Sitting on the train reflecting on the future wishing I could plan. I can’t plan anything for certain more than three weeks in advance. Yesterday we had another phone conversation with the hospital with the same familiar news; the NHS are in a crisis, operations keep getting cancelled, and there are no beds available. They still can’t give me a date for my operation even though I have been on the waiting list for over a year now.
For those who don’t know I am expecting limb reconstruction surgery which involves a metal frame (called an external fixator) being attached to and through my leg for at least six months. I keep having flash backs to when I had my left leg done in 2013 -14. The sleepless nights, the pain, the learning to move around and walk again, additional pressure on my gorgeous family, as well as trying to get back to work.
Through writing my last book ‘When Faith Gets Shaken’ I realised I am in the company of many others also waiting. Some waiting on test results, others travelling through cancer journeys, many caring for loved ones from small children with additional needs to older parents who no longer recognise them, like my lovely Nan.
Living with uncertainty is tough, I hate waiting in any form, just asked Diane what I am like when I am stuck in a traffic jam or the computer doesn’t load instantly. One of the hardest things about living with uncertainty is the loss of control. As well as traffic jams and slow computers I am continually being forced to learn about uncertainty and loss of control through my role as a parent. I would love my children to all be doing well, without having to go through the teenage trials that many do. I naturally want to solve their problems and protect them but i can’t. The only way to live with and through uncertainty and loss of control is to let go.
I am slowly learning to let go.
I am not God!
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be God. I couldn’t take the pain. I am realising that in letting go and having to stay in the place of vulnerability, maybe we become more human. We become aware of our fragility and the fragility of others. We learn about a humility that isn’t feeling bad about ourselves but more of a humble dependence upon God.
My Christian friends say “Trust God, He knows the date, He has everything in control”, yet over the years of being a Christian I now have as many questions as I have answers. What used to be black & white now is a bit greyer.
I hope my being honest is ok with you. I struggle with notion that Christian leaders never seem to have any doubts. It is easy to focus only on our highlights showreel and ignore or forget the behind the scenes reality.
A month ago we had an another amazing visit to XLP from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They were lovely. It was a very inspiring visit and amazing for the young people involved. I was aware as the press coverage went around the country and the world how people often from outside only ever see your mountain top experiences. Most of our time is spent in the valley trying to work things out, nights worrying about funding or young people who are going through such hard times. Many say to me “It Is not all your responsibility”. I know but when you really care it is hard to simply turn off.
In my wrestling and doubts I struggle when I hold a dying baby in my arms due to malnutrition, or are asked to sit at the front row of a funeral with a grieving family as a young person is stabbed and killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Trusting God for me isn’t a feeling. Trusting is a choice Diane and I choose to make. To be honest despite all my questions, I am not sure I could cope without my faith in God and I am grateful that my constant questioning doesn’t appear to stress him out. In many ways, while in my years of uncertainty I have been more aware of Him through the pain than ever before. Particularly seeing God in the other precious people I have met on this journey.
If you are living with uncertainty in whatever form, health, caring for loved ones, struggling with anxiety or depression, being unemployed or just not being able to plan life, I pray you will know you are not alone, you have done nothing wrong and you are very loved and precious. Keep on keeping on.
At life group last night our pastor described a scenario that all those with children will be familiar with – when a child comes running to you crying because they have fallen over. It’s not a bad fall, there’s no blood. Some just need a quick cuddle and off they go again, for others they like to be held until the pain stops. Maybe that’s all that we need as an adult too, a hug rather a pep talk or simplistic statements. I think that’s what God does. I am more concerned about what I am going to “do” but God is more interested in what I am becoming
If you would like to explore the themes in this blog post and others, in more depth, I am releasing When Faith Gets Shaken – The DVD which you can pre–order here. The six-session DVD is based on my journey through difficult, potentially faith-shaking life experiences. The DVD brings alive for small groups and individuals alike some honest reflections on how we can focus on God and keep going when our faith gets shaken. On-screen discussion starters to help you explore and hear what God may be whispering along the way, it a great rescue to use to get you and your community discussing such issues.