Last night I told my daughter I felt like I had lived at least a month in the past week or so. Have you ever felt that way?
Because of all that I and my family have been through in the last twelve days, I find myself starting at my computer screen this morning praying for inspiration for the blog post I should have had ready to go last night at the very latest–last night when I was completing a 550 mile drive back from an unexpected funeral.
Wait a minute . . . inspiration is coming . . .
As the mother of a large (in these times, anyway) family, as well as the oldest child in my family of birth, and the office manager/legal assistant to my husband, I am called upon to plan, arrange, and facilitate many things. Less than two weeks ago, our family (and the extended family) headed up to Notre Dame for our middle son’s graduation. Leading up to this big event there were reservations to make, finances to arrange, work to complete at home, a frenzy of final exams to help the youngest son prepare for, shopping to do, animal care to set up . . . I don’t need to list it all. You know yourselves all the things you’d have to do to get ready to leave town to travel to a once-in-a-lifetime event.
As graduation weekend approached I became wracked with stress and anxiety, which I later realized were not just inspired by all I had to do, but by my fear of all the aspects of the weekend that would be out of my control. I was making myself sick and I wasn’t even looking forward to the trip. I just wanted it all to be over so I wouldn’t have to worry about it any more.
Right before I left, I sat down with my prayer journal. I poured out all my worries and fears. I gave my petitions over to God and asked Him to take away my anxiety. I told Him I was placing it all in His Hands, and I did. Guess what? Everything went more or less smoothly and I was able to enjoy it all.
As we were packing to leave Indiana to return home, we got the call that my husband’s stepfather had died, an event that, while anticipated, was not expected quite that soon. My husband and I and our newly-graduated son left home again only a few days after our return to head north for the funeral.
There’s nothing like death to strip away all our illusions of control, is there? It didn’t matter that we’d only just gotten home and had lots of work to catch up on. It didn’t matter that we’d already spent all our money on the trip to Indiana. It didn’t matter that we were tired of traveling and had plans for the holiday weekend.
Although I’ve written about the illusion of control before, it’s a lesson I don’t seem to learn and one I think most mothers probably need to learn. From conception to death, so much of being a mother is outside of our control. Pregnancies are unplanned, births don’t go the way we thought they would, and we were much better parents before we had actual kids to deal with. Kids have their own personalities and don’t turn out the way we planned. Life happens, death happens, teenagers happen.
Yet we spend so much time trying frantically to plan and control everything. I can turn myself into a nervous wreck trying to find the very best hotel deal online. Awake for only a couple of hours I am already twisted up with stress over how far behind I am EVERYWHERE (and did I mention I am going away again this weekend?).
God keeps trying to teach me this lesson–most recently during Lent. And when I listen, I feel so much better. Yet here I am again, my insides in knots over things that ultimately won’t even matter.
Am I advocating giving up and letting everything fall apart? (Although, you know, it might not!) Am I advocating anarchy? No. I am, however, suggesting (to you and to me) that we place all of it, whatever it is, in His Hands, trusting that while it isn’t within our control, it’s in His.
And as soon as I hit PUBLISH, that’s what I’m going to do.