Let go and let God… How many times have you heard that little nugget? It’s sounds simple enough. The act of letting go should be easy right? Images of release probably come to mind. Letting go of a string and allowing a red balloon of despair to ascend high into the heavens taking our petitions before our Lord. The problem for most of us however is that we some how manage to tie the string to our finger. The balloon ascends but only so far. It hangs over our head never breaking free from its bondage to us. You see, letting go is much harder than we realize. Why? Because deep down we struggle. As a Christian we understand what the Bible teaches about trusting God but as a participant in this circus called life we find ourselves in the position of always trying to “own” our problems. Be tough, be strong, you can handle it. We hear it so often that we have forgotten that being broken, being weak, and allowing God to handle it is the only way to Let Go and Let God. He can be your healer, He can be your strength, and He can work in your life to orchestrate His perfect outcome according to His plan. In doing so He may use you to strengthen or help mend the lives of others. May I encourage you to Let Go and Let God… Work in you life. Allow Him to use you as a blessing to others and allow others to enrich and bless you as well.
Perfect Strength found in perfect brokenness.
Over the past five years and often over the last couple of months many have commented on how strong my wife Kezia is in dealing with the health issues she has faced. On the morning of her recent surgery she and I talked about her ability to press on under heavy health burdens and she reflected on a period in her life that had a profound impact on her. Many of you may already know this story but some of you may not. Let’s take a short journey together to a not so long ago place….
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl that enjoyed making new friends, playing outside and fishing with her grandpa. On the summer of her eighth year she had the opportunity to attend summer camp. While the thought of being away from home was both exciting and a little scary the little girl looked forward to the experience.
Just as expected, there were fun activities like basketball, swimming, and singing. She really enjoyed making new friends and having lots of fun. On the third night little miss was struck with a terrible case of the “home sick blues”. Suffering with such a condition the girl decided to climb to the top bunk where a friend could be found. Soon home sickness was replaced with drowsiness and then sleep….
However her rest would not last. Feelings if fear and pain thundered through her mind like wild horses on the move. What had happened? Why am I felling such pain. Her body was hurting but answers were not immediately found. Help was needed but for what? Camp staff initially thought it was a tummy ache resulting from the home sick blues and treated it as such. However it didn’t take long before minds were changed. The little girl begin to run a high fever and was very sick. Now Keep in mind this story takes place “once upon a time” and cell phones do not exist yet. Parents were not always as easily reached as they are today and many hours passed before a medical assessment was done. During those hours the story of what had happened came together. A fall from the top bunk had landed her flat on her back against a cold concrete floor.
Now at a hospital the damage to her eight year old body was revealed. A ruptured spleen, broken ribs, and a bruised spirit.
Surgeons worked quickly and repaired the spleen, time slowly healed the ribs. But it was the spirit that took the most work. The little girl had to learn to be still when she wanted to run and she had to learn to wait on Gods perfect healing.
Kezia learned some hard lessons as a little eight year old girl. She was forged with the heat and pressure of bodily brokenness and the purification of Gods perfect healing. God took the broken and restored it. He purified and prepared her for His work and His plan. She is being used as an instrument of encouragement and compassion showing forth as an example of His Grace and His Light. Yes there are still times when she wants to run. There are times of absolute brokenness in her spirit. But that little eight year old girl inside reminds her to be still and let God manifest His perfect strength in her.
“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good…. With Gods help you will get through this” Max Lucado – in his book “you’ll get through this”. This quote struck a cord while reading today. It comes from a chapter that deals with Joseph and the portion of his life that was seemingly a “mess”. A time others meant for evil was brought to good in Gods hands.
Gen. 50:20 but as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it into good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
If you were to ask my wife Kezia she might say her life, her physical life is in a real “mess” right now. She has been here before and each time God has used her testimony for good. Kezia has always had a natural gift for encouraging others but since a major surgery in 2010 to remove her colon, she has been able to use the stories of her set backs and triumphs to really connect with others who are also suffering physically and emotionally from health related issues. So it seems the coat of many colors is being torn from our shoulders now, snapping threads leaving them to dangle with no hope of being whole again. But we know a Mighty Creator who can weave together what has been torn apart and make whole our coat again. Giving purpose where once was pain.
The character Mater (a tow truck) from the Disney movie Cars 2 refused to have his dents (in his body work) repaired because they were too valuable. He wants to remember the events that caused them. How do we feel about our “dents”. Do you wear them as ugly reminders of a life that didn’t work out as planned? Or do we point to those “dents” as the footprints in the sand? Those times in life when only one set of impressions were visible, when the Lord carried you in His precious arms through this “mess” we sometimes call life.
Sealed with an X? Today is Valentine’s Day. A day to send cards, candies, and flowers to that special someone. A day that expects you to set aside extra time and put forth extra effort to display our affections to the ones that matter most in our lives. If I might make a suggestion could I encourage you to write a letter today to that someone in your life that supported you when you needed it most. The one that celebrated your last birthday with you and laughs hysterically at you’re poor attempts at humor. If it were me I would want to let them know how much I appreciate the fact that they know me and still love me. How nice it is to have them to share ideas with and the sense of validation they give to my dreams. I might mention how much I’ve grown and matured by saying something like ….since you’ve came into my life, honey I’m a better man. Or I might want to point out some of the things that I love most about my Valentine. The way they always make sure I’m the most important person in the room, the way they squeeze my hand when I’m feeling nervous, a laugh or a smile at just the right moment. So much could be shared if we would only put pen to paper and write from our hearts. It’s not about using the right words or writing a novel. It’ s about the effort, the fact that you sat down and actually thought about how you feel about that person and why. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing to man or a women we all like to know that someone loves us not matter what.
A really good letter isn’t a long letter. As a matter of fact the only way it could become a great Valentine letter is if you take the time to actually write it. I hope you will and of course seal it with a Kiss.
Have you ever felt like George Bailey? Because of the sacrifices you’ve made to help others you feel like the dreams you’ve put on hold will never come to pass? In the back of your mind you always feel like you’ve taken two steeps forward and then one step back. After all, how can you follow your dream and help others along the way or worse putting your dream on hold while others move ahead. And that is the problem. Like George we think that we can become involved in other’s lives and when we feel our work is done simply step out of that roll and be on our merry way. Real life isn’t so cleanly cut. By investing ourselves in the lives of others we hope to be a positive influence that propels individuals to higher callings and greater work.
Of course by the end of the movie we along with George find that now matter who we are or what we do, our actions have a tremendous affect on those we spend our lives with. Not only our loved ones, but those we come in contact with on a daily basis like our co-workers, school mates, customers, patients, you get the idea. You see, by never dropping a pebble into the pond, by holding back on a dream, ripples that could impact others will never be made. We fear the possibility of negative impacts more than we value the possibility of the positive impacts that could drive others.
Stop holding back on your dreams. You might be holding back more than just yourself.
I once read a story about a couple that had been married for nearly twenty years when the husband received a diagnoses that would allow him to write the next four months of his story with greater clarity and purpose than he had in the whole of his life before. What most would consider a death sentence was instead received as a wake up call that allowed him to have a more profound impact on the lives of his family and his faith in the following days. The wife later recounted how she had been shocked and broken, but then lifted and encouraged by her husbands steadfast strength and control as he planned adventures like missions trips and family getaways as well as the estate planning and final arrangements. She asked him how he could he seem to be so calm and under control while his world was coming apart around him. He responded that one of his favorite pastimes had always been reading. The best were always biographies of people he had admired. For those that had already passed on when their biography was written there always seemed to be a sense of unfinished business. Some task or project unfinished. Families that were left without the closure that was needed. He said that he had been given a gift. A gift that allowed him to take some control of his “final chapter”. Where things get done and the family is ready and prepared to start a new volume when he puts his pen down for the final time.
He had regretted never having written a word that might encourage others during his lifetime. But by the way he lived his final days he encouraged others to write about him and his story. I was encouraged by this story many years ago. By a man that had the clarity to take control of his story in the end. And so here I am. Determined to keep moving forward and encouraging those that I come into contact with to tell better stories with their lives. How are you writing your story?