When You Leap Off a Cliff


Abby Norman -Possibilities4We moved to Atlanta ten years ago, and I used to love to tell the story. We had a year before I graduated with my teaching certificate and he with his Masters. We didn’t have a lot of furniture, but we made up for it in possibilities. We owned so many possibilities.

A man stood up sometime after the sermon and my heart started beating. I did not know what this man had to say, but I knew it was or us. He grabbed the microphone and ran his hand over his head.

“Hi. Me and my wife have moved to Atlanta, we think we are supposed to start a church there, and we think some of you are supposed to join us.”

I looked at my husband and he was already looking at me.

“That’s us. He’s talking about us.”

A week later we told our friends and family that in a year’s time we would move to Atlanta. We didn’t have jobs, but we had faith. We had so much faith. We had so many possibilities.

The puzzle pieces of our life clicked into place with a swiftness that could only be contributed to God’s good graces. We got a cheap apartment in a great part of town because the landlord liked me over the phone. She laughed when she told me she was letting me rent without actually seeing us, she never did that. My husband landed an academic job at Semester, a modern day miracle if there ever was one. My parents helped drive our stuff into our new apartment the day after I graduated from college. We ate at a delicious barbeque place and had peach cobbler for dessert. When you are in the southern United States, you should for sure eat like it.

We leapt off the cliff of security and into our future and were caught swiftly by an updraft of answers to our prayers. Jobs, an apartment, a church, friends, purpose. All of these things just appeared. We were faithful, and so was our God.

Ten years later we have taken another leap. Only this time we have not been met with a an updraft. It feels more like a free fall, face down, the canyon floor of reality speeding toward our outstretched arms as we close our eyes tight and pray that the updraft will come before we hit the hard ground and our lives shatter all around us.

I quit my job on faith (something I have written about for more than a year) and no new job has risen up to meet me. My husband set a defense date for his PhD, no job for him on the horizon. I was sure by June, we would be having conversations about our new town, or his new job, or the books I need for seminary. Instead, we are figuring out when each of our last paychecks will go in, when the health insurance will run out, when is the last day I can tell the seminary I am actually not coming without having to pay for the semester.

We are trying to figure out where the line in the sand is. At what point do we pull the trigger on putting our house up for sale and moving into my sister’s basement in Detroit? What kind of crazy is the life plan of starting a YouTube channel about four adults and six girls, 10 and under, living in one house? I’d call it Half a Dozen Cousins. I even have the beginnings of a jingle worked out. Is it like, delusional crazy, or is it this just might work crazy? I don’t really want to find out.

Through all of this, God has been silent. Ten years ago God’s voice was strong and swift and sure. I was strong, and swift and sure. And now? Now it feels like God is ghosting me. It feels like we were in a relationship, and now God isn’t answering any of my calls, or texts, or emails. Where there was once laughter and cameraderie and talk of exciting futures, it seriously feels like God just up and stopped responding. What the heck? Now is the time God decides to disappear? When I have kids to feed and a mortgage to pay and a career ending?

I am trying to remain full of faith and full of possibilities, but those are jumbled somewhere in the puzzle pieces that haven’t clicked together yet. I am not even sure which pieces belong to the picture.

I have been a Christian enough years to know that God is the same today as God was ten years ago, but frankly, it doesn’t feel like it.

I am choosing to believe that God is faithful, and that my attempts at being faithful will be honored, but it is hard.

Right now, right now it feels like God is ghosting me.