Sometimes it feels like God plucked me out of my old life and placed (or more like threw) me into my new life. It’s like God looked at my life and said, “I have bigger things for her” and then moved me like a chess piece.
I typically don’t think of God as the “big guy upstairs” who moves us like board game pieces. God isn’t like that. He’s a loving and intimate light that flows deep into my life and heart. But looking at my life over the past year, there have been some drastic changes that I was dragged through kicking and screaming.
I’ve always prayed that the Holy Spirit guide my path, and I’ve truly felt he has. Throughout my life, my paths were laid straight toward “success”. I felt God opened doors before me at all the right times. Up until a little over a year ago, I always felt I was where I was supposed to be. Last year, I was following the path that made the most sense. I had opportunities toward career advancement open before me. But for the first time, I felt like the Holy Spirit was leading me toward something different, something off the beaten path. I hesitated for weeks. Those weeks were the most anxious and unrestful of my life. I finally followed where God was calling me. I quit my job and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m sure some people thought I was crazy for leaving such a great job and so early into my pregnancy. It was a hard decision, but I felt peace about it.
That decision forced me to shake my old identity. That decision made it possible for me to be present for the moments I had with Ginny, and it gave me the time to grieve after losing Ginny without worrying about getting right back to work. I’m so grateful for that.
That decision also left me with a big dark unknown future after we lost Ginny. I didn’t have the faintest idea what the future held without Ginny. I had no vision whatsoever. I couldn’t go back to my old life, and all my future plans were destroyed. I had to put all my trust in God and hope even when it didn’t make sense. We gave Ginny the middle name “Hope” long before we knew we would need the reminder. I knew God’s plan for my life was beyond what I ever planned for myself. I knew it was something that I couldn’t envision myself. I would need the Holy Spirit to guide me. I would need to be still and listen.
In my old life, it took so much effort to be still. I knew Psalm 46:10 said “Be still and know that I am God.” Easier said than done in a busy life. When I did take the time out of my day to be still, I couldn’t shut my mind off. Thoughts of work and life constantly interrupted quiet time and meditation. Most of the time, I was too tired to even try. I always felt refreshed afterward, but making the effort took a lot of energy.
When Ginny died, my world stopped. I didn’t have anything to prepare for. I was unnervingly still. I felt God’s presence so strongly. This closeness was what I was searching for in the past; now it fell effortlessly in my lap. This isn’t how I wanted to be still. God, I wanted to be close to you in thanksgiving. Do I really need to suffer to know you in this way? Why didn’t you keep this from happening and then draw near to me in celebration?
I’m starting to slowly realize that God was actually near all along, but I didn’t always see him. It is like my suffering was a potent paint stripper that cleared everything else away so God is all that’s left. It hurt to clear everything away, but I can finally see what was underneath the whole time. I can finally see what was covered up by my busyness. It is God’s comforting presence. It’s God’s purpose for me.
I still don’t have a fully defined vision for my future, but I do feel that the Holy Spirit is gently walking with me down an uncharted path. There have been moments of immense clarity and joy and hope that I know I would’ve never experienced on my old path. I’m trying to be deliberate to not fall into busyness and distraction that is so easy to fall into; it is the default in our culture. I want to fully embrace and appreciate my ability to be still.