Learning to let it go

When God has presented a lesson three times, I need to “learn”. First the test, then the lesson. While on our recent fishing trip, I hooked a big catfish, or it hooked me. After it secured itself around a stump, my husband and I struggled for 30 minutes to claim my bragging rights. It was not to be and I was finally ready to give it up. I told him to cut the line, that is the lesson. Two days later, there were two more hooked catfish that I never could pull up to the surface, so the battle again because I was still not so willing to ‘let it go’. The first of the two, I pulled for about 15 minutes, then let Joe cut the line. The next one, again headed for the stump and this time I knew, cut the line. That is a life lesson. Know when it is time to let something go. Children, grief, anger, emotional eating, relationships and labels that can hold one back from accomplishments. Eating is in the list for a reason. Although food sustains life, I eat for more than the purpose of sustaining life, so that is a dependency that needs to be “cut”.

When I let go of my girls, they found their way and did just fine with me on the sidelines of life. They were able to become what God needed them to be, they were never mine, they are God’s. There have been losses to death, employment and relationships. While carrying my grief and the weight of unhealthy relationships, I ran and grew weary, I could not climb on to the wings of the eagle God sent my way (Isaiah 40:31). I have been tethered to the things of life, secured to a dead stump. One has to learn to let go, because we are God’s. We can not be in control, and that is what led me to my anger, shame, disappointments, guilt, dependency on others and emotional eating. Specialty emotional eating, chocolate for anger and Mexican food for depression. So I am learning to let go of those unhealthy relationships, learning to forgive (still pulling on that line a little) and moving on. I know I have to cut the lines that keep me tied to things of this life: possessions, memories, people who do not need to be in my life and emotions that are my mountains.

I am a survivor of breast cancer and as God’s child, I have a ministry (1 Cor. 12:9) and I will be less valuable while clinging to the lines of earthly entanglements. I have to use my faith, the verb, and let go. All of this from a fish. It was just a fish, but Jesus used a fish to feed the multitude!

Living “Love”, the verb

In my book, Asking ‘What’: No More ‘Whys’ I deal with the lessons of learning that love, like faith, is a verb.  Yesterday our pastor spoke about the very scripture that I use, that of reducing or redefining the Ten Commandments with two simple instructions, Honor the Lord thy God and love thy neighbor as thyself. Rev. Johnny Miller started with Deuteronomy 6:4-9  that instructs us to (v.5) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (NKJV).  Because it is a priority on my list, as I was making notes as to how this scripture spoke to me, I noted all the verbs found in my pastor’s key sermon verses.  The verbs are: teach, talk, sit, walk, bind and write – how we are to live love. It is in John 13:34-35 where Jesus instructs us to “love one another”.  Just as difficult it is to tame the tongue, love is difficult to practice daily.  As I moved through my afternoon and evening, I challenged myself to do the things I did not want to do, a simple walk on the hill with my husband, who continues to be the wind beneath my wings.  In that simple act I was reminded of the journeys that have brought us to where we are today.  I had to believe he loved me, that he loved me despite illness, moods, losses and living life itself.  I think it is so important for Christians to demonstrate agape love, the verb, daily because of the ones with whom we may touch.  Joe had loved me through my cancer, through my neck fusion and through so many changes that I wonder how he could continue.  As our church recognized our upcoming anniversary, he whispered to me that he was honored to have me on his right arm.  How loving and what kindness!  I do soar on the wings of eagles because he believes in who I am, the real me, with my flaws and faults, just as God loves me “just as I am”.   I have written my book because we, as humans, struggle so much with loving one another, and God told my pastor that I needed to be reminded, again!

Confirmation of my life’s ministry

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer one month after my sister received the same diagnosis, I could not imagine how that would fit in with what I understood to be my life journey at the time.  My brother’s death at the age of 35 had served to spur me into action, but now things were slowed on the timeline I had set for myself.  I had graduated from college and ready to go, or so I thought.  Now I chose to be angry again. Angry at the hand I had been dealt, angry that it did not match my goals.  That was the point, they were my goals.  Through this journey I did pray a prayer that demonstrated how limited I believed my God to be.  I asked that He let me live long enough to make a difference in one person’s life, God’s reply: “It is one person at a time”.  I had been limiting God because that is all my spiritual vision could see.  Twenty-three years later, I have seen positive confirmation that it is one life at a time, and God allows me to receive that confirmation through a phone call, a letter, an email or through an unexpected, unplanned conversation.  I still get angry, I just strive to not sin in that anger.  I learned strength from my Southern Baptist parents and heritage, I learned courage from those people God has placed in my life, and I learned that love and faith are not just nouns, they are verbs that require I participate in life with all of my being.  Like the woman with the issue of blood, I have to be willing each day of my life to push through the “busy-ness” of the day and practice my faith.