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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Graber

The Struggle is Real, but I love Jesus

Losing control of my legs when my back goes out makes me feel...well...


Angry.

Frustrated.

Scared.

Anxious.

Fearful.

Out of control.


Wait. What do I control? Who is in control? Not me.


Whenever my back goes out, I start up all over again. The last time my back paralyzed my legs, I'd been asking myself this question for the 3 weeks and some startling revelations have come to light. First, with my beauty battle; then, with my floundering forgiveness. Now, I'm realizing I am not giving God control over my destiny. See, when I don't give my burdens to God, I am not trusting Him. I need to. Trust God, that is.


Have you ever watched sheep before? I love sheep. They're funny. They are also dumb. So innocent and pure in their intent: grazing on green pastures and growing woolly hair for us to wear. (Okay, they make good lard, chops, and chislic, too. A multipurpose beast God has fashioned in sheep!) But, they're not the smartest beasts in the world. You know the old analogy, right? My grandma said it at least once or a million times: "If all of your friends jumped off of a cliff, would you do it?" Well, sheep would. Mhmmm...


Sheep are also submissive to their caretakers--totally trusting that someone will lord over them, care for their every need, keep them safe. Wandering beasts, sheep will graze to the edge of a pasture and wander into the woods only to get lost without the shepherd to redirect them.


Sheep will graze to the river's edge and look at their beautiful images in the stream. Sheep will lean into the water and take a drink and the water will saturate their woolly bulk, causing them to fall in and drown if not for the guiding shepherd's hook that pulls them back from the danger of the water's edge.


Sheep will graze out to the boundary edges of the pasture where the wolf lies in wait of the lone one, seductive and licking their lips as the sheep draws near--all the while the shepherd anchors the stone into the slingshot preparing to send the lethal rock into the temple of wolf. The shepherd watches over the flock of sheep, but the sheep constantly push the boundaries, affecting their own will.


I am the sheep. God is my shepherd. The Bible uses this metaphor aptly.

  • How many times have I wandered too closely to the dense forest?

  • How many times have leaned over to taste the water from a rushing stream, instead of pausing to taste what God is offering me?

  • How many times have I wandered over to the wolf?

  • And whatever made me think being around the wolf was safe, with those pointy ears and snarling teeth?

Oh! but those sly smiles are deceiving . . .just ask Red Riding Hood.


Free will and my curiosity nudge me stupidly toward temptation. God gives us free will, but He wants us to choose Him the way he has chosen us. In 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (NIV), Paul wrote, "For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you." When I chose to wander away from God, though, my life spirals out of control. God has a plan for me--a bigger, better plan than I could ever fathom. My small, sheep-like brain (and maybe society a bit) tells me "I can do this! I've got this! I'm in total control of the whole situation!" I'm not.


While reflecting on my inner beauty battles, I realized how little control I actually have over...anything. Well, I have the free will to make choices, but a whole world of choices is being made around me, too. God sees everything; I do not. Asking God to take control of my life, to guide even the tiniest decisions I make in my life--down to the earrings I will wear in the morning--has been a humbling experience. (If you haven't ready my beauty blogs, you can check them out here: https://www.unfinishedwomen.com/blog/categories/being-beautiful.)


...and then my back went out. My legs stopped moving my body. Pain gripped my lower back and tore upwards across my shoulders.


I cried out.


Tears rolled down my cheeks every time a movement triggered pain and shot a bolt of electricity up my spine.


I cried out for healing, and God started whispering to me in that still small voice I frequently ignore in favor of my own desires.


Be still.


And I was. I had to be. I. could. not. move.


I love Jesus. I love God. I want the Holy Spirit to move in me, to shape me and guide me. Yet, I struggle so much with taking the reins. This week, I heard my brain reminding me, You are not in control. God is in control. Give over the reins already!


I could go on, and I know many other people in the world could talk about comparative hurts and frustrations! I've felt out of control when I hid in the basement during tornadoes or when my children fell and got hurt or went off to college to experience bigger, more adult hurdles. Who am I trusting to watch over them? Well, God. I can't control their safety, and quite honestly, I couldn't control their choices to jump out of the swings or slide down the stairs on a cushion when they were living under my roof. They fell. Got boo boos. And, I'm still learning this lesson.


Are you feeling a similar struggle with handing over the reins? Here is my prayer today, and you are welcome to share in it, use, or be blessed by it:


Dear God,

Thank you for being awesome and almighty! Thank you for guiding my decisions today, from small ones like which socks to wear to big ones I don't even know that I will face, yet. Today, Lord, I am trusting you and giving control of my life and choices to You, Lord! I praise you in Jesus name, Amen.


God is good!

Michelle


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