Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hand over the wash rag

My two year old son Gus teaches me a lot about life. The little guy has some sensory integration issues, and the more he feels in control, the better his reaction to uncomfortable stimuli. We can sometimes avoid tears and tantrums by making him feel in control. For example, after he finishes a meal Gus hates to have his face wiped. If I give him a warm rag, and allow him to wipe his own face, he does not cry or complain. If, however, I take the warm rag and very gently rub his face to make it clean, he protests vehemently.

The trouble is, I can't always allow him to wipe his own face. He does a lousy job, and it takes forever. Most of the time, I have to help him.

When I was on retreat last weekend, I realized that, like Gus, I am happiest with my life when I feel I'm in control. I get into a groove, run from one activity to the next, and so long as things go somewhat according to plan, I feel great about my day. For much of my life, God has handed me the washcloth and allowed me to wipe my own face, and at times things seemed so good that I even lost sight of His hand.

But things changed about five months ago. With a fourth baby, I can no longer pretend that I have control over my life. On a good day, we are just 5 minutes away from total chaos.

God has used this very challenging time to teach me about surrender. My sense of control was an illusion. My face is too dirty to clean myself. But fortunately, there's Someone who can help, and I'm slowly learning to hand over the wash rag.


MJDMom said...

Amen! One of my favorite prayers:
"Lord into your hands I abandon the past, present, and future; not much and a lot; the little and the big; the temporal and the eternal."

Kat said...

Awesome, Red, thanks for this simple, profound reflection!

Mary Alice said...

Beautiful thoughts, thank you for sharing. For me, life as a mother is all about being humbled, which is what I need most to be sanctified, but it only hurts when I fight it.

Julianne said...

Thank you! I have 4 too and I feel that way a lot. You know, I think that's why many women say, "I'm done!" after they have their 2 children: boy and girl or whatever.

Jaime said...

Thanks for the post...totally agree, I feel that way all the time! Another thing to pray about!

texas mommy said...

Thanks, Red, for sharing this personal post. I can totally relate to the "illusion of control" that we try to hard to construct. I think God has sent us special little guys to help us rely on Him all the more!