My life has been a journey full of twists & turns, highs & lows. Honestly, I'm not sure I could really define where I'm headed. But one thing I'm learning, the journey isn't all about the final destination but more about how we travel. And fulfillment is found in all that we learn & experience as we journey, not just getting to the end of it. I can't even imagine making mine without Christ before me, behind me, and beside me...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Letting Go

     I'm sitting at the hospital at 4:00 a.m. with a friend....again. I've been here with her all too often lately. Basically, her choices land us here time and again for various "reasons" but the true initiator is the same. Life is beyond her control and she's crying for help. Sadly, when "help" arrives, she realizes it means sacrifice on her part and she refuses it again. When it comes right down to it, she hasn't been willing to let go of the old habits, old wounds, and old coping mechanisms that defeat her. She wants change but only on her terms...In other words, she wants someone to save her from herself. Lord knows, we've tried! And God has reached down to save her so many times,but she cuts the tether to every life raft thrown to her. 
     I keep hoping that this time will be different. Something will happen. That others with more legal authority will see the bigger picture and realize her deeper need...that someone will do what we can't do for her. And my heart breaks realizing that even so, it's still all up to her and I'm not sure that she wants change that badly yet. She won't let go of her safety zone ( though not so safe). She can't trust God enough to let go of her fears and her past failures. This whole situation leaves me powerless and frustrated. I watch her life continue to decline...I encourage her, offer resources, and tried and true methods so that she can get her life together (we all do) all to no avail because it means SHE has to give up what she always known for a life that's uncertain even if that means better. I hurt for her. Maybe I'm a little angry with her or with God--I'm not sure which--for allowing the circumstances of her life to defeat her.
     She has no family but a few of us in the church have embraced her as our own. We ARE her family. We've done all we can do. We've provided for her, protected her, cried with her, laughed with her, walked her through devastating grief, prayed with her and prayed FOR her even harder.  I, for one, have spent many many hours in this very same emergency room with her. We've gone the second mile in so many ways. Sometimes maybe we've helped too much. But the truth is, most of us would do it all again...though a little wiser this time. At this point, her welfare and future are out of our hands (as if it ever were). There's nothing left for us to do. It's all up to her. By society's standards, we have every right to walk away but we can't--I can't. She's not just a project or a ministry. She's a beloved sister in every sense of the word. As I sit here and think of the years that have past and the struggles we've faced together, I'm depleted. As she sleeps now unaware, I sit here in tears wondering what happens next.  How far does she have to fall before something changes? 
     Even as I ask myself that question, I realize the greater truth....Just as she has to let go of her old habits, fears, and memories, I have to let go of her.  Let go and let God.  He alone can do what none of us can. I can talk till I'm blue in the face but He can whisper to her heart. My job is to love her right where she is--in whatever state she's in--and let God do the rest. Maybe this is a test of faith or mercy for me. Maybe He's still teaching me what true surrender means....all my life and will. "ALL" goes beyond me. I have to surrender those people I love most too...and those I hate the most for that matter. 
      We've been looking at Jesus' final words the last couple of weeks in church. I've looked beyond the sermons and right now, I can't help but think of those very last words before He took His last breath. "Father, into Your hands, I commend my Spirit." (Luke 23:46) I know what He wants from me. Another translation makes it even clearer. "Father, I place my life in Your hands."  
      I can't imagine being Jesus at that very moment. I can't imagine taking my final INNOCENT breath as He did, unjustly dying the death of the worst criminal, yet surrendering Himself to the cross and God's will.  He trusted His Father with His own life and with the sins He bore which were not His own. In His human state, Jesus trusted God with the outcome. I need to do the same with my precious broken friend.  I want to be more like Him--to be that strong and that weak at the same time as I take my hands off or her and any circumstance I face and give God room to do what I can't. Do I trust Him enough?  Oh, there's that word again...Enough. That's what surrender is I guess...trusting Him enough. Trusting Him to take her all the way to completion not just part of the way or where I leave off. I have to trust Him enough to let her go. Do I trust Him enough to keep loving her even if circumstances remain the same and she never changes? Do I trust Him enough to accept His way even if it means I lose her? It's a prayer I should have prayed more fervently from the very beginning with all my heart and not just my words. I hesitate even now knowing that the way to God's answer may be difficult as I surrender this one I love so much.  "Lord, whatever it takes...I place her life into Your hands."  

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