The caller asked for me by a name I have not used in almost forty years—definitely someone from my past, I thought, but I did not recognize the voice.
It turned out to be a woman I had known in my twenties; we have not seen one another in more than thirty years. We had worked together and were even housemates for a while, and then I moved to another state and we lost contact. She said the Lord had placed my name in her mind and she decided to look me up.
“You’ve been serving the Lord,” she said.
“I have, haven’t I?” I thought.
As I reflected on that call the next morning at prayer, words from Amazing Grace flitted through my mind—I was lost, but now am found.
I was a lost soul in my twenties, and it took me a long time to find my way.
This woman had been with me through some of my darkest days and she saw me at my lowest— scared, hopeless, on the wrong path. I was still in a pretty dark place the last time I saw her.
Over time, though, my choices started to move me away from the darkness and toward the light. It took lots of prayer and God’s unending patience and mercy, but I finally felt like I was growing into the person God created me to be.
Then, two years ago, I moved to be near my family. Although I have returned “home,” in most ways I am starting over. As with many transitions, this one has left me feeling a bit unsettled. What was has been is now left behind, and what is to be is still unfolding.
I have been asking God, “What do you want me to do?”
“A new king, who knew nothing of Joseph, came to power in Egypt,” I read the other day (Exodus 1:8).
“Why are you telling me this, God?” I asked. What does this new king in Egypt have to do with me?
And then I thought about who is leading my life. In Exodus, the new king was fearful and set about to enslave the Israelites. “Am I being ruled by fear?” I wondered. “Is fear holding me back? Is that what God is pointing out to me?”
Upon reflection I can see that I have been feeling vulnerable and a bit unsure of myself because my life does not look like it once did. It does not have the activity level it has had in the past—friends and church and civic activities. My evenings and weekends are often devoid of scheduled events. I can go whole days without talking to anyone but the dog.
I sometimes feel like I am drifting through this time of transition.
My new house has a sun porch, the perfect place to read or just linger. Looking out over the flowers, watching the hummingbird at the hanging fuchsia, counting the lightening bugs at dusk—my summer is the summer of a carefree child. Little things bring great joy—hearing the owl on my morning walk or watching a squirrel grab an apple from my neighbor’s tree.
Transition time stretches out ahead of me, inviting tentative steps into the unknown.
Perhaps more activity will come in the fall. Perhaps God will invite me to a new ministry, but for now, I am trying to let go of my anxieties and fears and to be content with enjoying the summer, trusting that this unsettled time is temporary and certain that the Lord is leading me.
Madeline Bialecki grew up in Detroit and recently returned after living in Philadelphia for twenty-eight years. She began writing about her spiritual journey and faith life after the death of her best friend in 2012. She likes to read, knit, bake and garden. She shares her spiritual journey here.
Beauty and rest – thank you for sharing those. I have been contemplating what friendship with Jesus/Father/Spirit looks like. Integrating Mary and Martha, action and contemplation, the true mystic. I read something yesterday by Simone Weil (Waiting on God) – “The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us, coming through matter.” Thanks for offering that space.
Holding things is balance is a delicate art and, for me, takes practice since I tend to be more of a Martha. Thank you for the reminder of Simone Weil.
Unsettled times, transition places, are full of truth encounters. God bless. Thank you for sharing.
I agree, Linda. Unsettled/transition times of usually times of vulnerability for me–times when I most easily see and remember that God holds all the cards and that I depend on God for my very being. As difficult as vulnerability can be–it is also that great of a blessing. Thanks for your comment
Thank you for sharing Madeline. It doesn’t sound like the easiest time but it sounds like you are trusting Jesus every step of the way. I hope that childhood memories, smell, and sounds are used to allow you to rest where you are and allow you to know you are where you should be. I pray that you will be amazed at an invitation into a new ministry.
I am continually amazed at the childhood memories that come back to me, simply because I am in this place. The grace of it is that I can re-visit those memories from a different vantage point. I know now that God was with me through all those experiences, even though I often felt alone as a child. It is quite healing to remember with wisdom. Thank you for your comment.
Thank you for the invitation into your waiting, listening, wondering and more waiting. I can experience being lost and found simultaneously. The idea of not knowing what’s next used to create tremendous panic in me. I can still feel that way. But when I do, I stop, breath, bring myself to the present moment and I’m “found.” The present moment I can know God is enough. I can be thankful for breathing and that I know God with is with me right now. And, I can acknowledge without the panic that in many ways am truly lost but when I’m in my grounded place I can be curious. I hear your curiosity and would love to know what is revealed as you continue to wait.