Monday, April 29, 2013


It is the feeling of being completely out of control.  Admittedly, I am a control freak of the worst kind.  When that control is at its peak, I am a very difficult person to be around.  I don't like me.  Literally, I'm crazed.  I'm aware of my behavior but unable to change it.   I turn inward rather than seek support from family and friends that repeatedly offer themselves as a place of trust where I can be vulnerable.  I don't want to be a burden.

Sometime in late January, in between the painful results of Little Philip's latest MRI and the even more painful wait for the PET scan that ruled out cancer, a dear college friend called me to offer encouragement and prayer.  In her soft and loving voice, so very different than my own, she grieved with me over the realization that Philip was not mine.

Philip is not my child.  

Philip is a child of God, entrusted to me to love him unconditionally, to help him navigate life through this broken world.   Did I truly believe this?  Admitting this meant the ultimate surrender of control to a mother's heart.

I was still seeking control over my child's life, his future, all that his NF1 diagnosis may mean for his future.  I would verbally spout the correct things a confident Christian should say.  I pictured myself giving a testimony to be encouraging to other mothers facing a life threatening diagnosis in their children.   Literally I stood in front of a mirror like I was some sort of brunette Beth Moore.  Practicing this speech helped me to keep from losing it or crying when asked how things were going by friends.  Practicing helped me to become less emotional, more practical.   How's that for control.   I'm good at that, deflecting anything and anyone that seeks to expose my true weakness.

I felt such guilt and shame for my past and how I was so quick to judge a fall from faith in others that faced life's trials.  Marriages in shambles.  Infidelity.  Addiction.  Terrifying medical diagnoses.  Loss of jobs.  Loss of income.  

If they were truly Christians, if they truly practiced their faith then they would weather this storm better...if I were them then I would....

I am not able to weather this storm alone anymore.  I have never been in control of my own life let alone the lives of my children.  And despite my best efforts, I have failed in controlling the life of my husband.  This realization is a good thing.

I have weathered some serious personal storms in the last few years and they crushed my spirit and hope.  I spent a long time in the dark, truly believing that God was punishing me, that this was some kind of atonement.  Never having thought much of the how the Holy Spirit worked in my life, I felt the presence of the Spirit, a gift from my heavenly Father, hope and encouragement, courage and wisdom to make it through another day.  So often I would shut the door from my children and husband, fall on my knees in desperation, weeping uncontrollably, completely broken.  I found myself praying the prayers found in Lamentations (how long Lord, must we wait?  Do not forsake me, Lord).  

And in time, I began to trust in God's timing again, letting go of the false belief that I ever had control over any of this.  And when I did, hope returned.  Glimmers of joy returned.  And light is now returning in my heart and spirit.  I thank God that He chose me to shepherd the hearts of my precious children.  I am given the privilege of sharing the gift of hope and encouragement with them.   I am given the precious gift of celebrating how God is working in each of our lives.  When Little Philip cries out in fear and anger about having to have MRIs for the rest of his life, I am there to grieve with him but offer encouragement and hope, to pray with him.  His sweet spirit is so strong.  Helen is so young and oblivious to her NF1 diagnosis.  There are no signs or symptoms other than the knowledge that she has it.  I pray she does not face the same fear and struggles of her brother.   My husband,  struggled with feelings of guilt that he passed this disorder to his children.  And if the tables were turned, I am sure I would struggle to keep such thoughts out of my mind as well.  After all, it is out of his control.

There is no self help book that can adequately describe this journey, but the journey continues and the joy in my heart is increasing.  I cannot imagine facing these trials without my faith.  I shudder to think that I believed I had fallen from grace, that God had turned His back on me.  And yet, in the brokenness, He carried me to a place where my heart and eyes were opened again to His unfailing love.  These are good lessons.  These are good gifts.  I am wiser for them and they sustain me through the continued uncertainty of life.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer
Romans 12:12


Kate said...

Holy cow, Renie. (Pun not intended, but I am leaving it for fun). That was just exquisitely written and I thank you for sharing it. AOT, Sister.

wstanley said...

Thanks for the update Renie! I do not understand this life and all the pain and suffering either...but thankful, by God's grace He has kept us as his daughters when all we wanted to do was run from Him. Praying for you guys! Let's do lunch again soon!

KileyWatson said...

Renie, your words were so touching and honest and inspiring. I hope you know that God is not only working with you through all of this but is working through you to touch others. This is all God wants. For us to come to Him, be close to Him, surrender our pride, our control, our power to Him, to lay our burdens at His feet and to Let go and Let God! Psalm 18:2

Romans 8:28

Me said...

You are an amazing writer, amazing, and an encouragement to everyone out there that struggles in life.