mentoring post

March 17, 2012

Leslie is amazing. 
She is why I started blogging. 
She is a wise, beautiful, incredible soul.
 I asked her to mentor me. 
I was beyond honored when she said yes. 
Then I asked her to also share a monthly mentor post with all of you, because she is phenomenal.
She is challenging me.
You're in for a treat!
Leslie's blog here.
*****
I’ve always wanted a mentor. Someone not in my family. Not a peer. A mentor. Someone a few steps ahead of myself, in womanhood, in marriage, in motherhood. And though I’ve prayed, I have yet to meet her.
Which is why I will quickly take an opportunity to be one for someone else, if a chance arises. What if a younger woman has prayed for me? And what about all those lessons the Lord has taught me in my life, all that pain and pruning I’ve been through? What about that?
What if all that wasn’t merely for my benefit?
And then there’s Casey. She and I have been knit of the same stuff, I’m certain, just in different decades. Casey has given me a beautiful chance to be a voice here, on her own blog, because maybe – just maybe – I’m a few steps ahead of some of you. I don’t have all the answers. I may have different perspectives than you do about some things. But I have undoubtedly learned some important lessons in my journey so far.
There are things I wish I’d known earlier. Burdens I wish had been lifted by someone who’d already survived my same struggles. Hope and inspiration I wish I had been given. Well, those are the things I want to offer. Encouragement is what it is. And as hard as life is, who doesn’t need some of that? I'm so thankful for Casey; she's given honor to my journey by letting me share bits of it with you.
* * *
I run a pretty tight ship in my house. In fact, I feel like a captain, most days, barking orders, and managing my crew. I can actually get so involved in managing my kids, my kitchen, and my calendar that I convince myself that I am the one in charge. That I am in total control. But the other day, a friend asked me a question that reminded me of the time in my life that truly taught me how NOT in charge I really am.

She asked me, “How did you decide to have only two kids?”

It was in an email. Right away, I smiled at the assumption: that I decided. I'm not faulting her; it's common language among mommies.

"So. Are you guys gonna have more?"
"So. Is this baby your last?"
"So. When are you going to start a family?"

It is all very common language we use with the underlying presumption that we are so in charge. Well, in regards to that email, I knew mine would be a long reply, and not quite what my friend expected. I told her something like this.

My first pregnancy came easily. A couple tries and boom. Pregnant. Which equalled a lot of false reinforcement that I was indeed in charge of myself. So about a year after I had my daughter, we started trying for another. Thinking I was the boss, I decided I wanted my babies to be two years apart.

But it didn’t happen. A few months later, it still didn’t happen. My belief that I was the one in charge started showing cracks, so I powered up. Several months later with no baby, I began to live in 2 week increments: two weeks of anxiety trying to determine when I was fertile, and two weeks of anxiety until I could discover whether or not it “took.” I’m sure some of you have been there. I read books. I feverishly prayed for God to buy into my plans. I went so far as to begin logging my daily waking temperatures in an Excel spreadsheet, and I stressed out if some circumstance messed up the science I had made out of getting pregnant. Still nothing. Nothing, of course, except a crazy, emotional roller coaster and a strain on my marriage.


The structure of belief about my own sovereignty was slowly starting to crumble. It was what needed to happen, but it was also terrifying. What in the world did that mean if I was not in charge? Twelve whole months passed, and so I went to my OBGYN. Unaffected by my shock that I couldn't get pregnant, she wrote me a prescription for a fertility drug and I wanted to dissolve into tears. In retrospect, I think it was less upsetting that I wasn’t pregnant and more upsetting that this season totally blindsided me. I was SO not in charge.

At home, I waved my white flag. I cried out to God and let go of my plans. OK, God. I get it. This is not about me. It is all about you and what you know is best for my family. I only think I know what's best. But you really know. I....trust you.

I think God then, perhaps, smiled and said, "Well, it's about time."

You knew it was coming, didn't you? I never had to fill that prescription. Without all the feverish planning and stress, I was suddenly, surprisingly, pregnant. It totally snuck up on me. We named our son Nathan, meaning "gift," knowing full well that he was exactly that. Not a result from our careful planning. He was God's gift. 



For reasons only He knows, up until now, God hasn't chosen to give us any more. And we are content with our two.

Just yesterday, I watched a friend face something unexpected. It was a small, everyday thing, but nonetheless, not what she planned. It was hard to watch because she was completely overwhelmed by it. She had no peace, no trust that someone else was holding her and all her circumstances together. And later that day, I realized her problem. She lives in all-out bondage to the lie that she is the one in charge. Most would call her an overachiever or a little high-strung. I observe that she is regularly stressed, usually exhausted, and void of true joy. Her hands are tightly shut around everything in her life.

This lie of being in control is insidious.
It sounds like, "If I don't make it happen, it won't."
And, "This is all on me."
And, "I don't need help; I can handle it."

It feels like a risky circus act of keeping twenty spinning plates in the air, perfectly balanced. 
Every single day, it feels terrifying, like everything might just come crashing down.
It also feels very, very lonely.


I know because I've been there. I thought I was in charge until God gently broke that lie, and then healed me up with the truth. The power of this lie certainly requires a breaking, and it hurts. But the Lord's correction is always in love. Always. And always with my best interest in mind.

The truth is that He is in charge. He knows what's best. I really, truly do not. I must hold every single thing in my life with open hands. Every plan, wish, relationship, job, goal, talent, possession...everything. None of us can know what tomorrow brings. But all of us can know a supernatural peace, despite our blindness. 

What is holding you back from fully trusting God with your plans? Your dreams? Your babies?

Whatever it is, let it go. Drop the plates. Open your hands. You can do it.

My frequent prayer is,
"Lord, you are God and I am not. May your will, not mine, be done."

He who holds all things together is so worthy of our trust.  


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46 comments:

  1. Wow, this is so so good. A lesson I've definitely been learning for many years. Control. So hard to give up, but worth every bit of struggle. It's a process - thank God for His grace! Thanks, Leslie, for sharing this.

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  2. I love this!!! Thank you so so much! I too have struggled like Leslie....but I am now the mother of 4 (number 4 due in September)and I consider each of them as a gift and not something I've planned or done! Thank you again for sharing this!

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  3. I definitely needed to hear this today, thank you for sharing Leslie!

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  4. as a young woman trying to prepare for "trying", this is both terrifying and reassuring. This season may be right around the corner for me, but the Lord already has it planned out and it will be for my best and for His glory. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  5. Exactly what I needed to hear. I need to put all my faith and trust in Him!

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  6. Leslie,
    This post gave me chills. I have seen God cut out of many of my friends marriages in trying to determine how many children "they want"...
    It is difficult to let go and let God enter into that part of your marriage and lives you want to control, but after seeing friends lose babies and struggle to have them, I know deeply that each child is willed by God.
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is so inspiring.
    Blessings,
    Anna

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  7. Love this post. My favorite one by Leslie yet!

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  8. So full of wisdom!!! Thank you for sharing this Leslie!

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  9. basically all of my issues always come back to...CONTROL. why do i too often think I know better than the maker of the universe? thanks for the lovely reminder. many blessings!

    Andi

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  10. So good, been struggling with this so much lately. Thank you.

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  11. I love this post and it's so true. It's all in HIS timing. my son's middle name is Nathaniel-God's gift :)

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  12. Beautiful and a great reminder to a fellow "plate juggler"!

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  13. Such a great story about how God really is in control of our lives, and He knows what's best for us even when we think we've got it all figured out!

    Thanks for letting her share her story Casey!
    xoxo

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  14. Wow! That was amazing and just what i needed to hear today. Thank you so much for sharing.

    p.s. Casey, you are so lucky to have such and incredible mentor.

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  15. I so desperately needed to read this today....It's been a heart aching week, this was like a gift from above....


    Thank you Casey & Leslie

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  16. love this post, i can totally relate to it because last october we decided to stop all forms of birth control and we still have not become pregnant. what a roller-coaster i went on. i realized that even in deciding to stop using birth control, I still wanted to be in control. what a lesson of trust and patience i have been learning.
    thanks for sharing your friends story!
    Très bien

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  17. Oh thank you so much for this reminder. I completely understand the living life in two week increments.

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  18. Thank you so much for this post. It is such an important reminder and so worth thinking about and sharing.

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is such an important reminder and something I will enjoy thinking more about and sharing.

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  20. What an incredible way with words. I so needed to read this today and will keep it in mind for the future!

    What a fabulous mentor you have there, Casey!

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  21. Thanks so much for sharing. :) Love Proverbs 3:5&6, and 7 also, "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD..."

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  22. It's amazing how right when I need guidance and help, something beautiful and inspirational is right there to lift me up. Thank you Leslie and Casey :)

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  23. This was a beautiful and inspirational post. Thank you so much Casey and Leslie.

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  24. Great post Leslie! Made me smile because those are the EXACT thoughts and feelings I had as we struggled to get pregnant and underwent fertility treatments. So sad I fought against it for so long...it was so much easier to let go and let God!
    Ashley:)

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  25. This has been the HARDEST lesson for me to learn. But learn it I have in the last year! And what a beautiful way to put it in words :)

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  26. Wow, I think I was meant to read this. We have been total control freaks about when "we" thought it was the "right" time, not God. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    www.littlemomentsinlife.com

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  27. this is amazing, thank you for sharing Leslie and her godly wisdom :)

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  28. Such a great and wonderful post ! Thank you so much!
    Regina

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  29. this spoke directly to my heart. thank you so much. i find myself needing to be reminded of this often. it's all in God's hands. xo

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  30. Thank you for sharing Leslie's heart. LOVE this! xoxo

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  31. Beautiful. Well written. I really needed to read this today.
    Thank you.

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  32. Such a beautiful beautiful post full of truth!!

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  33. I love fluff posts... fashion, etc...but its always posts like this that smack me in the head.

    I loved it.

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  34. So true! Thank you for sharing your heart and your story. We have a lot in common as this is how I try to live my life. Good to see you here too on Casey's blog!!

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  35. Cannot even say how much I needed to read this post. Thank you. Thank you!

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  36. a definite encouragement. So true. God is sovereign.. we are not..

    ♥CheChe

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  37. definitely something I needed to hear. I'm not struggling with having a baby. I am about to have my first baby. I'm single, and doing this completely alone as far as a partner. I have taken on this role of control lately and it's something I need to let go and ask for the lord to show me his plan. thank you for sharing this.

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  38. This is what I have come to realise recently--you can fight for something all you like but sometimes you have to realise your own power and just be thankful for what you have and have faith.

    Great post.

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  39. This post came at the right time for me. Thanks for sharing.

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  40. This post made me sob (still sobbing). We've been trying for four years to get pregnant, and I've gone from disappointment, to sadness, to anger, and back to sadness. But always in between, I find a place of peace in trusting and knowing that all of my days are in His hands, and He knows much better than I do when the "right time" is. I once read that God's viewpoint is like a tapestry: for us, looking from underneath it looks like a real mess, and we can't imagine how that mess could become anything beautiful. But from his viewpoint from above, he sees a beautiful picture.

    I'm so happy that I found your blog. It's so refreshing to read about more than fashion and trends, not that I don't like that stuff too, but this...this stuff feeds the soul, and the spirit. And I can't tell you how much reading this blessed me today. It was a God wink. :)

    -Charity

    http://atallshipandastar.blogspot.com

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  41. thank you so much for sharing this. april marks two years for us since we first started trying for a baby. nothing yet, while all three of my sisters and my best friend are all growing beautiful baby bumps. it's the hardest thing, but i find it so comforting to know that other people understand, and love being reminded of God's sovereignty and the need to trust Him. :)

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  42. such encouraging words...thank you!

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  43. amen!

    thanks for shuch a great post. i needed this today ... a reminder to open my hands and let my plans go and allow for His to take root.

    www.bestdayZever.com

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