In last week’s post, “Trusting God in The Gap,” I revisited Bill Bridges Map for Change that I’d learned in my Life Coaching Program. His model breaks the process into three phases: Endings, The Gap, and New Beginnings. I realized that I was struggling with being in the middle– having partially worked through many Endings and now finding myself in a place of uncertainty that is The Gap.
When I wrote last week’s post, the “For Sale” sign had been placed in my yard that Friday and on Saturday I had twelve scheduled showings. People are anxious to tour inside houses that have been closed except for virtual tours during the previous weeks of COVID-19. On Sunday we had seven more showings and by the end of the day, I was getting anxious since no offer had been made, especially given the lack of available ranch-style homes and very low mortgage rates. Our realtor was anxious, too, wondering why we weren’t getting ‘any bites.’
I’d been so confident with all the showings that I stepped forward that Saturday and put down a deposit on an apartment. I didn’t want to sell my house out from under me and be without a place to live. When an offer hadn’t come after nineteen showings, I felt panicky; I’d just put money on that apartment; I felt fearful that I’d be stuck in my house for a lot longer than I expected. While I was sad about selling my house, in order to get on with my new life, I had to move to a different place without the memories tied to the place we’d shared as a couple.
On Sunday night, after a long conversation with my brother-in-law who’s a realtor, he talked me down from my emotional ledge and helped me think through the options. I spoke with my realtor on Monday, we changed the wording on the MLS, and by 7:00 that night, we had a contract; I was so relieved.
That relief lasted a short while. I started hearing words of doubt, that had been a caution by the realty company, “it’s not over until everything’s signed at closing.”
I handled my anxiety in my usual way; I walked and walked, praying through the streets of my neighborhood. The words “way maker” and a distant memory of a song title floated up to the surface. I looked it up on YouTube and listened to the worship song by that name, written by Osinachi Joseph of Nigeria, Africa, and sung by Paul McClure of Bethel Music.
The words settled in and the tune kept flowing through my head:
“You are Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper
Light in the Darkness
My God that is who you are”
Osinachi Joseph, Nigeria, 2015
In last week’s post, I talked about the uncertainty of The Gap and now I think about what I said concerning timing:
Perhaps to “sit with things” in The Gap instead of rushing to fix the uncertainty is to sit with the promise of God that our plan will unfold in God’s timing. The middle is about waiting until that plan takes shape–forming from out of the muddy foreign waters.
With a contract in hand, a buyer who wants to purchase my home, an apartment that’s waiting for me, and reminded of God as my Way Maker amid the uncertainty, the water felt less muddy.
I imagined myself crossing the stream in the picture. I’ve stepped onto the first rock by getting that contract on my house; I’ve stepped onto the second rock by securing a place to live. Just experiencing the flow of that stream makes me feel more alive and more hopeful in the process with the energy of the water as a driving force.
While my anxiety lifted about my personal situation, my heart was heavy as I watched this week’s coverage of the senseless and wrongful death of George Floyd, a Black male. As someone who went through the racial unrest of the late sixties in the South, I find it incomprehensible that we still have so much disparity with how whites vs blacks are treated. Part of my sadness was feeling the sorrow for George’s mother grieving the loss of her son. I know that while I’ve had my own parental worries for my two boys over the years, I haven’t had the same level of fear as my black friends who are parents, worrying over their children, especially their sons.
Looking again at The Gap, I consider how it relates to the greater things that are happening beyond my life:
The Gap phase can be muddy, trying to make your way in foreign waters without that old familiar course you followed on autopilot.
I think of this time of racial unrest occurring with this wave of COVID-19, and hope that it will be a driving force out of our autopilot— our country’s handling of injustices. I pray we’ll move beyond the muddy waters to streams of clear, living waters.
Looking toward the other side of the river, I can get a glimpse of the bank that will offer relief from my journey across the water. It will be a place to sit in the shade of the huge tree and relish the Beginning of my new life. I just have to get through this river one step at a time, one solid rock at the time.
Thinking about the scripture that was at the base of my memoir, He Heard My Voice, I consider each rock like that central rock of my story:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit , out of mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (NIV Psalm 40: 1-2)
A rock under your feet is a feeling of security. That solid, grounding earth that is warm and reliable brings comfort and is an anchoring point until your ready to step over to the next rock of the stream.
Stepping from one rock to the next across the cool refreshing stream, I’m anchored every step of the way. I can wait on each rock until it’s time to go on to the next.
I consider the words again of “Way Maker” and think they apply not only to my situation, but to the racial unrest that we have in the U.S., that has now been echoed around the world with people taking to the streets.
Today I found a version of “Way Maker” that’s very international. The video features Darlene Zschech from the Hillsong Worship group out of Australia singing with William McDowell, a Black American who is a pastor and renowned worship leader. They sing with an international audience of all colors, praising God together. It’s a beautiful thing that feels like a healing balm.
Further into the song, the words address my tendency to fall back into doubt:
“Even when I don’t see it you’re working
Even when I don’t feel it you’re working”
I know that God is working, in my personal challenges and in the struggles that are much greater than my own. May I continue to step onto each rock, moving forward in faith as I’m lead, looking to the shade of the bank and the Beginnings that are ahead. I wish the same in your life.
How About You?
How are you getting across your Gap?
What gives you hope to keep going– even when you have doubts?
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