As I look back on this year and reflect about what it's been, I am realizing that the most profound aspect of 2010 has come down to one single thing.
This year was (and a bit of the one before it, too) when I gave up control. Control over my preferences, over self-protection, over our income, over my days, over my husband and my expectations on him, over how I wish I could parent, over how I do parent, over my children's safety (on my terms) ... you name it and I was being asked and invited to relinquish (my perception) of being in control of it.
Some days I lost my grip and some days it was pried from my very stubborn hands. But all the same it was lost. Some of the control was illusory and some of it was chiseled out and demanded by me in patterns and pressures, but all of it was requested indubitably. Sometimes rescue came and sometimes, honestly, my worst fears happened.
And as I expected, it broke me. It exposed me. It leveled me and it has forced me to face more from my innards than I ever, ever want to see again.
I have learned about letting go, I have learned about trust, I have learned to say yes, I have learned to make space, to give room, to step up to the plate, to surrender. And I also have learned I can't. I can't even control the process of abdicating it.
The season I've been in, of course, has brought up all the reasons why I don't want to do any of that. My insecurities, past hurts, buried pain, misconceptions about God and myself and life and friends. Fear-based behaviours, pain-based choices, knee-jerk reactions. And maybe not surprising to others, but still epiphanic to me, it all came down to one thing:
Wanting to know so badly that I would be taken care of. That I was cherished, that I was someone's delight, that I could trust that somebody would help me with what I needed when I needed it.
I have been reading a book that talks about a vein of gold that runs through all of our lives. As I looked around me this year, as I crashed and burned some days and weeks, as I rose to the challenge on others, I thought about that visual.
It still is incredibly hard to live casting off control, but it has enabled me to see a vein of gold, of precious jewels, beneath the surface that I would have never noticed otherwise. I read a letter yesterday that said this:
"I am coming to believe, that it is in this uncomfortable no-man’s-land, between confidence and uncertainty, faith and doubt, conviction and misgiving, that true growth takes place and maturity is formed. I long for certainty; for financial and physical security, and for the knowledge that I’m handling each situation in the best way possible. Yet I also long for wisdom, faith, hope, trust, and many other qualities, which are birthed and fashioned in this uncomfortable no-man’s-land. I am comforted that Jesus also walked this path, having the certainty that he was making right choices and yet also asking, “Father, take this cup from me”." (~ Pete Thompson)
Those words are a tremendous comfort to me as I not only look back, but with my crumbling inner structures, look forward. I can say that (perceived or otherwise) yielding control is agonizing. But I can also say it brings new and precious stones to build with. A freer house, an expectation of the unexpected, an outflow of creativity, a commitment to sharing, a vulnerability, new prioritizing, a welcome of risk and challenge, a tenderness, a faith, a kindness, a building of peace. Beautiful jewels.
I still vacillate, I still wrestle, I'm still crushed and exposed and know I am broken. But there is joy, friends. And that joy, that knowledge that dying to who I am releases the image of perfect beauty (not my own) in my home? In me? It is worth it.
Jesus is worth it. He has won my heart all over again this last seventeen months. Because he is simply, wonderfully kind.