I’ve been really sitting with my anxiety lately. Of course, I deal with it on the daily since I have to remember to take my Zoloft. Trust me, it is glaringly obvious if I miss it. As my Daddy used to say when he was missing his Skoal Bandits (don’t worry he quit that awhile ago) “I feel like I could head butt a pine tree.” That is what I am dealing with if I forget to pack the Zoloft for an overnight trip.
But I digress. I am having to do some reflection and work on myself. It’s been a slow process because I wasn’t really paying attention to the fact that work needed to be done. It all started in a yoga class about a month ago. My sweet friend/instructor was reading a couple verses for us to meditate on and recall during class. It was Matthew 6: 25-27:
See, at this point I was very smug sitting on my mat. I don’t worry about food or clothes. I’ve got faith like you wouldn’t believe. I completely, 100% believe that God is in control…even when it’s hard…even when I don’t understand. I am confident that no matter what may happen, God is not surprised and is working things for my best interest since I am trying my durnedest to live for Him. I’ve laid down all the things I worry about; my husband, my marriage, my boys, my parents, health, wealth, and silly things like a tree falling on my car as I drive under it.
But have I?
As is the norm, I am usually brought to a screeching halt in my self-assurance by an incident that involves my oldest child. Usually, he has no idea that this is happening. If I am honest my life is lived through the lens of being the mother of a cancer survivor. Poor everyone else that comes in contact with me. August 24, 2006 through December 13, 2006 changed the way I do my life. Such a short span of time now that I look at it in retrospect. I mean, I am 45 and that was 4 months of my 29th year. Good grief, that is hard to believe! 29! I was a BABY! No wonder I am anxious. Whew. That baby boy is nearly 19 and a freshman in college. We have lived our parenting lives assuring him he can do whatever he sets his mind to. He has defied the odds in more ways than one. He beat an aggressive brain tumor. He has played and been competitive at soccer and baseball. I mean he pitched one handed, throwing the ball with his left hand and then slipping his glove on before the ball was hit or thrown back to him. (In the manner of Jim Abbott if you are a sports person.) Truly amazing to watch.
And he is so smart. Like annoyingly so. He does complex math problems in his head, to the disapproval of every math teacher he has had. The guy can figure things out. His grades will not confirm this story, by the way. You only find this out about him if you talk to him. Somewhere along the way it got a little harder and he just didn’t want to put in the work. Stupid brain tumor. Due to his 2-3 year old brain being radiated 33 times, he was left with zero executive function. That means that he cannot make himself do the mundane day to day things he must do. Have all he needs to do a task? Nope. Have his truck clean enough for someone to ride with him? Forget it. Keep a piece of paper to have for later reference/to turn in? In your dreams. Simply hitting “submit” on the online homework? Nice try.
I have laid him at the feet of Jesus over and over. As I write this I am struck by how redundant that is. As if Jesus says “Ah! Who do we have here?” I’m pretty sure Jesus is more like, “Emily, seriously? I know about Bo.” And this is where the second piece of the conviction comes in.
A few weeks after the yoga class I was in a meeting for a board that I sit on. Our chair is amazing and always leads us in a beautiful devotion before we begin. This time she referenced Mark 2, which is a story about four friends doing everything necessary to get their paralytic friend to Jesus so that he could be healed. What they do is climb onto the roof of the house he is in, it’s the only way they can get close because of the crowd, and “open” up the roof so they can lower his mat down to Jesus. As Jesus watches the man being lowered down, he gazes up at the friends, sees their faith, and tells the man his sins are forgiven. The point of the devotion for our group was likening us to the friends of the paralytic. She said our faith in her organization was like the friends. Because of us life and success were being poured into our project.
I immediately thought, Wow that is humbling and a very kind and generous thing to say about us. I also saw a connection to the Matthew passage. There was that faith again. But I still didn’t get the importance of the two to me and my current circumstances. Luckily, our chair brought up Mark 2 at our next meeting. She said she just still felt such a connection to the passage and our board. This time I got the message that God intended for me.
The friends lowered their friend down believing that Jesus could heal. They didn’t sort of believe it. They didn’t hope for the best and think if nothing happened it was all worth a shot. Nothing to lose, right? The text says that Jesus saw their faith. He knew they believed. So, I had to ask myself why I wasn’t believing. What I began to see is that while I do believe God will do the things he has promised, I’m not really trusting the process. And if I don’t trust this process, do I really trust God the way I say I do? It pains me to say no. Somewhere along the way I have lost faith that God can do what he said he could do for my son. Gosh, that is hard to write and see in black and white. Even though I have seen the goodness of God. Even though I have seen the provision. The mercy. The grace. The peace. The healing. I know that I know that I know God is on his throne and has made a way where there was no way. Yet, I have somehow become convinced that me and my little buzzing around texting and calling and emailing and alerting is more beneficial? That is so stupid. I could sit here and make excuses. I could say that as a mother that is my job. That is what I am supposed to do and anyone would do the same. That may be true. But I also know the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. While Martha spends her time making sure everything is right and good for the visit of Jesus, her sister Mary simply sits at his feet. Martha goes to complain/tattle to Jesus. (Clearly, I can relate to this on so many levels.) I can’t say it better than the text, so here it is: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” Jesus does not condemn Martha for her choice. He simply states that Mary chose better. He doesn’t fault me for wanting to help. He doesn’t think that is bad or useless. He just thinks I could make a better choice. That choice is remembering my faith. That choice is letting go.
That choice is really, what will come will come, and I trust the One in charge.