Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Driving Nails...

Erasmus said: "A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit." I am learning the truth of this.  So are my children.  And I am thankful.  Often I have tried to wrench out the unwanted from my life by focusing on the problem...for example, if I am fearful, I might tell myself over and over again "don't be afraid."  Hmmm.  How effective is that?  Not.

Neither has it proven effective to read every book and scour every google page that describes the problem in an attempt to reason myself away from the problem...reading about whatever the problem in hand is, at least in my case, has not done a whole lot to alleviate it.  It educates.  It sometimes provides leads. But mostly it tends to bog me down as my appetite for learning more about the problem grows insatiable.  More than once I have been accused (rightly!) of over-thinking things..."go easy", "breathe" my friends say.

So thank you Erasmus, and thank you Ann Voskamp for quoting him because it was in your book I read his words.  This insight is proving far more helpful and effective in practice, and I get to share it with my children while they are yet young.

My eleven year old daughter fell recently and wounded herself.  The obvious wounds were the gnarly scrapes on hand and leg, but as time marches on and the increased pain in her right arm drains the color from her face we are searching out answers to the extent of harm done.  And as family plans for together-fun get rearranged, and homework is tediously slow due to needing to use the hand not used to writing, fears creep in.  Guess what?  It seems like it is instinctive for her to do the very same thing I had done for years..."don't be afraid, it'll be alright" is the chorus of the mind but the fears seem to scream louder that it is NOT all right...there is pain, and there is disappointment, and I don't know what is going to happen at the doctor's office (what are they going to do to me?), and how am I going to do school?, and, and, and...

Together we begin to drive nails.  We sing "Amazing Grace" together. We talk about how this is  NOT taking our Father by surprise, but rather it is here in our life by His wise and loving design.   One hammer stroke after another, we pound in trust and drive out fear.  We pray.  We take the next step in front of us, trusting our Father's grace-laden love and perfect care.  And it dawns on us as we drive up to the hospital for the second time yesterday...fear seems to have taken leave and we laugh freely.

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