I am a planner. I enjoy my To-Do lists. I like to have a plan in place then work each step to completion. People say I am organized, yet I can easily shift into “control-freak-mode” at times. I think there is a fine line between the two.
The last year-and-a-half has given me the opportunity to work on my control issues. You see, back in December of 2016, my husband and I felt like God was bringing our season in Illinois to a close. We sensed a restlessness growing within us. For several reasons, we felt like God was calling us to a new adventure in our old state of Michigan. At the time, I also felt like God was cautioning me that we would encounter twists and turns in this transition. Does this sound mysterious to you? It sure was for me.
It is now May of 2018. We are now 18 months from our initial plan to move. We are 18 months into not knowing when we will move. It is a season of not knowing where we will be 30 days from now. We are 18 months into keeping our house in showing condition. We have 18 months’ worth of reminders for our sons to keep their rooms clean and orderly. We have 18 months of living in limbo with one foot in Illinois, and one foot in Michigan. As you may have guessed, I have a few feelings about this.
Normally, living in the unknown this long would have driven me to distraction because I like stability. I like to predict what’s around the corner. This time I have no idea what’s happening next. Yet, I continue to learn that not knowing the plan is not the end of the world. I can be flexible instead of rigid. I can better trust God during the unknown. I can better rest in the assurance that Immanuel has a plan, and this plan is good because His intentions are good. I am learning to hold on to my plans loosely and tightly cling to Him – even when I can’t see what He is doing.
In the meantime, I have started looking for the things and people that I can appreciate in this season of limbo. Even though my family stayed an extra year in Illinois, I have found plenty of reasons to feel thankful for this surprise. Still, I have been asking God the big “Why?” questions. “Lord, why did we put our house on the market if it wasn’t going to sell?” “Lord, why is it taking so long to sell this house?” “Lord, why are You putting me through this misery?!?”
Even though the questions keep coming, I am learning to rest because I know my God is with me.
I feel like God has tenderly met me with my questions. He has been patient with my unending frustrations. I sense His gentle reminders that, even when I feel completely out of control, He is in control. He has what is best for me and my family. More than selling our home, more than a decent offer on our house, God is interested in my character. He wants me to learn to trust in Him. He wants me to be more comfortable with the unknown. He wants me to feel peace, even in the absence of a plan. My character is most important to God because learning to rest in Him will deepen my intimacy with Him.
While I still struggle with “freaking out” at times, if I remember God has a plan for me I feel peace. My prayer has changed from, “God, please sell our house quickly!” to, “God, don’t let me miss the lesson You have for me.” I must admit. I often tack on, “And, please, let me learn this lesson quickly.”
Where is Immanuel stretching you today?
I pray you can sense His peace and delight in you as you navigate the rocky terrain of life and relationships.0
David leaver says
Wonderful story, we all need to do a better job of being patient with God and his plan
I am going through a time to t
right now where I need to be more patient, listen to God each day and follow his plan not mine
Jen Coursey says
David, I know it is a challenge! I am thankful for the God God gives when I slow down to receive it.
Louise C., St. Albert, AB Canada says
Chris shared with me the blessings of having your boys at this marvellous school in Michigan. I am interceding daily that your house in Illinois sells & that all details fall into place in God’s perfect timing.
Thank you, Jen, for “sharing” your crew’s husband/father with me … the healing & blessings were awesome!!
Jen Coursey says
Thank you Louise and I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the time with Chris this last weekend!
Hee-Choon Sam Lee says
Thank you for sharing your life so openly with us, Jen. Time and time again He proves that He is the master of timing and I keep hearing Him tell me to look only upon Him.
Jen Coursey says
Thank you Sam, I appreciate that encouragement. He really is the master of timing!
Misa Garavaglia says
I can so relate, Jen! I have waited for some things for 30 years, and one for 42, but here they are, unfolding before me. I often really don’t get God’s timing. But what I do get now is God’s heart… and have come to deeply trust in His goodness. I will just have to trust that His timing is right. I am sure that, when I come to see it all from an eternal perspective, I will understand it someday! Until then, I choose to let Him unfold His plan in His time, though it seems painfully slow at times.
Jeff Buckingham says
Jen I appreciated your sharing this. I have had many of the same emotions and uestions for God over the last almost 4 yr journey we have been on. Certainly not always easy to trust He has my best interest, but I have learned that He does love and care for me and when I let Him be the one in charge, things do go so much better.
Amy Brown says
Graham Cooke says that there are a few good questions to ask in any situation, starting with the two asked in Acts 2 – “What does this mean?” and “What must we do?” He adds a really excellent question as well, “Father, who or what do you want to be for me in this situation that I wouldn’t see any other way?” Hmmmmm…. you’ve already been getting some great answers to all these questions, sweet sister of mine.
Dave ward says
Jen I’m going through a similar situation right now with our youngest daughter. I told her I would paint her house when I retired and I am. But she is a very particular young lady and we have had a few altercations over how o was planning to do it and the way she wanted it done. I see now we should have talked about it more. But I’m trying to pause for a few seconds and think about what I’m going to say. And learn to bond with her in a way that she has not really known throughout most of her her life. Because I’ve struggled with depression for at least 40 years and she is 35. So she hasn’t always had a healthy dad. But with the help of your book and the 19 things I’m learning and of corse the help of the Holy Spirit it’s going to be a good chapter in my life and my families lives. Thank u guys for ur resurch and figuring out how the human connection and brain works. May Jesus continue to bless u guys and ur ministry.
Douglas Kellenberger says
Yes! I understand a little of what you’re going thru. Me too! Feels like I’m hopelessly stuck in feelings and situations I’ll never get out of.
The points about:
– character building
– Just trust and learn to be with Him
– He’s a good Father
are the ones getting me thru day by day. No fun.
I can remember the chronic fatigue, depressive, hopeless year or more prior to getting a phenomenal sales territory in Europe.
I think about my son’s “sling shot” theory -Where we get stretched so far back that when we’re let go, we’re shot forward a lot farther.
I think about Job being honest with God and then getting 2x as much in the end as before.
I remembered the Abraham and Isaac story. I sacrificed, for obedience, something I longed for on the altar in hopes of getting it back, too.
I remember the good plan He has for me.
This is the only stuff that keeps me going – barely it feels like, but it’s still not fun.
God bless and encourage and provide for you folks, Jen and Chris!!!!!
I’m glad I waited til today to read this one. I just spent time with Jesus over my own frustration of being in limbo, or stuck, with so many areas of my work life. I’m in between and it hurts and the emotions are hard to carry. I’m so glad Jesus is here with me as I wrestle with the hard feelings and find some resolution just from being in His presence. Thanks Jen for telling your story well. It’s so helpful.
Thank you, Jen, for the reminder! Just recently I found your Facebook page and attended a seminar by Marcus Warner. I am not sure where to start but know I need to study the Immanuel materials. Even in discovering I am being anxious to learn it all and know it all yesterday so this is a good reminder to watch how God brings me to what I need.