What happens when you’re certain God’s leading you in a certain direction and you land in a dead end? That question becomes even more challenging and frustrating when it seems someone intricately involved in your decision pushes back. This was the battle my guest found herself in.
Letting Go When God Says Yes
By Jenny Fulton
The fight began over something that sounded so good.
For the past few years John and I had been talking about attending Camp Logos. We love studying the Bible together and this training would teach us how to better utilize our primary research software. We’d agreed this was something we should do. However, we hadn’t settled on when. Our two daughter’s were young and the only family member close enough to babysit was a younger sister.
We decided to keep our eyes and hearts open for God’s timing and the right opportunity.
In early January of 2018, I found it. There was a 3-day training in April about five hours from my writing partner, Eric. John and I had discussed making the trip from New Mexico to connect with Eric and his wife in North Carolina. This was perfect! We could do both in the same trip!
“Is this it, God?” I asked. “Is this the opportunity we’ve been waiting for?”
I felt an inner assurance that it was. Words flooded my mind. “This will be good for you. You need this.”
That made sense. It had been rough several months. I’d suffered two miscarriages in four months and we’d also dealt with some tough family conflicts. We definitely needed time away. Although our girls were young (4 years and 16 months), I felt confident God would help us find adequate childcare.
I rambled off my findings to John and waited for his equally eager, “Let’s do it!”
It didn’t come.
He was hesitant, but reluctantly agreed to let me buy tickets for the camp.
Though I couldn’t understand his uncertainty, I dropped any further mention of it for the time being. I’d make him come around to the idea later.
At the end of January, I discovered I was pregnant again. Doubt and concern filled my mind. “How is this possible? What happens if I lose this one? Can I handle another death?”
John and I talked. Maybe another miscarriage would indicate it was time to release our dreams for children.
The trip seemed like a better idea than ever, though, on the other hand, would it be wise to be so far from my doctor?
February came and our 17 month old suffered 2nd degree burns on her arm severe enough to land us in the hospital for a couple of days. Besides feeling scared and heart-broken over her state, I also worried about the effects this stress might have on the baby within me.
Camp Logos felt like a definite no-go. How could we leave our little girl during her recovery?
In early march, life was still uncertain. However, my pregnancy and Sophia seemed to be progressing well enough that I again sensed an urge to go on this trip.
I brought it up to John and, although we’d already bought the tickets for the training, he resisted.
I made some inquiries, found possible babysitters we could maybe patch together to cover the time, and broached the subject again, this time with more fervency.
Why was he being so stubborn? Why couldn’t he believe this was a trip God told me we needed to take?
John was concerned about childcare.
Why couldn’t he trust I’d find the right people for the job? Why couldn’t he trust God to look out for our girls while we were gone?
In mid-march, it reached a climax. I pushed it enough and he resisted enough that we went to bed without speaking. Neither of us slept very well. We retreated to opposite sides of our king bed and turned our faces to the walls. The tension was as thick as our bulky comforters. Morning came and our cold withdrawal from each other continued.
I certainly wasn’t going to apologize. Why should I? He was the one who wasn’t trusting God.
Something stirred in my heart. One person alone rarely causes conflict.
Maybe I shared the blame, but for what?
All day, I struggled to identify my part, but couldn’t find it.
That afternoon, our pastor came over to talk about the children’s lesson I’d be teaching. Instead, I ended up pouring out the details of the fight. Surely, if anyone could help me see my error, it was him. After all, I’d heard him point out everyone else’s shortcomings in his conversations with them.
But he didn’t help me identify my sin. Instead, he started going off on all of John’s failings, related to the fight or not, and presented confidence in himself as the better alternative.
Alarms went off in my spirit, and I inwardly withdrew.
The next morning, God revealed what I had been seeking.
“If you truly trust this trip is of My doing, then why are you trying so hard to control it?”
There it was; John wasn’t the only one who lacked faith.
“Do you really believe this trip is of Me?” God asked.
“Do you believe it enough to let go?”
This was a tougher question. Did I trust God enough to release my hold? Was I willing to give up on the venture altogether so He could work without my interference?
“I want to, Lord.”
It was a start.
John and I talked again that evening. I set aside my insistence and allowed myself to listen and feel his concerns for our girls. Can’t fault a man for being protective of his children can you?
In turn John heard my heart on the emotional and spiritual need for this vacation.
We came to an agreement. If I could nail down the childcare question, we’d both go. If I couldn’t, then I would go for the full week, and he would join me half-way through.
It wasn’t ideal—definitely not what I felt was best, but it was something. And this time, I knew I could trust God to bring about the best results.
Early that week, I finalized the childcare situation. A few days later, things came to a breaking point with our pastor. After attending one more service, we made the decision to step away from him and his church until we’d had more time to process.
Ultimately, everything came together better than I hoped. We left for the whole week. At Camp Logos, we rekindled our love for God and for studying Scripture together as we sat in a room full of likeminded men and women from all denominations. The second half of the trip was spent in the Appalachian Mountains where we had time to pray and work through the tumultuous events of the past several months.
God knew in January about all the turmoil we’d encounter. He knew about Sophia’s arm, my pregnancy, and the pastor’s behavior. God saw all of this and made a way for us to escape before we knew how much more we’d desperately need rescuing from.
God wanted me to rest in Him.
Though it’s incredibly difficult to let go of our hopes and dreams, we need to believe that if they are truly of God, then He will bring them to fruition in far greater ways than we could imagine or manufacture in our own strength.
He is good.
May we continue to lean on Him and remember His faithfulness as we go through our week.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV).
How has God been there for you in past?
What are your dreams for the future?
Is there something God is asking you to let go of?
Get to know Jenny!
Jenny Fulton is a writer, educator, and mother with a passion for communicating truth through stories. She works part-time as a free-lance writer and is a collaborative author for the Invisible Battles youth fantasy series. Jenny has three beautiful daughters and writes as much as time and opportunity allow. She loves the creative process and gathers inspiration from her experiences overseas, her years as a teacher, wife, and mother, and through in-depth study of God’s word.
Before you go, make sure to check out Wholly Loved’s Bible reading plan, available on YouVersion.