Often my whispered prayers come out like the questions my four-year-old asks in the long summer afternoon: What now? What next? And I can barely make space for a Voice to answer, because I am being folded deep into what is. Pursuit and desire for the next step, for the knowing where and how to move within the lines of all that is, can edge on restlessness but fall into expectancy.
It seems like just when I find myself settled into a sense of exhale, I hear the holy haunting of a God who doesn’t stop moving or whispering, Go there, try this, step out. And those nudges, gentle in nature and laced with grace, have me always wanting a little bit more, always desiring a little bit of newness.
I would like to think that if I were to hear the Voice say, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family” like it once did to Noah, that I would find the wood and start building. I’d like to think I would gather the troops and begin to organize.
But God hasn’t yet audibly laid out the plan for me. Mostly I hear creaking of doors opening, the Voice speaking less in words and more in stirrings and fresh opportunities. Mostly I hear the laying down of stepping stones, the Voice speaking more by a soft pressing on my back.
How do we stand in this blurry line between expectancy and restlessness with an awe-struck sense of peace? For the winds of contentment can so easily become shifted by fears about where they may blow us, and how they may blow us there.
But contentment is never born by perfect plans, but by simply abiding in perfect Love. And when we lean into the Voice that may not make a sound, but always speaks, our steps become His love words for the world.
I think of Esther, who was commanded for such a time as this. And I think of how I feel it too, how we all are living in such a time as this; a time to hunker down and low by raising up little lives, or a time to open up the old “resume” file on the computer and brush up on job interviewing skills. Maybe it is a time such as this to offer a hot meal or a cold beer to the neighbor with whom we share a fence.
Or perhaps it is a time such as this to go across oceans and borders to serve neighbors with whom we share humanity.
Is it a time such as this to say yes to giving more to the church and its community? Or is it is a time to say no, with courage, to giving so much to God’s house and to start giving more to His people outside of it?
I think of how it is always and everywhere a time such as this.
Yes, we are women who are living and serving, giving and growing by abiding in a Love that casts peace through restlessness and prods grace through expectancy. We are women who can feel the sands shifting, who can see the clouds rolling, and who keep stepping on stones that are laid down one by one without seeing the long path ahead.
And we know the Voice chasing us and leading us, hushing our impatient cries of “What now? What next?” with the soft nudge of trust.
Trust that as we go and try, serve and give, we will always and ever run with and into I Am.