What an incredible life I am living.
A week ago yesterday, I completed the longest stretch of travel I have ever done, about 4.5 weeks. It was by far the longest amount of time I have been apart from my girls, though I had two quick overnighters interspersed throughout the 4.5 weeks. It included writing and speaking ministry opportunities, a special mother-daughter vacation to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday, a whirlwind house-hunting trip in South Carolina where God far exceeded our expectations with what He provided for us, a Discipleship Cruise that was FULL of divinely orchestrated moments and relational networking, and finished off with a weekend to enjoy beloved friends and relatives on Prince Edward Island before I finally landed home in the comfort of my own bed.
As I learn to “abide in Christ” (John 15) and “keep in step with the spirit” (Galatians 5:25), I am discovering new levels of truth to the verse: my “times are in his hands” (Psalm 31:15a).
The timing of these trips did not feel strategic or convenient. These weeks were critical leading up to our family’s big move from Atlantic Canada across the U.S. border into South Carolina. There was so much to be done at home! Still, God seemed to be orchestrating each trip, and the timing thereof with purpose and intentionality. I walked through them with Holy Spirit ease, where I might have been exhausted and overwhelmed in times past.
God’s timing leads to new freedom.
During this stretch of traveling and being away from my girlies, I realized something… Could one of God’s strategic intents behind the planning of this season involve a new shift in the deep places of my heart, one that would dislodge certain attachments that formed during my time as a single mom? Being away from my girls for that long gave Brent the opportunity to function as the primary parent during a critical season of change. Could that restructuring of our relational roles serve to break unhealthy patterns and set us up for a stronger, healthier unity in the new season ahead?
Though our situation is less complicated than some, we are still considered a “blended family.” I have been with our girls since birth and provided nurture and care through the changes that have occurred in our lives. Brent entered the scene a few years ago both as a blessing and… as one of those big changes! As big changes continue to come, my habit is to position myself as the foundational security I am accustomed to being for these treasures. BUT, God has done wonders in our family, miraculously molding us (through grace and a lot of hard work) into a beautifully blended, unified family! I am still, in some way, the glue, as moms tend to be… But I am not needed as the sole provider of consistency and security any longer.
As parents, or in relationships in general, when we stay in certain roles that our loved ones once needed, but have since grown beyond, it leads to unhealthy patterns and dependencies. I do NOT want to contribute to unhealthy patterns and dependencies in the lives of my kiddos, which means a deeper sense of letting go and releasing them into the hands of my heavenly Father, as well as their wonderful earthly father, Brent Dongell!
Abiding in Christ and keeping in step with the Spirit – surrendering to God’s timing and purposes instead of my own – stirs up the things within us that are not in proper order.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Thank goodness that God only stirs up the things of our inner hearts with the intention, strategy, and provided grace needed to set us free. This is His work, and He’s exceptionally good at the operating table of our inner transformation.
God’s Timing is for God’s Purposes.
When I orchestrate the timing of events, changes, moves, and shifts in my own life, I tend to think about what seems best for me and my family. I think about our comfort, our success, our convenience, our strengths and our limitations…
But, when I maintain a focus of abiding in Christ and keeping in step with the Spirit, I find myself relinquishing that power and control, emptying myself of my own volition to walk by faith and not by sight. This kind of adventurous living bears witness to the fact that His timing is PERFECT in our lives both for our own benefit, for our own freedom and transformation, and for the benefit of others.
God’s timing for us aligns us with God’s purposes, which always extend beyond ourselves. His heart is for the salvation of many, not just personal freedom or success, or a false sense of safety and security outside of His perfect government over our lives.
“You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace and terror will come near.” (Isaiah 54:14)
Surrendering to God’s timing in our lives, and keeping in step with his Spirit, means surrendering to His government over our lives. His government results in our own peace and abundant blessings for others.
Team Dongell will be a much greater blessing to the people of South Carolina as we are made stronger through this season of shifting and change!
Father, as we move forward in your plan for our lives, and face whatever changes are to come, I pray that we would not run ahead of you, but continue to abide. Help us to keep in step with Your Spirit and rely on your timing instead of our own. Help us to rest under your government of peace and surrender our own volition, power, and control. Search us and know us during this time, stir up any unhealthy thing that would steal from your glory and our effectiveness in your Name. Set us free for freedom’s sake, and for increased blessing in the lives of others.