Last year, I had a picture for the year, but couldn't find it until September. That was the old oxen yoke with a light shining through it. I am learning to surrender each day to Jesus, to take on His yoke. It is easy and light. I know I had been carrying too much on my weak shoulders for many years.
Being a Navy wife, alone half the year with relatives living eight hours away. My father, then, was able to help and when they came, I relaxed, even if I worked. He took over often. He had the burden of caring for us, which he joyfully executed. But sometimes, I saw the deep down despair that he couldn't always fix things, like my mother's health or moods.
My in-laws, too, helped when they came. My father-in-law packed our cars or the truck whenever we moved. He was a mechanic, always, checking over my car. My mother-in-law loves with her cooking and food. When she worked at Sear's, she used her discount for the family to get things.
Also, those many years ago, our parents were available by phone. I could call and dump my problems or not. If I were lonely, calling to hear their voices sometimes helped. Yet, many Sundays in my lonely apartment, I would howl in loneliness, because a phone call didn't fix it. I missed my husband when he was out to sea. I missed the chance to just watch a football game at my parents' house after Sunday dinner or napping in a recliner there.
Then the years after my father died and feeling responsible for my mother. Helping her with her health, her groceries, her well being. I loved her and I loved doing that. I fell into that, maybe it was the guilt my grandmother laid on me when I left Mom, an invalid, when I got married. But she had Dad and she improved because I lived my life, not giving up.
Also raising children, I feel responsible for their physical and mental health, maybe placing too much emphasis on ME. For awhile, I was the sandwich generation.
When my husband got a job away from home, my sweet little world dissolved. It felt it was all on me. Even though I prayed. I still felt I was one to be strong and make things happen and come together. I don't think, I really depended on God till the end of this year. Oh, there were a few times, like when I quit my job in the fall of 2004, with no job lined up. I was on an Abrahamic journey, going not where I knew. I leaned on God those few months, with His blessings. We had to place Mom in a skilled nursing facility, I got my kids back on track at school, and I rested in God's hands- a wonderful place to be.
Years passed with many difficulties and again, I forgot to truly lean on God. I had to make it happen. I pushed my way through life. I worried too much, anxiety causing rapid heart rates and jaw pain. I wouldn't check it out, because I thought the diagnosis would be, "she's crazy." I was too proud to seek help. Just a passing, "Pray for me." I didn't give up control of my life.
The writing seemed my savior. If only I could first get to a writer's conference, then I'd find an agent, get published, then be home with my children. I read all I could on writing, platform, publishing, the business. I worked hard on my first novel, just to say I could do it. Finances and important events leading to my daughter's senior year, I didn't want to miss, kept me from conferences. I agonized my dream would fade before I could achieve it.
Then I learned slowly to allow God to be in control. I know that sounds weird. Like isn't God always in control? I can't explain God, but I know He allows us to control our response to life, to make our decisions. Sometimes, though, like finances, and the tug of being with my children, seem to control those decisions. I relaxed in His arms, a restful place to be. I took on the yoke to let Him lead me.