It has been 10 months since we last connected—10 months and a lifetime. I was acutely aware of the distance between us this phone call. Kelsi’s now framing her life to hold a family of 5, and I’m framing mine to embrace all the goodness of being 1.
Both of us are way, way off from “the dream” we used to talk about in junior high, floating in her grandparents’ pool to escape the oppressive Texas heat while covertly planning how to sit next to our crushes at Chili’s later that night. For Kelsi, expectant mother of twins coming hot on the heels of Surprise Baby #1, watching God show up these last few months has been about the details: insurance getting confirmed in the midst of a sudden move, provision for her husband to find work that makes him happy, a support group of women all mothering twins at different ages who have embraced her and prayed for her. Her faith’s been affirmed in the paperwork, the knowing glances, the kind doctor with encouraging words, the daily generosity of parents and family.
Hearing so much of her story all at once, I had a thought I often have when Kelsi and I talk:
God always shows up where she needs Him. Always.
What scares me doesn’t scare Kelsi. She doesn’t need the same details I do or a pre-formed plan in order to step forward. If she has her people set, she knows the rest will fall into line. Part of me is jealous of her confidence.
I believe that Kelsi is exactly what her world needs: husband, daughter, dear little souls nestled inside of her—she’s teeming with life and more than willing to offer each heart the energy she gains access to by not fearing the unknowns or worrying. In return, she finds smooth details to be one of the clearest signs of God’s love. That’s where she looks for Him, and that is where He meets her.
As I listened to Kelsi’s story, I found myself wondering if I miss out on God because I am too “planned” and need more security before I make a leap in my life.
Then I stopped.
I stopped judging myself for not being Kelsi. I stopped critiquing my own life through the lens of my friend’s life. The bottom line is: God and I rarely meet over details, and God is probably not too bothered about that. God knows that I have details planned out for the next 12 months. God knows that when I’m bored, I start mapping out all the ways to escape a building (should the need ever arise). God knows it takes me over an hour to play a game of chess. God, creator of the universe, is no doubt highly attuned to the fact that I’ve got all details, real and imagined, covered. While I have experienced the tiny things aligning in ways that I believe are beyond me, those are not the moments when God overwhelms me with His presence.
For me, God shows up in the spontaneous—unexpected interactions and invitations.
In the last decade, I’ve come face to face with God in university decision letters, two Italian churches, a lake in the rain, a throwaway interview, two parked cars, a snow-covered forest, and a number of different conference centers.
Every moment when I feel wildly out-of-control and at the edge of myself: God is right there, sometimes delighted and sometimes tearful as I turn to Him and say, “Seriously?”
I believe God loves us enough to meet us where we need Him.
I believe God loves me enough to surprise me over and over and over again. In ways that make my eyes sting, my knees go weak, and my heart beat loud and fast as I wonder, “What happens now?”
I don’t exactly know where my faith is going. I know it’s vital and deep, but it is also shifting and skeptical. Over the last year, I’ve realized my faith no longer fits the frame it once did. As a result, the ways in which I am engaging with God are morphing. I do not know exactly what I will believe in the end, and I do not know the ways I will continue to become what my world needs. I sense that I am moving. I have no idea where God’s leading.
Each day finds me reciting this truth, seeking to hold fast—
You always show up where I need you. Always.
Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world. She’s a 27 year old, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called The Someday Writings, and someday, she may let those writings see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.