When It Is All Up In the Air



I realized that perhaps there was something I was trying to control when I spent two hours picking out the perfect pajamas for my girls to receive for Christmas. It was last week. Exactly 134 days before Christmas. I ordered them, and the matching dolls that go with the pictures on the front. I didn’t stop there. I emailed my sister starting a discussion for the perfect gift to give my tween niece. (I totally nailed it, by the way.) I googled the coolest toys under twenty dollars for eight-year-olds. I began adding things to my own wish list and am currently thinking about stocking stuffers the girls will actually use. Feel free to email me any suggestions. They are four and five.

I do finish all of my Christmas shopping before black friday, but I generally have our halloween costumes first.

Something else was going on. Really everything else is going on.

A year from now I don’t know where I will live, where my husband will work, what I will be doing. I am hoping to go to seminary, but don’t know where to apply because I don’t know where we will live. I don’t know where my kids will go to school. I don’t even know which grade my youngest will be in (her birthday is on the “kindergarten ready” line and the state laws are all different.) I don’t know where we will be going to church or if we will have any friends in town.

I keep asking God to clue me in on the future plans. There is just a lot of transition. I mean, can I at least know whether or not I need to get my house ready for a major move? Nope. No. I can’t. Can I know for sure if my littlest girl and I are headed back to school? Nope. I can’t.

I just keep hearing this instead: Abby, I have this handled. You do what is right in front of you and I will worry about your future.

The interesting thing is, this is pretty much the same thing I heard when I thought I had everything figured out. A few years ago I could have told you exactly what was going to happen. I was going to teach forever, Christian was going to get a job near our house, the one we would live in forever, we would get the same glorious pre-k teacher for our little one that we had for her older sister, and we were going to add onto the back of the house with the raise in pay and also the book I was going to sell. That was what was going to happen.

And I was holding all of it. Every single part. I had it handled. But then God told me I didn’t, that it wasn’t my job to hold the future.

It is hard for me to live in this ambiguity. It is hard for me to not know. I have a hard time believing that it will all sort out and work out. I think it would help my future a great deal if I could chain out events until I knew every single thing there was to know. I would feel a lot better about the future if I could hold it.

Holding the future is like holding jello, the tighter you grip it, the more of it slips through your fingers. You keep gripping like that and you are going to end up with nothing but a mess to clean up. Ask me how I know.

I am learning daily, over and over again, how to live in a future that is held by God, not by me. And I am not always succeeding. It is hard for me to not know. It is hard for me to not be in charge of my future. I am not the one holding the future for my family and that is really really scary, having it all up in the air like that.

But I do know that God has it, that God holds my future, my family, my life plans. I know that God cares deeply about me and the state of my heart, more than I care about the color of my future walls. And y’all, I care about that a lot. And on the days that I cannot take the ambiguity any longer, I do a little Christmas shopping.

While Christmas shopping in August seems a little crazy, it is one way I love my people well. Loving my people well is the one thing I am sure, that really is mine to hold.

Abby Norman
Abby Norman lives, and loves in the city of Atlanta. She lives with her two hilarious children and a husband that doubles as her biggest fan. When not mothering, teaching, parenting or “wifeing”, she blogs at accidentaldevotional.com. Abby loves to make up words and is excited by the idea that Miriam Webster says you can verb things.
Abby Norman

Latest posts by Abby Norman (see all)

Abby Norman