Giving up Control

365 days ago, I was laying in a hospital bed giggling as my mom put a hair net on me. The last thing I remember is seeing the faces of my parents, my husband and my pastor surrounding my bed.

Was I scared? Heck, no. As long as I knew what the plan was, and knew that I had everything prepared, anything could go down and it was all gonna be okay. Being in control was what held me together, and I thought that I had this all under control.

The next thing I remember is waking up screaming, my whole body charged with intense response. Totally delirious from the pain, I yelled at the nurses screaming for them to do something to take it away.

For three days, I dazed in and out of sleep, unaware of anything but pain and a strong desire for water. Finally things got a little better. After six days, I was able to walk slowly, take my first sips of water, and get my nose and stomach drains out.

But little did I know that the worst had only begun. For the first few weeks, I could barely move. My body ached in places I never knew could hurt, and everything I ate came right back up. I was totally dependent on my husband for everything.

A few weeks before, when asked about my surgery, I would reply cheerily that it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal. Everything was going to be fine and would continue as normal.

In my total ignorance, I had no idea the huge impact that surgery was going to have on my life. I hadn’t even thought forward to how it would change my next year; not to mention the rest of my life.

Here’s the thing: I’ve always been a planner. I like my life to be planned. I like my days to be scheduled. I like my experiences to be predictable. I like for things to go the way that I perceive to be the best (a.k.a. only) way.

Finding a tumor on my pancreas wasn’t part of that perceived plan. But, knowing that it was there was something I was able to ignore. It didn’t change my day-to-day life, and I honestly didn’t expect this surgery to be any different.

But being in excruciating pain changed my life. Losing 65 pounds in 6 months changed my life. Quitting breastfeeding and losing over a month of watching my baby grow changed my life. Getting pre-diabetes changed my life. Not knowing how long my new arrangements of guts is going to last me changed my life.

Let me tell you that this is not what I would have planned. Vomiting every day for four months was NOT the way I would have liked to spend almost half of my son’s first year of life. Backtrack a year, and having a 40-hour labor and emergency c-section wasn’t my plan either.

But, thankfully, the person that I was on my way to becoming a year and a half ago isn’t the person I’m becoming now. That girl who thrived on schedules, spreadsheets and cleaned behind people as they walked is gone.

I’ll always have this personality. I’ll always be the one who prefers order over chaos, schedules over spontaneity, and clean over messy.

Hopefully, though, I’ll never again be the one who lets anxiety take over my heart. I hope I’ll never again be the one who lets frustration with lack of planning take away from enjoying time with the people I love. I hope I’ll never again be the kind of mother who chooses order over loving my children.

Control used to be my anchor. I was always able to be calm and collected when I knew what was happening and when I was in control. But as soon as the coloring went out of the lines, my heart began to race. When things weren’t how I had planned, I was lost at sea.

I still love being in control. It’s a great feeling to know that I have all my ducks in a row. But as I sat at Christmas this year and kids were screaming and opening presents rapid fire, I noticed something unusual: my heart was still.

As we sang carols around the messy room, gift wrap and boxes everywhere, the words that I was singing were felt all the way through to my bones. My heart was truly at peace. Whether or not my outside expectations were met, my inside could be at peace. 

Through this past year of heartache, of trials, of change – something big changed for me. I realized that being in control can’t be my anchor, because when the storm comes I’m not in control anymore and I’m going to be lost.

But if Jesus, the one who controls the storms, is my anchor – I have nothing to fear. For he is with me, and in that my soul is steadfast forever. 

Philippians 4:7

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

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