Swirling a dish towel around one of the only skillets we haven’t packed yet, I ask my daughter sitting at the bar across from me in the kitchen, “Do you want to go with us to deliver your car tomorrow or would you rather not?”
Looking away, then down at her lap, she says, “I don’t know,” and squirms uncomfortably.
“You don’t have to go with us,” H assures from his seat in the living room; “Mom and I can do it if you don’t want to.”
“It’s just that I’m afraid of meeting her. What if the car I love is going to someone I don’t like,” she admits. Her lips push up at the corners once she hears the honesty spewed from her mouth, then her hesitancy erupts into giggling.
I understand more than she realizes.
The next morning, H and I wake up to the alarm clock. It’s Saturday. Alarm clocks are usually turned off.
“I couldn’t sleep last night,” he says, still groggy.
I hazily remember turning over in the middle of the night startled by the glow from his computer screen.
“But I did find neighboring architectural plans for our potential new house in London through a search, if you want to get a rough idea of the layout.”
Packing nearly every day for over a month, we’re in a waiting period about a job and residence. Months ago we surrendered position, perception, reputation and control when He asked us to move to England.
“I don’t want to see it.” I tell him. And the corners of his smile turn downward. “I can’t hope for something that might not happen. The disappointment might kill me.”
I turn the water on in the shower. We have two hours to deliver my daughter’s car to a stranger.
“God may be leading you away without a clear final destination yet. As maddening as that is, could it be that He needs you to release what was before so you can appropriately grasp what will be? I read it from Jen Hatmaker’s book Interrupted while seated in the passenger’s seat. Ponder those words while looking out the car window as the city blurs past; glimpse my daughter behind the wheel of her car in the rear view mirror.
I have willingly thrown piles of memories in the garbage over the past few months. But this extended waiting in heaven’s silence for the fulfillment of hope is beginning to feel like Jesus is laughing. And then I read the next paragraph.
“Could it be that you might accidentally squash the lovely vision if you obtain it too soon? There is a horrid beauty in following God slightly blind. The victory later is sweeter, the prize more valuable than breath.”
Keeping my eyes on the destination and not the circumstances, this is where I struggle continually.
I’m riding along for the story, not a transaction.
We know the buyer is a college sophomore from New Hampshire. Her mom responded to the ad we placed in the Auto Trader in South Carolina, calling us while in Canada during our family vacation. “And could you have the leak in the power steering checked out before we buy it?”her only question and requirement.
An hour later, we huddle in front of a dorm building surrounded by boxes and college students.
H asks a bikini clad girl waltzing down the staircase if she is our buyer. “Yeah,” she says under her sunglasses, “Do you have the car for me?”
That is the extent of our interaction. No thank you so much for bringing it to me or story of redemption. She doesn’t crawl inside the car or start the engine. Instead, she runs up the stairs holding two keys and registration like they are foreign objects, like she has something better to do.
I’m not sure if she knows that leak fix was equal to the car value. Or that the electronic key went mysteriously missing so we had to order a new one. That God wrecked our well laid plans for financial security and replaced disappointment with a desire to be a blessing when we prayed earnestly about the decision.
She doesn’t know we collected our last pay check this week.
We are at the complete mercy of His kindness.
“I hate that place and love it – depends on the day. There is a freedom in not being in control, when something utterly imagined by God is coming for you. It’s exciting and kind of awful,” writes Jen.
Awful was winning the battle in my heart but that long drive with Interrupted changed my perspective.
With Murielle now in the back seat, we pull away in silence, each of us processing the anticlimactic ending of letting go of another something beloved. And I realize, we aren’t responsible for the outcomes of our yeses, only obedience to Jesus, the One who creates happy endings.
And so we wait and trust a little bit longer.
“Turning lose is part of preferring the bottom; it’s an unexpected front door to peace. “
When I was one of the first 250 bloggers who responded yes to helping Jen Hatmaker promote the reprint and expanded version of Interrupted, I had no idea how timely her story would be, how much it would parallel my current situation. When Jesus wrecks our comfortable Christianity, having sojourners, not fixers, is vital to wrestling through those hard places. Jen’s words are an empathetic friend, a shoulder of hope in the darkness of transition. Interrupted is an encouraging message to keep trusting, even when the circumstances seem crazy and unconventional.
Today, I’m giving away one copy of the revised and expanded Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity to one person who leaves a comment in response to one of the following questions. Psst . . . . Jen is doing an online study with it this fall.
What would you struggle to give up if Jesus wanted to use your life to make a difference in the world? How is God showing you He loves you recently? For me, on Saturday, it was the timely words of Jen’s book.
**Christy Willard is the big winner of Interrupted. Congrats Christy!