My two-year-old granddaughter walked across the yard beside me with a plate of strawberries. Maneuvering over Sadie, our golden retriever’s inconvenient mole-holes and balancing a plate of rolling strawberries, Ava was in danger of either losing her dignity or her strawberries.
“Can I carry them?” I asked, being careful of her heart and her confidence.
Concentrating on her journey, she confidently answered, “No.”
A few more steps later, she let me carry the plate of strawberries. Carefree, unburdened, she made it across the yard without falling into evidence of Sadie’s favorite pass-time – digging a few inches into the ground, stuffing her nose into the dirt, huffing air out of her nose hoping for evidence of a bona-fide mole.
Ava, like me, wants to do it herself.
Words like “Let it go,”
“Get over it,”
“You might as well forget about it”
Those are hard words to wrap my mind around. I’m not talking about forgiveness. I’m talking about giving-up something important, something heart important, something not quite tangible.
How do you let it go, get over it, forget when you live in hope, like the journey of a prayer sent out?
How do you live in the middle of that prayer-journey-in-the-wait – because in the wait – hurt still happens, the challenge still exists.
I’m an obsessive thinker. That doesn’t mean I think well, just obsessively.
Obsessive thinking works well for my writing. It works well for problem-solving, too – for things like math, reading, finding the perfect white cake recipe, how to teach our golden-retriever Sadie to stay, stomach pain for a son that took 5 years to get a correct diagnosis(severe esophagitus), another son who kept getting directions wrong because he heard 2 out of 3 words correctly (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), how to draw Benjamin Bunny on a chalk board.
I am a problem-solver, a solution-seeker, an information gatherer.
Obsessive thinking doesn’t work well for heart-challenges that I don’t have the ability to change. For example, I cannot persuade someone who doesn’t like me, who has their heart set on not liking me – to change their mind.
Sometimes I cannot change a parent, child or friend’s decision, even though I know that decision may hurt them in the long run.
I cannot make someone believe God is real, though I can tell them what He means to me.
“Give it to God,” – I hear it over and over again – in sermons, in posts, in encouragement, in grocery aisles.
Like Ava, God is walking beside me. “Give it to me,” He says, as I maneuver through the figurative mole-holes life brings.
It’s hard for an obsessive thinker to give thoughts over to God. It’s hard for the problem-solver, the solution-seeker in me to “give up.”
God’s been personally training me this Spring – on giving my challenges to Him.
When thoughts start creeping in for heart-hurts I cannot change, I look at the 2 scriptures on my desk:
“You’re my servant, serving on my side.
- I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.
Don’t panic. I’m with you.
There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you”(Isaiah: 41: 9b-10).
- “Be Still and Know I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
I take a deep breath, trusting the prayer and visualizing the challenge as a boxed gift, wrapped with a beautiful bow. I take a deep breath and picture myself handing that gift-wrapped box to Him.
Through the rest of the day, I repeatedly grab it back, only to return it to Him – and this goes on and on – shoving it in His hands, snatching it back.
Except each day, I let Him keep it longer. It gets easier to let Him keep it. Just last week, I grabbed it back, ruefully smiled at Him – and before it had totally left His hands, took my hands off. He didn’t “tsk tsk” me, didn’t taunt me with “No Takesy Backsie’s” – My soul felt like He smiled encouragement.
Giving it to Him doesn’t mean I’ve given up. It doesn’t mean hope has died. It just means He’s walking beside me taking care of it better than I can. Like Ava – it’s much easier to get across the yard with sturdier hands carrying the important stuff.
He doesn’t tell me I need to be stronger, better, smarter, more lovable, find the solution myself. He just asks me to trust Him.
“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin” (Psalm 55:22).
I’ve learned in the past 5 years that hope and faith are the wings of prayer – and love is the heart-beat of that prayer. The answer to that prayer might not be what I was expecting – it might not even be answered in my lifetime – but it will be the perfect answer.
I’ve learned that the real living that refines us into who God designed us to be is in the daily living of the wait of a prayer sent out – and the daily living should be in the assurance of a prayer answered – in God’s time.
If I am assured, I need to live joy-catching all the other things going on in the daily that He gives me – like the smile of a 16 year old surprised 3 weeks before his birthday, in the yellow of an evening primrose replanted from my aunt’s garden, in the good-morning phone call to my mother, in the happy snort of Sadie’s nose underground, in a little girl walking beside me with a plate full of strawberries.
God is teaching me this dance, this living carefree before Him – He is most careful with me (1 Peter 5:7b) – in this giving to Him and taking back.