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Goodbye 2017. Hello Uncertainty.

“If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything.”

When I first heard this saying, I’d been feeling pressured to have a response–what to say—to those who’d called, who’d asked for an explanation of how/why my life had so abruptly changed. One minute I was a full-blown party girl, and the next, well…I wasn’t. The year was 1986. How was I to explain my life-changing decision? How would they understand the miraculous changes I’d begun to feel deep inside, without me explaining in detail what had happened? I dreaded rehashing the years of horrendous hangovers, terrible regrets, and the consequences that had all led to my new-found sobriety.

“You don’t owe anybody an explanation,” my recovering friend said.

“I don’t?” I thought, the people-pleaser in me wondering what it would be like to actually keep things to myself.

So, I practiced a few new responses, ones that sounded okay to me: I’m sorry, I just can’t go into it right now. Or, Can I call you back? And I would pray first, say The Serenity Prayer, and a healthier response would come. What a relief it was to me after years of offering copious answers to other peoples’ opinions and questions, to have new tools, especially the right to ponder things in my heart, the right to be private.

My friend’s simple directive had led me to understand, I owed no one an explanation about anything.

Being uncertain is an okay place to be.

I accepted the fact that there were people, places, and things I had absolutely no control over, and the future was a broad canvas that had not been painted on just yet. No matter what plans or promises I might have made, the results were still to be determined. There’s a paradox at work here: peace and serenity can be the result when we accept our uncertain futures. Especially when we know for certain, the One True God is quite certain about His love for us.

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest,” God said to Moses in Exodus 33. This was in response to Moses’ angst over the demands of the people God had put in his charge, the stiff-necked Israelites, who’d been hounding Moses for explanations for just about every move they’d made—and were yet to make–in their very uncertain Exodus. In God’s response to Moses, as in a number of Old Testament passages, I find comfort.

Uncertainty where weather is concerned tends to get my attention, as I now live in snow country. But a number of years ago, I lived in hurricane territory where weather predictions demanded I be prepared for the certainty of high winds, high tides, and the potential for high-volume traffic patterns on interstates during evacuations. You might say these all became my obsession during those seasons of storms. I never wanted to be caught unprepared, but occasionally, our home was hit with unexpected force. Those were very trying times.

I remember saying to my husband, “Would you please pray with me about us leaving hurricane territory?”

“Where would we go?” he asked.

“Oh, the mountains sound good,” I said, not at all joking. Eighteen months later, we sold our home, our business, and drove back to our home state of West Virginia. Our future was somewhat uncertain, though we had a plan for the next year or so. On the long trek north, where the terrain gradually changed from flat roads to quite hilly ones, we could not have foreseen my husband’s semi-retirement (after 25 years in the same career) would end up driving him crazy! With not enough to keep him busy, he was filled with angst until he searched for and found an entirely new career path, and began his second phase of working.

Where can we turn?

We turn to prayer for God’s great wisdom and guidance. And we pray for the people whose lives are plagued with uncertainty; for those who look for work to pay the bills, and those who are unexpectedly laid off from work.

I look back and can clearly see a faithful Father in heaven who has reached down to us again and again, reassuring us with that still, small voice, at our point of need.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

May He highlight your 2018 with the certainty of His great love.

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson

Sarah and her husband, Jim, have been married over 40 years. They are the parents of three daughters and the grandparents of three granddaughters. Sarah fills her days with Moms in Prayer, Bible study, writing, and joining her motivated walking group.
Sarah Robinson

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13 Comments

  1. Diane on January 8, 2018 at 8:25 AM

    “…reassuring us with that still, small voice, at our point of need.” I love that last phrase. At the point of need. Never too soon. Never, ever too late. I loved reading your story about his presence as you navigated the life change.

    And I so agree that we don’t have to give anyone explanations…that we can give ourselves permission to ponder things in our heart. Makes me think about how Mary watched her son from the sidelines, without much explanation to anyone. Pondering. Watching. Love that.

    • Sarah B. Robinson on January 8, 2018 at 8:54 AM

      Thank you. Celebrating 32 years of sobriety this month. Never want to take the lessons for granted.

      • Gretchen Hanna on January 15, 2018 at 9:56 AM

        Woohoo!

  2. Natalie Liounis on January 8, 2018 at 8:30 AM

    “There’s a paradox at work here: peace and serenity can be the result when we accept our uncertain futures. Especially when we know for certain, the One True God is quite certain about His love for us.”

    Thanks for putting this paradox into words. The one certainty we have is enough.

    Also, I just creeped on your FB page to see where in WV you live and where in WV you’re from. Nice to have another West Virginian/Morgantownian/Northern Panhandler around 🙂

    • Sarah B. Robinson on January 8, 2018 at 8:55 AM

      Thank you, neighbor. God has been so merciful to me. I’m glad to put these thoughts in print. God bless you. I’ll creep over to your page soon.

  3. Cole // Cole Smith Writes on January 8, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    Whoa, you mean we can just say ‘no’ politely and not explain why?! Practice this with me this summer! 🙂 Big changes are so uncertain and uncomfortable, but can yield such sweet fruit! So glad you made it back to Best Virginia!

    • Sarah on January 8, 2018 at 1:14 PM

      Me too! I like to tell people, one of the best things about West Virginia (to me, that is) are the four distinct seasons we get to experience. I love them all. And no, you do not owe anybody an explanation, ever. Only if you want to explain, but if you feel the need to, maybe first run it past a person you trust.
      I’m all ears! Thanks Nicole!

  4. Jen on January 8, 2018 at 11:13 AM

    I have the hardest time not offering explanations, even when I know they’re not necessary. 🙂

    I find when I truly relinquish control to God there is a relief in knowing it’s his responsibility, not mine, even when I’m “uncertain” of what it is he’s doing. Wish I would remember that more often.

  5. Sarah on January 8, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    I hear you!
    Thanks to you, we have this blog to express these truths which have helped us in our journeys toward becoming the people God has called us to be. We are works in progress, and progress is good!
    Thanks, Jen!

  6. Janet Flanagan on January 8, 2018 at 9:44 PM

    In my journey I have been blessed being in relationships with many Christian women. Sarah you are one of the most recent. I thank God for you and Jim and all of your family. I pray that we will all be prepared for that still small voice when it comes to us in 2018. Happy New Year dear one.

  7. Sarah Robinson on January 9, 2018 at 11:44 PM

    Thank you! What a beautiful prayer for the new year. Yes, let’s expect to hear from our Savior! I’m so glad we’ve become friends. May we become stronger in the “iron sharpens iron” sense, too. God bless you and yours.

  8. Gretchen Hanna on January 15, 2018 at 9:57 AM

    “What a relief it was to me after years of offering copious answers to other peoples’ opinions and questions, to have new tools, especially the right to ponder things in my heart, the right to be private.”

    Sarah, the above words, and your entire post fed my soul more than you can know. Thank you.

  9. Sarah Robinson on January 18, 2018 at 7:37 AM

    Thank you. God bless your progress in the new year!

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