“A dollar short and a day late” seems to be the theme of my existence these days, but in this case, it’s more like two weeks. Our home got hit with the stomach virus that is attacking Long Island like Black Death on the day after New Year’s, and finally, hopefully, we are on the mend. But I feel like 2017 is just starting for me. Yay! Happy New Year!
It’s been a ritual of mine since I was a teenager to ‘look back, look forward’ at the start of each new year, but honestly, there’s no time for that this year. And more honestly, 2016 was a crazy blur for me.
Last year started with my boys being 9 months old, just starting to crawl, and order in our home and my life was still somewhat manageable. Enter my boys at the start of 2017 – just a few months shy of 2 years old – energetic, curious, explorative little guys who turn our home and my life upside-down from morning til night (in the best way possible, of course). No joke, I get my 10,000 steps on my Fitbit without leaving my house – just from running back and forth from the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom to the kitchen to the living room to the bathroom (“No, come out of there. Bathroom is for baths only”)…you get the idea.
Watching them grow into these adorable bundles of personality and silliness has been the joy of the year – and really, my life. I am thankful that, while a bit baby-crazy, there were no extremes beyond the evolution of my boys’ development in 2016. Oh, there are some stories from 2016, but that’s for another time.
I’m usually all about the goals and resolutions, but I really don’t think my mommy brain can handle those kinds of profound thoughts needed to analyze my life in that sort of depth. However, I realized that I have been doing something as of late that has, subconsciously, become my one and only resolution this year.
I still have goals and plans for 2017, but there is only one thing I am resolving to do. It’s this:
The situations vary, but I typically have this involuntary, internal, knee-jerk reaction that responds to any potential or actual serious situation with panic. Immediately, in a half-second flat, I am over the cliff, head first into the worst possible outcome.
But lately, before I am mid-air over the edge, I am learning to pause and to say to myself, ‘OK, don’t panic.’ For some reason, that one statement instantly slows me down and calms me so I can think rationally.
Of course, there are follow-up thoughts to that, but the basis of my rational thinking that follows is this: God.
God will provide. God has a plan to take care of us. God is looking out for our family.
Since I’ve had kids, I’ve been forced to rely on God in ways I’ve never had to before. For my kids’ safety and health. For our finances. In trying to be a good mom and be a good wife at the same time. In having enough energy to do some side work. In trying to manage my crazy universe. Any upset in any of those arenas trips that internal panic button in me.
How are we going to pay for this? What if it’s more serious than just a fever? Do I take him to the doctor or wait it out? How will I have time for all this? I’m so exhausted, I can’t do all this.
There have been several situations that have pushed that panic button, but one of the biggest areas of fear for me is our finances. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve had a paycheck; we have been living on one salary since July 2015. We had a decent chunk of savings to supplement, but well, it’s not a money tree and eventually, it runs out. We’ve made adjustments, and I’ve been tutoring at night which helps, but it’s not the same as working full-time.
There have been so many scenarios in the past two years where God has provided for us. When we decided I wasn’t going to go back to teaching after my maternity leave, I didn’t even bother to do the math. I knew financially it wasn’t going to add up. But I knew this was the right choice for us, and I was counting on God to provide. He had to. We had no Plan B.
And He has. Over and over and over again. Here’s one example – during Christmas break, school was out, so that meant no tutoring. Well, the week before Christmas, we received an unexpected property tax rebate check for the exact amount I was going to lose by not tutoring. I mean, to the dollar.
Another example – I lost another week of tutoring from being sick. I got an unexpected client the following weekend who needed help with a project. I was with that student for 4 hours, and that one day alone made up for just about all the money I lost being sick. God’s provision was just about seamless.
These are only a few examples, but it puts my heart at ease. These aren’t isolated instances. We’ve gotten through the past two years with everyone healthy, everyone fed, our bills paid. Yes, our lifestyle has changed, but we knew that going in. The point is that through so many ways and means (and not always with money), God has taken care of us, and He is going to always take care of us.
My panic response reminds me of the children of Israel when they were wandering in the desert after leaving Egypt. God provided in a ton of ways for them when they were making the trek to Canaan – shoes that didn’t wear out, miraculous manna from heaven, water from rocks – you know, the usual, right? And this was after He just happened to split the Red Sea so they could escape on dry ground from the Egyptians who were right on their tails. Just when they were about to take the land God promised them, they still had fear and doubt in their hearts about God and His promises. After all those experiences, they still weren’t sure God would come through this time.
Hey, Kate – sound familiar? After all those times, over decades, that God has provided and taken care of you – from money to jobs to health issues to even giving you your miracle boys – you still are going to panic when confronted with a challenging situation? Still? When is it going to hit you that He is not going to stop taking care of you? Those weren’t isolated instances. They weren’t the exception; they were the rule. He is always going to take care of you.
I think about Abraham and his faith – in particular, when he was called to sacrifice Isaac. I’ve always heard the emphasis on Abraham and his willingness to offer his son. Don’t misunderstand me, that’s huge. And we always throw in how we would have felt if God asked us to do that – how scared and in anguish we would have been if God had asked the same of us. All true.
But the Bible doesn’t really emphasize that. In Hebrews 11, Abraham is not praised merely for his willingness to sacrifice or for his obedience. He is acknowledged because he didn’t just do those things, but he did them by faith. Could it be that Abraham wasn’t just saying it and he actually meant it when he said to Isaac, “Don’t worry. God Himself will provide the sacrifice”? That maybe he didn’t feel panic because he was confident God would come through? I don’t know. Maybe.
But even more than that, Abraham is not the hero of this story. God who provided is the hero.
I don’t want to be like the children of Israel who had every reason to believe that God would take care of them, but they panicked and didn’t believe Him. And it cost them a lot –they lost their entire spiritual and physical inheritance . I want to be like Abraham, who, in my opinion, had far less evidence but was convinced that God would come through for him.
I want to get to the point where, when something happens, instead of panicking, my first thought is, “Hmmm, I wonder what God is going to do to work this out.”
So that’s it. That’s my resolution. Whenever a scary or threatening situation happens this year, I’m resolving to not panic. To slow down and remind myself that God has provision, a solution, a resolution to any and every situation. He’s got it. It may not always look like I think it should, but I can be confident that how it’s working out is how it’s meant to be working out.
I’m resolving to believe and trust that He will come through. Again. And again. And again.