I remember looking out the window, my eyes following the gutterline, tracing the outline of the roof. A view I had looked at repeatedly over the last few days, staring mindlessly into the space, fixated on nothing.
Who knows what I was looking for. Perhaps my mind needed a momentary escape from that hospital room.
We’d been there for days, holding vigil, we’d laughed, cried, we’d all had our own separate moments of overwhelming emotion. For me though, this day was different. I couldn’t seem to get it together. I remember biting my lip, holding my breath, trying to contain the dam that was threatening to burst out of the already cracking walls. I remember pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth, clamping my hand to my face, and blinking repeatedly as I began to feel tears prick my eyes.
I felt a hand on my shoulder as a stared out into that dull day, the tears now falling. My sister was at my side as no longer able to hold back the depth of my fear, I blurted out, ‘I’m not ready to let her go’. With her hand still on my shoulder, my sister very gently said, ‘mum’s been gone for a long time’. I’m writing these words with tears streaming now, such is the power of that memory.
She was right of course, whether I had let her go or not, mum, as we knew her had left us, long ago in fact. I suppose what I was really saying was that I just didn’t want her to leave.
I’ve noticed that as Christians we often tell people to let things go. We say that horribly trite saying ‘let go and let God’. Excuse me, but what the hell does that mean? We ask people to put absolutely enormous situations into Gods hands like its the easiest thing in the world. It’s not easy, it’s not easy, it is not easy. Trusting God is not easy. If you think it is easy, then with all due respect, you have probably never had to actually trust him for anything really life altering. That Disney song has suddenly entered my brain, oh if we could all be like Elsa skipping up that mountain singing ‘Let it Go!’
Now I can see how some things might be simpler to let go of, perhaps a job comes to an end, you let go and move on. But when it comes to people and relationships, surely the same principle cannot be applied?
We’ve just had Mother’s Day weekend here in the UK, and for the weeks preceding this weekend, from every angle I have been bombarded by Mother’s Day advertising. I’ve found this very difficult to cope with. Why? Surely I’m over it already, after all, it’s nearly 3 years since my mum died, isn’t it getting easier, haven’t I let that go? In short, no, it’s not easier, it’s very very sad, I have no mum, and I will never be a mum, it’s a day filled with unbearable sorrow. I wish I could say I’ve laid down my dreams of motherhood, I’ve given them to God, I’ve let them go……guess what, I haven’t! I’m not perfect, I struggle, I get bitter and angry and jealous, and I don’t understand why. And here’s what I have to come back to, you can’t ask the why questions, because there will never be any answers to those questions. All I come back to, all I can ever come back to is the person who is Jesus. When I have no answer, He is my answer.
There is a simple song that I love, I will link it below. I listen to it when I feel broken, which is often at the moment. I’m recovering from major surgery so my body is broken, my finances are broken, my future looks broken, and I have no answers, but this song reminds me that I am not alone.
Next time we ask someone to let go of their ‘whatever’ and give it to God, I think we should ask ourselves another question. Why are we asking them to let something go? Is it for their benefit, or for our own. Is it so they will be free of pain, or so that we will be free of listening to their pain? You see, sometimes people just can’t let go. The pain/grief/whatever, is part of who they are, they cannot detach it and give it to God, they are dependant on God just being with them in the pain. They are dependant on Him not letting them go in their most desperate hour.
Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that we all forever wallow in our problems. There is a time for everything. But equally, I do not believe that there is ever an exact time to let go. Grief is not a science, thank God. My mum died nearly 3 years ago, and today I took her clothes to a clothing bank. Yes, it has taken me that long to be ready, and even then, there were tears. I am not ready to let my mum go, and I don’t believe that I ever have to let her go. I carry her in my mind and in my heart, she is a part of who I am.
So, dear one, are you carrying a burden that you feel under pressure to hand over to God? Are you struggling to ‘let go’? My advice…….stop struggling to let go, and just let go of that struggle. Let yourself off the hook dear friend. Just play this song below, and sit with Jesus a while, no pressure, he’s big enough to sort things for you.