List making. I LOVE it! I love writing down all the things I need to do, buy, fix, remember. What I love even more is being able to go back and check them off one by one. The organization which list-making provides is critical to my sanity, especially when it comes to my "to do" list. I can never remember everything and writing it down serves as a tangible in-my-face reminder of the many things I need to get done as a mommy of four littles, a wife, a homemaker, a business owner and a woman of God.
Since having children, mental lists just don't seem to hold their substance anymore. Usually, they dissipate the second I get distracted and then trying to recall each item is like trying to wrangle a child's favorite blankey away from them on wash day. There is one list, however, that seems to constantly be at the forefront of my mind, almost mocking me as I realize none of the items on it are able to be checked off.
This mental list is a list of things I'm waiting for. This list is often detrimental to my sanity because it is made up of things I cannot control. I have no say in when I will be able to draw a thick black line through any one item. I have to keep waiting and praying and hoping that each thing will be resolved in the perfect timing of God. It's a difficult thing to do sometimes, because I like to have some say in these particular items. One of the main items on my list is the future of our business. We want so many things to happen. But I've been re-learning lately that it's not about what I want or think I need or what my timing is, but what God's will for my life is and when it will come about according to His divine plan.
Getting to that moment in my faith walk where I really had to let go of things was a long and arduous journey. I'm sure there were many times in my life where He's tried to get me to give up that control, only to find that I was just like that determined child trying to keep my blankey near me even though it was time to let it go to get cleaned up, repaired, or even put away for good. I didn't trust Him enough to know that my "blankey" (my life) was in safe hands and that His plans for it were more important than what I wanted or thought I needed. I had to trust that He had my best interest in mind but at those times, I just couldn't, not always. The first real time I had to do it was when I found myself pregnant for the first time. Since then, I sort of back-tracked into a hole, afraid of what lay ahead, not always trusting in His perfect will.
Fast-forward to 2009 and hubby has just lost his job for the second time in 1 year, due to the recession. I was pregnant with our fourth child and there were no job prospects in sight. Talk about having no choice but to give up all control to Him and only be able to trust that He has our best interest in mind- the perfect plan He's been waiting to bring to fruition! We were at a cross-roads. I knew it. Joe knew it. We had to take a leap of faith and trust. So we did, and our company New Growth Landscaping was born. That year was difficult. But not as difficult as we anticipated. We meandered through each day, holding our breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the moment when everything would fail. We didn't have much control in the situation at all and yet, we still couldn't quite believe that God was carrying us. But He was. And we didn't fail. In fact, we went through that first year, bills being paid somehow, food being put on the table every day, our family building in spirit and momentum as we took our new life and ran with it. The numbers don't add up but we survived anyway, solely on the grace of God.
Our bottom line that first year was only in the negative by a few hundred dollars. The second year, we showed a profit in the 20 thousand's. This third year has yet to show how well we've done but to us, the numbers don't really matter. Our first year proved that very fact when we realized we survived without the numbers making any sense. What matters is what God wants. Our future is in His hands. My mental list is in His hands. I can stare at it all I want, wishing I could see those lines through each item, but they will not appear until He wants them to. It's something I'm working on really being at peace with. Most of the time, I resign myself to be at peace and those things on that list don't seem so glaring. But other times, I find it difficult to remain peaceful as I see a few of them beaming through another layer of dust.
One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope." (St. Joseph Edition of the NAB) I recently came across this verse in a most unexpected place. But it came in such perfect timing, as I was overwhelmed with anxiety over one particular item on my list that concerns the future of both our business and family lives. At that moment, a warm peace washed over me and though I often feel slightly anxious when I realize I don't know what our future holds, that peace is still there, plus a joy I never could have imagined. All because I know that God knows well each item on that list, and I can rest knowing that I really DO NOT have to keep the list in my mind; that He will take good care of it, remembering all items in perfect succession and using His divine pen to cross them out according to His plans. He has them in His mind and that's good enough. I don't have to do a thing.