From an early age in life, we crave a bit of control. Control over a toy or our parents. Or a sibling. Control over what food we want to eat. Or not eat. Control over what ridiculous clothes we want to wear. “What? A swimsuit doesn’t look good with tights under it?” As we grow older, we strive to control bigger things. Situations. Our work environment. Our home environment. Our spouses. And oftentimes, our children.
I have found that sometimes God chooses the most inopportune times to show us that we are not in as much control as we may think. I have a chronic illness that has wrecked my plans on too many occasions to count. It’s a pretty helpless feeling when the world outside of your bathroom or hospital room continues on. Without you. I have had to learn to let go. Of what was supposed to be, but now will not be. I try and just remind myself to focus on the next breath. The next minute. The next step. Not tomorrow or next week. Definitely not next year. Just the moment right in front of me. This can be difficult with three little ones outside of the door. Waiting on me.
It’s a lesson that I quickly forget when I recover. It’s one of the hardest parts of having something always, something that never goes away. It’s an illusion to try and control something like a chronic illness. I think it is a practice that has helped me let go of certain struggles as a parent. I have three boys that help remind me on a daily basis that my plans may differ greatly from God’s plans for me and my family. I think God intends for this to take some of the weight off of us. Just wait. Stop worrying. He’s got this. He’s got you.
1 Corinthians 2:9
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Maybe he hopes we will let go and let him help take some of the pressure off. The pressure we put on ourselves to do a million things a day and raise loving, compassionate, generous, caring, honest, and kind-hearted children.
The other night I was in pain and I couldn’t help put my children to bed. I hate when I can’t be the mom I want to be because of my disease. Doing it all. One of my seven year old boys came in to my room and said, “Mom, can I get you some water?” Of course. And maybe some toilet paper for my tears. My heart nearly exploded because of his unprompted kindness. And compassion. And patience with me. Then one of my other sons asked, “Mom, can I hold your hand?” Suddenly, I didn’t feel like such a burden. Suddenly, I could let go to realize the power in my sons’ tender hearts and love-filled actions trumped any of my shortcomings as a mother.
God worked through my two sons to lighten my load.
We can never predict the good that God will bring out of situations where we lack control. Situations where we feel overwhelmed. Situations where we feel unprepared for what’s before us. God looks out for us and constantly surrounds us with his grace and love. Sometimes the greatest lessons will come out of the mouths of the most innocent and dependent ones in our house. God works in mysterious ways. We have to let go of the control sometimes to humbly learn that there are much bigger plans in store for us. Plans we can’t begin to fathom. Because we love God. And he loves us more.