Have you ever stood on the threshold of something big? Something mysterious? Something unknown?
The silence on this side of the threshold can be deafening. Your heart pounds. Your mind swirls with the undercurrent of perplexing questions, paralyzing fear. Should I open the door and walk through it? What if the people on the other side all stop and stare? Or worse yet, what if they don’t notice me at all? What if I fail or just fade into the background?
It’s the feeling of being compelled towards a new journey, catching your breath at the edge of the precipice, ready to step. Rather, wanting to step into this new found excitement of following a dream, but wondering if there is a safety net ready to cushion the fall – just in case. There is unexplainable comfort in being suspended between two worlds. Between the known and the unknown.
The known world is just that – known. It may not be pretty but it is comfortable and I can “do” comfortable. It’s sort of like looking longingly at those stylish new platform shoes, wishing I was bold enough to wear them. Wanting to be “that girl,” turning heads on every corner. Instead I default to the comfy standbys because, after all, what if the weather turns and the car stalls and I need to get out and walk several miles for help? I certainly can’t get anywhere fast in those cute shoes — at least not without incurring bunions and blisters along the way. No. I’ll stick with the old ones. Not cute, but definitely practical and they go with everything. Sadly, everyone knows style choices made in the good name of all things “practical” turn you into the next best candidate for a “friendly” make-over ambush on TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”
We have been standing at the threshold of this adoption journey for a little over a year now. Excited about the dream, but nervous about the outcome. A year of revved up emotion, spiritual adrenaline, perplexing questions and even, paralyzing fear. That kind of emotional roller coaster can wear a girl out!
As I sift through journal entry after journal entry chronicling the past year of my life, I am acutely aware of one continuous theme: I am a closet control freak!
Some of you may roll your eyes and say, “You? No way, you are calm, cool and collected. The consummate picture of composure.” But those of you who have glimpsed my dark side, will stand and cheer and say, “Finally! We have a break through. Name it and claim it. That’s the first step to healing. It’s about time she called a spade a spade.”
Flexibility is my middle name when it comes to matters of little consequence. Dirty dishes in the sink all day — no problem! I’ll do those when I get home. A missed flight to Maui — no problem! More time for me to putter around the airport people watching and drinking lattes. We’ll get there tomorrow. But, relying on God’s timing regarding a major transformational shift in our family structure? Now that’s asking a lot.
As days morph into weeks and weeks morph into months, I find myself continuing to guard my heart. Holding my heart on the edge of this threshold, wanting to let go, wanting to fall head over heels in love with two sweet souls waiting half way around the world for our return. But it feels so scary. What if something goes wrong? What if the whole thing falls through? What if they never learn to love me the way I love them? Nothing is more painful than unrequited love. My heart sits on the edge of this threshold hesitant and unsure. Author Ken Gire describes this part of our human journey as going, “from threshold to threshold with something pulling us forward and something pulling us back.”
Today we sit on the edge of this threshold, between receiving our Ethiopian court decree and waiting for the US Embassy to give us the green light to return to Ethiopia to pick up our children. I watch some adoption cases breeze through fairly quickly and think, “Wait a minute! How did that happen so fast?” While other cases tarry beyond any reasonable sense of time and I think, “Oh, dear God. I don’t know if I could endure that heartache. Please be with those people.” Quickly trying to protect my heart from being pulled in to yet another difficult story.
But God didn’t give me that “out.” He asks me to be fully present in mind, body and spirit. Fully present with my husband, my kids, my neighbors and friends. Fully present in His world. That includes the children who are not under my roof at the moment. The ones God has entrusted to me now. Though I can’t hold them in body. I hold them in my heart. And, that is a tenuous place to be.
Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling, describes my plight perfectly. Channeling God’s heart she writes:
Trust me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax (key word for little old me!), and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love. My Love-Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of My radiant Presence. When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help. This is a subtle sin — so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.
The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself. Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.”
So, in confidence, I step out. Over the edge. Into Christ’s glorious love. I don’t need Casey to “guard and protect my heart” (I know, shameful “Bachelorette” reference!!).
I am held by the One who holds the world in His hands. Yes, the world. I think I can let go now….
Could you do me a favor and help me release those white knuckles? 🙂