Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Time Out

Yesterday, I had to put my dog in time-out (in the backyard) and myself in time-out (under the covers of my bed). When I came home from work, I discovered that he had amused himself during the day by chewing on a photo album that holds (held?) recipes and a box of dust masks. The scraps were strewn all over the living room.

This isn't the first time something like this has happened, but, for me yesterday, it was a final straw in my currently tenuous grip on emotional control. I put Ivan outside and then while he howled at the door, I went upstairs and howled into a pillow.

In my theological tradition, I understand (spiritually and intellectually) that God is in control. Yet each day that I manage to do what I need to do without breaking down about my husband's imminent deployment or being pregnant or any number of other things that are well beyond anything that I can change or alter- each day I *handle* these things, I feel like I have myself under control.

Well, my scrappy dog pushed me over the edge. If I don't really have a handle on 68-pounds of Labrador Retriever, then why have I deluded myself into thinking that I have a handle on anything?

It is often said that preachers sometimes need to hear their message the most and a message that God is in control is what I need to hear the most right now.

And that is the message at the heart of Holy Week (next week) and all the services I'm currently planning. As events, the story leading to the empty tombs seems very much like a careening tale of political intrigue, treason and punishment. Yet, we as believers, (I as a believer), are called to see God's control in the situation, to recognize through faith that was happened to Jesus was bigger than Caiaphas, Barabbas, Pilate, Caesar, you or me.

It was and is the work of God, the in-breaking of God's kingdom into history and the promise of the kingdom to come. But more, we look at all those people (Judas, Peter, Ananias, Mary of Magdala) and we know that they weren't in charge. Why do we think that we are?

Ivan will always be a rascally dog. I will love him for it and he'll probably get more time-outs. The deployment is what it is and will be what it will be. I cannot do nothing about that. And I'm entering the world of parenting, where you realize your sphere of influence is crucial, but doesn't quite have the circumference for which you might hope (or that you think you have).

I'm not letting go and letting God because I don't "let" God do anything. What I'm hoping and praying for is that God will "let" me see His hand at work in my life, feel His presence and assure me with the comforting truth that I am not in control.

3 comments:

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Big issues. God issues will always be there because He doesn't change even if our understandings are fickle, incomplete, or not-quite-on-target. But the husband issue will be hard, with the baby coming. And, yes, the emotional roller coaster is part of who you are right now. And dogs can be pretty stupid, given any chance. Just try to calm your emotions for the baby's sake. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe.

luthersbrewer said...

Julia,

The best words come from Matthew 6

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It's not hard for us to understand that God is in Control. The hard part is for us to truly accept it.

You are quite understandably worried. You have a lot on your plate right now. Look to the Word let the Holy Spirit bring you strength and peace.

I'm praying for you and Rob, as I'm sure everyone is. God Bless.

Anne Edison-Albright said...

I struggle a lot with trusting God--being told to do that in the midst of difficult times can be infuriating rather than liberating. There's some pretty great insight in this post, especially your last paragraph. Thank you for sharing it with us!