Monday, June 9, 2014

Losing Control

Control, the concept, crops in my mind often lately. I am realizing, I have none. I strive to have it, even if I say, God is in control. I am not alone.
In Summer Triangle, my main character, Maria, wrestles with control of her family. I, as a mother, incorporated my own desiring of control. I wanted the clean home, but always fought that battle with time in, working full time. Maria controlled her home when she was able to go part time. But she still worried about her children. As a mother I feel responsible for the family's health, happiness, future and being godly adults.
I was talking about my dad yesterday to a co-worker. The stress of healthcare leads sometimes to unhealthy habits. He was going to smoke a cigarette. Surprised, I asked him about this, as I didn't think he smoked. He doesn't, but when stress takes over, he gives in. I recalled my senior year of nursing school, with my mother seeming to be dying, planning a wedding anyways and the pressure of nursing, I turned to Virginia Slims. Yet, the habit never stuck because my dad in his nonjudgmental manner kept it from taking over me. Dad was like Aslan, he could attack, but mostly he controlled it with love. We knew that, not with a fear, but respect of his power as a man.
As an adult, when David and I lived with my parents for a time, I sat at the breakfast table with Dad one morning, alone. He could hardly articulate his fear. He couldn't control life or how he may be as an old man, if his mind went. Having to place his mother-in-law in a nursing home weighed on him. As a family, though, with his wife also in ill health, Grandma couldn't live at home any more. I think he also remembered great Uncle Dave, an ornery old man at times, a bachelor who tried to rule our house.
Jacob, from the Bible, also comes to my thoughts. I read the account of his return to his homeland. He worried about meeting his brother, scheming and planning the approach. Esau, ran to his brother with open arms. As my children were young, I shielded them from the world, when maybe I should have embraced people more. Would more people have known Jesus if I hadn't hid? A convicting moment stirred up thoughts that morning.
The last few years show me what I always said, God is in control. We pray, but we don't control God. He wants to hear from us, but He still knows the whole scope. He knows the vase He is forming. We are to yield.
I read Job in the Bible, too, many times, trying to figure this all out. Hard times come. Like Job, we do want to know why. Job was not a silent sufferer. A cosmic bet in the first two chapters threw Job's controlled life into turmoil. At the end of the book, God does not have to explain Himself and we are not to explain Him, either. A life of control never promised. Yet, in a belief, Job prays for his friends and he is blessed. Even if we are not blessed in this life, we are to obey God and care for others.
A friend encountered a storm of large proportions. She questions religion, faith and God. In her anger, any words about faith would not comfort, like they do for believers. But sometimes, those words ring hallow for believers, too, if we are honest. One lesson I learned from reading Job so many times, is his friends should have just remained silent. We offer a hand, our hearts, but words are overrated.
Psalm 131:2 But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes like a small child is my soul within me.
Jesus said we must be like a child to enter the Kingdom of God. We need to quiet ourselves to hear the peace and comfort from God. Quit asking, "Are we there yet?" Relax and trust Dad to know where we are going.
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