It’s 5am, Valentine’s Eve, 2014— and I am clear-eyed awake. I’ve been getting up at 6:30am in lazy pain most days, so this is surprising. I beg my brain to go back to sleep for awhile, but it soon becomes clear that’s not going to happen. The powers that be decided that it is time to get up.
Chocolate chip pancakes, Bird by Bird, yoga and my laptop battle for my extra time as I walk down the stairs. As I speed walk across the living room, shivering from the Alaskan drafts that crawl through our back door habitually, I decide that I should start with my normal morning routine and figure out what to do with my spare time later, when I actually have it.
I make sure to put as much water in my 4 cup coffee maker as possible (about 4.2 cups) and then prance back up the stairs to get dressed. I can’t bring myself to take off my warm, torn, extra large, paint-splattered sweatshirt, so when I come back down I’m in half business casual, half hippie girl garb. I grab a couple graham crackers, smear them with Nutella (I don’t do it everyday, promise), pour some coffee and sit down with my Bible. I’m in the Psalms and read the chapters assigned by a nifty “Read the Bible in 90 Days” schedule I found through Google. I finish my reading with over an hour to spare. I see my journal sitting on the couch and decide that I should take some time to reflect on what I read— to pray.
David writes in Psalm 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” I write down in prayer “Lord, help me be still and wait patiently for You.”
I sit on the couch, with legs crossed like the Cherokee that I am. I feel my breaths and ask God to speak to me. Do I move back to Michigan and go to school or do I stay in New Stuyahok?
I’ve been asking that question for weeks now— everyday. But, this time something is different. My hearing is sharpened in the silence. What I’m overwhelmed with is not where I should go— only that I need to let everything go. So, I do, or, I ask to be able to— and I rest there, with my heart open. Ready. I stare out the widow, determined to find light. I allow myself to be wrapped in the presence of God.
This is when he tells me, with the kind of misty clarity impossible to explain, “Stay— give it all to me.” And, instead of standing up and cheering or saying, “Thank you for answering me! Let’s rock this thing.” I hang my head and ask, “Are you sure about that?” And, he says with the kind of authority I assume he used when speaking to the stuttering Moses, “Yep. I’ll take care of you. I fill your needs.”
So, I sit there for awhile— first a little indignant…then washed over with the love of God— in awe that he really does fill my needs. That he has a plan for me and woke me up for a 5am coffee date to let me in on it. That he loves me.
I cry— because that’s what happens when you are met by God (and an emotional person). I cry for the beauty and the surrender, the realization of the sacrifice coupled with the assurance that I’m going to be okay. In fact, I’m going to be better than okay, because God’s dreams are bigger than mine. And, they are certainly better. I won’t be tied to the altar, because Jesus was for me— I’m resurrected.
There is a whole lot of mystery in the Christian journey. Sometimes our path isn’t as clearly outlined as we thought it would be. At face value, it wouldn’t have been wrong for me to move back to Michigan. And, I’m sure God could have used me there. But, it wouldn’t be best. It would have been very sad to fold on God’s plans and miss out on the blessings that come from following his will— namely, peace and the ability to fully receive the love of God.
God doesn’t give us a clear answer most of the time, which is difficult…especially if you are terrible at making decisions, like I am. But we should never assume that God doesn’t have an answer; whether we are deciding to date someone, or deciding on a college, or trying to determine if an outfit is God honoring— we should pray, free our hands of all our dreamy trinkets and open them wide, then still ourselves while we wait for the gracious guidance of the Lord to fall into them— for his dreams to become our dreams.