Open Hands

Our condo is up for sale. We've gone back and forth about it so many times that I've begun to question my ability to NOT be fickle in any given situation. How can I so assuredly go to bed with a for sale sign in my mind one night only to wake up with visions of bunk beds and trundles and all the kids we're going to squeeze into this tiny apartment. (First world tiny, by the way. Let's be real. It's plenty big.) The myriad inconsistent conclusions we've come to about what we ought most wisely do with this chunk of square footage is both comical and pathetic. 

The tipping point has been Annie's entering into the terrible two's. Actually, I think it would be more appropriate to name them the entitled two's. I called a friend this morning and just sort of sighed when I mentioned Annie. Ready to sell her to the lowest biddest? she asked. Yes! Are you making an offer?!

I love my child. I love my child. I love her even when she throws herself to the ground and kicks and screams because I put her milk in the wrong sippy cup. Even when I don't let her have fruit snacks for dinner and she pushes her plate of food flying through the air. Even when she cries the whole way home from the park. I love my child. I do. Even though I'd just bought that face lotion and it's - for all intents and purposes - destroyed.

There's this whole thing where she wakes up and instead of saying good morning she says - first thing! - I wanna go bye bye. I wanna go ou-side. I wanna go stroller. And it's getting to me. I feel like I'm trapping her inside an airtight box where she can't breathe. And going outside living in this condo is no easy feat. There are lots of doors and stairs and fences to get to the street. And then you're just on the street. 8 or 9 blocks to the nearest park. My friend assured me that even with a yard, two year olds are terrible. But it's got to be better. And too many frozen foods have thawed in the car because I can't carry all the groceries up with a toddler kicking and screaming and keys and bags and doors upon doors with entry codes and more stairs. And it's really not that bad. But it feels bad sometimes. And now that we're expecting another baby, it feels like it's time to move on. 

So we finally picked up some speed a couple weeks ago and starting nixing things off the long list of musts before we can sell it. I busted out my new miter saw and wore the only protective eyewear I could find - 3D glasses from Titanic last year. No shame.

Aside from the half a dozen erroneous cuts I made and didn't measure well for, I got 'er done. 

And I ain't nothing if not resourceful when it comes to not having proper equipment. But like I always say, who needs a sawhorse when you have Euro pillows? I rest my case. 

Check. Check. Check, and we neared the end of the list. 

Then it happened. I was at my parent's house. The sun was shining...finally. Birds were praising God. The attic fan was whirling. And the perfect house came on the market. Whoosh. My next 15 years flashed before my eyes. Paint colors flew into view. Furniture arrangements mapped in my mind. I could smell the burgers we'd cook on the grill on the deck of this new, perfect house. I could hear myself calling up our new stairs for Annie to throw down her laundry. I could picture my car in the driveway. John mowing the lawn. We can't be happy as a family unless we get this house. 
The heart is deceitful above all things. Jeremiah 17:9 

Amen and Amen.

But tread lightly lest you suggest to me that we may not get this house. I might crumble in tears. Because I want to be in control of my life. I want what I want when I want it. The way I want it to look. How I want it to feel. 

Here's the thing...

I need to hold my life with open hands. Oh, and I need to stop wondering where Annie gets her entitlement mentality. Clearly, it's her father. JK. It's me, alright. 

When I walked away from seeing that perfect house I thought - knew! - that I could choose to have peace because I could choose to trust that if it was in God's will for us to have this house, we would have it and no amount of manipulation, stress and anxiety would be needed. IF I could just believe that God is in control. And if I could just hold my life with open hands. But everything in me fights against it. Everything in me tells me that if I don't FIGHT for this to happen, it won't happen. Everything in me tells me that everyone around me is moving too slowly. But I know deep down it's just me moving too fast.

Then I met God halfway and decided I would relax about it as far as everyone was concerned. I was still going to go home and get our place ready to put up for sale before I laid my head again. But I wasn't going to freak out and talk about it incessantly. The only problem is you can't just meet God halfway. You have to meet him all the way. Not that He doesn't seek you. And not that He doesn't embrace you wherever you are. But you have to meet him all the way IN your not doing anything. And by doing I mean controlling. 

Let me just throw in a little nugget here and say earning is not opposed to effort. We don't earn God's grace over our lives, but that doesn't mean we make no efforts in our lives. So when I say I had to stop doing, it's to say that I had to stop insisting on my own way of life. I need to surrender that desire for control. Not that I had to stop working.

So here we go. The condo is up for sale. We still want to move. We still want that house. We still are going to make every effort to move toward that. But I'm going to hold it all with open hands. 

And there is so much peace in that at the end of the day. I thought I'd actually have more anxiety by letting go and not steering every element of this process. But this God to whom I'm giving up control has a pretty good track record. Perfect, in fact. And there's great, deep peace in knowing that he has great plans for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans for a hope and a future. 

One beyond what I could dream or muster or manipulate my way into. His way isn't just another way. It's the best way. 

Please remind me of this when our dream house more than likely sells to someone else this week :)

And also please don't report me to child services for suggesting that I may entertain the idea of selling my child. It was a weak moment, people.... But look at that face. Even if she did break a few necklaces, how could I ever not forgive her?



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