“I threw up,” my daughter says one night over the computer. She’s in America and I’m in England and the only reaction I have is Uh-oh. We didn’t plan for this.
So life doesn’t always go as planned.
We plan for a thousand things to go wrong, but the only one that does is the one you didn’t plan for—the one you can’t do anything about, the one that leaves you totally helpless.
Then she starts to cry, loud wails over the computer that hit me like an arrow through the heart.
It’s hard being the parent on the other end, not able to kiss her forehead and make it better, not able to give her a glass of water and sit by her bed and rub her back.
It’s easy to talk about getting over your fears and living brave, but it’s much harder to do when you’re 3800 miles away.
Maybe the whole point of getting over our fears is learning to take a step and expect that it’s not going to go smoothly–that we have to trust despite the plans that fall apart.
Things will go wrong. A car breaks down. The furnace stops working. A child spikes a fever.
The truth is we’re not in control of our circumstances no matter how hard we try. There will be stomach flu and accidents, broken dishes and spilled milk.
Then there are my tiny, little control freak issues that make me want to be in charge, when the real truth is I need to let it all go.
I need to open these clenched fists and pray God help me, because all I’m really going to do is mess it all up by trying to make it right on my own.
What 3800 miles away from your child teaches you is that you can’t control your life or anyone else’s for that matter. But we let our worry and anxiety eat away at our peace of mind, the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that He gives us. If we could just let go of our own fear, of our own need to help ourselves, then we might know that peace, the shalom that comes only from Him.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, In God I trust; I will not be afraid.” (Psalm 56:3-4a)
I need this reminder on repeat, everyday, a thousand times, until I start living it, until it reverberates in this faint heart.
We learn to trust by practicing trust. Trust that if we let go, God will work it all out. Trust that eventually I will be less of a control freak.
Why can’t I remember that He withholds no good thing, even from thousands of miles away?
So, yeah, life doesn’t always go as planned, not even when you’re on a dream trip to Scotland and England.
But God, who knows my fears and weaknesses, is there in the plan, the plan to prosper me and not to harm me, the plan to give me a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
This is the real plan in the unplanned, the unpredictable journey we call life.
So I squeeze my girl when I get off that plane. We laugh until joy fills up the places where fear once lived. The place where trust is born. The place where we let go and hold on tight to what might be and what is to come.