“Well, how about this. How about you go ahead and start the medicine. Let’s see how you do on it. Then, we can make a decision from there. Who knows? It might not agree with you and all this worry will be for nothing. We won’t know until you start. We can figure out the next step after that.” said the nurse calmly over the phone.
Still absorbing a diagnosis of MS, this was the
kick in the pants, er, advice I needed to hear in that moment.
I was facing a life-changing obstacle and I didn’t know what to do next.
For all of us, when new things come our way, it can be very difficult to see the path forward.
New season of life or ministry or parenting
These things can throw us off course and tilt our world a bit.
We know we must keep going. Everyday life moves on as though our lives are unchanged.
The dishes still pile up and bills still need paid and food needs to make it to the table.
How do we keep going when the path ahead looks unsettled, unexpected and unknown?
How do we find peace when the challenges are coming at us from every direction?
Taking the next step can be scary, foggy and paralyzing.
There are, honestly, so many steps we could take in those moments.
For me, my mind ran through a hundred different ways to come at this new diagnosis.
A hundred different ways this affected our lives, our family, and our ministry overseas.
6 months from now, 2 years from now… scenarios swirled through my head on an hourly basis.
My brain exhausted itself by circling around and around, worrying about making the wrong choice.
Why do life challenges so drastically effect and confuse us?
Although I trusted God to lead me and I knew without a doubt that His presence was surrounding me, the way to go about moving forward in this new reality seemed terribly blurry.
In frustration, I’d told the nurse that I just didn’t know what to do.
What if I can’t afford this medicine long term?
What about side effects?
What about trying to get it overseas?
What about my immune system?
What about these natural methods people keep telling me about?
With a calm I needed to hear, the nurse’s words reminded me that sometimes, sometimes we can only do the next thing.
The next beautiful thing.
Even if it doesn’t seem so beautiful.
Even if the decisions of today don’t seem to bring calm to the future.
Even if a hundred things are still unanswered.
Like taking medicine for a life-altering disease.
I’m realizing that the next thing is beautiful.
It is beautiful because God is using these things in our lives, however awful or painful or ugly, to change us. To bring us closer to Him. To mold us into His image.
He is using the next beautiful thing in ways that we can’t grasp right now or even begin to understand.
In my heart, God is growing trust. Hope. Life.
In the midst of this struggle, God is teaching me to leave tomorrow in His care.
In my own desire to work out the details, God is reminding me that my days are numbered by His loving plan.
With these sweet words whispering through my heart, I did the next beautiful thing.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is truly worth the living, just because He lives
Someone asked me recently how I was doing.
I said, “I’m doing the next thing. I’m living today. I can’t worry about too much more than that.”
Sorting the laundry pile, going to pick up groceries, making dinner, helping the girls finish homework, packing for our upcoming move overseas, shopping for the things we’ll need, filling out paperwork and getting new passports.
Do the next thing.
The next beautiful thing.
Take vitamins. Keep running. Get enough sleep. Start a new medicine.
Whatever we face. Whatever comes our way. Whatever confusion seems to be dimming your view.
Just keep going.
Trust in new ways. Believe He is working. Hope in Him. Walk in faith. Reach deeper than ever before.
Whatever you are facing in this moment. Do the next beautiful thing.
One decision, one day, one task at a time.
“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.”
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
“Do the next thing. Don’t sit down and think of all the things you have to do. That will kill you. It’s overwhelming. It’s daunting if you think of all the things that are involved in a task. Just pick up the next thing.” – Elisabeth Elliot