When I was ten or eleven years old I was miserable with a very infected boil inside one of my nostrils. When my dad said he could help me (we didn’t go to doctors back then the way we do now) I was glad until I saw a big fat needle in his hand with a red hot tip he had heated on the stove burner. I am sure he could see “terror” written all over my face, but he explained that the boil needed to be lanced to relieve the pressure and clean out the poison that was making my body sick. Even though I was scared I made a conscious decision to trust my dad because I knew he loved me,. I can still remember laying myself down on his lap and watching that needle as it came closer to my face. I am sure he had one arm holding me down in case I flinched, but I don’t think I did. When it was over I still remember the feeling of relief that came when the boil was finally lanced . . . I was so very grateful! Even so, it was a lesson on trusting that I would soon forget.
As years passed, I experienced hurt and disappointment and sought to “look out for #1” as I hardened my heart. I met my husband, we married and started our family almost four years later. I entered motherhood without God but confident in my ability to raise our children – as Helen Reddy sang it, “I am woman!” Four years into motherhood I realized I was becoming the harsh, controlling person I had vowed I would never be. I made many promises to myself that I would not allow my anger to get in the way of loving my daughters, but I broke those promises repeatedly. In my heart I knew that God called what I was doing sin and that I deserved hell. I became desperate enough to seek God out for the help I needed. He was faithful to step into my life in a big way as I surrendered my hurts and resentment to Him. I learned to love and enjoy my children with God’s help but mothering was still daunting with the added responsibility to train our children to love and serve Christ.
Our children entered their teens and it got harder. I was scared for our oldest child as I sought to protect her from outside influences. She was miserable and so was I. I continued to pray for the help I needed and things seemed to get better when she was about 16. One morning I became convicted that I needed to surrender my fears to God and love my daughter more. I remembered I Corinthians 13, known as “The Love Chapter.” I found my Bible and opened it to read:
“Love is patient, love is kind.” I thought a moment and told God that I would be more patient and kinder to my daughter. I read on, “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Again I stopped and thought about loving my daughter and committed to not allow my sin (especially my fears) to get in the way of loving her as God would have me love her. But then I started to read verse 7 and started to feel sick: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I remember crying out to God in my heart and mind, “But Lord, I can’t totally trust her, she’s 16!” It was quiet just a moment when His response gently came: “But you can trust Me!”
Relief flooded every part of me with His reminder. It was a wall I had faced many times but I could suddenly see through it as I reflected on all that God had done to save me and my family. In faith I committed to love my daughter and trusted Him to watch over her. It wasn’t long after that incident I had to ask my daughter about something another mother had called me about. It wasn’t about anything “huge” but her response caught me totally off guard as she said, “I give up! No matter how hard I try to keep things from you, God always rats on me so I give up!” I was stunned and gratified by her answer to my question as I revelled in God’s loving faithfulness.
These are small, personal stories that I share to encourage those of you who have what the world refers to as “trust issues.” Who can we trust? My first decision to trust my dad because I knew he loved me was a very positive experience. But my dad would betray my trust in future years. (There are no perfect parents . . . just ask my kids!) In the second story, as I recognized my peril and surrendered myself to God, He graciously stepped in. I was grateful, but looking back I now realize that I didn’t comprehend the tie-in between being loved by God and trusting in Him. It was with the third story that I experienced that “Ahaaaa” moment in understanding how foundational God’s love is to trusting in Him. (My husband reminded that this would be better described as a “KA-POW” moment, when the natural meets the supernatural. (See entry dated 9/21/11, “When God Enters . . . KA-POW!”)
To trust God is not to be naive, but to intentionally act in humility and faith on the evidence of God’s love, the sacrifice of His own Son on our behalf. Many years have passed and my life has at times been confusing and difficult. But purposing to trust in His love no matter what my circumstance has gifted me continually with His perfect peace. Truly, He is worthy of your trust too!