I am back in control! Oh wait, maybe not………

Full Moon over Pine Trees silhouette with midnight blue skyI was feeling back in control. I had cleaned out closets, washed cabinets, taken a summer’s worth of trash to the dump, and collected three carloads of stuff for my sister-in-law’s yard sale. I hadn’t touched any of Neil’s things yet – his shoes were still right where he left them and his winter coat still hung on the rack – but in-control-me was comforted by those things, not disturbed by them.

I had a schedule all mapped out. This week I would concentrate on getting rid of things I didn’t need. Next week, I would be sure everything in the house was working as it should be and fix or throw away whatever wasn’t. Finally, in the third week I would deep clean everything that was left. I was determined nothing would interfere with the plan. Yes indeed, I was back in control of my world.

I had just taken the first load of yard sale items to Erica’s house and was driving home as the full moon was rising. I remembered how my youngest daughter always called a great big moon a “Poopy Moon.” We never understood why, but she thought it was the funniest thing ever and always giggled so much at her own joke that the rest of us couldn’t help but laugh along. I wanted to remind Neil about that old joke and have a good laugh as soon as I got home. It took a second, but then I remembered I could never make him laugh again, and all my “control” went right out the window. I pulled over for a minute, then came on home and sat on our bed.

How many times had I done this? Done everything I could to control my little world and everything in it? And how many times had I been forced to face the fact that no matter how hard I try to plan and plot and schedule I am not in control. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to clean the house and give away unneeded items. It’s great to take care of what you been given. But control it? Not possible. How often have I planned a schedule, only to have weather or illness or an unexpected phone call change it? In fact, I used to have our whole future mapped out – how long we would work, where we would live when we retired – and now all that planning and scheduling is useless.

I know in my heart I am not in control. And when I allow myself to be still long enough to accept that, I remember there is not random chaos at work in the world, but rather a loving God who made each of us for a reason, who knows us inside out, and who has plans for our lives:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

As hard as my path might be, God is with me on it, and my progress will come when I stop trying to control the uncontrollable and instead accept His guidance and assistance. I am reminded of the sign a friend made for me once that said: “Dear Colleen, you can take the day off today. I’ve got it covered. Love, God.”

So thanks for the “Poopy Moon,” God. From now on it will still make me laugh, but it will also remind me to “let go, and let God.”


  1. Anen. You are so right on. And the scripture passages you are picking are ones that I keep being reminded of. You put into words what I am thinking. Keep writing!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this. I need to be reminded all the time–all the time–that my frantic efforts at control are an illusion.

  3. When I look back at life, I can always point to places where God’s hand clearly guided the way. Sometimes the path was not the one I would have taken at the time, but the wisdom of it becomes apparent with time…. I wish I could “walk by faith” in the present rather than simply marveling at the almost unbelievable way that God shaped my past.

  4. You write so well. You continue to inspire me spiritually. I still remember the “stone soup” story you told parents and kiddos at faith formation a few years ago when we lived there. And you inspired me to continue to pray to get reassigned (by Army) to home (NY), and eventually thing worked out. Now I’m back at home with family where God wants me to be… And am starting to help with faith formation myself. Hopefully I can teach young people to love God and trust in his plan for us. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for sharing! You are an inspiration. We each have our own journey to travel, listening to your stories helps us so much. Everything is done in God’s time.

  6. My dear friend,
    You know I never struggle with control! HA HA.
    Thank you for sharing you journey through the valley of grief and the faithful way God walks with you. You continue to be both friend and spiritual guide for me and I praise God for bringing you into my life.
    Love, Angela

  7. I know exactly what you mean by the shoes being in the same spot. When I shift the bedroom around the first thing I put in their corner are the shoes. One pair of white tennis shoes and one pair of dansin clogs. She always looked great in both of them. Oh yes, every now and then, cadets need to borrow the tennis shoes and it warms my heart to see them wearing them, but when they are done… shoes go back… I see those shoes several times a day and I always smile and remember some of the things we did while she wore them… Not sure if my face smiles, but inside of me always smiles…

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