Almost three years ago, I sat on my back porch, pouring my heart out to Jesus, asking questions, begging for answers and feeling unable to move forward into what was next because I did not know what was next. At the time, I was pregnant with our fourth child and I had felt the Spirit start to whisper into my soul that it was time for me to stay home. I had my dream job of being a maternity nurse for over nine years and although towards the end, I joked about not wanting to work anymore, when it came down to taking that step, I was terrified. Because although I had been a mom for 6 years at that point, full time motherhood was unknown.
Even though it was something I wanted.
When I stepped into the halls of the hospital, I knew what to do, I knew my role and if there was something I couldn’t handle, there was always someone there who did know what to do. When I thought about being at home full time, it was something I longed for, but I truly didn’t know if I could handle it. And if I couldn’t, the team who backed me up in the hospital wasn’t there to back me up in motherhood. What if me stepping into staying home full time destroyed my children’s souls? What if it destroyed mine? I know, I know, I sound dramatic but that’s how big of a decision it felt to me.
So I found myself looking for answers everywhere, pestering my husband to make the decision for me, asking friends, listening intently to a sermon or song for the answer, praying, praying and more praying. My thoughts were consumed.
But what I didn’t know until that day on the porch, was that all of those weeks and months that I spent asking questions and looking for answers were all the sidewalk that lead to the open door.
That day on my porch, as I cried out to the Lord for direction, in my heart I felt the Spirit say, “Yes, now is the time.” In that moment, it was like there was a collective sigh from all of the questions that had been plaguing my mind. Now was the time. The door was open.
What God is continuing to teach me is that while the open door to your next season is important, the sidewalk leading up to that door is just as important.
And it is worth giving the sidewalk attention.
What questions are you asking yourself? What questions are your people asking of you? And the one that is worth paying attention to the most – what is the Holy Spirit whispering to the quiet depths of your soul? If I hadn’t spent months praying for the Spirit’s leading and seeking counsel and wisdom from those who knew me best, I might have been too terrified or too distracted to even open my eyes long enough to see if that door was open.
Walking the sidewalk for those months gave me the courage to finally step through the open door with confidence, knowing that God himself had led me to that open door. And God himself would not leave me as I walked through the door and into the unknown.
What sidewalk are your journeying on right now? Maybe a future decision is weighing heavily on your soul. Maybe you are sensing the closing of one season that will lead to the opening of the door to another season. While the door may be the public acknowledgement of a new season, don’t dismiss the importance of the journey, the sidewalk to that door.
One more thing that is the most significant of all. Wherever you are on your sidewalk, far from the open door, close to it, or stepping through to the other side, God is with you and never will leave you. Rarely does God present you with an open door out of nowhere, instead he most often gives a sidewalk that leads to it. And he guides you on that sidewalk, with whispers to your soul, one step at a time so that when you do get to that open door, you can step into it with confidence. Maybe not full confidence that the decision you made is the right one, but with full confidence that he is by your side and will never leave you.
“The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
God, may we look for you and find you on our sidewalk.