Thursday, October 04, 2007


After reading Denise's "Soar" post, I thought a lot about what one word I would choose to be "my word" for next year. I didn't enter the contest, but I did carefully consider the thought and have an answer. I came to my decision after thinking about what I most need to change in my heart in order to make the changes in my life that I want to make.

Trust. My word is trust.

It all boiled down to trust for me. When the chips are down, do I *really* trust who I need to trust to take care of me, be there for me, help me, back me up, love me no matter what, and cheer me on? Do I? No, I don't...not all of the time.

I need to first and foremost secure, not just put, but secure my trust in the Lord. I need to trust that He knows my every step, my every thought (oooh- scary!), and is just waiting for me to lean on Him. There is always a price to pay when I don't trust Him to lead me as a wife, friend, parent, daughter, colleague, or just as a person. When I look back on the choices that I've made in my life, every single time I've turned away from His tugs on my heart and gone my own way, I've ended up at the exact same fork in the road.

His path, my path. Most of the time, choosing His path requires a great deal of trust.

Sometimes I am extra dense and brazenly choose my own way more than once, but no matter how far I walk away from Him, I always know that He's there, waiting for me to turn arond and run back. It's never not happened. He's never not been there and I've never not felt his presence when I've allowed myself to go there and trust Him. (That being the key.) Eventually I manage to shake the cobwebs out of my muddled little brain and follow Him. Every single time that I do, I do the whole Monday morning quarterback thing and I can see with such clarity that the choices I made were not ones that He led me to. They were ones that I selfishly led myself to, or the things and people of this world led me to...but I was definitely out of His will when making those choices. (That free will thing has quite a bite to it, doesn't it?) I didn't trust Him.


I am blessed with a tremendously loving, caring, supportive family and circle of friends. I can't even begin to put into words the absolutely overwelmingly blessed feeling that I have when I need to describe what my husband, children, family and friends mean to me. I have been through some stuff in my *ahem* relatively short life, and I have never been deserted. Never. I've always been loved, accepted and supported, even if my decisions haven't been. (Nor should they have been, in some situations.) Is that not evidence that these people can be trusted??


I have a hard time letting go of tasks and delegating. I know that I'm not the only person who can accomplish them, and I know that I'm not the only person capable of doing them well. It's just so hard for me to admit that I can't do it all and trust that someone else can. Most of the situations I'm referring to right now have to do with volunteer positions -- obviously other people are interested in investing their own time and energy into giving or they wouldn't be involved. Why is it so hard for me to trust that I can say no or not do it all?

Recently, someone said these exact words to me (bold emphasis and all) in an email because I was trying to be Octopus-Arm-Tara and completely overextend myself: "You don't have to do absolutely everything, you know."


Can I be any more ridiculous???? I read that and thought to myself, "Self, you have a problem." I mean, come on!! Who needs someone to say that to them? Seriously. I need to trust that it's not reflecting poorly on me, my abilities, my commitment levels, etc. to just let someone else be a part of things. Why should I be so selfish and take all of the sense of pride, accomplishment, and satisfaction that comes with doing good things for other people and hoard it for myself? Besides, other people have so, so much to bring to every situation - I'm actually hurting everyone around me by trying to make it a one-woman show. It seriously has nothing to do with wanting accolades, it has to do with not being able to just let go. Let go!!!! I need to just LET GO.

Ohhh, deja vu. Didn't I just write that?? Oh, that's right. I was exhausted from not letting go. Silly me.

This is going to sound a little nuts -- well, consider the source, okay? I was out on my 3 mile walk route yesterday morning. Georgia had some happy going on in her stroller since she got to swing at the park for a few minutes and was chowing down on a snack. I was bee-bopping along listening to music on my iPod and Ginny Owens' song "If You Want Me To" came on. It immediately brought my thoughts back to the whole trust issue that I'd been contemplating. At that same time, I looked over my shoulder to make sure no cars were turning as I crossed the street and saw a very large, unleashed dog trotting down the street toward me.

Now, I need to add that I am a dog lover. I adore dogs. Friendly dogs. Not so much the unkown-enormous-no-leash-running-toward-me-and-my-baby-girl type dogs. A little bit of panic set in as I locked eyes with him, and I started to plan my defense strategy (which involved squirting hand sanitizer into his eyes, by the way) as I booked it across the street.

And then I thought of my Great Grandma.

She lived in a tiny little town in the middle of far eastern Colorado and was one of my favorite people I've ever known. My great Aunt and Uncle lived about 2 miles down a country road from them. My brother (who is 15 months older than I am) and I used to love going from one house to the other on our bikes. One time that I'll never, ever forget is a time when I was about 8 years old. My brother rode his bike and I roller skated from Aunt Alice's to Great Grandma's. We got about 3 houses down from Grandma's and there was a HUGE dog in someone's front lawn. No leash, no fence, lots of fierce barking. I froze. My feet wouldn't move, my lungs wouldn't breathe -- that type of freezing. My brother just rode on by without a second thought, but looked back when he saw me standing there. He tried so hard to convince me that I'd be okay -- but I didn't believe him, even after he rode his bike back and forth about four times and the dog didn't move. I just knew that dog was going to eat me. Tim went and got Grandma, who, at the time, was about 80 years old, 5 feet tall at the most and probably weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. She came stomping towards me with a very stern look on her face, one which I'd never seen before. I will never forget what she said or did. (Oh goodness, this is making me all weepy.)

She grabbed my face in her hands, kissed both cheeks and said "You get your little buns into my house right now. I made brownies!" She didn't wait for me to tell her how scared I was, she already knew. She simply grabbed my hands, started pulling me on my roller skates toward her house and marched along with deliberate steps. She talked the whole time, and suddenly my fear began to shrink away. She said "Tara, you should be telling that dog that HE should be scared of YOU. You just hold your head high, march down this sidewalk like you own it and don't even look at him. One foot in front of the other will get you right where you need to go and you only look back when you're there." 26 years later and I still remember every word. I can still see her in my mind, too. We got to her house, she gave me an enormous hug, and told me how proud she was of me. I've never forgotten that feeling - my complete trust in her was the one thing that got me through.

So, with that memory flooding my mind, I am not even kidding about what happened next. As I crossed the street, I looked down and saw a squished, white, cardboard coffee cup in the middle of the road. Do you want to know what one word was written on it?


There it was, literally in black and white in front of my eyes. DUH!!!! Trust, you idiot!!! Trust!! So, I did. I changed my defense strategy from screaming and hand sanitizer squirting to prayer. I quickly expressed my trust in Him for protection (not a request, a statement of fact) and then glanced over my shoulder to see the dog sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk staring at me. As I kept walking (you know, because I'm going to trust Him, not test Him) he just sat, watching me. Then he got up, sniffed a bush, turned around and trotted off in the opposite direction.

I breathed a big sigh of relief and again had a little chuckle to myself. I mean, does He have a sense of humor or does he have a sense of humor?? A coffee cup -- for me?? Coffee??? He used a coffee cup to speak to me!! Is he a personal God or what?! Seriously.

Trust. Yes, it's definitely going to be my 2008 mantra.


Terri said...

Trust - that's a tough one, until we actually give up and realize we don't have to worry about it. We're not in charge. I think I'm doing good at it until the next problem though. I'll keep your blog in mind to reread. Thanks!

Earen said...

I too struggle with trust all the time! I can so relate to you in regards to trying to do it all myself. I could feel myself doing that in my volunteer position last year too. "wink" :-)..just wanting to do it all vs. trusting my partner. What a great post Tara..thank you for the reminder to Trust Him always and let go. And yes, you know the Lord is speaking to you when something like a coffee cup jumps out at you!

Abby said...

TRUST. yes. i can't tell you how big of a struggle this has been for me...learn something new about it every day! :)

yes, He most definitely is a personal God!! love that!! (and coffee!!...and you just made me want some!)

glad you found me...and don't worry, there are no 'strangers' in blog siesta land!! so we are officially blog-friends! :)

Sittintall said...

Trust is a tough one. Especially with the big things (trust HE will take care of you when money is tight, trust HE will heal your pain when no one seems to care). We want so much to have the control, when really giving Him the control makes things so much easier. I battle with this too. What a great quest!

Alana said...

What a great story! I love that the word trust was on the coffee cup. God is good and faithful, isn't he?

Anonymous said...

Okay, before I even started reading I already had a pile of used up kleenexes. You know I am struggling. It's ridiculous when I think about it but I am like you with the dog---except hand sanitizer is NOT going to work and who would I squirt with it? :)
Thank you for showing me I need to TRUST HIM--He is TRUSTWORTHY. I can't remember this beyond 2 seconds right now. And boy, I have been blessed by your friendship--who would have ever known where a comment about McDonald's french fries would lead? Man, it's hard living so far way at times and not having a good church family to come along side of us---I think that's why it's been so much harder. Thank you God for my Blogging friends--what a sense of community and support you have given me!!

Mari said...

Wow - you have written quite a devotional here! Trust is so hard. I do well for a while and then find myself worrying or anxious again. Thanks!

BethAnne said...

I am telling you, we must be long lost twins (or maybe I am your country cousin). OR maybe we are just in similar places in our lives. I really relate to your post today. I daresay that if you polled 100 Christian women and asked what issue is their biggest stumbling block in their walk with the Lord, 99.99999% would say TRUST. It is really so stupid on our parts not to trust the Lord who made us and loves us unconditionally. We have no control over anything, yet we still try to pretend we are in complete control all the time. We are so like our kids -- they want to be the "boss" when we parents are really the ones in charge. Thanks for reminding me of that today!!!

Renee said...

Amazing. Just amazing.

How well you know our hearts, and the issues we all deal with. How real you are, and how sincere. It's just amazing.

I LOVE your word. And it's the coolest thing in the world that you saw that coffee cup with 'trust' on it. Kind of like your burning busy, eh? That's amazing.
Love ya!

Anonymous said...

I think your grandma sounds wonderful. Wisdom, strength, and wit all rolled into a tiny package! :) I hope I'm a good grandma one day, not just an old woman too wrapped up in herself and her complaints to love those little ones who will hopefully be all around me. She would be so happy to know that you still remember that, I'm sure.

I just read what your Monday was like - I hope the rest of your week has been better! We all have those kind of days. Isn't it wonderful when they are OVER? :)

Heather C said...

Incredible post. Incredible word. You have a way of taking what God is teaching you and packaging it so that I am drawn in and He speaks it to me as well. I love the way you write. :)