It was a hard season. I sent my first child off to college. We had a falling out. Harsh words were spoken. She didn’t come home for Christmas. I held her filled stocking for 4 months until we would cross paths again.
We were trying to adjust to the new normal of having my husband at home full time. He was no longer able to work. His day was filled with scheduled medicine alarms, naps and attempts at maintaining our large home.
Because of the new fixed income, I decided I could no longer keep up the expense of the anti-depressants.
In order to help offset the cost of living, my husband had this great idea. Why not host exchange students?! Mind you, not college kids, but minors. So we added a 12 and a 15 year old to our household. This means 6 boys under one roof. Are you feeling the impending disaster?
Over the course of the semester, one of our exchange students was asked to write a paper on their “family.” Since ours offered the most information, he wrote about us. He assigned one sentence to each of our family members. One was fun, one was smart, one was athletic. Dad was funny. ‘Mom’ (me) was sometimes scary. I remember when he read it to us. I actually laughed. Yep. Just about right. Mom IS SCARY.
Truth is, I was cracked. I felt out of control. I was trying to grip my hands around life and the tighter I held, the more I lost. The life I wanted and hoped for and believed in was slipping through my fingers.
And that’s where I was wrong. I had taken the perspective that I had control of our destiny. That, by my effort, I could make all of life better. As if I could make children honor, and spouses cured, friends support, and peace reside.
I’d walked with Jesus a long time. I didn’t expect life to be easy. In fact, I’d had enough hardship in life to know that His word was true. He was a shelter. He did provide. When I trusted and obeyed, I had seen the Lord work. Yet, as my situation continued to get harder… Enough is enough. I couldn’t see anymore.
I stopped resting. I felt like running.
In my heart, I no longer wanted what was best for me. I wanted what was easiest. Satan’s tactics haven’t changed. In my life, like Adam and Eve’s, his voice called God’s trustworthiness into question, and I chewed on the thought just as they chewed on the fruit.
It took this season for me to finally stop “trying.” The motive wasn’t that I was trusting God more, it was that I found nothing working. For all my effort, nothing was holding together. I felt like an utter failure, and I gave up on all expectations for myself. I decided that if I didn’t take real time to just be me and not worry about the stuff of life, I would not recover who I was, and I would continue to carry the weight of the world.
“His burden is easy and His yoke is light,” right? (Matthew 11:30). Yet, I had not been coming to Him in my weariness. I had this idea that I should put on my “big girl panties” and push through. It left me lost.
Trust. You see, to live out Matthew 11:28-30, you have to trust. You have to trust that God’s got you and your circumstances. You have to trust that he is able to carry the weight in your heart as well as the weight of the world. You have to believe that he loves your family more than you do, and he will meet their need better than you. You have to choose to open your hands and let Him do the work that only he can do. To trust him for daughters and sons, for husbands, and timetables, for security and righteousness.
The plan he has for us is to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
The giving up that I did that year? Despite my motive, it was exactly what the Lord wanted me to do. As I relaxed my grip, God came into the space and started working on me. I determined not to fix things, and my eyes began to look up.
The irony of it all. When you come to the place where you can do nothing, God steps in and does everything that matters.
It was a dark place for me, but it was the beginning of a new foundation. One where I was not only co-operating with God, but I was depending on Him. It reminds me of a wrestling match. Jesus steps into the match to do the wrestling with that child, that family member, or even that enemy. I can stand on the sidelines. And cheer. Getting in the match only hurts. We know He’s already won the battle over sin and death, so we are assured of His victory for us. I get to watch! So I choose to trust.
It has been two years since that low point. It led to a turning point. I’m still “in the middle” of trust. In fact, this has become my motto for THIS YEAR. TRUST.
I’m not sure why it takes us becoming “bankrupt” to look up, but today, confess that He Is enough. Chose to get comfortable with mystery and remind yourself that He has you in the palm of his hand. You can trust him.
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