I don’t remember when I started sleeping through the night again. For about a year and a half I would head to bed hoping sleep would blot out the whispers of fear, anxiety, and insecurity that tormented me throughout the day. But an hour into my respite, anxiety and fear would creep into my room and rudely interrupt my slumber. I would spend the rest of the night wrestling with my sheets trying to ignore the “what ifs” marching through my overactive imagination. I pleaded with God for comfort and direction.
When I realized I was sleeping through the night I was as relieved as when my last baby abandoned his hold on his nocturnal ways. Sleep was tangible evidence that the truth of God’s promises was finally, finally seeping into my weary soul.
“Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” Psalm 16:5-9
So many small victories punctuated my days, evidence that God was with me through my dark valley.
“Why don’t you write a book?” my friend Cindy suggested as I recounted those victories to her.
When I turned to God at the end of my marriage I was broken, defeated, a complete mess. I was no great prize but I offered God all I had. I surrendered all. And I began to see God work in my life.
Through the Bible verses I read, the sermons delivered on Sundays at church, through devotionals I stumbled upon while surfing the Internet God began to comfort me and speak to me.
Difficult words for someone who wanted answers and guarantees like yesterday. But I hung on, choosing to believe that God would do what he said, that God would keep his promises.
But this idea to write about what God was doing in my life terrified me. “Write. About what I’ve done,” he insisted.
Are you sure?
Do you really mean Me?
I’ve never done anything like that.
“That’s what Moses said,” came the calm, authoritative voice. Or thought. Whatever it was, it was different than the almost panicked excuses that were running through my mind like a hamster on a wheel.
The hamster immediately stopped running and sat down with an “Ooph” as my excuses were silenced.
“Oh.” I didn’t need to hear any more. “I’ll do it, Lord. Yes, God.”
You probably remember what happened to Moses. God spoke to him. Out loud. From a burning bush. Pretty direct and incontrovertible.
“Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go,” was God’s command. How often have I asked God for a similarly clear direction? How often have you asked for that burning bush clarity?
But Moses argued. “Say, what?!” And protested. And made excuses. And totally exasperated God.
God persisted. Moses relented. And the rest of the story can be summed up with the image of Charlton Heston looking out over the raging Red Sea arms lifted high, staff in hand, hair blowing in the wind as the Egyptian chariots rumbled towards him. The Red Sea parted, the Israelis marched across the dried up sea away from slavery.
The Bible is the history of God using—and equipping—unexpected people. Joseph, sold into slavery by his jealous older brothers, saves a nation and his family. David, a young shepherd boy defeated a giant warrior with a few stones and becomes king. Rahab, a prostitute, helps Israeli spies escape and insures their victory against Jericho and saves her family.
God still asks ordinary people to do extraordinary things with his power. Like me…Charlotte, a stay at home mom for almost 20 years, is given the courage by God to leave her abusive marriage, finds God’s purpose for her in her writing, and…I’m not sure what the result will be.
God promises to direct our paths. And better yet, he promises to equip us.
Like Moses I feel totally inadequate to do what God has told me to do. But I think that is part of God’s plan. Since it is his direction, his plan, I can rely on him to direct me, prepare me, and open the doors for me. And I can totally leave the result up to him when I turn my “Say, what?!” into “Yes God.”