Change was imminent. As the day approached, peace diminished as every spare minute was increasingly filled with podcasts, books, questions and conversations. The hope was that in the pursuit, a particular pearl of wisdom would be discovered and administered to the growing symptoms of uncertainty.
The symptoms: endless planning for ‘what-if’ scenarios yet to present themselves.
The uncertainty: having the baby we’d planned, and longed for.
Don’t get me wrong there was joy attached to the situation. Isn’t there always when something you hope for finally arrives? But, I couldn’t shake the fear that lurked in the shadows.
We had been married five years, and while the prospect of motherhood was exciting, it was also unknown. We were a busy couple. A ministry couple. A working couple. A couple who most weeks struggled to do laundry, dishes, home life, date nights, pay bills, see friends and all the other things that go with living the blessed life, or should I say stressed life?
While the future felt exciting, the overwhelming sense to ‘get it right’ was nipping at my heels.
How would we keep up our work, ministry, personal life balance with a baby?
My instinct was to research and plan for multiple scenarios so I’d be ready for anything. Call it worry or angst if you will, but I prefer the dignified terms of preparation and organisation. Anxiety wears many coats.
This was my life and I was prepared to do whatever it took to not stuff it up.
The problem was, I didn’t know what it took. I needed answers, absolutes, certainty that I was on course. The options were endless:
- Feed on demand or on the clock?
- Self-soothe or hold close?
- Co-sleep or have her in her own room?
- Routine or no routine?
The more I looked, the more I found. With every thread of advice, there was a bunch of passionate people ready to convince you why the alternative was the best way. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone was passionately sure their way was right.
There are so many opinions to sift through these days. It’s not just parenting, we can be overwhelmed with passionate opinionators in every season of life.
- Should I study, or start a Business?
- This church or that one?
- That course or this one?
- Work or travel? Date or wait?
- Should Christians use dating site or is that not trusting God? Or is using tinder still trusting God?
- Try and sort it out or get married and hope for the best?
- Less or more? Move or stay? Yes or no?
Tiring, isn’t it?
Thankfully we don’t need to be overwhelmed in the overload of choice. There is a better way. An easier way. A clearer way. It’s the personalised, inspired wisdom that flows the heart of God. Discovering what is right for you. Regardless of what’s right for anyone else.
I hadn’t learnt this yet.
Our beautiful baby girl was born on September 10th 2012, and four weeks into parenthood I was still waiting anxiously for the ultimate plan to raise her. As I pushed her along in the pram one morning, mulling over the different approaches, I felt the Father’s heart beckon:
“Have you asked me?”
My feet kept walking but my heart stopped in its tracks.
I’d asked Google, friends, family, strangers, books, podcasts, and devoured all the reading material from the hospital and Mums groups, yet not once had I even thought to ask my Heavenly Father.
The kindness of His question hung in the air:
Have you asked me?
I felt His smile as I considered His question.
No, I haven’t but thank you for reminding me.
With that one question, I was reminded that He knew her, He knew me, He knew my husband, our life, and what was to come. How had I completely left Him out of the equation? This was not a time to research, was a time to incline my ear and listen to the only One who truly knew.
The answer was not rigid but flowing. Not a right, wrong, yes, no, list of instructions, but a kind, full of grace invitation, to a path that winded upwards, gently taking my humanity into consideration. I could say goodbye to the tightrope walk of Christianity I’d been attempting to live.
The Spirit of God wants to lead us into the wide open spaces He has destined for us. It’s not a formula, it’s an ongoing, intimate relationship.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself in one of these moments. Like deer in headlights stunned in the in the light the unknown. Crippled in the face of indecision. The possibilities for life are endless.
No wonder our generation struggles with anxiety.
This pressure to make the ‘right’ decision is a quest to live the life we know we are destined for. We have a sense of it off in the distance but when it comes to taking small steps in our everyday life we find ourselves stunned by the preoccupation of ‘right.’
In relationships, we feel this even more accurately. You can change course, city or work fairly easily, but changing relationship status involves the heart. Instinct teaches us to protect our hearts from being hurt, misled, isolated and left on the shelf. But experience has us stumped. What’s right for me?
“Have you asked me?” I hear God asking.
You’ve heard the opinions, read the stats, had your own list or lack of experiences and now you’re here at the crossroads, asking what’s next, what’s right?
Perhaps the pressure feels greater if you are also carrying regret. The past can hold us back… ‘Would you be here if you hadn’t made that mistake, or made that wrong choice?’
If you feel like you’ve missed Him here’s the good news:
You can’t miss God. He is sovereign.
If your heart is inclined to Him you can’t ‘fall off’ His path. When you meander—and you will, His Spirit will be right there guiding you. A kind hand on the small of your back leading you back into the course that leads to beauty. So relax. Ask Him for His guidance then trust your steps and His leading.
In my book Daughter Wait! I write about my personal journey of finding God’s path in the myriad of options when it comes to Christian dating and relationships.
The truth is the world doesn’t need another book on how to do relationships ‘the right way.’ Just like we don’t need to be told the right way to parent, spend our money or do any other aspect of life. What we need is Jesus and to be more attentive to His individualised guidance.
Daughter Wait is an invitation to consider dating a different way.
It’s a conversation that will lead you to discover God’s plan for you alone. I made my fair share of mistakes so you won’t find any judgement there. It’s simply my heart reaching out to settle in for a good honest chat. It’s an invitation to take a step toward the path you were destined for. You are worth it.
Accept the invitation to consider dating a different way and order your copy today.
Carly Riordan lives on the Gold Coast, Australia with her husband Joe and their two girls: Beni and Selah. She is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, a lover of His Church, His people, His Word and life in general.