Lately, I've been challenged to consider how much I trust God. It's easy for me to say that he is in control. It's easy to encourage others to put their trust in him when things begin to fall apart. The words roll off my tongue so effortlessly--put your trust in him. But how much do I really, truly trust him when the rubber meets the road and the unimaginable begins to unfold?
Losing Ethan challenged my trust in God. When the doctors told us that our son may not survive, I knew that God had a plan. Yes, I was so afraid. Yes, my heart was filled with questions. Yes, I knew that God was sovereign. After years of unexplained infertility, we had miraculously conceived--I saw God's hand in every aspect of Ethan's existence. Despite my absent menstrual cycles and taking a break from "trying", he was given to us. Despite my fears, I trusted that God was intricately forming each piece of Ethan's body and held each heartbeat in his hands. I knew that God was sovereign in both life and death. As Ethan breathed his last breath, cradled in our arms, my broken heart knew that God was sovereign in each of the 93 minutes our son was on this earth and would continue to be sovereign as we grappled with his death. Not saying it was easy--but deep down I knew it. And that added to my questioning--I never doubted God's sovereignty, I only questioned his love for us. Through my groaning, searching, and seeking, he drew near to me and began to reveal just how deep his love is. I began to see how much he loves us--enough to send his Son to die in my place, to abolish death, pain, and suffering once and for all.
It may be easy to assume that I was completely placing my trust in God. Yes, our journey with Ethan strengthened my trust in God--but there were corners of my life I still held with a tight grip. If we're honest, I think many of us find ourselves there. We fully surrender certain areas of our lives, while clinging fiercely to other precious pieces. This is my safe space, we say. I trust you with the other stuff, but this is mine.
In the following year, we lost two more babies. Several months later, a doctor officially diagnosed me with an endocrine disorder that threatened the possibility of carrying more children. With each compounding loss, I struggled to trust. I cried out to God to help me to trust in him with my dreams. Help me to surrender the part of my life I've held the most dear. Help me to give it all to you.
Sometimes trust grows through kicking, screaming, and wrestling--there was a lot of that. It wasn't perfected by any means, but it did grow somewhat. It's easy for us to think we have it all figured out when that happens.
I lost three children and was diagnosed with frustrating, and sometimes physically painful, condition--I've proven my faithfulness. I look at those words and they sound ridiculous. Of course I didn't have it figured out--and I knew that then. But it's easy to subconsciously think we're doing OK. It's easy to subconsciously think we've paid our dues.
Last Christmas, my husband was rushed to the hospital after what was supposed to be a quick Urgent Care visit resulted in an abnormal EKG. Before I proceed, I want to add (especially for those of you who know him)--He is fine. He had a bad flu the week before, which caused some inflammation around his heart...which caused his EKG to appear as if he were having a heart attack. He wasn't--but in that moment, we had no idea what was really happening.
As you can imagine, I was a wreck. I held it together until my husband was safely in the ambulance and then I fell apart. I was terrified for my husband. I was terrified of what may happen next. On top of my fears, I felt the PTSD-like response begin to creep in--the noises, the doctors, the smells all attempt to drag me back to the moment the medical team attempted to revive our son. I couldn't let the anxiety creep in right now.
I wasn't allowed to ride in the ambulance with him, so I followed in my car. I probably shouldn't have been driving, but I refused to let anyone drive me. I didn't want to wait for them to get to the Urgent Care clinic to pick me up. I needed to be with my husband.
I screamed and cried the whole way to the hospital. "GOD. Why? Please, please don't take my husband from me. Please, please, please. GOD. I trusted you with our infertility. I trusted you when Ethan was sick, and even after he died! I trusted you when you took our second baby. And our third. GOD. I've trusted you in my diagnosis. I've trusted you with our future family. I trust you with my barrenness. HAVEN'T I SHOWN YOU THAT I TRUST YOU ENOUGH?"
I didn't hear a clear voice and I didn't see a sign from heaven. There wasn't a billboard on the freeway or a song on the radio. But in that moment, I felt a peace wash over me. The questions, the anxiety, and the panic all cleared away and I felt God clearly press this message onto my heart.
Enough? Kristin, I want you to trust me with all of it. I don't want you to trust me with just some of it. Trust me with everything. Give me all of it.
We do that, don't we? We give God pieces of our lives and think we've done our duty. We say, "Here God, take my possessions and my career, but don't touch my health. I trust you with my marriage, but not with my children. I give you my past, but let me determine my future. I give you my future, but let me cling to my past."
When we refuse to surrender certain pieces of our lives, are we truly trusting God? Even if we trust him with 95% of our life, can we truly say that we trust him if we are clinging to the other 5%? If we believe that God is who he says he is--that He is good, loving, just, perfect, infinite, all-powerful, merciful, holy, almighty, I AM, faithful--we should trust him with every piece of our lives. If we withhold even just one piece from him, are we truly believing that he is everything that he says he is?
This probably goes without saying, but I am by no means trying to imply that I have this all figured out. Trust is a daily choice--easier on some days than others. Completely surrender is scary and sometimes even incredibly painful. But the pain is temporary--the process is beautifully refining, and often paves the way toward growth and intimacy. The process is difficult, yet worth it.
Haven't I trusted you enough? Part of the problem lies in the question itself. In putting perimeters on trust, I was implying that God could only be trusted with specific parts of my life. I was implying that other areas of my life were mine, not his. I've been challenged to consider what areas of my life aren't included in the "enough". What areas am I clinging to that I don't want to let go?
If we're honestly with ourselves, I'd guess that many of us have those areas--those corners of our lives that we don't want to let go of. Yet, God lovingly calls out to us--I want you to trust me with all of it.
Psalm 139: 23 "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts."