CONTROL

When tough times come do you run from God or do you stay and discover how you could grow as a person in those times?
The desire to run is so real though, especially when you feel broken.  When we initially heard the news that my dad had cancer, I found it so difficult to pray.  I knew it was the right thing to do but I just couldn’t do it.  The pain of what I was experiencing was just too much.  For me to pray meant that I needed to speak those words out.  I needed to speak about those things with God.  But I just couldn’t.  Instead I got people around me to pray.  To pray on my behalf, to say the things I was too hurt to say.  As I did that, the burden lightened but deep down I knew I needed to pray about this myself too.  It was like I was avoiding a conversation that needed to happen.  But still the pain of it stopped me.

One night I sat with my parents and we prayed together before they went off to bed.  ‘You pray’ said mum.  ‘Me pray?’  I thought.  This was the very thing I had been trying to avoid.  Caving inside I went for it.  You know when you’ve got to have that conversation you really don’t want to have and your heart starts beating really fast because you know you’ve got to say some things you’re going to find difficult to say?  That was where I was at.  That night I asked God to heal my dad.  I asked Him to strengthen him and us from the inside out.  I prayed God could do what only He could do – a miracle!  As I spoke to God a heaviness lifted off me.  The pain wasn’t mine to carry.  As I went to bed that night I felt relief, relief that I could talk to someone stronger than myself who could carry the weight of what was upon us.

That heaviness though, very sneakily took residence in my heart again so quickly.  Some days I would try to carry it all by myself, it would seem easier that way.  Or I would get so busy with life that I didn’t realise it was building inside me.  When I say heaviness I mean the weight of my emotions and the constant traffic jam of thoughts and questions.   Seeing dad in discomfort post chemotherapy can be horrible.   I wish I could take away the pain, I wish he didn’t have to suffer, I try to make sense of it all and then I go back and forth in conversations in my head.  I just wish it could all be different.

One week at church we sang the words to this song…..

I lift my hands to Heaven

Here my heart surrendered

I tell myself again

You are Lord of All

And though the seas are raging

You will speak and tame them

In you I find my rest

You are in control

As we sang that song the first time I stood, not singing along but just looking at the words, feeling so full of this heaviness.  I couldn’t bear to say those words to God, so I quickly went off to the toilets as I felt tears well up in my eyes and I became aware that I wasn’t going to be able to hold the tears back.  In that cubicle I cried my eyes out.  I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t give control to God.  I wanted control.  I wanted to make everything ok.  I wanted to do something so my dad would get better.  I wanted to make everything ok for my mum.  But the truth was I couldn’t.  I couldn’t take control.  I sobbed until I got to the point when I was ready to hand it over.  When you hand something over you literally surrender it.  When someone surrenders themselves to the police they lift their hands up as a sign of surrender.  When we were kids and we used to playfight, we used to have to shout ‘ I surrender!!’  to indicate we wanted to give up and we wanted the pain to stop.  There and then in that toilet cubicle I chose to surrender.  I lifted up my hands to God and asked him to ‘TAKE IT.’  From that day on I needed to make surrendering to God a daily thing, not just when it got too much or wait for it to get too much.  I had to surrender my pain, emotions, fragility, and brokenness to then rest in His promises to shine through me even on the darkest days.  Sounds easy but it’s crazy how real the resistance was in me to hand it over.  Probably because I like to take control, I like to fix things.  Only thing is there’s some things in life that are not for us to fix…….

 

The Character of a Tumour

I jumped in the car after doing the daily school run in a rush as usual trying to get to work on time.  The phone buzzed and I picked up, it was my brother.  For the millionth time in those last few days he had phoned to see if I was ok.  Conversation naturally was about dad.  He went on to ask me some medical questions he couldn’t get his head around.  Although my medical knowledge was pretty limited I attempted to answer his questions .  ‘I just don’t understand why the tumour has to be treated surgically,’ he said.  ‘There’s a good chance they got it all out when they did the biopsy.  Why do they have to go in and remove more?’  It was a valid question.  I paused for a moment and thought back to what the nurse had told me on the phone.  He had told me the tumour was ‘aggressive’.  That was the character of the tumour.  Some tumours are slow growing and some are aggressive.  Some tumours are well contained and some infiltrate surrounding areas. Character says a lot about a person or thing. The character of this tumour was dictating what the treatment would be. To be sure that the tumour wouldn’t continue to be aggressive it needed to be cut off, it needed to be stopped.  The character of the tumour was causing the medical experts to respond with radical treatment. To be honest the character of this tumour caused us to respond with PANIC.  It was aggressive!  That meant it could invade other spaces. That was scary.  After trying to explain the best I could I put the phone down and I cried as I drove to work.  As tears fell down my cheeks  I sensed God say to me ‘whose character do you trust?’  The character of a tumour or the character of your God.  Trust isn’t always easy to give or earn,  but over the years God had won more and more of my trust.  People could let me down but I knew I could trust God.   In that moment I thought back to when Jesus was in the boat with the disciples and they faced a storm.  The character of the storm was bad.  It was potentially fatal.  It was so windy, there were high tides and crashing waves. That must have been so scary and it definitely must have caused PANIC.  Personally I’m not good in boats so I know I would have been freaking out!  The boat would have been rocking from side to side so I know nausea would have gotten the better of me and the insides of my stomach would have been everywhere!  The character of the storm was huge and may have caused all sorts of responses but the character of the person in the boat was way bigger.  Jesus’ character was calm, full of peace, full of authority, full of power.  All He needed to do was say STOP and the waves obeyed him.  As I considered this, peace filled my heart, peace filled my mind.  This tumour may have a crazy character but the character of my God was bigger.  His approach to the storm was with calmness, authority, power and peace  This was how I needed to approach this tumour.  There and then in the car I chose who I was going to trust and what my approach to all this was going to be.  I was to calm down, know that God’s peace lived in me, that it was a gift He had given me, know that I carry authority and the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lived in me.  As much as all of this seemed huge to me……my God was BIGGER.  His character was the one that mattered the most!