“Mom! I forgot what sand feels like!” my son exclaims as he gleefully plunges his hands into a mound of cold sand. We are on a beach on Lake Erie. The temperature is hovering around 50 degrees, and B, dressed in sweatpants and a fleece pullover, eagerly begins to dig a trench that will soon rival the Panama Canal. I sigh and wonder aloud how it’s possible that a 7 year-old could possibly forget the feeling of sand between his fingers.
It has been almost a year and half since we moved our family to Ohio from the south coast of Massachusetts, where beach trips were a weekly (sometimes daily) event. The only sand he’s experienced lately has been in sandboxes either at a friend’s house or on the playground. But the experience is different. Playground sand is clean and sifted and is contained in a small square or pit. Beach sand is raw fun, a vast playground bordered only by waves and beach grass. It is peppered with shells, rocks, and seaweed — telling a story with each treasure found buried beneath.
I watch my children and their little cousin dig and pile, creating pits, lakes, bridges, and cities. But through all of their planning and constructing, one thing becomes apparent: sand is fickle. It doesn’t stay where they put it. Add a bucket of water, and an entire sand city is brought to ruins. The children design another layout for a city that incorporates a newly formed lake. But this plan, too, is washed away by the torrent of change.
I think about the passage of the foolish man building his house on the sand and the wise man building his house on the rock. I identify too easily with the foolish man sometimes. I am often swayed by whatever thoughts or ideas sweep into my mind at any given point. They ebb and flow, at times chasing the rational away and send me down a rabbit-hole of fear and doubt. The sand shifts beneath my feet and I feel myself fall.
Often I imagine my life like a “choose your own ending” type of book. “Hmm..” I think. “I wonder what would happen if:
a. One of my children becomes gravely ill or disabled?
b. Something happens to my husband and I’m left alone with my children?
c. Steve or I get a new job that moves us to a different location?
d. God calls us to move to a foreign country and I can’t communicate with anyone in my language?
Don’t get me wrong. I happen to like change. Call it a fear of commitment, control issues, or just plain boredom, but I’m usually trying to figure out my next move. This is where I get into trouble. When I think of all the possibilities for my children, my husband, and myself, I often suffer from “analysis paralysis.” I try to see every possible angle of every possible situation, good or bad. I try desperately to figure out the big picture, even though I know God only shows me one step at a time. I am afraid to say, “Yes. This is where I am. This is what I’m doing right now.”
Because, I mean, what if I’m *gasp* wrong?
But I am slowly learning. I am not powerful enough to derail God’s plan for my life, or the life of my family. What does it mean to “build my house on the rock?” It means trusting that God has put me where He wants me. It means giving up control. It means giving all He asks and taking all He promises. Sometimes God calls us to move. Often He calls us to wait. I find it much more difficult to wait. Sometimes it’s harder to stay the course and finish than it is to start something new. Jobs. Families. Marriages. Friendships. Living arrangements. They all need to be built on the Rock. When He wants something to change, I am trusting that He’ll let me know. I pray that I have ears to hear and a heart to obey.
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)