by Emily Conrad
It’s hard to believe we’ve had an international student living with us for nearly six months already.
When we first agreed to clear out the spare room to make space for her, I knew I had two big events looming, which would occur during her stay: my dad’s cancer surgery, and the ebook launch of my debut novel.
I wondered if this was a good time to add the responsibility of hosting a high school student.
But Dad’s surgery and the ebook launch are now history. Both went off well, and they not only fit into the last six months, but so did Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and moving my sister to Colorado and youth group and prom dress shopping and birthdays and blog posts and banking and dishes and dog walks and on and on.
This is a comfort as I look ahead. This summer, when our student will be back home with her parents and it’ll be just me and Adam again, I longed for an open schedule to just kind of … coast, I guess. I love an empty calendar. Like so much.
Big chunks of open days allow for time to work on whatever projects I please at whatever pace I choose.
But, while I only have one trip planned for this summer, my husband has three. One for work, one for church, and the one with me. We’re also committed to doing skits for VBS, and I’m helping some with a big family reunion. And the paperback of my book launches right at the end of summer, the first friday in September.
By then, our student will be back. Shortly after, I have a writing conference. Oh, and I have other writer projects I need to work on this summer.
The way empty-calendar-loving me thinks, having weeks of events in store is disheartening. I don’t want to take on a single additional time commitment until, possibly October.
Time goes so fast. How will I get it all done and still find place for rest and joy and fun?
I find some comfort in looking back over the last six months. Time flies, and yet, there is ample space today for what must be done.
But really, how did that work? How do we know we can count on that?
Because we’re not counting on the calendar, we’re counting on Jesus.
When we put Him first and take on what He’s asked of us, we can trust Him to provide.
Even when what we need is the seemingly fixed resource of time.
Looking back at the last six months, for example, our student “just happened” to have a trip the weekend of Dad’s surgery, so I was able to go to Chicago overnight without having to find other arrangements for her. And, much of the work that went into the book launch, I could do in advance, during the day, while she’s at school.
If I look forward, I don’t know how I’ll get it all done, but this is borrowing trouble from tomorrow and, worse, failing to trust God.
If I commit responsibilities and events to Christ before and after I say yes, and if, as the passing days force me to anyway, I take them one at a time, I find my life fitting into the space I’ve been allotted.
Why? It bears repeating: Because God provides.
When my time seems as meager as five loaves and two fish, He uses it to feed what empty-calendar-loving me considers a multitude.
God is good. He doesn’t lead us into the desert or a busier-than-normal season without also leading us through it.
And if it really comes down to it, if there’s really no time for everything that He decides must be done in a day to get done, there’s still hope: God can make the sun stand still in the sky if it really comes down to that.
But something tells me, it won’t.