Open Hands, Open Hearts

As I walked along the path of my morning walk for one of the last times, this was my prayer:

Open Hands, Open Hearts.

Over and over again, I prayed those words.  I didn't have any other words.  The Lord and I, well, we had taken this walk many times and we had shared sweet times of fellowship.  In the previous months He had confided in mecounseled me, directed me. Those walks were life-giving to me. It may sound odd to some, but really, my walks were where I found God. It was when He spoke to be, prodded me, encouraged me, challenged me, and spoke gentle words of correction. It was communion.

But on this particular walk, there were few words.  Just, "Open hands, open hearts.  Lord, just give us those."

I wanted so much to be open to whatever God was doing in us.  I wanted so much to say "Yes!" to His plan even if it differed so much from the plan that I had been forming. I wanted to enthusiastically embrace God's direction and listen intently as He spoke.

Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it" whenever you turn to the left or to the right (Isaiah 30:21).

Oh Lord, what about the kids?  What about money...oh my goodness, where are we going to get the money?  What are we going to do?  What about our plans?  What about our families?  What will they think? What if they are mad at us? What if people think we are foolish? Indecisive? Weak?  What if we are foolish, indecisive, and weak? Oh Lord, what if....

Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it" whenever you turn to the left or to the right (Isaiah 30:21).

Conversations held in previous days, weeks, and even years filled my mind. I remember a boss telling me about his sister in Africa and how she would love to be in the States, but that is not where God has her.  I thought of a dear friend who would love nothing more than to be a full-time stay at home mom, but that isn't what God has for her. So many stories of man's desires not lining up with God's will. "Okay, God, but what about..."

Open Hands, Open Hearts

The words ran out once again and those six little syllables were all I could mutter.

Open Hands, Open Hearts

I was scared, confused, and longing to hear the faint sounds of God's whisper:  "Just trust me."

Oh but God!  We had planned to look at this!  We had planned to talk with them!  We had planned...we had planned...we had planned."

The mind of man plans way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Okay, Lord, I trust you.

I arrived home and 30 minutes later I received a phone call. "It's 85% sure."  85%  What kind of number is that? How can I make decisions based on 85%? God...what are You doing?

I frantically made a u-turn in my plans for the day. I prayed for the kids. I cried out to God. I muttered in overwhelmed breaths, "Open hands, open hearts."  Over and over again.

I arrived at the airport, nine bags and four kids in tow. I kissed my husband goodbye. I looked around me, let the last four years of Indonesia wash over me and whispered in a faint breath, "Open hands, open hearts."

A nine-hour flight later and I was sitting at a food court in Qatar, a country we were excited to visit because it is our go-to country during our oft-played ABC country game. Q is kind of hard.

My phone beeped.  A text from Jason.  85 has just moved to 100.  I looked at my kids, felt the weight of the news on me, a weight half filled with excitement and wonder and half filled with "what if's" and "how in the world are we going to afford...?"

And then I just let it sit there in my heart. God had shown us His will, His way, in His timing.

We are returning to Indonesia.

Seven months in America and then back to a life that has brought us so much joy, so much struggle, and so much growth. It's where I grew up.  Not in chronological years but in spiritual years.  It's where I stopped feasting on milk and found meat.  It is where I learned what it meant to be a momma.  It is where I have started (s.t.a.r.t.e.d.) to learn what it means to love people. It is where my kids call home, where my husband is so happy, where we have been blessed in so many ways. We are returning to Indonesia. 

It feels good. It feels scary.  It has taken me three weeks to find the words.

God is good. So, so, good. His plans and purposes leave me in awe. Only God. Only God could do what was done, could orchestrate the circumstances that allowed us a seven month and desperately needed break, could pave a path for us return.  Only God.

I will never say that walking with God is easy.  It isn't.  It is scary, hard, and full of unexpected twists and turns.  But I don't want anything else.  I spent years trying to fill my soul with what the world had to offer and I was left empty. But my soul knows full well that "Those who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing."  Read that correctly, "...not be in want of any good thing." God's good. Our eternal good.  No promises of our immediate, earthly, fleshly good. Just ask those people in Hebrews 11.

I encourage you with these words: Open Hands, Open Hearts.  We can't beg God for His will to be done in our lives and then refuse loosen our grip on our desires and plans.  We can't plead for God to give us things and then insist that they can only come in a certain way.  If you really want God's will in your life, your marriage, your children, and your family, you must be willing to open your hands before the Lord.  And TRUST.  Believe God and His promises.  Think on eternal things, not things that are present and yet temporal.  Trust the One who can see how all things work together for good. The result may not be what we expect and it may require us to give up the meaningless things we often hold dear, but in the words of Jim Elliot,

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Open hands, open hearts.

6 thoughts on “Open Hands, Open Hearts

  1. Heather

    I can’t even begin to express how much your transparency blesses me.. So many of the things you express my heart is crying out to express in the same way. Our family leaves our home country this Sunday on an adventure only God knows the path too. Scary, exciting.. Insane.. But with Him and no other place we’d rather be!!

  2. cadafamily

    Thanks for this post. Currently my husband and I are just waiting to hear where God would put us. A lot of the time I feel pressure from people constantly wondering when and where we are going, when all we know right now is that we are going. One of my friends from my previous team keeps calling and asking when we will be joining them. My job is in the process of transitioning me out because “they don’t know how long I will be around.” We have a lot of “good” ideas, but are waiting on His leading, though it is very hard sometimes.


Leave a Reply