God’s Creative Third Option

shilohKindergarten
My momma heart was utterly broken as I brought my little five-year-old girl to Kindergarten for the first time. She had a May birthday and I had been hoping to keep her safely under my wing for an extra year. I felt convinced that the longer I kept her tucked by my side the better off she would be. In fact, I had even tried homeschooling for preschool; unfortunately it turned out to be a tough year riddled with personal illnesses that had left me jaded and unable to continue.

swingsI had longed for my daughter to be home for that extra year. My husband and I had talked and prayed about when we would send her. We had debated about it for months and we just couldn’t agree on the subject. He thought it was best that she start school at a younger age and I remained in the opposite camp.

Ultimately, we knew that she would be okay either way but we still couldn’t agree on which option was the very best for her. I finally agreed to do it my husband’s way even though I strongly disagreed with him. We had to decide at some point, after all.

shiloh-up-closeSo here I was, bringing my blue-eyed, red-haired baby to school. Her body was nearly being swallowed by her full-sized backpack as she searched for her classroom. I longed to change the decision, to grab her back out of school and keep her with me. Without even realizing it, I began secretly complaining.

With a Side of Anger…
Unknown to me, as I grumbled and grieved, a bitterness and anger were growing within me towards my husband because of our disagreement and, quite frankly, because I hadn’t gotten my way when I was clearly the one who had the best opinion.

Any time my daughter had a hard day, I mentally complained. I continued to think that if we had waited, each challenge she faced would have been easier. Slowly, those little pieces of bitterness and anger grew into a big rock in my heart.

I knew things couldn’t change. The decision was made. So I didn’t pray about it and accepted my anger and frustration as my lot to bear. I stuffed it down, deep inside. The bitterness came out in occasional comments to my husband, but mostly, I kept stuffing.

I didn’t even recognize that it was happening but the anger kept growing. Every year at every teacher meeting I would ask the teacher if she was in the right grade. Every year, the teacher assured me that my daughter was doing great.

But it didn’t matter. I was still angry.

si-3Kindergarten… Again
Nine months ago, it was time to put my son in kindergarten. I felt the same emotions brewing in my heart again. My husband and I had discussed what to do and remained in disagreement on how to proceed. Again, I verbally conceded but was so incredibly disheartened and angry inside.

Finally, I became consciously aware of how angry and bitter I had become over three years. A few days into the school year, I knew I couldn’t hold the anger anymore. This couldn’t be God’s best for me or this situation.

Nothing could change. But I finally chose to pray anyway.

si-2Anger and Prayer
I prayed that God would do something. Something. I didn’t care what but something to make the situation right again. Something to shave away three years of anger. It didn’t seem possible, it seemed hopeless, but still I prayed.
I prayed daily, in anger and in desperation, waiting for God to show me a third option that my little earthly mind couldn’t fathom. What did I expect from this prayer? Honestly, I was hoping it would have something to do with my husband changing, not me. I wanted vindication, and yet, in my fury, even with clenched fists, I prayed openly for God’s will, for God’s best.

Forgiveness and Freedom
One month, just one month after I started praying, I was walking through the hallway in my house and I just stopped. I realized something. I wasn’t angry anymore. I was starting to forgive and let go of the deep hurt I had held for so long.

I couldn’t see anything that could possibly change in that situation but God could. God knew my heart needed to change. It didn’t matter who was right any more, my heart and my relationship with my husband were what mattered.

I began forgiving my husband, and the load got lighter. The rock of anger in my chest was slowly starting to wear away with each prayer. I continued to pray and began to embrace forgiveness and let go of anger. I finally spoke with my husband about it and was encouraged by his openness and love as we discussed the topic.

3rd-and-kI don’t know why I so stubbornly held onto the lie that nothing could change for so long. I don’t know why I couldn’t believe that God might have a third option for me, for us.

Continued Forgiveness, Continued Healing
It’s been about nine months since I began praying about the thing that couldn’t get better and I still disagree with my husband. If you ask me about when to send kids to school, I will get fired up when sharing my opinions, but I’m not holding anger anymore. I’m not only okay, but at peace with the choice we made for our kids.

When God started showing me that third option I started trusting Him with more things. I started praying about more things that couldn’t change. I started bringing things to Him that I hadn’t considered bringing to Him before with a new hope that Jesus could enter the story and do a new thing.

This story has been the start of many new beginnings in our relationship. I began realizing there were many more rocks in my heart over a number of topics I had been stuffing. We’re still having many conversations and praying through old hurts. However, all those rocks I had been holding onto are slowly melting away.

brOur relationship is healing in these other areas I didn’t even realize it was broken and hurting. It has brought new life, love, joy, and openness to our marriage.

I’m so thankful I prayed when nothing could change because God brought new hope to a situation steeped in lies. He made my hopeless story beautiful again.

Your Turn
The beginning of this story is embarrassing for me. I don’t like it. It exposes much more about my humanity and brokeness than I would like to share. However, more than maintaining my pride, I long to see my brothers and sisters in Jesus daring to pray. Believing that God has a third option for us, whether it is a new path we didn’t have eyes to see without His guidance or even a path that includes a change in our hearts.

If you are like me, there is something in your life that can’t and won’t change. I pray that my story gives you the courage to hope and to lay your heart before Jesus with an openness that just maybe He can show you a path you cannot perceive on your own.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
-Isaiah 43:19

About cedarbranch

Welcome to Cedar Branch! Written By: Randa Smith. Randa loves Jesus, hubby: Barat, kids: Shiloh and Silas, decorating and repurposing. She spends the rest of her free time with her family and friends, shopping, drinking lattes and putting in as little effort as possible to stay mildly fit. Happy Reading!
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