Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: IN-LAWS (07/11/19)
TITLE: Letting Go and Letting Him In
By Janet Richey
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It is May of 1997 and I am helplessly looking at my infant daughter in her Winnie-the-Pooh bassinet. We just brought her home from the hospital and she won’t stop crying. My persistent Korean mother-in-law calls, twice, wanting to help. Does she want to take over my life and my child? Grudgingly I accept, and she gives me the first good night’s sleep I’d had since my first trimester. No bungalow, but a two bedroom apartment. The great American Novel traded in for a future of diapers, sleepless nights and PTO meetings.
Ten years, two daughters and eight years of Christian counseling later, it is June of 2007. I am 39 years old, and we are staring at an ultrasound of my son who is a little too anxious to meet the world. My faithful mother-in-law, who just recovered from heart surgery, says this boy is God’s gift to her. I am too battle worn to feel the joy.
I spent most of my motherhood in patches of resentment because none of my dreams were being realized. I had no idea the sacrifice that parenting took, because I grew up with deaf parents who had constant needs of their own. They didn’t offer me guidance in how to reach my goals, because they didn’t know how, either. In 1953, their main goal was survival and independent living. Upon graduation, I dropped out of college, suffered the loss of my beloved grandma, and made a confounding number of bad choices. I was forced to let go of my writing, and do what my parents had to do: figure out a way to live independently.
In May of 1991 I moved in with my sister, got an entry-level position at a huge insurance company, and met my husband. That’s when God opened the door and pushed me towards the most rewarding part of my life. I fought it every step of the way.
I was like a toddler with every toy imaginable in front of me, and yet I wanted the giant stuffed animal that might just suffocate me. I was too immature to realize that God my father was doing what was best for me, and too stubborn to loosen my grip on the very thing that I simply was not ready for at the time.
James 1:2-3 ESV reads “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness”. I didn’t realize the value of this passage until I began homeschooling my son. He didn’t understand why he had to do all of the repetitive, boring work of 4th grade when he was sure he was ready for the local vo-tech school. Reading it with fresh eyes, I realized that I could not be at this place of contentment, nor parented my kids with any integrity, without the trials God placed in my life.
I still cling to that dream of being published. Turning it all over to God is a daily exercise in obedience and humility. But having the freedom to sit here in this coffee shop and write, makes me see anew how God can take a dream and make it better, if only I choose to obey Him.
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