Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hope And Fears Of All The Years: Looking Back On A Year

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.


Heathcote Safari said...

Throat closes. Heart beats. Tears drop. I am there. I am not where I want to be.

tonia said...

how beautiful.

i've been walking a parallel path this many things that have cut right to the bone...and yet, i emerge knowing this: Jesus. my heart breaks in two just to whisper that Name, because He is life and hope and safety.

misha, your name is going on my prayer list for today - that you will continue to know the peace and comfort, the wild love of Christ. thank you for sharing here. you bless.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post, glad to have found your blog. Merry Christmas :)

Ann Kroeker said...

Wow. That is a lot, but you seem to be reflecting with great wisdom, honesty and humility.

I'm so glad you visited my blog and left a sweet comment. I'm delighted you slipped over to introduce yourself!

Ann Kroeker
Content Editor

Anonymous said...

Not having control, at all times, is a very hard thing to come to terms with...especially when there are so many things surrounding us that practically beg to be controlled! :)

AndiMae said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Love this post so much, Misha. So much. But even more I just love your beautiful heart, my sweet friend. I know this past year or so has been a soul-searching, heart-changing one for you...can I just tell you how amazing you are? How beautiful you + and your heart are? How much I see Jesus shining in you? And how thankful I am for you and your openness to share? I feel like you were speaking my very heart in so much of this post and I cannot even begin to tell you how good it feels to have words articulated for some of my emotions. You expressing them in this way makes my jumping and trusting God in my own life a little easier, makes me feel a little braver. I love you so much.

renee @ FIMBY said...

Misha, I feel like my words in response to this poetry of yours are so banal. I am needing time to process your post and contemplate your words - as a woman who takes control and needs to learn to let go (and is learning to let go).

Hi I'm Sarah said...

My boys and I have been memorizing Psalm 91 this year...seems a good idea considering the days and times we live in. I was so impressed with verse four..."and His faithfulness will be your shield and your rampart." I don't really know what a rampart is exactly but I will be looking it up to tell the boys. BUT I know what a shiled is, and how many times I have leaned into God to be shielded by him in recent years for I have felt so vulnerable. I was very encouraged to read it was his Faithfulness that shields us. How wide and deep and all encompassing this idea is to is security in the most complete form and love and even more than that, He is never failing. When you let go, He the faithful one will be shielding you. There you have rest, freedom and the safety to feel cherished.

Cassandra Frear said...

I've been living in that no mans land for two yrs. I have such mixed feelings about it. But one thing is for sure -- it is the place of reckoning and of growth.

Thanks for sharing so honestly.

Misha Leigh. said...

Thank you, Sarah, such a beautiful, beautiful thought!

Thank you all. It has been gut wrenching. It still is. Your words are all gifts and treasures to me. I am really thankful for them and you.

love, Misha

Chelle said...

Only tears here.
This beautifully vulnerable post echos so much of the deep ache and stirrings of my own's that stripping away all that remains in it place is that vein of gold, which is Jesus and His unwavering kindness.

Love you dearly. And I love so much what Andi said about you. She's so, very right.

Nikki said...

Oh, how this post resonates in my heart. "Control" has been the theme of my life, all nearly-28-years of it...along with the deep gut feeling that "in control" is not what I am supposed to be, nor is it really what I want....but to be cared for by Someone Who truly IS in control. The humility and transparency with which you describe your journey makes me ache to know the freedom of the other side, even as I struggle with the pain of wrestling through these issues in my daily life.

deb said...

oh, Misha.

stunning stunning.

I don't know all of your story, but I know how it sung much of mine.

love to you .

The Garcias said...

I don't know how I found you here, but I am so grateful and so challenged by your words. How many times has my husband (lovingly) spoken to me about giving up control? I could really use a friend like you. We are entering a new season in life where our faith must be amped up and we must relinquish our dreams for His. I admit, I have a hard time opening my heart to His. And other days I want it so badly. But I don't want to sacrifice, to work for it, you know? I so need Jesus.

Misha Leigh. said...

Oh all of you! Thank you! I keep thinking when will I ever get this?! Thank you for being my company in trying to learn. So wanting to have my heart changed and beautified with trusting and obeying.