn’t that true?! I have been so convicted over my worry for this trip. Each day here has had it’s trials, but each day has been full of such grace. I have felt him so near to me, and he has been incredibly faithful in each moment. Why did I spend so much time worrying about so many things? It reminds me of Martha.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her,“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
So next time you find yourself saying “I trust you God, but…” just stop. Stop and say “I trust you God”. He is completely trustworthy. He is sufficient. He is able. He is present. He is our shield, our comforter, our deliverer from all our afflictions. Speak these truths to yourself, and pray and confess your unbelief while praying for more belief! And pray knowing that he loves granting good gifts to his children, and he is faithful to do that too.