Written By Chelsie Washington, USA
Control has always been something I’ve struggled with in a very subtle way. I may not always show that I want to control a situation, but I can sometimes make myself physically sick when things don’t go my way. Whenever thoughts of a situation going awry arise, my heart begins to race and my stomach starts to hurt.
Deep down, I know it’s not good to bring myself to worry as such, but of course that’s easier said than done. With these control issues comes my need to plan. I love to plan. I may not be the best at it, but as long as I have a good idea of what is to come, I am able to sleep better at night.
There’s an old saying that goes something like, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” I never really thought about how it relates to my life—it’s so easy to say, “Yeah, I know that I need to live more in the now and trust that God has my back now and in the future”—until I received the ultimate test of faith.
When my son was one month old, we found out that he had a heart defect that required surgery. Hearing the cardiologist say this made me feel like I was having an out-of-body experience. As cliché as it may sound, I kept thinking it was a dream. How could my healthy-looking child need to have surgery at such a young age? After all, we brought him into the emergency room for a breathing issue only because we thought he had a cold.
The initial news and the sense of uncertainty brought me to tears. But whenever I had to tell anyone about it or give updates on the situation, I made sure to take a deep breath and remain as calm as possible. On the surface, I looked and sounded peaceful. I could even see people look at me as if they were wondering how I could remain so calm.
The truth was that on the inside, I was running around frantically wondering what would come of all this. Was Wade going to make it through? Would he have health problems the rest of his life? Would he get to be a normal kid? I also knew, though, that to be frantic would be a disservice not only to myself, but to everyone around me. I wasn’t the only one who loved my son. I had to make sure that I remained calm so that others who loved him could also learn of his progress.
In this most challenging moment of my life, God saw me and told me not to worry. He told me to rely on Him and He would handle it all. This was further confirmed during a conversation I had with my son the day before his first surgery. Throughout this whole experience, I had tried to make a point to let him know how strong he was and that it was all going to be okay. But on this day, after saying, “You’re going to be okay,” my son mumbled the word “Okay.” It may sound crazy for a baby to say actual words at such a young age, let alone understand when to say it, but I believe that God was talking through him to assure me that things were going to turn out well.
After the operations—he wound up having two in two days—my son lost his voice and the personality I had grown to love over the first month of his life. While I was happy that the worst was over, I was also sad that the process to get my boy back to normal was dragging. I recall one night during our stay at the hospital when I was feeling especially down. For a month, I had been getting used to motherhood and this child, and now everything was different. With tears streaming down my face, I prayed long and hard for God to restore my boy to normalcy and to keep him going in the right direction on the path to recovery.
The Bible says in 1 John 5:15 that “if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him”. Obviously, God heard those cries in the middle of the night because the next day, I began to see a change for the better in my boy’s recovery. Up until that point, even though the doctors told me that he was doing great, he still didn’t look or act like the same boy I had grown to love because of the medication he was on. He was even losing weight. But after that night of my crying and praying, Wade began to be more like himself. Soon, a week after his operations, he was moved to the recovery floor. After a couple of days, he was discharged and sent home. We had our boy back!
In a situation like this, it would have been easy for me to place blame on something or someone. It would have been easy to panic and let my stress and anxiety get the best of me, and to lash out at people out of fear and sadness. It would have been easy to take matters into my own hands to try to stay in control when, in reality, I had no control at all. This was the first time in my life when I felt completely powerless in a situation. No amount of planning for parenthood could have prepared me for something like this.
But I believe God brought me to and through this situation to remind me who’s really in control of my life and the lives around me, including my son’s. Today, my son is a healthy, funny, talkative, and adventurous one-year-old. At his most recent appointment with the cardiologist, we were told that we didn’t have to go back until the next year. It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, he was a tiny, helpless baby in the hospital. I feel truly blessed to be a steward over such a life as his.
Faith means relinquishing control and understanding that God will never leave us. When we turn to God for all things, He will make sure we have what we need to make it through. So let go and let God do what He does best.