Trusting him.

From Michelle.  August 23, 2012.

Dear friends and family,

Much time has passed.  We spent eight long weeks in the United States (Steve joined us for five), across five states, and in six different homes.  We had countless conversations, engaged in countless experiences, built countless memories.  And yet there is little to say.  The true message, what is really happening, is so simple, and so repetitive, that I am shy to repeat it.  Time passes but I keep circling over the same narrow ground.  The lesson is this: trust me.

I feel he is taking a tool and etching those same words deeper and deeper into my heart: trust me, trust me, trust me.  It might bore me to receive the same words over and over again, except that it looks different every time, every second I approach it.  The same words echo in unfamiliar tones against the shifting patterns of each unique circumstance.  There are always a million ways to be, a thousand possible responses, an infinite number of emotional reactions, a multitude of choices.  Again and again, when I finally incline my ear, the message is fresh.  Trust me.  Something new is required of me every time I yield.  I wash a dish: trust me.  I wave my kids away on the school bus: trust me.  I look at the future and cannot see: trust me.  I wake up with a knot of despair in my stomach: trust me.  I drink in the sounds of my children laughing together: trust me.  I sit down before a crowded email inbox: trust me.  I say goodbye to those I love: trust me.  I hear yet another tale of suffering: trust me.  I look into the eyes of someone I do not understand: trust me.  Over and over and over again, deep and barely audible, it sounds out in my spirit, always the same yet ever-changing: trust me.

What do we gain from trusting God?  Trust does not change the fragility of our circumstances.  It does not bring them into obedience.  It is not a fair exchange, nor does it deliver to us our desires.  The etching hurts, as most true things do, in a way that is both sweet and terrible.  In my stubbornness, in my ignorance, in my laziness, I allow myself to be distracted from the discipline of it.  I play at control and forget the deeper wisdom.  Yet in God’s mercy, in his infinite grace, he brings me back again and again, often gently, sometimes sternly, always lovingly to this: trust me. It requires surrender, and surrender is difficult.  Yet on the other side is peace.  Yet on the other side He is.

Steve and I are, in essence, only doing, only learning this one thing: trusting him.  The details change but the lesson is the same.  Though his body aches, though he battles constant fatigue, though progress is excruciatingly slow, though he endures numerous set backs, though nothing may change, I watch him practice this one thing, over and over again: trust him.  Steve’s practice is more visceral, consuming body as well as soul.  Mine is purely faith.  Trust him.  Trust his promise.  Trust his goodness.  Trust that he is enough.  Trust and rest in him.  At times it defies reason.  But its fruit is always beautiful, incontrovertible.  Peace.  Freedom.  Love.  Him.

Behind me lies the evidence, the many times he has proven trustworthy.  Still, I cannot see what lies ahead.  I cannot predict how and where the promises land, nor how much suffering awaits.  The circumstances will surely prove unreliable.  The rains will come again, as they have relentlessly, this month in Manila, washing away what seems dependable.  Trust will ask something new of me, as it will of you.  I will never know exactly how to do it.  But every time I do, the spirit breathes and sighs and settles into place, and I know I was created for this, to trust a good and perfect God.



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  • Roger Bartholomew UCM

    Ouch! That is such a tough lesson to stomach. It is reminiscent of that song: “Trust & Obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey”. We sing it, but practice it…….. that is a great deal harder. Thank you for being brave enough to share this. I know that God is looking after both you and Steve and that you are very sensitive to his leading. May he also bless you abundantly in the most unexpected of ways!

  • shelley merritt

    Amen and amen.  Thank you, Michelle.

  • Anne_west

    It is so hard and so beautiful. I cry for you and praise God for you and how much I’m helped in my own walk by what you write.

  • Lulu_ongkiko

    If only we can see tomorrow from now, trust will be easier.  We cannot see even ten minutes away.  I am so glad you and i have a relationship with Jesus, so we understand a little what trust means.  He is the Alpha, begin with us, Lord.  He is the Omega, His abundant grace and peace shall release the trust. Amen.

  • Bstalter

    Thank you Michelle for your candid posting.  Key word to trusting is surrendering..
    all to Jesus. so much easier to sing.. than to do.  Not based on my faith but his character.
    He is worthy.  Realizing again that He loves our praise and gratefulness. Praise changes things.. most of all US.  God loves when we recite His words back to Him.  in Psalms somewhere it says.
    I will recite my verses as unto the King.  I appreciate more and more the discipline from a
    Navigators Bible study that required memorizing select scripture verses.  I accomplished this and these verses are stored in my heart, mind and memory for the Holy Spirit to use when prompted for my own journey and to encourage others.
    As we watch a world of people who believe they are entitled to certain rights.  I realize we are
    to yield our rights and approach God and His ways with humility and obedience.
    His spirit gives us the power to do that.  Phil 2:13 is one of my favorite verses.
    God gives us joy in what He calls us to do.. so much that we think it is our idea.
    He does not want us to serve Him..  kicking and screaming against obeying Him.
    We serve because He loves us and we want to share the overflow with others.
    May God encourage you by showing you things in nature. to lift your heart and eyes to Him.
    He speaks to me through birds so I have become an ardent birdwatcher and student.
    Prayers are you deal with floods and the elements.  God is in control.. most when people feel out of control.  Acceptance of His will and His timing in our lives and His reasons..  Be it unto me .. as thou has said..   Mary’s prayer of acceptance.. yielded…I study this often..  She did not argue with her assignment but was honored though ashamed before people.  Gal 1:9,10  If we still are men pleasers then we are not servants of God. Seek first the kingdom of God.. always.. all days.. 

  • Harry

    Good post, Michelle.  Instead of viewing these as etchings how about viewing them  as tattoos but they are henna and not permanent ink.  I get them applied on various parts of my life but unless they are renewed often they fade and disappear.
    Geri and I are going to miss you and Steve and UCM.

  • Sarah Callender

    Beautiful. Thank you, Michelle.

  • Bill

    O Michelle, the eloquence with which you describe the challenge and the never ending reward of trusting our good and perfect God has once again brought me to tears and introspection. Blessings to you for the continued sharing of your life and witness to our God.

  • Heather

    Oh, Michelle. That trust was one of the first things to break in the fall – we went from walking in His presence to hiding from Him. This is probably the biggest sticking point of my entire faith journey. I can believe in the end, but despair to trust in the everyday. I have to choose this over and over and feel I fail as often as not. May this struggle truly bear fruit in your lives.  

  • Bonnie Stalter

    Meditating on reading some of the wonderful responses from your friends and family.
    Seek the fruit of the spirit that only comes when abiding in the vine and trust the vine dresser
    No effort.. just rest in Him to grow us.  What a relief. Keep focused on His grace and
    His glory.  He is love and that is unconditional.  Relax in His arms .. near his heart to carry
    you.  and point others to Him. while you rest in Him.  and take naps when you can.
    Hang in there.. while you ripen..  on the vine in His way and His time.
     Tee Hee   just got  a visual
    Imagine apples on a tree wriggling and wiggling trying to grow and ripen by themselves.
    Smiles.  They are just where God placed them on that tree. His design and plan.
    for our pleasure and nourishment of and birds and worms and horses and possoms etc.
    Watch a funny movie. giggle with the boys. .get silly.  “Let go and grow” is my new phrase
    to repeat to myself over and over for myself and my family.  Lightening up on daily life !
    Searching for the joy and funny moments in each day. 

  • Harold Sala

    Your message was an encouragement to me!  Hopefully you can publish some of these in book form and bless even more people!  – Harold Sala

  • Bonnie Stalter

    waiting for your book.   When God chooses to help you with it. 

  • B Rochon

    I have never met you or Steve, Michelle, but I’ve read every post.  Of course this last post reminds me of Provergbs 3:5 (a verse I wish I would incorporate more into my life); “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Your faith, and yes, trust which you share beautifully are such an incredible gift, witness, and inspiration to so many.  So, as you continue to acknowledge Him I’m praying He will direct you to write a book and then to a good publisher!  And AMEN to Bonnie Slater’s 1st post about meditating on reading responses, etc.  Great suggestion, Bonnie (as well as the book idea)!  BTW, no pressure, but ARE you thinking about it? :-)  Blessings on you, Steve and the boys.  Barb Rochon (a UPCer)

  • Jamesbn

    Wow. Once again, thank you.

  • Carolyn Schott

    I love this. What God wants of us is so simple – trust him. Yet it often seems so difficult. I love “The details change, but the lesson stays the same.” That is so true for me, too.

    Thank you for these words.

  • Jocelyn_aromin2008

    Thank you Michelle! There is really no other way but to TRUST HIM … You are a blessing, I am encouraged! Love you dear friend…

  • Cbsample

    By your honesty you give us hope.

  • Deborahannegustafson

    I love the simplicity of your message here. Trust in God. Thank you. I need to listen more to these words. love you.

  • EX3535 DESIGN

    Thank you for this simply beautiful word. I too hear this phrase repeatedly and your perspective has brought the message home to my heart. I found myself saying – yes Lord, oh yes!  A very narrow path – the path of trust and submission – but straight and true it is! :) God bless you Michelle.

  • Susie O’Brian

    As usual, Michelle, your words touch my heart and soul just when I need them.  I think of you guys often and pray for Steve, you and your boys.  May you be blessed beyond anything you can imagine, because your words are such a blessing to me and to others.  Susie

  • Lee_hall

    Thank you again for so wonderfully expressing yourself in a message we all need… Watching & listening to you helps my trust grow. We continue to pray for you & marvel at what you are able to do despite the limitations… As with Paul who prayed for relief but was so mightly used we see a reflection in you two… Lee (SIL Manila)

  • Betseyhb

    Dear Michelle,
             Your words ring true to me as God is teaching me again to Trust Him in all things. I sometimes tire with having to learn this lesson over and over again. Then God teaches me he is trustworthy in all things. I do not surrender my control very easy each time . Thank you for your timely words . Continued prayers for you , Steve, and your boys to be lifted up when trust is weak.
    Joy in the storms,
     Betsey House Baker

  • Alecia Kleiner

    I really needed this reminder tonight.  Thanks lovely.

  • Trudi Stevenson

    THank you Michelle. I love to read your posts. You are an inspiration to me.

  • Heather Atkins

    Thanks, Michelle, for a message that not only helps us better know how to pray for your family, but one that we all can relate to and grow from despite the many different circumstances we have in our lives.