Calling an audible… I knew this was sports related term but I had to ask my husband exactly what it meant. He described it as the team having a play in place and then the quarterback notices a need for change that would keep that play from working so he calls an audible and they go a different route. I’ve encountered several instances in my life when we thought we had a play in place, the “quarterback” called an audible and the game changed.
We thought we were done after two kids. We had one of each. I had always wanted seven kids but we had agreed that three would be good for us. With the postpartum depression after our second child was born we both sort of agreed that it would be okay to call it at two. We had always said we wanted to be through having kids by the time we were 30 so we would be young enough to enjoy life as a married couple after they flew the coop. Well, six years after our son was born I was about to turn 30 and posed the question to my husband as to whether we were really done or not. If we were, we had some choices to make. We decided to pray about it and continued on with life as normal. On Father’s Day, I handed him a positive pregnancy test. Our fun and spunky Anna was definitely a game changer. For the win!
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
We thought we’d be in this house forever. We settled in. We hand-painted tiles to put on the backsplash and ask family members to do the same. We even included our special tiles that my sister had brought back from Sorrento, Italy for me. Before that house, we had been in eight other houses or apartments in the previous 13 years. We did life in this house for 10 years but then the audible came in the form of a phone call from my husband, “Hey what do you think about Singapore?” I honestly didn’t even know where Singapore was. Leaving all of our sweat equity and customized backsplash and a whole lot of memories, we moved to Singapore in 2009. This four-year adventure on the “little red dot” would prove to change our trajectory in a very big way.
“…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Acts 17:26b
We thought it was just a fun camping trip. When our oldest daughter was in 5th grade we went camping with my extended family. It was summer, so as we do, we ran around in our swimsuits all day. No need for real clothes on camping trips. You only need pj’s and swim suits. That’s it. One of my sisters, who had a severe case of scoliosis growing up pointed out to me that we should probably get our daughter’s back checked. We have scoliosis all in our family so as soon as I took a look at her spine, I knew this was going to prove to be an “audible” for her and our family. Over the course of the next 3 years, we would strap our girl into a body cast made of plastic, metal and velcro for 23 hours a day. She would endure heat rashes, blisters, chafing, and lots and lots of tears. She had one major growth spurt in the fall of her 8th-grade year. This was when, after many trips to get her brace adjusted, her doctor declared that it was time for surgery. The brace was not working. In April, she was being wheeled away from us for spinal fusion surgery. It was a big deal. It was a game-changer. Of course, this story is way more involved than what I can briefly tell you here but look at her now! God used this revised play in her life to shape her into the woman He needed her to be. This audible in her life and in ours established an alter that we could go back to to clearly remember that God’s ways are higher than ours.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
I thought this would never happen to us. We went to all the marriage conferences. We read all the books. We preached about it to our church. We even mentored many couples. We were honest with ourselves that we were not immune. We know that no marriage is going to be perfect. But we never dreamed that we would be the ones to go through such a devastating situation in our marriage that nearly took us down. While the choices of one person can make it seem like the game is lost, God can call an audible. An audible that, with a lot of hard work and faith, can bring healing and redemption. And we’re back in the game.
“He is before all things, in Him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17
I thought I was coming home to help take care of my sick mother-in-law. In August of 2012 my mother in law found out she had cancer. Everywhere. She had just been over to Singapore to visit us in July. In September, I flew home from Singapore to help take care of her. My “audible” came through a song I was listening to on the plane. I could not sleep. Bart Millard’s Hymned #1 album was where my finger landed on my iPod. I rarely listened to that album but it seemed like hymns would be good for my soul at that time. I listened to the first few songs and began to feel a stirring to pay attention. I listened to “In the Sweet By and By” and then “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” and all the ones in between. Then my heart ears began to hear the words of “Softly and Tenderly”. I felt the need to notice the time. It would have been 2am in Texas, the plane was dark and most other passengers seemed to be sleeping. There is no other way to describe it except to say that God prompted me to tell her goodbye. So I did. And I cried. I still cry today as I type this. When I arrived in Texas I was greeted with a call from our oldest daughter telling me that Mimi had already gone. I didn’t make it in time. I was heartbroken but I honestly wasn’t surprised. God called an audible. The play changed. She was called home. Her time of death was 2:03am. In His goodness, He let me tell her goodbye. To think that I was telling her goodbye just about the same time as she was telling Jesus hello… It was such a special moment.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!
Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?
Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.
Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.
~Will L. Thompson, pub.1880
So often in life we have those “we thought” moments. “We thought we’d get to do this.” “We thought it would turn out this way.” “We thought we’d never go through that.” One of my favorite books about these game changing calls is Mary Beth Chapman’s, Choosing to See. If you are in a place in life where an audible has been called and you’re not sure you understand or maybe you’re not sure you can survive, consider reading her book. I think it will encourage you.
We can think all we want. We can plan all we want. Neither of those is wrong. But when our thoughts and our plans don’t line up with God’s ultimate purpose, He’s going to call an audible. And I think in the end, we’ll be so grateful He did.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
This #FridayFive is brought to you by Mrs. Disciple’s Friday Five Link Up over at Mrs. Disciple . The prompt this week was “Audibles”. Go check out Kelly’s motivational post, 5 THINGS THAT WILL MAKE YOU STOP AND LISTEN: MUSINGS FROM A MIDDLE SCHOOL FIELD TRIP and visit a few others who have linked up. Be sure to leave some comments. Bloggers love feedback! What are you hearing right now? What are you listening to? Share with us some of your audibles.