Sunday, September 17, 2006

Holding On Too Tight...Learning To Let Go

The summer I was 10, my mom and I went to a women's church league softball game to watch one of my mom's friends play. After the game, a family friend took me home, and my mom went out to get a drink with her friend (a coke, not something from a bar.) I remember asking my mom at the ball diamond where she was going, and she jokingly said "We're going to Oregon." I went home, had a bath, and was ready for bed, and my mom still had not returned home. I was used to my dad getting home late due to coaching responsibilites and evening games, but my mom was never out this late, and I was getting really concerned. I was thinking that maybe she really did leave us and go to Oregon, or maybe she was in a car accident. Of course, eventually she came home that evening (you know how it is when two women go out for a drink and get to talking, especially away from the kids,) and after seeing my distraught face and understanding how scared I was that I was never going to see her again, she assured me that she would never leave us and she would always be there. I can still remember that awful feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach, imagining what life would be like without my mother.

Last Tuesday evening, my brother and I went to Ft. Wayne to do our weekly grocery shopping, and Jason took the girls to his parents while he dropped our camper off at the campgrounds for WMCR. I got home around 9:15, and he and the girls still weren't home. I called his parents' house around 9:30, a little concerned that they weren't home yet because it was a school night. His mom said they had just pulled out of the driveway and should be home shortly. From his parents' house to our house is about a ten minute drive. After about 9 minutes, I waited by the back door, ready to help unload the kids because it was raining and we don't have a garage. Ten minutes passed, then eleven, then twelve. I called his cell phone - no answer. After fifteen minutes I was getting really concerned - what was taking so long? Finally after about twenty minutes, much to my relief, they pulled in the driveway. He had stopped by his office on the way home to pick something up. Again, I can remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach - imagining what would happen if they had been in an accident on the way home.

Last night around 6:30 in the evening at WMCR, I decided to check in on the kids - a wonderful, capable senior in high school with an equally wonderful family was willing to keep our kids for the weekend. There was no answer at the home. I also tried her cell phone, and again, no answer. No big deal, I told myself, I had left the car seats - I had remembered that they had said they may go visit her aunt's family and I had said that was fine with me. At 8:00 I tried both numbers again - no answer. I continued this pattern for the next hour - with no luck. Again, that feeling in the pit of my stomach was there. What if they were in a car accident? How would anyone know who my kids were and who they belonged to? Noone would know to contact us. Then my imagination really started running wild - I've watched way too many CSI shows. My parents are friends with this family, and they knew the aunt mentioned above, so Jason called that home, and sure enough, the kids and the family were there as they had said they would be. The babysitter just hadn't taken her cell phone in with her. Logic told me that the kids were fine - like I said above, this family is wonderful, and I had no doubt that they would take perfect care of the kids. But that feeling of no control, of not knowing for sure, then imagining what may have happened, and if the worst did happen, what would life be like? I know my feelings last night were greatly magnified because of news that was given at WMCR about a youth pastor's family in Michigan - they were involved in a terrible accident yesterday and two lives were lost. The mother in the family watching our kids said something to me that is so true - when something like that happens, you just want to wrap your wings around your own and make sure that they're safe. When the attacks happened on 9/11, Elizabeth was at preschool, and my first instinct was to run over there and take her home, even though the tragedies were happening miles away.

I find at times that I am holding on too tight to the things of this world, and I don't know how to loosen my grasp. Sometimes in bed at night when my mind starts to wander, I imagine all different types of scenarios and how I would react to them. Then I start thinking about reality - that my family members are not always going to be around. And what will that be like? How will I handle it? And I have no control over it. I want to put my kids in a bubble or a safe place where no one can harm or touch them, and yet I don't. I want them to experience life to the fullest and not be scared of what could happen. But I find that I have such a hard time trusting God with what the future holds. I've heard the story behind the song "It Is Well With My Soul." The writer of the song had just learned that his wife and children were on a ship that wrecked, and there was only one survivor in his family - I believe it was his wife. Yet after hearing the news, he sat down and wrote this song. "When peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul." Well, I do a great job when peace like a river attends my way, but what about if sorrows like sea billows roll. I'm not sure how to get to that place in my life. Sometimes I get scared that God is going to test me - that I have had it too easy so far. Early in our marriage, we had some tough times as all young couples do, but really, our family has been very blessed. And I have such a stranglehold on what makes us "us," that I'm not sure I could be like Paul and say "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Maybe the context of that verse was talking more about material things than people, but I think the same holds true for both. I know that secret is given in the verse that follows - I just need to have faith that I can have that kind of strength if needed.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deb- I too have struggled with these things. Some times I feel that I don't give myself fully to God for fear of what might happen- I think it gets worse when you have kids. I remember when Spencer was born I felt panic about something happening to him.

I felt the same way when they told us about the couple in MI. How could you go on after that? I just wanted to go home and be the best Mom I could be! (that lasted about 20 minutes until this and that happened and I went back to being "normal Mom").

Good discussion topic. Shannon

September 17, 2006 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deb,
Your blog tonight was so honest and understandable. I think these feelings begin in us when we're kids. I remember being fearful of something happening to Grandpa and Grandma Bowman. I never wanted them to go out of town and leave us behind. I was afraid they'd be in an accident, and then nobody would be there to take care of us kids. I had a few panicky moments when they were late. These feelings of impending loss continued after Dad and I got married and when he would be late getting home. Many times I'd be on the verge of panic as well as tears. After I became a mom, these feelings only intensified and became more frequent. One part of us knows that we'll all experience loss of some kind, but another part lives in denial, believing that tragic loss happens to everyone but us. Balancing the inner voices of panic and trust is not easy. Neverless, faith and grace are two of the absolutes I stand on.
Mom

September 17, 2006 10:47 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

I can completely relate to the feelings you share in this post, Deb. That out-of-control feeling of panic concerning what "might-have-happened" is almost worse then the reality of a situation at times.

My bottom line issue: trust. Do I trust that God is sovereign and in complete control of my life (and the lives of my family)? Do I trust that He could hold me even in the most terrible circumstances? Do I put more trust in things that are temporal than things that are eternal?

These are questions with which I wrestle...I want to answer yes to all of them, but know that saying it is true and acting on that statement are two different things.

Thanks for more great topics to ponder...

September 17, 2006 11:07 PM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I too can relate. I can have myself in tears within seconds just imagining different scenarios which I do way to often. I love the song "It is Well With My Soul." It has always brought me a feeling of peace, but I too wonder if I would be strong enough to feel that way in the midst of a trial. I just always cling to the fact that God does not give us more than we can bare. I appreciate how real you were in this post. Very thought provoking and powerful stuff!

September 18, 2006 6:04 AM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I share those same fears. I too remember times as a kid wondering what if my parents died in a car wreck. I used to ask my parents, "Who would take care of me?" I would cry just imagining it all. Then after Dave and I got married, I would think about how awful it would be to lose him. I still know how someone survives losing a spouse... the love of your life... Then put kids in the mix! That only adds more fears. I do have to just trust God and have faith that He will ultimately be the one to take care of me. Though I know that He will I still wonder if it would "be well with my soul". I wrestle with that one!

September 18, 2006 8:26 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

As I read your blog at 8:51PM I was struck by the emotions that fill many hearts when tragedy strikes. What will I do, where will I go, how will I live through the sorrow, who will take care of me, how will I ever laugh again and can I live through what is to come. My three children are going through the grief leading to the death of their father. A person that for most of their life was non existent. Yet now they not only are dealing with hidden emotions they are dealing with the what if's and what will we do? I sit helpless to help. I want to hug them and hold them and tell them not to worry that everything will be ok, but I can't. So I can only trust God's love to be there when they need it and that they will remember Great is His Faithfulness and how Amazing His Grace that when the time comes there will Peace in Midst of the Storm.
A wonderful statement of who you are and you are appreaciated.
Carolyn (Kelly's Cousin)

September 18, 2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

Deb: I can relate even more with your post Now that I am here in a hospital bed, knowing that right now I have two babies that weigh less than 2 lbs down the hallway in the NICU. At times I began to worry and wonder, "Do the nurses in NICU really know what they are doing?", "Are my babies really getting the care they need?", "Why did they have to come into this world so early?", and then the worst of the worst, "Are my babies really going to survive this and live a normal healthy life?" These thoughts only eat away at me and leaves me feeling so helpless.

I am learning more and more, not only in this circumstance, is to just have more faith and more hope in HIM!After doing this task, the more peace you feel, knowing that no matter what will happen, He will carry us through and our anxious thoughts will be released.He has a reason for everything...one day, I can't wait to get all the answers from h
Him.

Thank you for your honesty and just being "real". know that you are not alone...I am almost positive that we all go through this from time to time.

love ya

September 21, 2006 7:06 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Oh Deb, I can so relate. I am the same way. I remember the day Mark called to tell me he had rolled his truck on I69. I heard his voice, I knew he was ok, but I was terrified anyway.

It was hard to get past the fear when he was late getting home for a long time after that.

And now with Jake it is even a stronger sense of urgency to know the where and when's.

September 21, 2006 9:32 AM  
Blogger Anon said...

Interesting post. The most reassuring thing is that I don't believe God tests us with "death". Death is from the enemy. However, I do believe our faith is determined through incidents of death or moments of crisis. This is where I find myself with tough questions for God. Why is it that some of us are called to more difficult situations than others? That question alone can become a bitterseed especially with the Christian world is on the "Jabez Prayer" phenomenon. That concept is misleading, I believe. Paul tells us that he runs the race and is hard pressed on every side. When you arrive at the side, it's a very scary place to be because it's like your eyes are opened to an entirely new perspective of living a life according to God's purpose. One would think that when you almost lose your firstborn, the struggle would be over, but about 2 years ago, I wrestled badly with situations similiar to what you'd written about. I went to the altar and laid my family on it because when my spouse was gone on road trips, I felt so much anger inside at the thought of losing anyone in my immediate family that I was driving myself crazy. God convicted me of my "possessions" and let me know that these weren't mine and to trust Him fully which I thought I had before during two of our childrens' births. It was then I realized that I hadn't and for me, that's a place where God brought me. Within a year of that covenant, God has taken me to a place that I could not have been without that faith with two of our children facing circumstances in their life that other "normal" children don't encounter. Every day is relying on strength and wishing wisdom could be collected in bottles. I can't get enough. Would I have asked for the situations? No, but I wouldn't trade them in either. I've come to a closer place and the closer I get, questions aren't easily answered. Those are the times you can have loving family members and friends around you and yet have moments where feel like you're the facing life alone. Would I request hardships for others because those situations "teach" us something? No, I wouldn't. I'm happy for those who are experiencing life "to its fullest" and would encourage those at that place in life to read Scripture like nobody's business and prepare themselves for future valleys.....not out of fear, but because you depend and recall promises from God that you will need for those tough times and/or apprehensive thoughts. Well, I think I'm done with my little tangent for now. :)

September 22, 2006 12:38 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Beautifully said, Anon. Good food for thought.

September 22, 2006 7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deb,
I have dealt so much with fear, Deb. My mom was killed in a car accident, and that really cemented the bondage of fear in me. These are some things that I have learned lately that have helped set me more free from fear than I ever have been in my life...Ok...here it goes...Fear is saying the enemy has more power to crash a car than God has to protect it. Fear is from the enemy ("The Lord did not give me a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind" 2 Tim 1:7). It is not from God, nor are tragic events, illness, etc. That's not God's heart. He teaches us through His Word. Those truths alone have set me more free than i have ever been. In the Bible, Job and Paul were tormented by the devil. The devil saw an opening and went for it. Job's door was fear (end of chapter3) and Paul's was pride. God gave us the armor of God for this very reason. Another thing I've learned after 30 years of torment from fear, is that when God says He will do it, He will! Our faith has to activate those blessings. Psalm 91...I have memorized it and those promises of God are dropping down into my heart as I say those verses outloud every day. I have a wonderful sermon on Psalm 91 if you ever want me to send it to you. Psalm 91 is just one of many scriptures where God promises to protect us if we call on His name. Another thing that has helped me is when I think about people in the Bible like David, the 3 in the fiery furnace, Daniel, etc. These men all KNEW God would deliver and protect. They believed! I want faith like that!!! =) Ok...I'm stepping down from the podium now. I could go on and on on this topic. I'll be talking about it on my blog if you ever want to hear more how God is working in this area of my life.
You are so not alone in struggling with fear!

Love,
Teryn

September 23, 2006 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deb.......such great thoughts! I obviously don't have kids.......but after losing dad in such a tragic accident......I live with these fears and anxieties often! I have to conciously give all of it to the Lord EACH day. I never thought it would be that hard! I love what Teryn shared......I totally DITTO it all! We sang It Is Well With My Soul at Dad's funeral. How powerful! Is it well with our soul? Give it to the Lord! Thanks for sharing!
Tammy (Landis)Tropf

September 23, 2006 4:15 PM  

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