“Let go and let God”
Someone lovely said this to me recently and I just cannot get it out of my head. You know as well as I do that this kind of statement is one that resonates deeply with me as I continue to walk through a season of doing exactly that.
For me, ‘letting go’ must go hand in hand with ‘letting God’. This is exactly where God longs for us, as His children, to be. His plans are better than ours, His purposes higher, His ways are such a wonderful mystery to us. So, why would we … why do I always revert back to trying to do it all myself? Time and time again I find myself on my knees, at the foot of the cross, begging God to save me from myself.
I just find it so damn hard to let go.
The total irony is, is that I know that living life this way isn’t actually benefiting me! In fact, it keeps me distracted and going round in circles. I’m pretty sure God is fed up with my antics by now! Yet He is always good, always faithful, always giving me new mercies. I’d have given up a long time ago on me. But God never gives up. He never stops fighting for us. He will never stop chasing us down because He loves us too much to leave us to our own devices. Praise Jesus! I’m a hot mess when I’m left to figure life out by myself!
Lots of you know my story though. And you know that I am really trying to practice what I preach. I’ve ‘let go’ of a heck of a lot of stuff in this last year. But the pruning process is very much on-going. Great. Just great. I feel like a bit of an onion - God strips off one layer only to uncover another … and another, and another and another. I never knew I had so many flipping layers! Yet I’m learning an awful lot about myself during this, often painful, peeling process. I’m learning that I don’t have to have all the answers. I’m learning the importance of letting go of ‘perfect’ and embracing the ‘present’. And I’m learning to trust that even when I show up empty-handed and feeling like I can’t help and I’ve nothing to give … GOD STILL USES ME.
Sometimes we just need to show up.
In spite of ourselves.
God will do the rest.
I started learning this when my friend Zoe had to walk through something that no mother should ever have to walk through.
When I first heard the news I instinctively went into ‘control mode’. I wanted to help. I needed to help. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t have ‘first-hand experience’ of what Zoe was going through. I’d never journeyed beside anyone who’d gone through a miscarriage. And suddenly I was acutely aware of my lack. What could I offer my friend? My hands felt empty. I felt I had nothing of value to give to her. So I wept. I wept for the baby my friend had lost and I wept because I felt totally and completely helpless.
There is a lot to be said about being able to empathise with someone going through something really difficult. Shared experience simply cannot be replicated with words, gifts or actions. I was at a total loss about how to help my friend and after some time trying and failing to come up with a solution myself (as I usually do) … I turned my attention to God (where my attention should have gone in the first place.) I begged Him to show me what to do, asked Him how could I help. I let go of ‘self’ and let God take my empty hands. Then I watched Him make something really beautiful.
Looking back, I wish I could have done more to help Zoe and there are things I would/should have done differently. I’ll not give the details but I will share that it’s ok to not know what to say. It’s ok to cry tears for and with your friend. It’s ok to sometimes sit in silence. The dictionary defines empathy in this way:
E M P A T H Y: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Praise God that I have never had to endure the trauma and horror of miscarriage. But I shouldn’t let this be an excuse to stop me from trying to learn and understand how to help those who have. Yes, it might be a hard conversation to have … all the more reason to have it then. We need more tough conversations. We need more people willing to show up even when they feel vulnerable and scared. Miscarriage is only ‘taboo’ if we continue to make it be so.
Even though I was completely clueless as to how to help my friend … I knew that God knew exactly what Zoe needed. At the time, I second-guessed every move I made, always unsure if what I said or did was ok. But now, in hindsight, I can see how God was so intricately and beautifully interwoven into every step of her journey. Yesterday would have been Zoe’s due date. She has written a beautifully brave and incredibly inspiring blog post about her daughter - you can read it here. Watching Zoe ‘let go and let God’ has been heartbreakingly wonderful. He truly does bring beauty out of ashes. I’ve seen it.
So, however this post finds you right now … whether your hands/heart are empty or full, know that God can/will use whatever you bring to the table. Just please, I pray that you show up. For whoever and whatever needs you most. Our emptiness isn’t always a negative thing. God is drawn to it. Remember, an empty pot has more room for Him to fill … and I firmly believe that’s a good thing! Less of us surely equates to more of Him.
It is incredible to be able to say this but there truly have been so many positives to take from a seemingly hopeless situation. Our God is the God of the hopeless. He is our hope, He is light and He is life. I have witnessed this to be true as I’ve watched Zoe over these last few months. For my friend to show up yesterday, to lift high her Saviour and declare that God is “still good” … completely blows me away. Zoe has often said how I’ve helped her through her valley … little does she know how much she has saved me from my own.
I didn’t feel knowledgeable, justified or able to offer help during those darkest of hours for my dear friend, but I felt the fear, got uncomfortable and did it anyway. I want to encourage you to do the same.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”
John 15 v 13