As I was driving in the car with my son the other day, a song came on that sparked a discussion. I wish I could remember what song we were listening to, but the topic of the song was letting God have His way. I told my son that God IS going to have His way, and I want to be the kind of person that gives it to Him and it doesn’t have to be pried out of my hands.
I have faced that place many times throughout the years of marriage and parenting. On one occasion, my daughter fell and hit her head very hard! I ran over to pick her up and assess the damage, only to watch her eyes roll back in her head and pass out. I began screaming loud enough to truly wake the dead and went running for the phone to call 911 as I cradled her in my arms. She ended up being fine and came to shortly after, but that night, as everyone lay in bed, I had to wrestle with God. The reality that I could lose my child had hit very close to home for me. I told God that night, as I had done numerous times before, that nothing is truly “mine” and He has my permission (not that He needs it) to ALWAYS do what He feels is best. But, I thanked Him for allowing me to keep her here with me a little longer!
In my quiet time today, I was reading in John 10 about “Jesus the True Shepherd”. Verse 18 really jumped out at me. Jesus is telling them He is going to die and bring Himself back to life. In verse 17 He says, “Therefore My Father loves Me because I lay down My life that I may take it again.” Then in verse 18, He says, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.”
As I meditated on that, this is how I desire to live my life. Although I am a work in progress, I want to live this way. God is going to do what He is going to do and I trust Him! Earlier in verses 3-4 of the same chapter, Jesus says He “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…WHEN he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them…(they) follow him, for they KNOW his voice.” I can trust Him!
I want to live my life with open hands. I want to live in a way that NO ONE can take anything from me…it is ALL His! This is how I guard against bitterness! I own nothing! I do wrestle when bad things happen. I am human. When God took Clint, I was not happy. I will never understand it. But, I don’t have to understand it. God’s ways are not my ways…His ways are higher than mine — Isaiah 55:8 ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts...” All I am required to do is to trust Him…trust the process He has me in and keep my hands open to WHATEVER He desires to take or to give. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” ~ Job 1:21.
I think the ability to hold our hands wide open for the Lord to give and take away, can also be easier when we stay in the habit of denying ourselves. How do we do that? I believe fasting helps with this. Do we live our lives denying ourselves anything? Sometimes just because? Can we say “no” to ourselves? Do we put limits on ourselves without others needing to? Matthew 16:24-26, “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Oh, God, I don’t want to live my life feeling like You have taken anything away from me, but rather, it is all Yours. I am only caretaker while here. I choose to lay it down of myself, knowing that I am releasing it all to the Only One big enough to know what’s best! Help me to keep my hands open. Love well! Serve well. And choose to trust the process…as Clint always lovingly implored me to do, time and time and time again! He’d say, “Michelle, trust the process God has you in and don’t take yourself out of it until God has accomplished what He needs to do in and through you.” I never thought I’d get it, but he assured me I would one day. Thank You, God, that I believe he sees it now. Thank You for helping me to do it. I trust You!
I am not a “foot” person 😉 In fact, I can’t stand feet! But, I took a picture of the tattoo I had put on my foot after Clint went Home to Heaven. All of it came from a letter he wrote me. It is hard to read, but says, “Trust the process, because love bears all things.” I put it on my foot, because my foot is what bears my weight. And each time I set my foot down on this planet, I want to remember the Love Christ showed me by dying on the cross, “bearing” all my sins that I deserved to be punished for and setting me free from all of them!! And, also, to remember that because of that great, great, unimaginable love, I CAN “trust the process” God has me in!