“Erin, just settle in. I’m going to lead you in this.” This is the statement that I felt was audibly whispered to me a few weeks ago. You see, I’m in a season where my mom’s health is not good. It’s hard, much harder than I ever anticipated and it seemingly happened in a moment. My mom came into our home just over a year ago after a mild stroke and a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. I had a picture in my head of what this season would look like wrapped in expectations of her, me and our family. As the year progressed, the picture in my head and the expectations I had were shattered as it wasn’t going the way I had imagined. I felt my insides raging and my grip to control everything tighten as my body sounded alarms of all kinds indicating my inability to carry it all.
I couldn’t control it, I couldn’t change it and I couldn’t carry it all….I just couldn’t. I found myself driving one day, crying and pleading with the Lord to help me, to lead me…I just needed someone who would understand. He provided just that and gently whispered the name of someone I knew would understand. So, I phoned and then drove straight to my mother-in-law’s house, who had been my father-in-law’s caretaker for 20 plus years until he passed away. She let me cry, vent, pour out my heart and then she said, “Do you think this is so hard for you because it’s the first thing you’ve attempted to do that you can’t.” Ummm….gut check! I’ve done quite a few things in my life and have had general success with almost all of them but this one, I felt like I was failing. Failing God, my mom, my family, everyone. After she asked me that, she followed it up with a personal example from her experience as her husband’s caretaker. She understood, she listened and she encouraged. It was exactly what I needed in that moment.
I drove from her home so thankful for her, her voice in my life and her son who continues to support me in literally every way possible. But even more than that I was thankful for God’s direction through it, His grace that I immediately felt by simply saying, “I can’t do this.” I wondered though, how did I get here, to this place where I felt like I HAD to carry this alone, to navigate this independently of Him? How did I drift from my security and trust in Him to relying on my own ability, feeling more unsettled, uncertain and burdened than I ever have? It was a scary realization for me and I immediately knew I couldn’t stay here.
When I felt the Lord say, “settle in” I immediately got frustrated that I had to accept that things would never change. As I dwelled on this settling in, I realized that while I couldn’t change what was happening, I could change me. The Lord wasn’t asking me to accept things as they were, He was simply asking me to settle in and allow this journey to shape me. I didn’t need to settle in to who I was becoming or how it was affecting me. I needed to choose to keep pressing and keep digging to allow this process and season to refine me. I needed to choose to allow this journey to do its work in me so that on the other side of it, I’d be pure, complete and not lacking anything as it says in James 1:4. Settling in does mean I am settling for less than what God has for me, it simply means I’m settling into the process of a new journey, remaining moldable and changing as the season draws out and refines things within in me that desperately need it. God isn’t punishing me or doing something TO me, He’s been gracious to allow this season FOR me; for my good, my mom’s good and our family’s good. So for now, I’m settling in to see what He has for us. I’m moving forward with renewed perspective and trust that His plans are perfect and His love for us is full and complete in every way and in every season. He carries us and all of our challenges as if they were weightless, allowing us to walk free from worry, doubt or fear. He is the source of all we need, He is our peace and strength. I pray, even on the hard days, we’ll all remember that to be true. Now, go and settle in to whatever your week holds and do so with a confidence that He is with you, leading you in every step.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27