I am not brave.
Nor am I particularly adventurous or daring or thrill-seeking.
No, I prefer the predictable. I relish in routine.
I have lived in Indiana all my life. More specifically, I’ve lived in Carmel, Indiana all my life. Today, I went shopping in the same Meijer my mom did when I was a kid. I got my oil changed at the same Jiffy Lube where I purchased my first oil change when I was sixteen. Sunday, I’ll go to church within the same walls I’ve been worshipping since I was five, and dozens of wide smiles and “Good Morning, Molly”s will greet me as I walk through the door. I love it.
I’ve had the same friends, taught the same grade at the same school, and taken the same summer vacation every year. I love that my Target is right down the road and that I can order the most delicious omelet at Patachou every Saturday morning, complete with cinnamon toast.
Many would cringe at the lack of adventure in my life, but for me, the safety of The Known is bliss. I find great comfort in my seemingly predictable life.
This part of my personality is nothing new. After all, I was the 6th grade girl who bawled her way through the first few weeks of middle school in the counselor’s office because she just wanted to go back to her house (where it was safe and predictable). I am also a girl who sat on the kitchen counter a month before high school graduation and bawled to her mom about not wanting to move away and go to college. She listened as I cried and calmly said, “Molly, don’t worry about it now. Enjoy today. When the day comes, you’ll be ready.”
And I was. But, ugh. I hate change.
I thought I would be used to it by now. There have been so many significant changes in the past few years: loss of people, of roles, of places. A few called me “brave” as my son Tage was dying, and I marveled at that word. I didn’t feel brave. I had no choice in the outcome, and therefore, no choice to go along with it or not. I couldn’t stop death.
When I think of brave, I think of people making a choice. Of choosing to go. Of choosing to stay. Of choosing to say it or not say it. Of doing it or not doing it, without knowing the outcome.
That’s bravery, because it’s risk.
Faith is a risk, too. As much as I believe 100% most days that Jesus is God and He is returning for me one day, I don’t know it. We can gather all the facts we want about the historicity of the Gospel and of His life and whether or not He really died then rose from the dead, but ultimately, we will have to take a leap of faith if we want to be on His side. We will have to be brave.
We have to decide that being a Christian isn’t just about checking the box that we believe in Jesus and then doing our best to follow all the rules. Being a Christ-Follower means that the final step is surrendering our lives to this Christ and trusting Him with what He’s doing, without knowing the outcome. Surrendering — arms wide open with no expectations — is very, very brave. That’s why it’s so hard.
In the midst of all the change in the past couple years, I remember thinking, I’ve lost this and this and this…but at least I am still in Indiana with my people. That was the one thing that hadn’t changed, the one thing I still held after the whirlwind. The one thing I hadn’t had to surrender.
So the following words are still a shock even to me: At the end of June, I am moving to Kentucky.
Yep. Kentucky. The one state we Hoosiers make fun of. (Sorry Kentucky friends. I didn’t know!)
As I’ve pondered this idea in recent months, I’ve felt my heart race at the thought. I’ve thought about my Meijer, and my Jiffy Lube, my Target and my omelet, my friends and family and was certain, no, I could not possibly leave. It wouldn’t be safe.
I’d tear up at the image of me driving down Keystone with U-Haul on my way to a brand new state with a new home, new friends, a new church, a new job, a new grocery store, and many, many other new things. Then, I get overwhelmed and ask the Lord, “Does a girl really need more change after all of this? Are you really going to take away the one good thing she thinks she still has after all the pain?” And He smiles as He radiates an I know what I am doing look. And eventually, I nod back and think, yes, a fresh start in a new place could be really good.
I am so excited to get to be near Guy and his girls and see what a “typical Tuesday evening” looks like. Because this long-distance relationship stuff is HARD. They weren’t kidding. I am not a phone-talker, I’m a face-talker – that’s why I’m always hanging out with my people. But the hundreds of miles I’ve put on my car, the ten pounds I’ve gained from fast food during said miles, and the constant feeling like I’m living a double life has definitely been worth it. The one thing I know is that I want Guy in my life.
I just wish I didn’t have to leave my friends, my job, and my town. I love them. They’re comfortable and predictable, and I want to be near them. But I am certain I want Guy to be near his daughters. Girls need their daddy (and daddies need their girls).
But as I’ve processed this possibility over the past months, there are three things I still know:
- God loves me.
- God is trustworthy and so are His plans.
- God will give me what I need.
It is the treasure I discovered in the midst of my lowest moments, and now these beliefs go down to the marrow of my bones.
“Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:4-5
More than anything, I want to go where He wants me to go. I want to follow His road for me, because I can see now that His plans are always good, even in the midst of the pain. I can go anywhere and do anything He asks because He always goes right beside me as a friend, before me to clear the way, and behind me to protect me. If He is there, I know I am safe.
“I will bless the Lord who guides me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.
My body rests in safety.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence…” Psalm 16: 7-9, 11
The joy of His presence, not of my surroundings.
This morning, I saw my current life verse hanging there on the bathroom mirror:
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
I want to trust in the Lord in all things. I want my confidence to be in Him, not in my city, or in being near friends, or in my predictable life. In Him, I can be brave! He is where I’m planted, not a city. So, I don’t have to worry about what may come, or if I will feel lonely in Kentucky, or if I’ll find a job, or that Target is 50 minutes away and the best omelet in town is at the local version of Waffle House (though the truck stop also has a good breakfast, too, I’m told).
No, my leaves will stay green, because I know life is not about Target and fancy omelets. It’s about God and people. I already know God will be with me, and the people I’ve met so far are absolutely lovely and kind and even more welcoming than we Hoosiers!
And so, I can go right on producing delicious fruit. The Lord is always ready to use us when we surrender. He will use me to impact people in my new town, and He will use them to impact me. That’s what I know.
Today marks nine years since my beautiful, joyful mom went to be with Jesus. My sisters and I texted today about how grief has changed over the years – it’s less of a surface sting and more of a deep, constant, dull ache. We wonder what she would say to us in different joys and sorrows of our lives.
I wish I could call her in Heaven. There is so much I want to share with her and ask her. As I think about the next two months of preparing to move and all the change that will come with that, there are moments where I want to sit on the counter and talk to her. But I think I know what she’d say. As she stands there next to Jesus, she’d say, “Molly, don’t worry about it now. Enjoy today. When the day comes, you’ll be ready.”
And Jesus would nod and smile in gentle agreement with a little sparkle in His eye, because He knows exactly what He’s got up His sleeve.
And it’s way more important than Target and omelets.