When we say yes to God’s invitations, we’re usually saying yes to one step –one leg of a journey to an ultimately unknown destination. In our most recent ‘yes,’ which I shared in Saying Yes, God brought us from our beloved hometown of Grand Junction, CO to Redding, CA. We thought we were coming for just a year and we made arrangements with the family/community we love and for the home we own in Colorado with that in mind. But, sometimes, God asks us to take a baby step because He knows that’s all we can take and commit to in our limited human capacity. He doesn’t ask us for more than we give or to take on more than we can bear.
In the Fall, our spirits started tugging at our hearts, stirring feelings –feelings that were telling us that a year wasn’t long enough and there was in fact more to be had, explored, and learned in this place we thought was temporary. We love our families, our friends, and our home dearly, but all four of our spirits are deeply aware that for now, in this season of unknown duration, Redding is home. Relieved to have unity in this as a family, we’re now figuring out logistics with housing and giving our once guarded hearts the permission to invest in friendships and community. I just never thought we’d be here... a family living in California! We are discovering that Jesus gives you eyes to see and love the places to which He calls you. The snow-capped mountains on the horizon, the winding Sacramento River, and the unique mix of palm and pine trees have all started to feel joy-inducing and awe-inspiring.
If you’re an ‘80s baby like me, then you might have a word association with the 1991 movie, What About Bob, with Bill Murray. In a classic scene, which you can watch here, anxiety-ridden Bob is given a book entitled Baby Steps by his psychiatrist and then proceeds to walk out life in a ‘baby step’ manner, often repeating “baby steps” multiple times under his breath as he encounters new and challenging situations. Over this last month, I’ve thought a lot about this move as a baby step for us. Like a parent encouraging their baby to learn to walk, God invited us with His outstretched hand to trust and take a step. If you’re a mother, an aunt, or a sister, you know, with the invitation to take a step, what the baby doesn’t know, is that the parent is actually going to step backward and ask the baby to take another step after the first one is taken. I think that’s what God does with us sometimes. He knows our capacity and out of His goodness for us, He gently holds our hands as we faithfully take one step and then look to Him for reassurance and guidance with wobbly legs. As long as our eyes are locked with His and our hands are reached out, firm in His grasp, we can take the next step, knowing that His plans are good and He has a future for us.
If I look back over my journey, only in hindsight do I see how things have played out and built on each other. However, in the moments (and even still, in my current moments), I didn’t have eyes to see what was happening and the foundation that each step would lay for what was to follow. I had no idea that the difficult birth of our son and failed attempt to have a home birth would lead us to adopt, which in turn would lead us to move to Uganda, start a non-profit, employ 120+ women in Uganda for 7 years, produce a feature-length documentary (that would play at film festivals around the world), start an online fundraising company for families who were adopting, develop and create a family travel show, and move to California. Who would have thought!? All this transpired over the last 12 years, and it wasn’t all pretty either. It sounds all sexy and amazing on paper (or a screen), but each leg of our journey was seasoned with varying emotions and battles (some internal and some external). Our characters were formed in the waiting, the risk-taking, the launching, the leading, the community, the betrayals, the failures, the pain, the anger, the loss, the forgiveness, the redemption, the successes, the growth, the creativity, the renewal, the movement, and the joy we experienced along the way.
I don’t know what season you’re in…Maybe you’re in the haze and confusion after taking one step? Maybe you’re getting back up after taking a step and falling down? Maybe you’re celebrating because you’ve taken a few steps and, in hindsight, you see the goodness He has brought from those steps? Or maybe you’re currently experiencing heart palpitations as you think about faithfully taking His hand to take a single step in what He’s prompting? Wherever you find yourself today, have grace on yourself! You can trust Him. And even when we pull our hands back and try to do it on our own (which, if we’re all honest, happens multiple times a day to varying degrees), He is there (with kindness) to take our hands when we’re ready to try again. Remember it's a journey –baby steps Sister, baby steps!
Morgan is a storyteller at heart. After running an NGO in Uganda for 7 years, she and her husband, Dave, currently record a weekly podcast called Chasing Unicorns, produce and host The FIND series, run the CB Ideas design agency, and mange Yes& Collective. Morgan also co-authored the newly released children’s book, The Girl Chronicles: A Story of Good. She’s a mom to two middle schoolers, Asher & Jadyn, and so when she’s not driving them around, she fills herself up with yoga, reading, air-popped popcorn, and all things coconut flavored. IG: @MorganHansow & @HansowFamily www.HansowFamily.com