It’s been four months since my last post. Life somehow took over, I guess, releasing an avalanche of events and emotions, which are still unfolding.
At first, I thought I would write to you about what it is that’s been keeping me busy. But then I thought: each one of us is carrying their own cross. Why should my current circumstances be any heavier or more “special” than yours. So, instead of focusing on the events that have been keeping me away from you and writing, I decided to focus on the message life has been trying to teach me instead: Let go, and let God.
The messy truth
I like to think of myself as a pious person, whose faith in a loving God is at the center of her life. But I have to concede that this more of an aspiration. A wishful state. Reality is much more messy.
The truth is that I’ve spent most of my life relying on my own understanding of things. Planning. Organising. Trying hard to be and stay in control of circumstances around me. And the older I get, the more I realise just how “out of control” life is, and the harder I strive to “be in control”.
The messy truth is that, while I long for a strong faith, anchored in a personal relationship with God, I’m far from either. Though I keep trying.
The unpredictable scares me.
I’m scared of getting hurt.
Being at the mercy of medical practitioners, politicians, regulators, legislators.
The uncertainty of my decisions and their repercussions paralyse me at times. After all, how can I know for sure what the best course of action is?
There have been times in my life where I knew exactly what I needed to do. Not an ounce of a doubt in me.
Now is not one of those times.
I so long to be able to relax.
Let go of all responsibilities.
Let go of the load, weighing on my soul’s beaten shoulders.
Let someone else take the reins for a change.
And the irony is that this is exactly what Jesus told us He would do for us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11: 28, NIV)
Art and design by Sharon Cummings
Life’s teaching moments
Every experience, every challenge I have been facing this far, has been trying to teach me the same lesson, over-and-over.
Let go, and let God.
Years back, when I injured my back, my doctor told me that if I had let myself fall, I wouldn’t have hurt as much. Holding on made my fall worse.
My current joints, heel and hip pain are caused, among other things, by weak and tense muscles that are not letting go.
What is it that I am so desperate to hold on to?
A life without loss or pain?
I seem to be stuck in the hurts of the past, and the hopes and fears of a distant future; when my salvation lies in the present moment of what is. Not what was. Not what can or will be. What is.
I am now due for a dental surgery, where I am at the mercy of the surgeon operating on me.
I have no control over the risks, and I was told there are a few.
I have no control over how well my body may or may not be able to heal.
I have no control over the pain that may ensue, and the time I will need to recover.
I wished I knew how to let myself fall – knowing that God’s net is there to catch me.
In the not so distant past
There used to be a time when I could do that – let go of all worries, and just
know that all will be well.
A time where my faith and trust in God was
That was also the time when I talked to Him every day,
like one talks to a long-time friend,
a loving Father,
and He spoke back.
I don’t do that anymore, talking to him,
or at least not as often,
and I wonder why…
As I wrestle with these thoughts, God sent me two messengers.
A., a catholic nun.
God had sent her my way, six years ago, during one of my darkest hours, as I grappled with burnout.
A week ago, she sent an e-mail about an upcoming Silent Retreat she is organising. So I jumped on the opportunity. In fact, I am on my way there right now as I write this post, hoping that within that communal silent space, I find the courage to talk to Him again and hear His voice.
B., my refugee friend.
She has been struggling with financial and health issues for some time. When I asked her if I can help her financially in any way, she said:
Oh no, I have all I need! Some people complain that they don’t have enough money, or not good health. But how can I complain when I know that everything that comes my way comes from the hands of God? I am happy and content with whatever He hands me, and I trust His will and His gifts. I know He is there watching over me, making sure I have what I need one day at a time.
Her faith both shamed and inspired me.
Let go, and let God
God wants to teach me to rely on Him. Not myself. Not man. Him.
He’s telling me that all my previous accomplishments, the troubles I got out of, is not because I did it – but because He saw me through it. And, Lord knows, I’ve put myself in some pretty big messes in the past. But His grace saw me through it – unscathed. Why would He forsake me now?
He wants me to trust in His will for me. Trust that He has my best spiritual interest in mind. Trust that, even if something goes wrong with my upcoming operation, He is a faithful God and He will see me through. Just like he did in the past.
He’s teaching me to trust to …
… Let go, and let God.
I am now sitting in the train, on my way back home from the Silent Retreat.
I feel gifted and carried.
And I feel the need to share with you some of of what I was gifted with.
Here is what I wrote (unedited) after my first meditation time in the morning:
I am still and at peace inside.
I bask in the warmth of His embrace and comfort.
I feel calm for I know He has been guiding me through past events,
for whatever lies ahead of me,
however scary it may see,
will bring me goodness.
I rely on His will for me;
His plan for me;
There is also a sense of gratitude and comfort in me
to be surrounded by others who share in the love of Jesus,
and long for His voice and presence, as I do.
even if in silence,
consoles my soul and
fills it with peace.
Later on, we meditated on Psalm 18, and I chose the following verses to meditate on:
“I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
my God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
(Psalm 18, 1-2, NIV)
And later on, as we were closing the day, I meditated on the verse:
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me (…)
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.“
(Psalm 18, 16; 28, NIV)
I just sat there, with those Psalm words, in silence, with God.
And I could feel Him, carrying me
like a Father carries His daughter.
I felt Him around me – embracing me.
And tears started flowing.
Tears of joy, and relief,
knowing He is here, and that
He loves me.
I can finally let go, and let God take the reins of my life.
I no longer feel the need to be in control, for He is.
I felt the need to close the loop. End the story so to speak. It’s a happy ending, although not without its set of challenges, pain and doubts.
God was faithful and supported me through my operation, and offered relief when I was most in pain. He was also faithful after the operation as I was recovering. But then came an infection, and my doubts and fears re-surfaced.
Over the years, in moments when I needed to hear God’s voice – when I needed an answer – I would go knocking at His door.
How you ask?
I would talk to Him, share with him my worry – doubts – question – fear – and ask him for guidance.
How does He guide me?
Through His word.
After I’ve opened my heart to Him, I would open my Bible App, close my eyes and click with my finger there where my spirit guides me:
a Bible Chapter.
On that day, when the infection was spreading and pain started to re-surface, that’s exactly what I did.
And His Spirit guided me to Tobit 5:13.
Tobit had been blinded and frustrated, if not somewhat bitter, over his fate. When the Angel of God came into his home one day, greeting him saying “May gladness be always with you” – Tobit answers: “What kind of gladness will be for me, since I sit in darkness and do not see the light of heaven?”. And so the Angel responds to him with verse 13:
“Be steadfast in soul. Your cure from God is near.”
(Tobit 5:13, KJV)
And so it was. Not just for Tobit. Also for me.
- Book: Let Go Now: Embrace Detachment as a Path to Freedom, by Karen Casey
- Blogpost: Where do I belong: Ode to a chaotic world – a poem I wrote as my soul was longing for God’s presence in a tumultuous world
- Blogpost: You will never make it without anti-depressants” (part I) – My first post detailing the circumstances of my burnout and how I got through it