“Hey, mom. So, I still have to look through some stuff but my passport wasn’t where I thought it was. I was wondering if you, by any chance, saw it when you were here.”

I receive my daughter’s message at 10:34pm on December 23, less than 24 hours before she is scheduled to board a flight in Raleigh, North Carolina. A flight that will carry her to London to be with us on Christmas morning. The “when you were here” she is referring to is two months previous, when I was visiting her apartment during a three-week book tour in the US.“I don’t remember seeing it, honey,” I reply within seconds.

Two hours later, after numerous exchanges between us, I crawl into bed, mute words coming out of my mouth, curl my body into a ball and will a positive outcome with every muscle tightened in silence. As if freezing my body will control what is lost toward being found.  Like the “I” in Be still and know that I am God is somehow meant for me instead of the Creator of the universe.

What if she can’t find her passport? I mentally prepare myself by serving up worst case scenarios. And God answers me in the usual way we dialog– through a tennis match of questions.

He volleys back, What if she can’t find her passport? Am I still in charge of her life?

What if she isn’t with us for the first time at Christmas?

What if she isn’t with you at Christmas? Am I still your Father who desires what is best?

What if she spends Christmas alone?

She’s not alone; I am with her.

And with that, further questions seem out of bounds when I think about them in the context of God’s love. I fall asleep and awaken to my H’s gravelly voice telling me our daughter’s passport is found.

In a car headed toward Alabama.

There are words that take our tired mind wracked with worry from wandering down a path scattered with questions to falling asleep within seconds of sinking into the pillow.

Found when all seems lost.

Arrival when hope is delayed.

Heard after lengthy silence.

Begin when doors were assumed closed to new, fresh, and attainable.

In the same way I experience temporary relief in knowing my daughter found her passport, a simple word to name a year can bring a hint of hopefulness about the future. But once peace is achieved the finality we crave quickly becomes a fleeting certainty.

God is the Master of mystery and the only thing He wants us to be certain about is this: His love abounds.

Instead of naming a year, what if we live 2017 being named by God? Beloved, Cherished, and Known. What if God is naming you Loved and accepting it is the beautiful name you give back the world?

We will never escape the tension that comes with waiting on God because mystery evokes vulnerability– a reminder that we are not in control of outcomes and outcomes do not control us.

God uses mystery in the unknowns of life for deepening relationship. We long for certainty in words that name time, and God longs for us to trust him with the minutes He gives.

Just before 7am on Christmas morning, H receives a message from my daughter, “What is your address? I can’t find it.” She’s typing on a computer from the seat on the airplane, just before landing at Heathrow in London.

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Shelly Miller / Posts / Blog
Shelly Miller is a veteran ministry leader and sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping. She leads the Sabbath Society, an online community of people who want to make rest a priority, and her writing has been featured in multiple national publications. Her first book, Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World, will release with Bethany House Publishers in the fall of 2016 with a second launching in 2017 with Lion Hudson. Find more of Shelly’s writing on her blog, Redemptions Beauty, and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where she loves to share photos of the beautiful places she visits while living as a committed immigrant in London.
  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, though God controls outcomes and gives grace even when they are ones we wouldn’t prefer (or those we definitely wouldn’t want), I love how this is an outcome that you, H, Harrison, and Murielle longed for. I’m so glad she found that passport in time and that obviously you all knew your address :-), and could guide her to your home in London. Moreover, this post reminds me of something I say so often here at home to friends and family (and have been saying it since leaving my career many years ago to raise our daughter and I wondered if I would lose contact w/ the outside world): God knows my address! And He knows yours and Murielle’s and all that concerns you (and me and my family). He knows such a minute detail of our lives–our personal address–because, like you say, His love abounds for us. He finds us at our address, because He knows where we live (physically, mentally, and emotionally), and He will care for us. He knows what we need. I had decided not to “theme” my year this year. Actually, I have found it distracts me from living on purpose. I love what you are saying here too…. let’s live, fully loved by Him. I think that there is no greater way to live “into our purpose,” than to know we are fully love and found by God. I love what you share, always!!! I’ll be in touch, and have a wonderful New Year. Can’t wait for book #2!!!!!
    Love you so much,
    Lynn
    Love
    Lynn

    January 9th, 2017 9:47
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    • Shelly Miller
      http://redemptionsbeauty.com

      Lynn, I love your thoughts on God knowing our address — physically, mentally and emotionally. Thanks for your inspiring comments here.

      January 9th, 2017 16:31
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      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        I mean, Shelly…. think about how he knew our St. L addresses and connected us!! Amazing! 🙂

        January 9th, 2017 19:59
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    • Shelly Miller
      http://redemptionsbeauty.com

      Lynn, I love your thoughts on God knowing our address — physically, mentally and emotionally. Thanks for your inspiring comments here.

      January 9th, 2017 16:31
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      • Candy
        http://lcrsherwhp.com

        My spouse and i have been absolutely joyous that Ervin managed to deal with his basic research through the entire precious recmnmeodations he had out of your site. It is now and again perplexing to just be making a gift of tips and hints which often the others may have been trying to sell. And we all remember we

        March 8th, 2017 20:58
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    • Keisha
      http://ickbudr.com

      No quisoetn this is the place to get this info, thanks y’all.

      March 8th, 2017 21:41
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  • Shelly Wildman
    http://shellywildman.net

    Hmmm. “God is the master of mystery.” I love this so much right now, Shelly, because I’ve been waiting to “name” my year, to give it one word, and the word he keeps revealing to me is baffling me. “That can’t be it!” I keep telling myself . . . and God. Thanks for your sweet reminder today that he is in control, not me.

    January 9th, 2017 12:54
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    • Shelly Miller
      http://redemptionsbeauty.com

      Shelly, so lovely to see you here and grateful the post was timely for you.

      January 9th, 2017 16:28
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  • Nancy Ruegg
    http://www.nancyaruegg.com

    Such wisdom here, Shelly. Especially meaningful to me: “We will never escape the tension that comes with waiting on God because mystery evokes vulnerability…God uses mystery in the unknowns of life for deepening relationship.” Aren’t we always waiting for something? It’s just the tension-level that varies, depending on the circumstances. When stress-levels are low, I often say to myself: “Now next time you’re in the midst of uncertainty, just peacefully trust in God, practice his presence, focus on the positive, and let the joy of the Lord be your strength.” I’ve never been able to achieve such perfect calm during a stressful wait for an important event. Your words, Shelly, help me understand that escaping the tension is not the goal. The vulnerability of such times deepens my relationship with God. It’s an opportunity to draw near to Him and allow Him to draw near to me. THAT’s what I need to embrace. Thank you, Shelly!

    January 9th, 2017 13:08
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    • Shelly Miller
      http://redemptionsbeauty.com

      Nancy, I often have those same conversations with myself. Waiting well takes practice and I’m not sure we will ever reach perfection but what you said is so true — escaping the tension is not the goal. Thanks for being here!

      January 9th, 2017 16:30
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  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins
    https://jodyleecollins.com/

    ohhhhh….I like this, “Instead of naming a year, what if we live 2017 being named by God?”

    January 9th, 2017 17:16
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  • Devi
    Devi
    http://mydailybreadandbutter.com

    Thank you for this, Shelley. I felt terrible getting “ready” for the new year this year, empty of plans and dreams in some way, and this reminds me that yes… it is God who names us and it is him who orders our paths. There is hope in these words, and I’m grateful for that (and for you!).

    January 9th, 2017 22:41
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