Thursday, October 18, 2007

The thing that scares me

My brother has been going through a very difficult situation. The last few months in particular have been hard on him and our entire family. We all have spent our fair share of time worrying, fretting, planning and praying.

At one point I was in the car with my husband and told him that for the first time ever I was having trouble resting in God's control. I desperately wanted a certain outcome in this situation. I wasn't sure I "trusted" God to provide that outcome. I knew deep inside that my faith in God would remain solid because I know that He is good in ALL things (Rom 8:28), but yet there was a fear there...what if it didn't go my way?

The thing that scares me was suddenly revealed: I am not in control.

I have learned this lesson before and I revisit it often in my life. I have accepted it as truth, yet if I am honest, deep down inside it terrifies me. My honesty during my brother's situation revealed my fear. It was the first time I desperately wanted something to turn out a certain way and yet I could not do anything to affect the decision.

Typically, I can hide my fear by taking control through activity. I can work harder toward a goal. I can try a different method to achieve an outcome. I can seek advice and make changes in certain areas. I can give advice and help guide someone. These are all good things, but not when they are an attempt to avoid resting in God's control.

This time, I could do nothing. All I had was prayer and trust in God. It was with my empty hands that my deepest fear was revealed.

I am not in control.

You see, in my life right now it is easy to feel that way at times. I control the schedule most days. I control the food that is served. I control bedtime. I discipline to control behavior. I use a low voice to control my frustration. It can be easy to begin to feel in control, even when I know that I am not.

I have a feeling that I am going to recognize this fear more and more as my children grow.

I am not in control of...

their talents
their personality
their fears
their IQ
their friends
their struggles
their hurt feelings
their emotions
their speed when they drive

and of biggest fear...their choice to serve Jesus.

Yes, I have influence in all of these areas, and certain responsibility as a parent. But in all reality, I am not in control of all of the final outcome.

I know the truth. I have recited Jeremiah 29:11 many times in my life. I believe it to be true. I know my purpose is planned and so is the purpose of all of my family. It doesn't mean that deep inside, there isn't fear.

Of course this thing that most scares me is exactly what gives me the most comfort.

God is in control! He has planned my purpose. He has ordained the days of my family. He IS planning to give me hope and a future and NOTHING can throw off His plan!

The more I know Him, the more I can let go of that fear. The truth of His word will drive out that fear and then I can rest. I can rest in His control, even when it is hard.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (II Thes 1:11)
*This post is for the October Write-Away Contest at Scribbit. For more entries, head on over there. (I posted past the deadline, so won't be judged...darn sleep deprivation!)

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Katherine@Raising Five said...

Oh, Mary, how awesome that you are seeing this so early in your children's lives! The issue of control kicked me in the shorts when my kids were about your kids' ages, but I'm afraid I didn't handle it as well as you are now. I was very frustrated. But God is gentle and gracious and He keeps giving more chances (and MORE chances) to learn to trust Him. He is SO faithful (even when we are faith-less!).

Glad to be on this journey with you!


Sittintall said...

Katherine was right. You seem to be doing such a great job in this journey. Even if you haven't given up control in certain areas, you are still praying about it and reciting verses, which means you are working on it and are aware. Loss of control is a very hard thing. I am dealing with the same thing in daily living just with petty things like feeling anxious just when my kids put toys in the wrong container! It's a hard journey for all and you are doing a good job. I hope that everything works out for you brother.

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Beautifully written. Why we are scared to give the Creator of life full control is beyond me. But it is a great war we wage with our "flesh". God is so gracious to point out this area of fear and draw you near as He gently teaches you. Thanks for your thoughts.

Pam said...

This post expresses something I've been stuggling with for the past 2 years, as I've had my first born move out and make a life of his own. One year of college, then a decicion to not return. Hey that's not the way things were supposed to go! So many other things I've had to realize I no longer control, and never really did. I needed this post.

Scribbit said...

It's hard especially to watch your children go through difficulties when you can't swoop in and fix everything, which is exactly what I always want to do. You've written this very well.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Mary, I'm glad you posted it here. Yes, I constantly need the reminder of Who is in control... I try to take the reigns far too often and wind up making a mess. I'm glad God doesn't give up on us... each time something comes my way, I find my faith becoming more resolved, maybe not at first, but as I rest in Jesus and draw strength and direction from God's Word... like you said.

I just prayed for your brother and for your family. Keep resting in Jesus my friend. Have a great weekend:)

Short Stop said...

Oh I struggle with this! I suppose many days I realize I'm not in control, don't trust that God is either, and succomb to the idea that the kids are in control! That thought process really scares me! Thank you for sharing this well-written and thoughtful post reminding me that God is indeed the One in control and that I can rejoice and trust in that...everyday! Great post!

Lisa@Take90West said...

I am struggling myself right now, and this post was beautiful.
You always have the perfect thing for me to read, just when I really need it.
My good wishes to your brother!

Heidi Jo said...

what a real representation of motherhood and our test of faith...daily.

like you said, what scares us, also can give us the most comfort. we aren't in control...but God is. i guess if i have to surrender the reigns to someone- He's by far the most qualified candidate.

Lori said...

Great post for me to read.
Great reminder that we aren't in control and God is.

Momma Roar said...

Oh Mary, wow! What a great post. I struggle with this too and have been thinking a lot about it this week. I've been asking God for wisdom, daily, in this area specifically. Today, we had a wonderful day. He is in control and we can ask for His help and He will supply what we need - It is so wonderful to be able to rest in that.

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Great post, Mary. I struggle with the same issues. My Bible study from this week (in the book of Deut.) mentioned what a mercy it is sometimes when God says no to our prayers. You can't see now what God is doing in your brother's life, but the Lord is all-wise, even in His "no" answers. It's so hard to watch a loved one struggle, but praise be we have High Priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses. (Hebrews)

diana said...

what a wonderful post. giving up control is so hard to do. and yet, that's exactly what God wants from us.

you're right when you listed all those areas where you're going to have to give up control when it comes to your kids. but God is faithful there, too. hard to believe, but He cares more about your kids than you do.

hope things work out for your brother. i'll say a prayer for him and you and your husband. hope you have a good weekend (hope you get a lot of sleep).

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

I have walked this same path with my brother just recently and as you know I'm walking a hard road daily right now. I have prayed the Jeremiah verse over my children and stand on that verse daily. I know God's plan for my life, yet I want so badly to be the Holy Spirit and control my child's life. I know He loves her more than I do, but it is so hard to know when to step in and when to step back.
I will continue to cling to His promises daily and hold fast to the picture of His strong and steady hand holding her in His palm. She is His sheep lost on the rock, but HE IS THE GREAT SHEPHERD AND HE SEES HER. I believe she knows HIS voice.

~Just A Thought Ginger said...

Thanks Mary, thanks for this post my friend.

Heather C said...

Wow. You have just spoken my heart. Truly.

Thank you for the Scripture and the reminder that I am NOT in control, and that Jesus loves my children even more than I do. It's comforting.


MightyMom said...

every day we learn a little something and walk a little closer to God.

Tarrah said...

What a wonderful post! As mothers I think we all have these fears. Thank you for such encouragment and verses to remember.

Christin said...

I agree!

...the area of "control" (or lack thereof) that gets to me the most are my children. I love them more than air. I WANT their lives to be perfect, safe, happy, etc. But I can't "make" it that way.

"Of course this thing that most scares me is exactly what gives me the most comfort."

...and then I remember that if I love these little children that much...HE loves them even more.
I KNOW this in my head...but you're right...fear can creep in so easily.

I want to rest in His control too. Thanks for sharing your's moving.

Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

This ought to be a "must read!" So many very personal truths here--applicable to everyone.

Regina said...

That was very profound! i think it's awsome that you can know this and share it with the world!
Often times our (PEOPLE) biggest fear is being out of control, or better still letting go of control!
Letting go and Letting God, is something that A LOT of people struggle with.


Sarah Markley said...

Very well stated! Very well spoken: I feel like this so often!


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