Recently I took both of my kids to get their flu shots. My daughter volunteered to go first, but as soon as the alcohol wipe touched her skin, she started screaming and writhing in my arms. I tried to tell her it would be ok. I even got my flu shot first to show her it didn’t hurt, but she continued to scream, “Mama, don’t make me get a shot!” After several minutes of trying to convince her, two of us held her down so the nurse practitioner could give her the shot in her leg. Almost immediately afterwards, my daughter calmly stated that it didn’t hurt.
She just thought it was going to hurt like her blood draw did months earlier.
In the summer, she had to get her blood drawn at her yearly physical. She was ok at first, but minutes into it, she started screaming and crying uncontrollably. I had to hold her down, so they could finish. When it was all done, it took her a long time to settle down.
Fast forward a few months…
The alcohol wipe must have triggered her memory of the pain she suffered months earlier. In that moment, she did everything in her power to prevent more pain. She had convinced herself that her shot would be as painful as her blood draw, and nothing I said would change her mind. She would not trust me since I allowed her to go through so much pain months earlier.
I wonder if you can relate.
Though you probably haven’t been traumatized by getting your blood drawn, you have likely been through other painful circumstances. In the aftermath, you find yourself doing everything you can to prevent more pain. Maybe you are struggling to trust God with your future, because your past involves painful circumstances.
I, too, have struggled to trust God with my future because of what has happened in the past.
When we were struggling with infertility, I clung to my dream of having biological children and I refused to consider any other way of building our family. I knew I had to surrender control to God, but I wasn’t sure I could trust Him with something so valuable. What if God didn’t want what I wanted? What if He allowed me to experience more pain?
Because my mom had died years earlier, I wasn’t convinced I could trust God. When my mom got cancer, my family and I prayed faithfully for her healing. God gave her ultimate healing in Heaven instead. Months after my mom’s death, life felt empty and lonely. For the first time in 27 years, I started questioning my faith. I wondered if what I believed was actually true. Is God who He says He is? Can He do what He says He can do? Can I trust him with something as important as my dream for my family?
At the time, we were living in Michigan and I was involved in a Bible Study called Gracestoration. During that study, we looked at the concept of entrusting something or someone to God. The definition of entrust is as follows: to assign the responsibility for doing something to (someone) or to put (something) into someone’s care or protection. When we entrust something to God, we are giving Him the responsibility for that object or person. Our focus should be on God and his character, NOT on the outcome of the thing we are entrusting.
When we focus on God, we can find peace and confidence in Him. Paul says it well in 1 Timothy 1:12.
“I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.”
Paul knew his Savior so well, that he was confident God could take care of anything or anyone.
Though I had walked with God my whole life, I struggled to trust Him in the midst of infertility. Because my heart had been brutally wounded through my mom’s death, I was in self-protection mode and acting like my 5-year-old daughter. I knew God was pushing us toward adoption, but I was reluctant to obey for fear that I would experience more pain and disappointment.
I decided, though, that I could entrust my dream to Him one day at a time. I confessed my doubt and my fear of more pain. Every day God filled me with the peace I needed for that day. Though we didn’t form our family the way I originally wanted, God was faithful to provide us with a family His way.
If you find yourself in a painful season, and you aren’t sure if you can trust God, I encourage you to be honest with Him. He can handle your doubt and your pain. Ask Him to give you the faith needed to entrust your dream to Him. I know that He will meet you right where you are, and He will guard what you have entrusted to Him.