Sitting in the eye doctors’ office at nine years old and listening to the Optometrist tell my parents that their daughter would be legally blind set me on a journey of normalcy at any cost. I attended regular schools as my mom and dad wanted as much of a normal childhood as was possible given my circumstances. I never went to blind camps or special groups for blind kids. I made independence my middle name. There was no need for me to have any special treatment for my condition, I was as normal as anybody else. This was what I had been telling myself, others, and well… God. Where I recognized I needed God in my life after I was an adult, I wanted the independence that others had. The freedom to go to the store or take my kids to the library or just go shopping for fun. These desires were not to be a reality, or were they?
We had moved to a little town that had a grocery store, library, salon and lots of little shops to poke around in. Why, even my kids’ Dentist was right around the corner! We found a house right on the edge of this quaint little town in a beautiful neighborhood. It was the perfect place for our family of four. The kids had a block to ride their bikes in, I could walk my dog, and I had a lovely sun porch to have my prayer and devotional time with the Lord. My prayers for more independence had been answered!
The children and I had a marvelous time walking to the nearby park, the library, shops, and of course… the ice cream parlor. My husband was so happy for me to be able to take on the responsibilities that I longed to be able to help out with. It made me feel more like an adult to be able to run errands, get groceries, and just doing the general day-to-day necessities of married life. After so many years of feeling like a habitual teenager asking for a ride to the mall, I had my independence! Oh, how I praised God and sang songs of His glory. But I began to feel a little stagnant in my devotional life and wanted more. I asked God to show me what needed changing in my life. He showed me in the most heartbreaking way I could think of at that time.
We had lived in this most perfect location for about a year-and-a-half when we learned that the person we were renting from wasn’t paying the mortgage but using our payments for other things and now was losing the house. My whole world seemed to shift in that moment. No, I didn’t just get the news that my husband was having an affair or that one of my kids was just killed in an accident, but it was still a death, a blow to what I had prayed for for so long. How was I supposed to reconcile my declaration of answered prayer to anyone who would listen with the news that God was now taking it back.
I rejected God at every turn for the next three days. My family and friends tried to comfort me but I would have none of it. I didn’t care that I was setting a terrible example of God’s working to my kids. God was a flaky giver in my mind. He dangled my answered prayer in front of me like a carrot for a rabbit, then pulled it away. At least that’s what I chose to believe.
Remember my stagnant devotional life I mentioned? I truly wanted God to strip me down and reveal what was hidden in me. I always felt that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t give up if God asked me to. My house? Sure. Fancy clothes? Absolutely. Even people that were not in keeping with Gods’ plan for my life? no problem. Some of these things would be harder than others to part with but hey, if God asks me too, I’m in.
I remember going up to my room, probably to pout, and literally laying on the hard wood floor. I finally was ready to talk to God about this situation. I was ready to tell Him that He was making a terrible mistake and needed to revamp His plans. “How could You do this to me?” I yelled through my sobs. “Why would You give me my independence then take it back?” These were the questions I hurled at God after I decided to stop giving Him the silent treatment. I hadn’t counted on Him showing me things about myself that I didn’t really want to see.
God revealed things to me in my time getting to know the floor better. In Genesis chapter 22 Abraham is asked to sacrifice his own son “…then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son.” Abraham trusted God’s plan so deeply, he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. I knew in that moment God was asking me to make my ultimate sacrifice at that time. He wanted me to trust Him with the one thing I wanted so badly. If Abraham could trust God so much as to be willing to sacrifice his own son, then surely, I could trust Him with my long-awaited independence. After all, we are not to be Independent of Him but to be dependent IN Him. This unexpected turn of events put me on a path of discovering just how committed to God I wasn’t. If you ask God to show you yourself, He will. It was the most painfully wonderful realization I’ve had. Now I know when I need to ask God for a little extra help letting Him take the reins.