Today, I was at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, NC offering a group conversation about how you make peace with a life you have but may never have intended to be yours!
I told the group that in my story, in particular the story I tell in my book Birthed, that I found hope for the future by dreaming in the present tense (living in today not five tomorrows from now), opening our hearts up to new communities of support (not every friend can make every journey with you) and most of all to re-dream how our deepest desires can be fulfilled (just maybe not in the ways we first thought). Our “problems” may never be resolved but new life is always possible.
Most of all I wanted to say that HOPE comes as we make room for SURPRISE!
Do you like surprises?
I know I do (especially if they are parties for birthdays), though I realize not everyone holds this same joy. Surprises can be scary. Details are unknown. Preparing for what comes is out of the picture!
Yet, no matter how you feel about surprises, I think our DNA (as made in the image of the Triune God) invites into giving up control and lean into surprise. None of us is ever the complete author of our story.
Because isn’t this the Christian faith?
Christ died. Christ is risen. (What a surprise that was Easter morning!) And Christ will come again (A surprise we anticipate even today).
Our lives paths no matter what stage we find them in aren’t about charts, graphs and what society says we should be doing or experiencing because we are a particular age/ color/ gender/ and on and on. Our lives live and breathe and have their meaning from the One who is ALWAYS in the business of surprises.
A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with a group of new friends and they asked me, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” (This is totally an Washington DC type of question to be asked by the way)
I think I totally shocked them because I simply said, “I don’t know.”
And what I meant by the “I don’t know” is not that I don’t have hopes or dreams or projects I’m working toward. I do. (For, there’s nothing wrong with looking toward the future). But what experiences in life (like infertility) have taught me is that life can never be managed. Rather life lived well is always about being open to the Spirit of God and how the Spirit’s movement blows into lives and takes us where we are to go.
Listening to the Spirit IS how we end up in the places where goodness and peace overflow out of us. And our feet land on the solid paths.
My dear readers, I don’t now where in your life you need a surprise– but I do know it’s always possible!
So, for the widow who can’t get out of bed on so many days because life is just too void without her partner by her side; there is hope of healing lament as “God’s faithfulness is new every morning.” God can surprise you!
For the family struggling from paycheck to paycheck wondering how the bills are going to be paid this month, there is hope of comfort: “Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God; trust also in me.” God can surprise you!
For the young adult trying to make sense of life with their first career hitting a dead-end, there is hope of guidance: “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” God can surprise you!
For the high schooler who is already dreading going back to school because math homework is just too hard, there is hope of peace: “I will never leave nor forsake you!” God can surprise you!
Keep your eyes open, my friends. The unexpected can be very good. So very good!