Trust is easy to give away when skipping along and echoing back on a smoothed path.. but add hurdles, jagged rocks of challenge and the elevated way of heart-jumping hurt-then trust screams to remain silent, hidden among the safety of control.
When I lived in the cabin, I often called my husband “The mighty mountain man of faith”. He had what seemed to me to be a superhuman gift to trust (Corinthians 12:7) He was a carpet-layer and a handyman by trade, but did not believe in advertising or seeking work in any traditional way. “God will bring it” he would say and He did. He just believed God would provide. He would take care of us. No matter what happened, we would be okay. This belief, this trust, went against everything my young life had taught me. For a woman who had experienced too many broken promises-who believed for so long that she ultimately could rely on one person- herself- this was a faith too simple in concept and too difficult to grasp. Where I saw every trial as a need to worry myself into controlling the pitfalls of the uphill climb, Gordon saw it as an opportunity to watch what God could do.
He had very strong opinions about not “pleading poverty” (telling anyone of our financial woes) even though there were times we did not know what was going to be on the table for dinner the next day. “The Lord will take care of us” was his mantra.
One morning, Gordon announced that after breakfast he would be visiting his friend Matt who worked at the county dump. Earlier that same morning we had discussed the need to figure out a way to get him some new boots. His old boots were worn almost clear through…he possessed an almost obsessive desire to not waste things (especially food) and to utilize things until they were useless). That afternoon he walked through the cabin door with a crumpled box in his hands and a redwood size smile on his face. When he opened the box, there were nestled two perfectly good (slightly scruffy) size 12 Tony Llamas- a treasure he found during his visit to the dump. I was amazed. “Look what God gave me today”. A joy that comes from a faith fulfilled displaying itself all over his countenance.
Another summer day we were rocking and ricocheting down the dirt road towards our small town church. I was biting the inside of my cheek and rubbing each thumb in anxious concern about how to bring up to him the fact that we did not have milk or bread or food for dinner or money to buy what we needed. I was hesitant to plead our poverty even among those who it affected directly- us. I kept my fears silent as we parked our old truck in front of the church. Suddenly, Charlotte (a woman who had little to give) walked directly up to Gordon’s window and handed him an envelope. She said that she had been given an unexpected gift and God lay it on her heart to give a portion of it to us. I will never forget the impact of that gesture- the way it grew my desire to learn to trust- not because it helped alleviate my worry for that day, but because it was a gift no-one knew we needed…no-one but God. Maybe He really would take care of us.
Hiking that mountain of trust has never been easy for me. I’ve suffered from a lifetime of trust issues that cause my feet to stumble and my head to forget to “look up”. Over the years, I kept an accounting in my gratitude journal of many of the “faith miracles” we experienced. With each incident where God took care of us and our needs, my trust muscles became stronger. Still, I had not built up the stamina to trustingly climb to a place of peace. What if one of us got seriously ill? Could I really just trust God when we had no health insurance? What if there our cabin caught fire? We would be totally wiped out. What if the work quit coming or Gordon got hurt? What if? What if? What if?
Slowly, I began the practice of handing these worries over to the Lord. Sometimes I did it the moment I started to let anxiety block my path and other times it took me days of staring at it, kicking dust at its feet, before I could allow God to move it aside. Nevertheless, I noticed that with every time I found my way to saying, “This is yours, Lord, and not mine.” a habit was forming and I was maneuvering the steep roads breathing better.
I discovered that I could speak scriptures to situations. Scriptures like: God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind 2 Timothy 1:7 KJV when jobs did not come as fast as I wanted them or the snowmobile broke down two miles from home in below 0 temperatures or an interesting character moved into a nearby cabin loaded with a variety of guns and a sign outside that said, “Be warned. You are now entering Saigon.”
I found there is a formula for living life without anxiety. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace that passes understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 I applied it when my boys were screaming around the mountain roads on their dirt bikes or during mountain storms when the thunder was deafening and lightening was striking right outside out cabin windows.
While I was making progress on how to live a life of faith on a mountain, I discovered another area of my trust trek that seemed like a completely divergent path than the one where I was learning to overcome my tendency to choose anxiety and control over trust. This avenue was more about placing a naive confidence in the faulty lanes along the way.
For example, my ability to trust other people was a dangerous walk. I carried (and still do) this unrealistic view that everyone I met was great, honest, and filled with integrity. Then when their humanness eventually showed and something hurt me, I was crushed. I processed even the smallest betrayal as a validation that I was not good enough to be treated fairly. I was not worth it. This core belief put a lot of pressure on those around me and a trust trap that would hold my feet back and tear at my soul for years. My response (until I finally learned better) was to reach deep for the internal on/off switch…the one I developed as a child to survive rough experiences… and switch it to “off”. Once this happened, I found it very difficult to see the other person as someone I could be close to again. I refused to trust. I gave no room for flaws or forgiveness, and yet, I was also blind to my own acts of betrayal- no matter how big or small- always able to justify . These misguided tenets on trust- this dichotomy of “You are great until you hurt me.” and “I am justified even if I am wrong.” had previously led to my second failed marriage and as hard as it is to admit- would continue to allow me to transfer that naive “impossible-to-live-up-to” trust to a man rather than God. More on this in upcoming blogs called, “The Power of Stay” and “The Woman at the Well”.
I am still climbing the mountain of trust. I am not a “mighty woman of faith” gifted with a supreme ability to trust- no matter what- but I am making headway. Though it sometimes takes longer than I wish it did, I am turning more quickly from fear to faith. I don’t always succeed in trusting the Lord at the first attempt, in fact I often need to hand my worries and concerns back to Him several times, but I am advancing along this pathway too. I am finally making huge progress towards placing my ultimate all-encompassing trust in God while allowing others in my life and myself to be human. I am thankful I learned to trust God to take care of our family during those mountain years. He did not always do it the way I thought it should be done or when I wanted Him to do it, but He did take care of us in His way- the Godly way- and He still does. I am thankful to know that while trust is a steep and rocky trek, it is one well-worth the climb.
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He shall make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
As I do every week, I thank the Lord for each one of you who choose to spend time reading my story. It truly means so much to me. I pray that if you are struggling with a trust trek today, the Lord would give you encouragement. I ask the Lord to bless each of you this week with His peace and joy. In Love, Kristy