Control

Hi. My name is Susan. And I am a control freak.For my two regular readers who know me well, this is not news.

I love to take full control of a situation so that I can manipulate it to go the way I want. Just being honest here.

Or at least, that was the old Sooz…THAT Girl.

THIS Girl, however, has grown. Matured. Wised up. Or more likely, just been thrown into so many uncontrollable situations by God that she has had to let go of the control.

Having said that…the desire to control is always present. But I’ve learned that there is only one Controller and He is in total control. Nothing happens in this world…let me say that again...nothing happens in this world that He doesn’t know about; that He hasn’t given His consent to. Does that hurt you like it hurts me? I denied that statement for years. How can a loving God allow such massive tragedy? Children dying of cancer and other disease. Earthquakes that kill 100’s of thousands of people. Thousands of children starving to death every day. Children used as slaves. Dear friends dying of cancer. Thirty-eight year old healthy women suffering massive strokes. I’m not going to quote scripture here. I want you to find scripture on this if you feel so inclined. But I will tell you what I know: there is Good and there is evil. Without one there cannot be the other. If it was all good, all the time, we would have no need for God. A relationship with Him is the reason He created us. He seeks us out in order to have a relationship with Him. In time…His time…He will set all things right again. All things will be Good for eternity. Oh, and miracles? They do still happen. One of them is living in my house. I believe in miracles. Period.

But I still want to control. Deeply embedded in my flesh is the need to control. I fight it every second of every day.

When my friend Beth became ill, I was able to satisfy my need to control by setting up meals for the family, keep the world informed a bit on what was going on, etc. I was also able to see her, touch her, love on her, bring her favorite Starbucks Green Tea Lemonade to her.

Today, 1700 miles across the United States, a friend is lying in a hospital bed. I can’t control any of it. I’m not physically near to jump in and set up meals, financial aid, rides, give out news. But thankfully, there are those that can. I can’t touch her, love on her, hold her hand, whisper my love to her. But thankfully, He has placed others there that can. My need to control is so great, I have looked into airline fares to Colorado Springs. But then what? For now, He has instructed me to stand down. To do the things I can do. Pray. Fast. Talk with the other women in my life who also love Joanne. Appreciate and love on my own family. Recognize that our time here is short.

That is what I am doing today. I woke up early to pray. I am fasting from food. I guzzled my first cup of coffee in Joanne’s honor. I am switching to healthy beverages for the remainder of the day. I will stop and pray throughout the day. I will exercise lightly this morning and work on projects around the house. It is all I can do. It is what I am supposed to do.

Allowing Him to control.

For the first time in a week…I am  at peace.

Love you guys.

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Praying for Joanne: From Jesus Calling

January 12, 2011
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young
January 12:
Let me prepare you for the day that stretches out before you. I know exactly what this day will contain, whereas you have only vague ideas about it. You would like to see a map, showing all the twists and turns of your journey. You’d feel more prepared if you could somehow visualize what is on the road ahead. However, there is a better way to be prepared for whatever you will encounter today: Spend quality time with Me.
I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey. My Living Presence is your Companion each step of the way. Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts. Thus, you can walk through this day with your focus on Me. My abiding Presence is the best road map available.
But this is January 11, 2011’s Devotional. The devotional that Joanne read yesterday morning, the morning of her stroke, if she stuck with her usual reading plan:
TRUST ME by relinquishing control into My hands. Let go, and recognize that I am God. This is My world: I made it and I control it. Yours is a responsive part in the litany of Love. I search among My children for receptivity to Me. Guard well this gift that I have planted in your heart. Nurture it with the Light of My Presence.
When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises.

Dare to Believe.

I woke up this morning around 3:30 knowing I was supposed to pray for our Youth. We are in a transition phase with our Youth. We, those who work with, lead and love our Youth, are trying to find a balance for our Youth ministry. It ain’t easy. A lot of prayer is needed and is happening. I prayed for them.

I then felt led to pray for MY Youth…Shawn, Sarah and Brett. Which led me to pray for My Man.

Having completed the prayers I felt led to pray, I closed my eyes to drift back off to sleep.

Except I couldn’t sleep. Isaiah 44:22 popped into my head. My scripture memory verse. I repeated it silently over and over, trying to memorize it perfectly (didn’t, but I have the general idea and words memorized at this point and am fine tuning the actual NIV version.)

And then this popped into my heart as loud as a clap of thunder:

DARE TO BELIEVE, Susan.

Dare to believe? I mulled it around in my heart and in my head until Russell’s alarm went off at 5:30 and he got up and left for work. I tried to drift back off to sleep for a bit. But couldn’t.

A gazillion thoughts/to do’s were swirling around in my head and I sat down at the computer to start knocking some of them out on paper and plan my day.

I was getting ready to shower when He reminded me of the Word He had given me just a couple hours earlier:

DARE TO BELIEVE.

I tossed it out to my bff’s on twitter and even posted it on facebook and hopped into the shower where I was flooded (no pun intended) with sentence after sentence of dares to believe:

Dare to Believe that I am all you need, Susan.
Dare to Believe that Sarah belongs to Me, that I have her, that she will marry the Godly, Christian man I have chosen for her.
Dare to Believe that Russell is all you need in a husband.
Dare to Believe that I created you to be all he needs in a wife.
Dare to Believe that you can lose weight, eat healthy, grow strong and fit again.
Dare to Believe that you can give up coffee with my help. (Wait…how did that one get in there!?)

And there are so many more things that I have placed into my heart to keep and ponder. And believe.

Dare to Believe, dear ones. Ask Him to place into your hearts the things that you long to believe, but have been afraid to.

I love you!

Learning to say no…so I can mean it when I say yes.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself “a people pleaser.” In fact, probably just the opposite. Well, not really “a people displeaser” although now that I think of it that might be more the truth.

But I do have trouble saying no when someone asks me to do something. As evidenced by the number of times I have been Room Mom, Team Mom, Bible Study Teacher, Sunday School Teacher, Driver of Many Children to Many Events, Party Attender that Stands in the Corner, Hostess for Friend Selling *Insert Product Here,* etc. Let me just clarify and state for the record: there is nothing wrong with doing any of these things and I am glad that I did them. Well, most of them.

I also had trouble saying no as a teenager and let me tell you what…that led to Nothing Good. But that’s for another time.

I have really felt God leading me to focus on two words this year: redeemed and radical.

Let’s start with redeemed. According to Websters, redeem can mean: to buy back; repurchase; to get or win back; to free from what distresses or harms: as to free from captivity by payment of ransom; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to release from blame or debt; clear; to free from the consequences of sin; to change for the better; reform; repair, restore; to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby; to remove the obligation of by payment; to exchange for something of value; to make good; fulfill; to atone for; expiate <redeem an error>; to offset the bad effect of; to make worthwhile retrieve.

Oh man, I could take each and every one of these definitions and apply them directly to my life and to me. But I’ll save you THAT, and move on to the definition of radical according to Websters: of, relating to, or proceeding from a root; growing from the base of a stem, from a rootlike stem, or from a stem that does not rise above the ground; designed to remove the root of a disease or all diseased and potentially diseased tissue; of or relating to the origin; fundamental; very different from the usual or traditional; extreme; favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions; associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme change; advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs; slang: excellent, cool.

Again, seriously able to apply these to my life.

So how do these two words relate to the Title and therefore supposed Subject of this blog post? Here’s how:

If I am really going to live as if I am redeemed by God (and I am according to my SSMT #1 Isaiah 44:22) then I have got to say no to the things I feel He does not want me to do, in order to say yes to living as one redeemed; changed for the better, atoned for, repurchased, and freed from captivity.

If I am really going to embrace some radical in 2011, I have got to start saying yes to only those things that will lead to radical living, extreme change, very different from the usual or traditional, and removed from the root.

So in 2011, I am currently saying yes to being the Online Chair for the Springfield-Burke Relay for Life; being on the Board of Directors for The Beth Bryan Foundation; leading a small group of 9th and 10th graders (all of whom I adore); and being a Team Parent along with My Man for Brett’s Freshman Basketball Team. Of course I also said yes a long time ago to being Russell’s wife and mom to Shawn, Sarah and Brett.

Now…to turn these yeses toward the radical and the redeemed


As always…I love you guys and I’m so happy I said yes to each of you in my life.

SSMT*

*Siesta Scripture Memory Team

Beth Moore has challened us to memorize some scripture and it is way past time for me to start doing it!

Scripture Memory #1 for me:

Isaiah 44:22: I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 (NIV)