Anytime a conflict arises, whether the situation is trivial or life-changing, these words are my mother’s best advice: “Let go and let God.”
As a teenager, this frustrated me to no end. I couldn’t understand how in a time of uncertainty I was supposed to just “let go” and trust that I would be led down the right path.
As a parent, the saying has become more useful; I find myself repeating it daily. My husband claims, and I fully admit, I make worrying an Olympic sport. You name it, I worry about it: kidnappers, choking, knocking out a tooth, ingesting batteries, the list goes on. In the middle of the night when I lie awake in bed obsessing over the terrible things that could befall my children, letting go and letting God gives me peace and security that everything is going to be OK.
Tantrums are an increasingly common occurrence in our household as my daughter approaches the terrible twos. The terrible twos, by the way, I consider a real misnomer considering this behavior began long before age two. My husband works long hours, and sometimes at the end of the day I’ve hit my limit of teachable moments. When my daughter thrusts her body backward onto our kitchen floor, screams, and pounds her little fists, I remind myself, “let go and let God.” It reminds me that because she can’t name what she’s feeling, this is the way she communicates. It helps me to be confident in my parenting abilities, and to trust God is watching over us, guiding me to be the best mother I can be.
Tantrums take patience, but they are not defining moments in life. Just as “let go and let God” helps us get from one day to the next, it gets us through the bigger moments as well.
When my daughter was nine-months-old, she woke up from her afternoon nap with a 102-degree fever. As a first-time mother, I felt panicky from the moment I read the thermometer. I knew a baby’s fever usually spikes higher than an adult’s, but still, 102 seemed high.
When I finally got in touch with the pediatrician, she recommended administering Tylenol and waiting it out to see if the fever decreased. Instead of going down, the fever kept creeping up. 102.5, 103, 103.7. At 104 degrees, I was frantic.
My tiny daughter, all twelve pounds of her, was visibly uncomfortable. She melted into my arms as I dialed the on-call pediatrician again. After a host of questions about her symptoms, she said it was most likely a virus. Instead of rushing to the ER and waiting for hours, the best thing to do was to keep her fever down as best we could, and take her to see the doctor in the morning.
My normally rambunctious baby clung to my chest. My husband ran to the bathroom every few minutes for fresh cold washcloths to put on her forehead while waiting for the Tylenol to kick in. The fever was high enough, the doctor said, that she would most likely start vomiting, her body’s way of combating the fever and virus. My daughter kept looking up at me with an exhausted, puzzled look on her face. It was if she was saying, “How could you let this happen to me, Mommy?” Gut-wrenching.
Just when I was ready to take her to the emergency room, my mother’s words popped into my head. “Let go and let God.” I looked down at my sweet little girl and repeated the words over and over in my head. Maybe it was the timing of the Tylenol, but I choose to believe it was God at work. Her forehead felt cooler. I checked her temperature: 103. It was decreasing. It was the very minute I let go of my fear and focused my energy on trusting that God was watching over us.
Many viruses later, I realize this wasn’t quite as traumatic as it seemed at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, after all. At the time, however, it was scary. I desperately wanted to control the situation in order to help my child feel better. In these moments of fear it is easily forgotten that God is keeping a close eye. Relinquishing whatever control I’m grasping at takes some of the weight off my chest. So, the next time you’re in a predicament, be it large or small, give it a try. It might just surprise you.