I live my life by a spreadsheet that tells me what to do each day. It tells me my chores, the phone calls I need to make, what time I need to leave to make it to the doctors office on time, what errands to run, what friends I need to text, and when to rest. Every night I make my schedule for the following day, and the next day I just follow the plan.
My life has been much the same way. I graduated from high school and went off to college. Then I graduated from college and got a job. Next I got engaged, then married and had 2.0 children. I became a stay at home mom and homeschooled them. Then they went to college and left me…with an empty nest.
And with absolutely no plan for what to do next.
I quietly rolled over in bed, trying not to wake up my husband. We were on vacation, and I was doing my darnedest to let him sleep until 7 am. So I did what I usually do when I awake early: think and pray. I prayed for friends who were struggling, friends who were sick, and for family members who needed help.
Then I began to pray for my fledgling speaking ministry. As I prayed, I felt a familiar knot in the pit of my stomach. All of my hopes and aspirations were rolled up in that pang of uncertainty about my future.
The phone rang. I was out working in the yard, enjoying my flowers, but I decided to run into the garage to grab it. It was a friend in crisis calling for prayer, like many friends before her. I found a quiet spot in the house to sit and fully listen to her story. She had made a mistake on her taxes and potentially owed the government $13,000. $13,000! I did not know what to say, other than “Wow,” so I offered to pray for her. And as I listened to Holy Spirit and prayed for her, these keys for surviving a crisis emerged.
I walked around my house chanting, “I am braver than I think. I am braver than I think.” I didn’t feel brave, but I was trying to convince myself that I was. My heart was in my throat, and I felt sure that I was going to have a panic attack. My 18 year old son wanted to drive to a friend’s house for the first time. The friend’s house was on a busy city street that was near “the projects” on the other side of the railroad tracks. And it was dark outside. I was desperately trying to be brave, but all I could envision was him being lost in the city in the dark in the projects. I was an emotional mess.