God's Sovereignty

Paper Dolls and Giving Up Control

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I shared this with a group of moms at Oak Hills Church on Jan. 13, 2013

Who remembers paper dolls? As a little girl, I loved them. Actually, I still love them but haven’t played with them in a long time. I went through a stage in childhood where I was convinced I was going to be a fashion designer, and part of me still thinks that I could have. I used to spend hours on end playing with paper dolls, drawing elaborate ball gowns, and selecting my future wardrobe from the Sears catalog. The other day Bri and I were in Marshalls so she could buy something with her Christmas gift card from grandma, and I saw a book of sticker dolls. I got so excited. The little girl in me ran over to Bri and said “Look what I found! I used to love paper dolls and this book is full of sticker dolls!!” The big girl in me couldn’t justify spending $7 on a book full of stickers. Maybe the little girl will have to have a talk with big girl.

God gave me the gift of a little girl. A little girl who I could dress with ruffled bloomers, dresses with hearts, flowers, and bunnies, and precious little bonnets. As she got older (but will always be my little girl), I got excited about dressing her in skinny jeans, cute t-shirts, the turquoise dress she borrowed from me (that didn’t fit me anyway) that she wore to her first dance.

Well, one Saturday in October at Macy’s I realized the days of me dressing my real life dolly were over, and I was devastated. We were there shopping for a dress for a wedding. By the way, despite my childhood fashion design fantasies, I absolutely loathe the mall (but I do love covet everything in the Anthropologie store and love hanging out at Barnes and Noble). Anyway, she didn’t like anything I was picking out for her. She was making “the face” with every dress I pulled off the rack…those of you with teen daughters should know this face well. “You’re kidding me” I thought. “I’m your mother, I know best.” I thought, but didn’t say. She could sense my frustration and I could tell I was tumbling into the self-pity pit. “Mom, please don’t get upset” she said, “This is supposed to be fun”. It wasn’t a modesty issue, she just didn’t like what I picked out. So, I told her, in a not so humble tone, that I would let her pick out what she wanted (within budget), but I wasn’t feeling it and the fun was over until I decided that I wouldn’t succumb to my default mode and get past my feelings. This event wasn’t just about the fact that I couldn’t pick out pretty clothes for her anymore. It was the realization that I had to let go of my baby girl. The apron strings were already being loosened way before this event, but I keep grabbing them and retying them a little tighter.

Tullian Tchividjian says “In many cases, the pain that we experience is the pain of God prying open our hands and taking away from us something that we are holding onto more tightly than Him.”

I have been in a recovery program this past year, to heal from some hurts and habits, and the first principle of the program is: “I realize I am not God”. As Rick Atchley said in his sermon a few weeks ago, we have to let go of the god of Control and let God be the fixer, the healer, the one who controls.

He created my little girl in my womb, and I loved her before she ever made an appearance in the world, but He loved her first and He loves her exponentially more than I ever can. I forget sometimes that I have her on loan. That God knows her intricately and knows what she needs more than I do. I forget that God’s prevenient grace is working in her life. My job is to love, pray, trust, guide, and to eventually let go. It is so hard, but it is necessary.

So, my satisfaction often comes from making people my idol and finding false comfort in pleasing or controlling them, and this is a deadly trap and one of the greatest tools of the enemy. But, God reminded me on a particularly rough day the other day all that He has carried me through and will continue to carry through as I read Psalm 116. He reminded me that I can find complete satisfaction in Him, that He controls the universe, and I don’t have to live life afraid.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.  Job 12:10

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