I have been struggling a lot lately with the stress of Ellie going to school. My thoughts throughout the day are filled with dread. I just waiting for a phone call saying she’s having a tough day. I walk in to get her daily with an anxious “first day of school” stomach. I worry about her behavior and if she’s hurt one of her friends because she’s lost control. After pick-up I then begin worrying about tomorrow and what that will look like for her.
That being said, this Sunday at church the sermon was about stress and how it is a choice. Not in the sense of a scheduling issue, but more of how you choose to handle it. I felt like it was speaking directly to me. Like nobody else was there and God was speaking directly to me. I have such a control issue when it comes to Ellie. I want desperately to control how her day goes, how she responds to things or her behaviors. My husband will tell you there are many other areas I struggle with control as well, but let’s focus on this one today. I am a routine person. I like a schedule and the predictability that goes with that. And as any special needs parent would tell you, predicting their behavior isn’t going go well. I can try, but much like predicting the weather, I am going to be wrong A LOT of the time. It’s all smiles and sunshine when I think for sure it’s going to pour. So, back to the sermon. This wasn’t about how we over schedule ourselves but instead how we handle that stress. That the things we are juggling don’t have to be a cause of stress in our lives. The preacher used the analogy of laundry. He talks about how we go get the load from the dryer and pile it all in our arms and struggle to get it to the couch, yet inevitably drop a single sock. We bend down, struggling to hold the rest of the clothes, to pick up the one sock, thinking “I got this,” only to have a shirt or pair of pants fall. We continue to wrestle with this time and time again because we think we have it handled, yet it always leads to a trail of random laundry from the dryer across the house.
This analogy totally resonated with me in more areas than just Ellie, but my need to feel control regarding her is causing so much stress for both of us when all God wants is for me to give it to Him and let Him manage it. After all, who do I think I am? Do I really think I am better to manage this than the God of all creation. He wants me to give this to him no matter the circumstances. It’s hard to remember sometimes that God has Ellie’s entire life laid out for her. He knows her better than even I do as her mom. It’s hard to remember when I am knee-deep in a meltdown after a hard day at school. I want so badly to fix it for her and all those involved, but sometimes I just can’t. The stress of being helpless in this way is hard to take. I know it’s hard not to wonder when we have these stresses in life, why we were given these challenges, but we know the Lord never promised an easy road. He promised to be there to walk that road with us every step of the way. The common phrase “God will never give you anything you can’t handle” comes to mind. That phrase just irritates me because He most certainly will give you something that you can’t handle. You will be given circumstances that you cannot make it through on your own strength, but instead have to call out for the Lord to take it. He wants us to wave that white flag of surrender and give it to him. Let Him take the worry and the stress and trust in him. Trust that He is good and wants good things for us.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things.” (MSG translation) God already knows what we need and I need to let go of control over everything when it comes to Ellie.
My prayer for me and my family is to remember God is always there and to let him shoulder the burdens not me. Help me to live one day at a time. To not worry about tomorrow but instead focus on what He is doing right now. To trust in his promise to take care of Ellie, no matter what. To remember she was his child long before she was mine and to give myself and Ellie grace as we go through each day.