Holding Out The Lantern


On Friday afternoon my husband received a phone call he had been waiting expectantly for.  It was a job offer from a hospital in a town about 40 minutes from our home.  It was a good offer.  It was a good job.  It was a great opportunity to continue doing what he does so well.

So, this weekend I spent a lot of time thinking about what this would mean for our family.  It wouldn’t require extensive change or sacrifice.  It would be a longer commute, later dinners, more juggling kids evening activities on my own.  But still, a good move for him.  There was every reason to move forth with it.  He was brimming with anticipation about the change.

And yet, I couldn’t quite jump on board.  I was not certain where this deep hesitation came from.  But as the weekend went on and I spent Saturday listening to author Nancy Bieber speak on spiritual discernment and decision making I began to see an area of myself that was fearful.  Here I was, facing a new season of life.  Our youngest child was going to be in school all day next year and I would be kid free during the day.  I certainly had plenty to do with household activities and staying involved in the kids school.  But I was also being nudged to step out and see what was next for me.

I was keenly aware that I had not worked or followed many personal ventures as I had been home with the kids for over ten years.  Now, I felt as though I was being pushed to step out and start over.  It felt like I was at the very bottom, looking up.  I had nothing to offer and no resume to impress anyone.  And yet here was my husband.  He was climbing his career ladder, more educated, more experienced, more to offer.  He had a great resume with years of working and learning.

Where do I go from here with the limitations I had?  Limitations of kids schedules and limitations of a blank resume.

A story that Nancy shared with us allowed me to see a little more clearly where I was, the fears I had and what was required of me.  At one time she had been facing some big life decisions when a friend shared this with her.

You are standing in darkness and you can’t see the way forward.  But you have a lantern in your hand that gives enough light to take one step.  When you take that step, the lantern moves with you.  It illuminates one more step.  You will always have the lantern and there will always be one more step.

I felt like she had extended a hand and passed the lantern to me.  She had helped bring awareness to my life that Christ gives me all I need to take one step at a time.   No cliff jumping required.

As I began to reflect on my life I realized too that I had already begun this trek and taken many a steps.  I had stepped out to move to Jackson, MS.  I had stepped out to marry Drew. We had stepped out to move to Lancaster, PA.  I had stepped out to finish my undergrad, to teach preschool, to stay home with three small children, to help settle a refugee family, to organize VBS, to begin sharing my writing, to attend Kairos School of Spiritual Formation.  This wasn’t starting at the bottom.  The was just taking the next step of many.

It’s always a risk.  It’s always a matter of faith.  But, if we trust that light of Christ, it is the lantern that gives us just enough of a view to see the next step.  And, as Nancy Bieber shared what she learned,

Whenever we take a step, we change things. We change the landscape of our decision making.  As we stand in this new place, there is new light.

3 thoughts on “Holding Out The Lantern

  1. Lisa, your writing is exceptional, your growth is exceptional. No surprise, I’ve always known that you, my friend, are truly exceptional. Thank you for giving ME the words I needed to hear today. In a world without end.


  2. Lisa, you are right. You have taken many risks already in your life. I like another image Nancy has shared with me when the next step involved risk (when does it not?). She said it’s like walking down a corridor with many doors and trying the door knobs to see which door opens. Sometimes several doors will open and then you have several opportunities to consider. Sometimes options can be anxiety-producing. I really appreciate Nancy’s book “Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment” because I have been known to descend into dithering when there are options : ) Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and your gift for going to the heart of the matter.


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