As every mother knows, a newborn takes at least eight hours a day to nurse, burp, rock and comfort, bathe and change. Then a mother must wash loads of clothes which tend to get covered in vomit, and other nasty surprises. The lack of sleep leads to a rather narrow existence where the best days are when you can sneak in a nap or shower and dress before noon.
Those were the days when stress reduced life to the basics. Those basics were actually miraculous when I relaxed and allowed myself to live in the moment, enjoying my newborn rather than bemoaning all the important activities that I couldn’t seem to even start. The very fact that everything that my little one required to grow and thrive was inexpensive and near at hand was amazing. My baby didn’t need a lot of money spent on him; he simply needed arms to hold him, mother’s milk to drink and warm clothes and blankets. Accepting reality meant letting go of trying to be who I was before I had kids.
The pivotal point in my personal and spiritual growth was realizing that, in fear, I clung to control. I have let go of this control at least a thousand times already, of choosing to surrender fear and lies and trusting. Each time I peel back a layer, another deeper level of fear pops up.
An image which described my struggle to surrender control, was a wagon wheel suspended over a deep chasm. My large family of 10 stood on the rim of a wagon wheel, while I crouched on the hub, frantically turning this way and that, grabbing all the broken spokes, desperate to hold the crumbling structured together. I realized that I had to let go of this futile sense of responsibility and control but I was afraid to stop, afraid that one moment of inattention would cause my entire family to tumble down into the abyss. I was trapped.
Yet, I realized that my tension prevented natural, organic growth and healing. My control acted like a wall, shutting out all divine intervention and grace. My sincere concern and earnest self-sacrifice actually magnified everyone’s brokenness by freezing everyone and everything.
Suddenly an arrow of light that can only come from God pierced through my confusion. It was as if a sharp pin burst a huge, black balloon of deception. Suddenly the image was gone, like a mountain done in by a mustard seed. I had been wrestling with an illusion, a phantom mountain.
There was no dilemma when I gave up control: I laughed at myself. With joy, I finally surrendered to God; the broken spokes were instantly repaired. The kids and my husband started smiling. We were free because I was no longer on the hub of the wagon wheel. Jesus was at the centre of our family.
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