Today I know, above and beyond everything else, God is my Source and the Source for my family. I trust Him as the ultimate Puzzle Master, the only One who really knows what the final picture will look like.
I didn’t always trust Him as my total Source. It used to be rather puzzling. I said God was my Source, but I relied on things I felt were more tangible. I still don’t know exactly where all the pieces fit, and yet living relying on the God of the universe is so much more secure.
I had just dropped my screaming newborn daughter off at the babysitter’s house. She was two months old. Surely it would get better. I had to work.
Every day, though, when I left her she was crying. When I called at noon I could hear her crying. When I came to get her at 5, I could hear her crying.
The sitter told me she didn’t cry all day. I didn’t believe her. She was a great woman. She went to my church. She came highly recommended.
This, however, was my only daughter, my last child. I felt my guts ripping out every time I left her to go make money.
Hannah and Samuel
On Mother’s Day 1990, our pastor preached a message that spoke straight to my heart.
He shared how Hannah gave Samuel everything he needed to succeed in life by the time he was 3.
Hannah, who was barren, promised God she would dedicate her child to God’s service if she conceived. When Samuel was born, she waited until he was weaned, which would have been age 3. She took him to the temple to be raised by the Eli, the priest.1
Eli wasn’t the best priest. He had two very wayward sons.2 He himself died from a broken neck after falling over backwards because he was so large.3
No, Eli wasn’t the best teacher. So where did Samuel get his training? His mother trained him, taught him to connect to God, to know God all in those first formative years.
My daughter was born in June 1990 with that message on my mind. How could I influence her to know God more fully if I was working full time?
This desire to be home with her and my son was like a weight bearing down on me.
In addition to my full-time job, I was editor of a Christian newspaper. This was the job I loved. It didn’t pay anything, but I had tons of satisfaction in knowing I was doing what God designed me to do.
The way I saw it, I had three jobs. I was a wife and mother. I was editor of the Christian paper and I worked full time for a job that contributed to half of our family income.
And God said, “Quit.”
“Quit your full time job.”
Although I wanted to do that in the worst way, I also knew it was a large part of our income. It was painful to think of the things I would be giving up. It was a puzzle because it just didn’t make sense to quit a good job.
I was literally sick at my stomach. What would we do? How would we make it? I saw us homeless on the street, begging for…
Then it hit me. The job had become my SOURCE!
Yes, I believed God gave me the job. Yes, I thanked Him for it every day .
However, if I really believed He was my Source instead of the job, could I give it up? Could I let go and let Him provide?
This decision required that my husband and I put feet to our belief that God, not a stable employer, is our Source.
This Source is not really about tangibles like money, it’s much more than that. And that in itself is puzzling. We can’t really SEE God. He’s an enigma, mysterious. And yet, He is the presence that leads me each step of the way.
He’s this real, but not seen, Source that regenerates life in me every day.
God is the force that is continually and forever at work in me making me new. He’s the Source Who is changing me, every day, continually. How that happens is also head-scratchingly complicated.
Yet, I understood, if I tried to make sense out of what God was leading me to do, it would never get done.
I quit my job. I started freelance work from home. I didn’t buy so many clothes. These were tight times. Eventually God led us to do foster care, which brought in some finances and still allowed me to be at home for our children.
When I look back on this decision, I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t done that. Yet I see the results. I see some of the puzzle pieces in place bringing a sense of connection to the picture.
We are closer as a family because of this decision. My children love the Lord completely because of this decision. My relationship with my husband was buoyed up because of this decision.
God knew all of that. He sees the entire picture and I see a tiny edge of one piece of an earth-sized, time-overriding puzzle. He is the giant hand setting the piece in place, but only when we allow Him to move us.
It’s good that we don’t see how things are going to work out. We’d probably second guess it and not go through the process which refines us and forms us into the image He wants us to be.
In the end, we do not have to worry as long as we are tapped in securely and know completely that the almighty Puzzle Master of the universe is our one and only Source.4
Nothing else matters.
1 1 Samuel 1 NIV
2 1 Samuel 2:12-36 NIV
3 1 Samuel 3:18 NIV
4 Matthew 6:33 NIV
is Teresa Shields Parker’s new group on living healthy through a total renovation of body, soul and spirit. Teresa chronicles her journey in the memoir, Sweet Grace, and the practical application workbook, Sweet Grace Study Guide. Also, get a free chapter of her memoir at Teresa Shields Parker.com. Connect with her there or on her Facebook page.