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But What If . . . ?

My name is Dawn, and I'm a worrier.In fact, I've pretty much always been a worrier, even as a child. What if I get stuck with Mrs. Paxton as my third grade teacher? I'd fret. (You could hear her yelling all the way down the hall.) Will I have any friends in my class? Who'll sit with me at lunch? And perhaps worst of all, What if I'm thelast one picked for kickball teams?

I wish I could say I grew out of my worrying as I got older, but the truth is, I've just found different things to worry about. Late at night, when the house is still and dark and my family is sleeping—that's prime worry time. Will I be able to meet that article deadline? How are we going to afford a new car? With all the bad stuff out there, how can I possibly keep my kids safe?, All that worrying might be understandable, even acceptable, but for one important factor: God has never given me reason to worry. Quite the opposite—he's gone out of his way to take extremely good care of me.

When my father, the sole breadwinner for our family, died in a car accident when I was nine, God provided for all our needs. Then after I graduated from college, God gave me a wonderful Christian husband, who also happens to be my best friend, and two beautiful, healthy children. He allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom (on my husband's teacher's salary, no less!). And when the time came for me to re-enter the work force, God opened the door to a new career doing something I'd always loved.

Yet even after all these examples of God's faithfulness, I can't seem to give up my worrying ways. This past spring, as my son graduated high school and prepared to attend college, I was at it again. Even with generous scholarships, the monthly price tag for his tuition was going to be more than our mortgage payment. How would a music teacher and an editor for a not-for-profit Christian magazine possibly foot the bill?

God must have sighed and shaken his head at my fretting.

Before that first bill arrived in the mail, our church offered my husband a part-time job to be the director of contemporary music. His salary? Just a little less than that monthly tuition payment.

God tells me he'll take care of me: "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). And he's made it clear he doesn't want me to worry: "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matthew 6:26).

He's told me. He's shown me. So why do I persist with the worrying?

I guess in the end it's a matter of trust. While I believe that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28), I worry (there's that word again) that I won't like the things God may choose to work that good.

One friend's husband has lost his job and they're barely scraping by. Another's teenaged son is battling cancer. Is God taking care of them? Of course! But what form will that caring take? One might lose a house. Another might lose a son. God can provide a new job, and he can heal. But will he?

And now I've reached the root of my worry. God did promise to take care of me. But he didn't promise the road will be smooth. And oh, I want that road to be smooth!

So I'm learning to trust and accept God's care for me, whatever direction it may take. I say learning, because even as I type those words, a little voice in my head hisses, But … ! It's against my nature to give up that control, to allow God to choose the things he'll work for good in my life. But I know if I can pull it off, there'll be a blessed sense of freedom. And a lot more time to spend on things other than worrying.

In a year and a half my daughter will head to college. That means two tuition payments.

I think I'd better get started.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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