I learned to hand over my pearls.
In my early years as a coach’s wife, I would play out these elaborate scenarios in my head, literally hoping and obsessing over them. If X happens, then Coach Y will leave, and we can move up. Then after a few years, something else would happen and Coach Z would leave, so again we could move up the ranks.
My plans for coach’s promotions never happened. I probably had a better chance of being struck by lightning twice or winning the lottery than having all the chess pieces I was moving around in my head happen.
Then, one year, I heard this story about a little girl and it shifted my perspective.
This little girl had a fake pearl necklace that she loved. She wore it everywhere. One night after reading her a bedtime story, her very loving father asked if she’d give it to him. She said she would give him anything else she owned, just not her most prized possession.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, he asked a few more times. Eventually while holding back tears, she gave her father the necklace. And when she did, he handed her a velvet box that had a beautiful, real pearl necklace inside. It was a parable about our inability to trust our Heavenly Father.
For the longest time, I was the little girl clutching the cheap pearls. I couldn’t imagine a better way, so I held tight to what I thought was best. But instead of a pearl necklace, it was everything associated with this coaching lifestyle.
Even once I understood this idea of surrender, I didn’t hand it over all at once. I would give bead by bead as they started to break or chip, only if I felt there was nothing else I could do. I was giving up a false sense of security when I should have been giving in to God’s plan for us.
After a while, I realized that the pearls I was handing over to my Heavenly Father were being returned in much better condition than I could imagine. Even better than the original chipped beads I'd offered up.
I had been so closed-minded about what could be the answers to my prayers, that I hadn’t realized God could provide something better than what I wanted. So I decided moving forward that I would hand over the whole necklace the next time He asked. That ask came in the form of leaving a town and a school that I wanted to be mine forever home.
In the story, the father was waiting for his daughter to trust him. He was waiting for her to be ready and willing to give up the good in order to give her the great.
The only way we can trust God this deeply is if we believe that our Heavenly Father has our best interest at heart. We have to trust his character and believe that He has a better perspective than we do.
We have to have faith that He’s using the coaching job changes or rejections to get us where we need to be. I realized that what I was craving was a certainty in life that coaching does not bring, not an actual school or town. And that velvet box He handed back was filled with the most beautiful necklace ever.
We have to remember that the same God who created our coach to live out his passion loves us just as much. He sees us and he has a beautiful plan for our lives too. Sometimes that plan is so beautiful it comes in a velvet box.