When my husband and I found out we were going to be parents, we did what any new parents-to-be do: marched ourselves into the nearest Toys R Us for the purpose of registering for every baby product we believed would enhance this new experience. Because this was our first, the first grandchild on both sides and a “staff baby,” as my husband was a pastor at the time, we knew baby showers would abound, and we were more than happy to “shop” for them.
High chairs, car seats, wipes, diapers, clothes, toys, all of it lined the aisles of the store ushering us into a whole new world of existence. My husband stood in the center of one of the aisles and just took it all in. Not to be slowed down I grabbed the scanning gun out of his hands and aimed it at everything I wanted. While he pondered I pursued with Roadrunner-like speed whizzing past him.
Ever cautious, my husband questioned every choice down to whether or not we should register for bottles that slanted or stood straight up and down. After all, research had shown that the slanted bottles helped to prevent ear infections as a result of liquid getting in baby’s ears. What could have been an hour activity turned into several more with additional trips to the store after having done plenty of research. We’d read (and by “we” I mean my husband) every word off of every box that each product came in. We’d discussed and debated and removed items from the registry in favor of better choices.
It all came to a head when we had to decide on a stroller. In my head, with the exception of a few bells and whistles, they all pretty much did the same thing: that is, stroll baby from point A to point B. By the time we’d read all the reviews of the different strollers and all of the product descriptions, my eyes were bleeding. At one point I remember thinking that if he didn’t pick one soon, I was going to snatch all of them off of the store shelves, throw them at him, and purchase whichever one hit him first.
In fairness to my sweet husband, what he lacks in quick decision-making skills, I more than make up for in being rash, quick and unthinking in making said decisions. While he thinks the thing to death, I jump and ask questions later. Neither is good in the extreme, and both characteristics have run our lives over the last week. Only this time we weren’t mulling over stroller choices but rather job choices and a twelve-hour move.
We’ve sensed for a while that God was going to be shaking things up in the Nielson house. It finally happened a couple of weeks ago when my husband was offered an administrative position at a Christian school in Texas. This was it. This was what we had been waiting for. Change. Warm weather. A new start.
In my head it was done. Immediately a mental list of things that needed to be accomplished before the sign could go in the yard formed in my head. Daunting though it was, I was determined and undeterred. Meanwhile, my husband was sick with fear and doubting. Could he really do this job? Is this what God really wanted? Did he have what it takes? Operating from the perspective that he is insanely talented and could do any job under the umbrella of ministry, I didn’t understand the hesitation. Back and forth we went until I became as doubtful and fearful as he. I began wondering if God’s plans are really as specific as I’d always believed them to be.
We had in front of us two choices: stay or go. And though I believe there are instances in life when one choice is not better over another (like in purchasing strollers), I just can’t bring myself to believe that a choice of this magnitude doesn’t matter, that either would be fine. Make no mistake, in choosing incorrectly there is always room for God to redeem the choice and make something good out of it.
Psalm 139:16 says,
“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
The Hebrew word for ordained is translated “yatsar”. Within the framework of divine activity it means: as a potter forming; figurative for frame, pre-ordain, plan (in divine purpose), of a situation, of an occurrence (Strong’s).
If my situations are planned for a divine purpose, then on the calendar of my life there are more than just blank spaces. They are filled with activities and choices that are already decided. I’m not a robot. I can decide to choose my path without asking for God’s help, but I can’t believe for a moment that in choosing to ask for His help He won’t make it clear what He wants.
About three weeks ago we decided that we needed to trade in our truck for something more fuel-efficient and smaller that our daughter could drive. We took the truck and a 1995 Chevy Lumina to a car dealership and asked if maybe they had something small we could trade the two vehicles for. Not only were we able to get a smaller newer car than either of the two we traded, we also got $1200 in cash. The money would go straight to our $1000 emergency fund as part of our Financial Peace University class homework.
But wait, that’s not all. We had another choice. We could trade in my van along with the other two vehicles; get a small car for my daughter and a newer, less problematic car for me, which happened to be a Volkswagen Passat. It was beautiful and European with a sunroof. The only difference would be no cash back. Even with something as unimportant as a car purchase, we knew which choice was better. Keep my van and take the cash.
As for Texas, we aren’t going. It is now a closed door. I have no doubt that my husband would have done well at the job, that God would have blessed our efforts and that great lessons would have been learned. It would have been a good choice, but not the best one. So we’re waiting. The only thing I know for sure is that God knows the plans He has for me, and in His time He will enlighten me to them. In the meantime, I’ve learned that Jesus is specific.