Seventeen years ago, when Brett and I were only dating, my parents invited him to come to Hawaii with us. This was A Very Big Deal—bringing boyfriends on family vacations was not a thing we did in our house.
At a rather fancy dinner one night, my dad ordered crab cakes as an appetizer, and Brett, unaware that crab cakes would set off his shellfish allergy, ate some.
In typical Brett fashion, he did not say a word as his throat started to tighten up. Not wanting to cause a fuss or direct any attention toward himself, he sat there quietly, cutting his steak into teeny tiny bite-sized pieces.
“Are you okay?” I whispered.
He cleared his throat and confessed, “I think I’m having an allergic reaction to the crab cakes.”
Without flinching, my mom whipped a bottle out of her purse, the contents of which contained a mishmash of different medications of varying sizes and colors, and handed him two bright pink Benadryl tablets. Back at the condo, Brett promptly fell asleep on the pullout couch at 8pm.
This is one of the few habits I’ve inherited from my mother: I, too, have Benadryl, Advil, Dayquil and more on standby, 365 days a year. Any time I travel with friends, everyone knows I’ve got enough melatonin and Tylenol PM to go around. I am like Oprah parading around the Airbnb with sleep aids. You get a sleeping pill! And YOU get a sleeping pill!
From headaches to head colds to insomnia, if I can fix something quickly, I want to fix it quickly.
Immediate relief is my favorite kind of relief.
The day I learned I would need a C-section to deliver my first baby safely, I plastered a smile on my face in the doctor’s office and reassured her I was “fine.” I held my emotions together until I got inside my car in the parking lot, at which point I broke down sobbing all over the steering wheel.
My husband came home that night to find me holding a pamphlet titled “how to flip a breech baby” in one hand, and an identical Google search on my phone in the other.
For the rest of the evening, I engaged in what we lovingly called Operation Flip Baby. I laid upside down on an ironing board, with frozen fried rice at the top of my belly and a heating pad on my pubic bone. I took a warm bath, did complicated yoga poses, and even put headphones in my pants to lure the baby’s head down. I did forward-inversions. Pelvic tilts. Whatever the YouTube videos suggested, I did.
I prayed, too—sure, of course—God heard my first pleas through sobs in the car. But I quickly moved on to plan B: to the pamphlets, to the online articles, to the Google searches and mom forums. I knew God was in control—sure, of course—but I also (secretly) believed the solution to this problem resided within my own hands, within my own body and womb I could surely contort into compliance.
When my at-home efforts unequivocally failed, I went back to the doctor for an external cephalic version, a procedure where the doctor manually tries to flip the baby with her hands. If you’re thinking, wow, that’s gotta hurt—you’d be right. I cried the whole time.
Worst of all? It didn’t work.
Over the past several months, you could often find me sitting at a desk surrounded by cups of lukewarm coffee, hunched over a laptop squinting at budgets and bills and invoices, checking and double-checking a very detailed spreadsheet, coming to the same conclusion every time: this isn’t working. Something has to change.
I spent the final part of 2022 praying around the clock for wisdom and discernment about some big decisions in my work. I felt the Lord nudging me toward peace, but resistance and fear still lurked underneath. Mostly in the form of what ifs. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if this carefully orchestrated plan falls apart?
Through it all, I’ve had two conflicting voices in my head.
God: I’ve got this.
Fear: What if you run out of money?
God: I’ll take care of you.
Fear: Sorry babe, you’re on your own.
God: Trust me.
Fear: You better make a plan B.
Two years ago, I read a book called Secrets of the Secret Place. In it, Bob Sorge writes:
One of the greatest secrets to intimacy with God is to come to Him as your only source of help and hope. “Lord, in this situation I have no plan B—no other options to default to if You don’t come through. You are the only one who can help me!” He loves it when you look to Him alone for deliverance.
How often do I actually practice this? Not often enough, if I am honest. How quickly I turn to immediate relief instead of God—the (metaphorical) medicine in my purse, the pamphlets, the Internet forums, the spreadsheets. Sure, I’m quick to run to God in an hour of need, but within minutes I’m also conjuring up plan B, C, D, E in my head. I beg him for plan A, naturally, but I’m prepared with a few back-up plans just in case He falls short.
Is this a lack of faith?
A lack of patience?
Three weeks ago, I moved forward with every decision I had prayed over.
Everything is still in transition, still in various phases of what if …? I do not know how everything will turn out. I do not know if any of this will work. I do not know if I will have to fold the cards, if I’ll have to forfeit the game.
What I do know is this: greater faith is required when there is no plan B.
And that’s the kind of faith I want.
All photos are Fuji 400, scanned by theFINDlab as part of my ongoing adventures in learning to shoot film. ❤️
Needed to hear this today, what a gift. My heart is longing for that Plan B, begging for a next step. But in reality, my next step is one of faith. Trusting that His goodness will see me though.
Sign me up for that kind of faith too. ❤️