My hands clench tightly around my dreams some days and especially around my heart’s desires. My fists grasp frantically onto those I love in my effort to hold them close and keep them safe, as if it’s in my power to do this.
No matter how much I wish it were different, I have little power in this life. Sure we all think we do. We assume if we follow certain rules, if we work hard enough and plan well enough, the stars will align and our best-laid plans will fall into place. Sometimes this happens. Other times not.
And it’s in those other times where I struggle the most. Where I grasp and grapple with control as it seemingly slips through my fingers, all in an effort to right the ship I’m terrified may be sinking.
I’ve held on frantically at times to relationships, jobs, even certain ways of thinking or believing, in order to shore up my happiness and mitigate the possibility of any failure or brokenness. It never works.
While trying to stay safe and sound on my narrow-minded path to a good life, I’ve learned some hard lessons along the way.
In my twenties, what I thought was good and everlasting was pulled from my grasp with a force that left me breathless. I couldn’t believe the jagged, broken pieces on the floor belonged to MY life. I tried to pick them up myself for a while, but much like a massive jigsaw puzzle dumped out carelessly, I could never quite figure out where they should go.
Eventually, I let go. And in time, God showed me that nothing broken is outside His realm of redemption.
A few years later, I again found my fists clenched tightly only this time in anger toward God. At first, my devastation manifested itself in a slow distancing between myself and my Creator as I attempted to sort out the utter sorrow in my heart. But over time that distance wasn’t enough, and anger burned in my soul. My fists raised toward the heavens as I vented my rage until I felt empty.
I had to let go. And in time, God showed me once more that nothing broken (not even my faith) is outside His realm of redemption.
Earlier this year, when I first learned of my mom’s diagnosis, I was heartbroken. When the doctor shared the seriousness of her condition, I became afraid. Fear volleyed for control of my thoughts as images began to dance through my mind of all that my mom and I did together through the years. We’d ridden Dumbo when I was three and visited Stonehenge in my late twenties. We had shared so many moments, and while the thought of her not being here with me was heartwrenching, what hurt me more was the thought that my children might not have the same opportunities to create memories with her that I’d had. I cried out to God with my hurt and my desires, fists once again closed to any way other than my way.
The next day, walking through hospital halls that would soon become so familiar to me, I noticed it there tucked away quiet and serene. A chapel. I walked in and sat down. Tears began to fall, and I began to pray. Only this time, my prayer was different.
“God, you know how much I love my mama, and you know I want you to heal her. I can’t imagine the possibility of my babies not having the opportunity to know her the way I have for all of these years. But God, as much as I love her, I know you love her more. She was your daughter long before she was my mama. So I give her back to you because she’s yours anyway. You alone are in control. I’m letting go.”
I turned my hands over, as they’d been clenched tightly together there on my lap. I opened them up. I let go.
And once again, God is teaching me that there is absolutely nothing that is broken that is outside His realm of redemption.
Friends, letting go is so very hard at times; but it’s only in the opening of our hands, the unclenching of our fists, that grace, mercy, and love can freely enter.
Let it go.