Unanswered Questions - Walking Through Blank Space

Walking Through Blank Space

When life has a lot of unanswered questions, it can feel like you are walking through blank space.

I was scrolling mindlessly through facebook the other day and I came across a video posted by A Life Overseas.

One of the first quotes in the video put into words some of my feelings from recent months.

Speaking of people who travel, the quote says, “And like the first explorers, sooner or later, you have to contend with the blank space on the map.”

And, I must say, it is true. So true.

Unanswered Questions - Walking Through Blank Space

What is blank space?

It is that area in our plans that is full of unanswered questions and can’t really be planned.

It is that space in our schedule that can’t be timed.

It is that group of moments that can’t be spelled out or pre-thought out.

It is the part of the journey that is full of unknowns and uncertain outcomes.

That is blank space.

We pray, we plan, we think, we pray, we prepare, we pray and pray some more and then we go.

Into the tentative, riddled-with-holes life adventure called overseas living that has large portions of blank space.

We have much planned and outlined… yet…

The blank space on the map looms. And all of the sudden, we are there.

Standing smack dab in the middle of blank space.

An area that no one can really walk us through. No one can tell us the how or what. We have to walk through to learn for ourselves. No amount of preparation can get us through it any easier. The blank space is just that… blank. And open. Waiting for us to jump all in, learn and come out on the other side.

I’ve been having these feelings. Stress. Uncertainty. Disquiet. Unanswered Questions. All of it overwhelming. Pressing from the outside. Battling on the inside.

And when I heard that quote I stopped. I could clearly see the word picture of blank spaces on our map.

I see the blank space. I can see it behind us. I can see it around us. And very much before us.

As a mom and a wife… this is terrifying.

We have housing planned through Christmas. After that? Hmmm…

We have a container coming with some things for our house… but the rest? Hmmm…

I have to get a yellow fever shot… but the effect it will have on my MS symptoms? Hmmmm…

On and on…

Cultures, governments, language, conversational nuances, religions, new friendships, work goals, learning to live in a new country.

We have planned for all of these things. We’ve read books, searched online, researched, asked questions. We have a schedule, a map… yet the details? Well, so much is left right up in the air until the very last minute that we have to keep planning, keep running on schedule even if most of the plan is still unsure and unconfirmed.

We sell things and realize a year later we need those things.

We leave something in another country only to realize that we should have brought it with us.

We brought things with us that we really don’t need.

We only have information for today… maybe tomorrow… and the rest is blank space.

One big plan with lots of little missing pieces.

So many unanswered questions.

Missing pieces we call “blank space”

Blank Space

The blank space is stressful, trying and painful.

The blank space teaches us, builds us and keeps us on our toes.

And, the blank space that we’ve already lived through gives us confidence for the blank spaces on the horizon.

But a confidence not in ourselves.

A confidence in the One who not only sees the blank space but holds us through the many unknowns. The One who not only holds but guides us. The One who not only guides but sees far, far ahead of where we are now.

A confidence that says, “He who led me through before will lead me through again.”

With God - the blank space on the map

I must admit that in this most recent blank space of moving yet again, I have to say that, for just a minute, I forgot.

I forgot that even in this, God will help us and strengthen us.

I was having a particularly bad week. Tired and not feeling well which makes walking through blank space even more terrible.

And my sweet friend stopped me during our morning coffee break and said, “Can I tell you about 2 pictures God showed me while praying for you?”

The first picture she shared was just for me.

The second picture she shared is one that I want to share with you because although it was exactly what I needed in that moment, it could be exactly what you need in your moment right now.

You might not be walking through the same kind of blank space brought on by exploring a new life overseas… but the picture will still apply. Because blank space is an experience we all have in one way or another.

Life is full of blank spaces.

Her second picture was one of me, hanging from the bottom of a small airplane.

I know, right?

We all know it is JEREMY who would LOVE to be hanging from the bottom of an airplane. {in fact if you click on that link you will see a video of him doing just that!} We all know how unreal a picture of ME hanging from the bottom of an airplane would be.

I gasped and laughed. “No, not me!” I said, trying to make light of the moment. Making light of it because if I thought about it too much at that moment, I would have cried. Because deep inside, I literally feel like I am flying from the bottom of an airplane. I would have cried because I am flying free with the wind rushing by me… yet, I am not brave. I am not fearless. I am not daring and jumping at the next crazy thing to do. In fact the flying is not at all what I want!

My friend continued, silencing my laughter. “Yes,” she said. “You. You were hanging from a small airplane over a field and God wanted me to tell you that your harness is secure. You will not fall.”

With tears, I nodded. I couldn’t speak.

God wanted me to know that although I’m in the middle of some very crazy blank space and I’m not at all brave enough for this experience, God wanted me to know that my harness is secure.

My life is secure.

My harness is holding fast.

I won’t fall.

I can rest and enjoy the ride because my harness is secure.

So, I’m sharing that second picture with you because you may be facing down some pretty large unknowns, your own blank space. And you might need to know that your harness is secure.

And as we move our family… again… with so many new unanswered questions, I will also know that my harness is secure.

I will not fall.



  1. It’s about faith, isn’t it?
    God wants us to be daring to live in the blank space–to fully trust Him with all of the unknowns.
    Our task is to follow HIm.
    He leads us one step at a time.
    His Word is a lamp to our feet–the light for the next step.
    But how much of the blank space do we avoid, just sticking with what is comfortable and familiar?
    How much faith does that require? Not much.
    But, without faith it is impossible to please God.
    I am not writing all of this as though I have mastered it–I am face to face with this reality right now.

  2. Loved the prophetic word your friend gave you. So thankful for words spoken at just the right time to uphold us and encourage us. ‘Hang’ in there!!

  3. Thank you! Thank you for sharing your heart and your story. You wrote that for me, I’m sure of it. My family and I are facing a lot of blank space right now. He graduates with his Master’s in December and then we move onto looking for full time jobs… somewhere… We have a lease until next July… we are absolutely called to missions but with that comes fund raising, location, organization to go under, visas, etc etc etc, you know you’re an expert in that department. 😉 But it’s so refreshing in my times of wondering and not knowing what the next 6 months hold that my harness is secure and God, who hasn’t failed us yet isn’t going to start now. So thank you for writing this today, on a day that couldn’t have come sooner for me. Praying for you as you journey through the blank space right now.

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