Understanding who's in control - Mary Jane Holt

For many years, I have loved the song, "Til I Can Gain Control Again." I have enjoyed several renditions by different artists.

Today, finally, I realized that, just like there has never been a time when I was in control, there also has never been a time when I gained control again.

I will continue to like the song, but from today forward, it will be a reminder of where God has brought me from. I was born the oldest of seven kids to parents who made me their confidante at an early age. Yep, poured out to me their personal troubles, marital issues, anxieties, the works. It started well before I was in my teens.

All my friends in school, from fourth grade through college, always told me their problems. I have been the listener. And somewhere along the way, I became a rock, a lighthouse, a north star for many.

As I look back now, I suppose it was a role to which I was born. That role, along with a few others, have been hard to bare at times, because I foolishly thought it was all about me. I thought I was in control. I thought I could maintain control.

Imagine that!

With my realization today, also came an awareness that it is OK to cry, OK to grieve, OK to fail, OK to not deliver when others look to me for answers, for comfort, for encouragement, for direction. It is SO very OK!

Now, don't get me wrong. These roles that once were painful have become a source of great joy over the years. Being trusted with the heart thoughts of countless family members, friends and strangers (oh, yeah, lots of strangers!) has made me very wealthy.

During a period of time, for almost two weeks now, when all the world is trembling over the unrest on Wall Street and Main Street, I choose to rest in the great spiritual wealth that is mine, because I am loved, cherished, even trusted to care and share and be there for those who want me to be there for them.

Last fall, my sister and her son went through painful divorces. A favorite aunt was being criticized by other family members for taking a drink when long nights laden with memories of two tragically dead sons closed in on her. Several close family members were experiencing major personal losses and job insecurity. During that period of time, my sister, Lynda Watson, wrote the song, "Talk About Him, Too." A few lines from that song are shown here:

When people talk about me, about the road I walk

When I'm in a valley or on the mountain tall

I hope their words stay the same with everything I do

And when they talk about me, they talk about Him, too

I hope when they saw me go through a trial and fall

They witnessed me on bended knees as to the Lord I called

I hope they stayed long enough to watch Him bring me through

And when they talk about me, they talk about Him, too

When my life has ended and I've traveled the last mile

I hope all who knew me understood my smile

And as they gather round to do what loved ones do

When they talk about me, they talk about Him, too...

My hubby and I often host family gatherings at our home where guitars and keyboards abound. The music echoes in the woods all around our property. Joy rules. Our cups are filled, and for a while, we even get to drink from our saucers.

That Christian Country sound that prevails at these gatherings has sustained me all my life. It has nourished me. It has provoked tears and dried them. It has caressed my soul and shaken it. It has caused me to rejoice in the love of my heavenly Father and to tremble with an awareness of where I would be without that love.

And so, today, this day, I choose to relinquish all the control I once thought I had. I choose to stand on the words of Horatio Spafford's Hymn, "It is Well with My Soul," which he based on Psalm 46:1, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

I can stand because I am learning to lean. I know now that I do not have to be in control.

Mary Jane Holt, an avid reader, book lover and spiritual thinker, writes an occasional column for the weekend edition of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. You can visit her at: www.maryjaneholt.com.