Focused. I was moving up and down the aisles of Home Depot as quickly as I could. It was almost 1pm and the girls were hungry. My husband had my 2 year old, blonde curls surrounding her rounded face, and I had the squishy infant, nestled in the Ergo, head resting on my chest, waiting for her chance to nurse. In and out and then we would be able to get both of them fed so their fussiness (and our frustration) would end. Somewhere between the bathroom faucets and the caulk I heard the cry – clearly my daughter’s but unlike any I had ever heard from her. I raced over, leaving the cart in the middle of the aisle, and saw her face, full of tears and fear. They were walking hand in hand when she decided she had enough. Without warning she dropped to the floor; he held on. The result, we would find out at the ER, was a common occurrence known as Nursemaid’s Elbow. In two minutes with the doctor the pain was gone and she was good as new. The lesson we learned and remember to this day? Let go. It goes against instinct but sometimes you just need to let go.
I’ve been involved in Children’s Ministries as long as I’ve been an adult in the church. For just about half of my life I have taught, prayed for, sung to, played with, cried over, celebrated, and pastored children. I am most me when I am ministering to kids. But about two years ago, after wrestling and holding on as my fingernails dug into my flesh and my knuckles whitened, I let go. With weeping and a good measure of distress, I gave back to God my hopes, my dreams, and the parts of me He knit together. My identity lay shattered as I boxed up books, notes, pictures, resources, CDs, and so many memories. I sealed it shut and set it out and in that moment felt as close to Abraham as I ever had, but there was no angel coming for a reprieve. It was done.
The pain eventually stopped. The grip the longing had on me was loosened and I had peace.
Recently I received a call, the kind that changes everything. “Would you consider working with our kids?” It was as if I was given a package in the mail from God with all those hopes and dreams I had thrown out tucked neatly inside, all polished and gleaming, more beautiful than before.
I can get lost in Good Friday. The loss, the suffering, the sense of finality, even though we know how it ends. This year, in the middle of the death, the gray, and the rain, it whispers to me, “Let go.” Good Friday is a day of surrender. We see it as Mary watches her son crucified while the women weep. We see it in the crowds who witnessed the execution and left, beating their chests. Ultimately, we see it in Jesus as He cries out, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
There is a time to fight, to hold on and cry out that you will not let that which is against you break you. But there is a time for surrender. A time to take what you grasp and with palms facing up to the heavens release. To trust that the same God who sent His Son to earth as a baby to be killed and resurrected in glory is watching over you with the same care and love. A time to take that which is a burden lay it down.
May you, in the shadow of Good Friday, find the strength to surrender, the courage to hold on, and the wisdom to know what God is calling you to do and receive His peace.