For the Times Our Paths are Anything but Straight: Trusting God Through Joy and Pain

By NJ Rongner

God's Brave Women - NJ's Story


From December of 2021 through May of 2022, I felt like life was coming at me one hundred and fifty miles a minute. I honestly felt like I was playing a giant game of whack-a-mole and as it turns out, I was. I remember feeling like I was on a roller coaster, the joy was so tangible and the sorrows were so sad.


 

"I honestly felt like I was playing a giant game of whack-a-mole and as it turns out, I was."

 

How about a rundown of how the ending of 2021 through the end of May 2022 looked for me?

  1. Dared God to move when we put an offer on a house, knowing that we were coming to the table WITHOUT the highest offer. And move, did He!

  2. Became first time homeowners, after our very first offer we ever put on a house was accepted.

  3. Moved into the above-mentioned house in the middle of a snowstorm that shut down the East Coast. This move included a curious cat who liked sticking her head out the window like a dog, in said snow storm.

  4. Volunteered to Emcee at a friend’s conference at the very last minute because they were in a bind after their team member could no longer do it. I sent an invoice for my time and talent that was a significant amount of money. It was paid.

  5. Crossed the finish line at a race on Walt Disney World property accidentally at first, but then on purpose once I realized I could get a trophy, a photo and swag for my “efforts.”

  6. Learned the names of all of my new neighbors by being an intentional member of my new community.

  7. I took a trip of a lifetime to an all-inclusive luxury resort in Mexico for work. I went on this trip without my husband or kids, but with coworkers and clients who are some of my favorite people on this earth.

  8. While on the trip to Mexico, I received a call that my father had passed away. I choose to finish out the week in paradise before coming back to begin the arrangements. I am an only child and my father wasn’t married. This was a hard call, but the right call. God in his kindness chose to surround me with close friends in a beautiful setting, where I got to see His sunsets and ocean every single day.

  9. Drove with two small children 15 hours across the country to tend to the arrangements for my father.

  10. Quit a job that I loved and was great at, where I was exercising my giftings and getting paid for it. Then, I quit a new job within 30 days when I figured out it wasn’t going to be the right fit for me long term.

  11. Went all in on a business idea with my best friend and started a successful consulting company.


So many of the things on here are big huge things and through it all, I still managed to show up as a wife and mom. I loved my family well during this season, and for that I am so proud. But when it came time to pick which of these moments to tell the full story of, I wasn’t able to settle on just one because a lifetime of life happened to me so quickly. Every single one of these things was meaningful and matters to me, deeply.


As I reflect back on how I am still standing, now that I’m on the other side of that season, the answer is simple.


Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)


 

"As I reflect back on how I am still standing... the answer is simple. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."

 

When I wasn’t sure which was up or down, I went back to the one thing I was sure of. That God was good. And that he was trustworthy. There was no way I could make my own paths straight.


 

"When I wasn’t sure which was up or down, I went back to the one thing I was sure of. That God was good. And that he was trustworthy. There was no way I could make my own paths straight."

 

I learned how to bravely hold joy and grief in the same hand, at the same time. While I was in Mexico, I was grieving my father and being delighted by the company of friends in the same instance. During that time, I also learned that one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself is compassion to honor the exact moment you’re in. And laughter. Lots of laughter.


 

"One of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself is compassion to honor the exact moment you’re in."

 

Most days, I couldn't understand why what was happening was actually happening. God called me out of a job that I loved and into a new territory. Then, he slammed that door shut so fast that the desire to resign was all consuming. It did not make sense on paper to obey what He was asking me to do. But I did it anyway. Which led to having time to go all in on a business idea with my best friend.


Go where you’re sent, stay where you’re put, give what you’ve got until you’re done.”

Jill Briscoe


 

“Go where you’re sent, stay where you’re put, give what you’ve got until you’re done.”

Jill Briscoe

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 and the quote from Jill Briscoe became the still standing framework I used. I feel as though I repeated them as often as I breathed during those six months.


Trust the Lord…. Stay where you’re put. Lean not on your own understanding… give what you’ve got until you’re done. In all your ways make your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight… go where you’re sent.


Rinse. Lather. Repeat.


Friend, take a deep, brave breath. Just take the next right step.


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story.

And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About NJ


NJ Rongner fell in love with words in middle school and hasn’t stopped writing since. As the founder of Working Christian Mom, she encourages women to thrive with the people, places and passions God has given them.


Connect with her on Instagram at @nj.rongner or search for Working Christian Moms on Facebook. Feel free to join the WCM Facebook group here.