I have spent most of my life attempting to control the uncontrollable. I have wasted immense amounts of time working to create an illusion that life was grand when really, it hasn’t always been. That was never more abundantly clear to me than when I first started the counseling program I was a part of for two years. I liked making others happy. I would make myself sick with worry if someone was angry with me. I would persecute others and victimize myself and then step back into a role where I felt I needed to rescue others from themselves and other people, from situations I felt I could better manage for them. Once I realized how arrogantly I had behaved, how ludicrous to believe that I could control my life or anyone else’s better than the One who gave them life, I decided I was done. I made a choice. Freedom. That was my choice.
What I also learned is that control, whether it means controlling and manipulating others or controlling and manipulating appearances, stories or situations, is an addiction. If you’ve seen the movie Inside Out, I was “Joy”. “I’m good, she’s good, we’re all good…”. Things could be completely falling apart and I would find a way to make it look okay. I was slowly killing myself with the lies I was telling me. I didn’t realize I was hurting myself or anyone else though. It was the only way I knew to cope with hard things. I didn’t realize it was okay not to be okay. Until some wonderful women, loved me enough to create a safe place for me to be “out of control”. Living “out of control” as the world sees it is often looked down upon. I’m okay with that opinion these days. I’m okay because I know my value and worth doesn’t come from one single person on this Earth. I know to whom I belong and His opinion is of greatest importance to me.
Yeah, yeah…let’s get on with it..I know, I know. I had to tell you that part of the story because it relates directly to today’s part of the story…
I made a choice in 2016 to let go of control…to live my life in such a way that every move I made was in direct line with what God was calling me to do…to live my life doing exactly what He created me to do…I didn’t realize when I let go, I was letting Him lead me into deep water…or dry desert.
Here we are though….in the desert.
We are three hours and three states away from the nearest Wal-Mart in one direction, just under 3 hours from a Wal-Mart in the other two directions and as for going north, probably closer to five hours. I’m telling you this because you should also know that even the nearest park is 30 minutes away. The nearest fast food restaurant, 30 minutes away. Most every church we drive to is a minimum of three hours away. Most everything out here is out of my control. For instance, last week, within a three hour span of time, we had both a sand storm with winds nearing 60 miles an hour and a two hour snow storm. Some days I have cell phone service and some days I don’t. Some weeks we have consistent internet service and some weeks its out, for weeks. Sometimes the local convenience store has bananas (a staple part of Little Man’s breakfast menu) and sometimes they don’t. Most everything about our lives here is unpredictable, except the One who brought us here…I want you to read those words again…my life, our lives, here on the Rez, on Earth, are unpredictable-He is not.
When our little guy got sick at three months old, my whole world became about keeping him alive. I didn’t even realize how much of his environment I was trying to control until much later in the journey with his silent reflux. Once I realized I couldn’t keep him alive, that Little Man didn’t actually belong to me but to the Creator, I had to swallow a really BIG pill of humility. God’s gracious though and he loves us tenderly. It is because of this love that I’ve sustained in relinquishing control over my children and giving them back to Him.
Then, last Monday, Little Man started coughing…was hoarse. No fever, no runny nose…just a barky cough and hoarseness. Croup. No big deal, we know the drill. All three of our littles have had croup a time or twelve. However, by Wednesday evening, his cough began changing to a junky one…a cough I knew in him. A cough that told me something wasn’t right…he still didn’t have a fever. We were pulling out all the Mommy/Daddy breathing tricks we knew…but overnight on Thursday, he spiked a fever and his breathing went bad. There were moments where the panic and lies of the enemy tried to take over. There were hours (probably more like minutes) that almost drowned me…because y’all…we live 45 minutes from the nearest ER. The closest ER that’s recommended by our doctor here is an hour and half away but the best is three hours away. It’s still in the teens here at night and if there’s one puddle of water on the road, once the sun sets, it turns to ice. All these thoughts were racing through my mind….if we need help, how do we get it? It’s the only question I could think of at times…
I immediately went to what I knew…recovery is like that-in times of stress, its much easier to go back to what you know. I began developing mental plans for how I’d protect Little Man. Plans for how I could get help if I needed it. I began planning and making a list of all the people I’d need to get help from and how to reach them…plan, plan, plan…fix, fix, fix…control the uncontrollable. Exhausting, y’all.
At 3:25 Friday morning, I was really scared. I picked Little Man up and I walked him outside (yes in the freezing cold) and I prayed over him under the millions of stars in the night sky. I asked the Creator of those beautiful stars to hold my boy in His hands and get us through the night. And, He did.
We headed straight to the clinic on Friday morning and Little Man got a good double pneumonia diagnosis. He got a big shot, oral antibiotics and breathing treatments. The doctor suspects this was the result of residual fluid leftover from when he had the flu at the beginning of December. Uncontrollable. Not a single thing I did was going to keep him from getting sick.
And, y’all…our Navajo family came out guns blazing. I got more scripture and prayer texts that I can count claiming healing for our boy. I got phone calls of love and affirmation and requests to bring us dinner. Our family and friends from near and far were praying over our boy….declaring his little lungs be healed and that he would breathe freely.
You see, not a single mental plan I made was needed. God had it under control. If we needed to get somewhere, we’d have gotten there, of that I’m sure. My worry didn’t do anything but worry me. My Abba Daddy wasn’t in the least bit worried about what was going on in this house last week. I needed to see, needed to be reminded that I am not in control. Not my way but His….this has been a theme since we started this journey…
You see, when we moved here, I was miserable. I was miserable because I wanted to control what happened here. How we got here, when we got here, who we spent time with or didn’t…I wanted to give God ultimatums and throw temper tantrums and be angry. I made every attempt to manipulate the situation so that things seemed alright in front of my babies because I didn’t want them to see Mommy struggle. See, recovery is constant…its never ending…my addiction may not be chemical but its real. If I can control things, situations, then I don’t have to deal with how sad I really am. I don’t have to deal with the fear that sometimes grips me like a vise. If I can control things, I don’t have to acknowledge the panic the overtakes me at times. I don’t have to admit that I’m not superwoman and I can’t do it all or that I can’t be everything for everyone. And, friends, I’m doing my children a disservice by not allowing them to see that Mommy is human. I’m harming them by making them believe in a woman who appears one way but deep down is another. And I can’t. I won’t. I CHOOSE not to live in a fairy tale world where I see everything through rose colored lenses..I want them to always know that how they feel is just that, how they feel. Its neither right or wrong because the feeling belongs to them. I want them to know and understand that there are appropriate ways to express their feelings and that this house, our home…is always, ALWAYS a safe place to talk about how they feel…and that it’s absolutely okay not to be okay.
Tonight, Sissy and I had a long talk about Little Man being sick. She gets scared too. The trauma of his reflux didn’t just happen to J and I. There are remnants of that year of our lives in most everything we do…and I’m okay with that…I don’t want those remnants swept under a rug because those remnants are a part of our story!! We openly discussed being afraid when he doesn’t breathe well. We talked about the fact that we may always struggle when he is ill. We prayed that Jesus would ease our fear. We prayed that He would protect Little Man and that He’d remind us that we aren’t in control and that He is…that He would remind us that His love for Little Man is even more than we could ever imagine.
I have been reminded many times since our move just how powerless I am over my own life and the lives of my children and husband. My Father has pruned me and molded me and is continually bringing me to my knees…when I think about his goodness, his graciousness and love. Tonight though, tonight…I’m thankful He has the WHOLE world in His hands. I’m thankful He knows the number of stars in the sky and the number of hairs on all my babies heads. I’m thankful that He loves them more than I do because that’s unimaginable in real world terms. Tonight, I’m humbled and thankful by the fact that I’m not in control of one single aspect of my life and for freedom.
I’m so glad I’m free.