There I stood (barely) in the kitchen with my elbows deep in soapy water, when the dam that I had constructed so carefully finally broke. And the tears I had been holding back for days? maybe weeks? Began pouring out of me. And as each tear landed in the water, I felt myself shamefully falling apart. My husband kept stroking my arm and asking (in sheer husband-like panic mode) if I needed anything. But I couldn’t even mutter a syllable, let alone formulate a full sentence. And what would have been the point anyway? There was nothing he could do to lift the weight I was feeling off my shoulders. There was nothing he could do to take away the dark cloud that had been following me around all week. There was nothing he could do to make the negative pregnancy test I had taken earlier, magically turn into a positive. There was nothing he or anyone else could do to take away my frustrations. Or speak life into my dry, weary bones. There was nothing he could do to take away my worries. Or calm my fears. Or ease my burdens. Nothing. And if he would have even tried? Well, it would have been anything short of a disaster. So I did what any other good wife would do, and I saved him. I saved him by giving him permission to leave as I politely and silently “shooed” him away.
With him gone, I continued to wash the dishes with my tears. But as I stood there alone, I overheard our foster child huffing and puffing in the other room. She too must have been upset and overwhelmed about something. So I quickly turned off the water so that I could listen more closely. And when I did, my heart ached for her and the frustrations she had over simply putting a diaper on her baby doll.
Feeling sorry for her, I started to dry off my hands to go and help. But as I started to walk into the other room, I suddenly found myself stopping. Because what if she didn’t want my help? What if she could figure it out without me swooping in against her wishes? And so I waited patiently. Well, not so patiently because I was chomping at the bit to help her. Because after all, it was an easy fix. Something simple. But to her? It was probably the hardest task of her day. Which is why within minutes, I heard her sigh one more time before finally yelling, “Mommy! I can’t do this!” And because I was sitting on ready, I shouted back without hesitation, “Just bring it to me and let me do it.” But can I tell you friends that immediately after those words spewed from my mouth, I gasped! I gasped because I realized what I needed to do in my own frustrations. And in my own overwhelming situations.
All week long, I have been huffing, puffing and sighing over my struggles. I have been complaining. And crying. And worrying. I have been fearful. Even doubtful. I have basically been so overwhelmed and almost miserable over situations I can’t control. And over circumstances I obviously can’t fix.
But during this whole time, God has been sitting on ready. He has been chomping at the bit. And He has been waiting for me to come to Him and shout, “Daddy! I can’t do this!” So that in return, He can say, “Just bring it to me and let me do it.” Because He isn’t forceful to throw Himself on us. He isn’t the type to just jump in and take control of our lives. And He will never take what we are not willing to give. No. Because He is a gentleman. And He waits for us to come to Him. To seek Him. And to ask for His help.
Which I guess is what I knew I needed to do all along. But it’s so hard. Because while it’s not hard necessarily to throw up my hands, it is hard to throw up my hands in surrender. To release my control. Release my worries. Because don’t we feel like we are fixing the problem if we are worrying? And fretting? And trying to come up with solutions on our own? But why? Because doesn’t all of that just make us frustrated and feeling like a hamster spinning on a hamster wheel and going nowhere?
But friend, just like I was ready to swoop in when she cried out for help, our Heavenly Father is also ready to swoop in as we throw our hands up in the air and cry out for His help. He is more than ready to carry our burdens and help us solve our problems. And we must have faith to believe that He can solve them better than we could ever do on our own. Because while the problems we face might be huge to us, they are tiny to Him. And what we think is too heavy to carry, He considers too light.
Now will your problems magically disappear when you do this? Maybe so. Maybe not. But I promise you won’t leave empty handed. Because on that day, after I helped our foster child put the diaper back on her baby doll, I stopped in the hallway, threw my hands up in the air and right there I surrendered. I surrendered my fears. I surrendered my worries. I surrendered my control and my desires. I surrendered everything that had been pulling me down. And ya know what? When I was done, the problems were still there. But when I walked back into the kitchen, I had something that I didn’t have before. I had peace and comfort. I had joy again. And I had a new dose of hope to carry me through.
So this week, this month, this year when you find yourself overwhelmed, confused, frustrated or uncertain, remember to throw your hands up in surrender and shout these words, “Daddy! I can’t do this!” Because it is only when you take your hands off of it, that He is able to put His hands on it. And it is only then that He is able to take your “I can’t” and turn it into something that only He can.
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