Living Life Hands Wide Open


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Control Freak. Those words either resonate with you or they don’t. And of course there are various levels to the madness in which control can manifest in a person’s life.  It’s a sneaky little fella that’s for sure. Dressed up and disguised as just wanting to do the right thing … kind of trying to make others do it too ;) Sometimes disguised as good goals until they feel like they are going to kill you. Other times being driven and not driving this life we live. Some people want to control their weight, for some their environment (everything being perfectly in order to feel in order), others controlling situations so others can’t hurt them. For me it was wrapped up in love … I could even put a pretty bow on it and call it passion, probably even convince you of it.

When the Lord began shining the beacon light of His truth on this little culprit at work in my heart, exposing the places it had tainted with it’s lies, he used this memory to show me something about myself and reveal His truth.

A couple weeks after I gave my life to Jesus while living with my Aunt and Uncle I got a kitten. Oh my goodness the cutest little black and white kitten I’ve ever seen. I went with my Aunt and cousins to pick a kitten out of litter of kittens born on a nearby farm. I told my Aunt I wanted a cow-cat (a cat that is black and white like a cow), she knew I needed something to love and went and found them for me. I spotted the one I wanted right away and crawled under this old tracter and pulled the little guy out by his tail. I was at a place in my life where I felt all alone and somehow that loneliness disappeared in the companionship of that adorable kitten. I loved that kitten and he loved me. I named that cute little cow-cat “Dude”. I would walk into the room and say, “What up Dude?” and he would strut his stuff right over to me. I loved that kitten so much that I would start petting him and holding him so tight that he would start yelping in high pitch sounds. I loved him so much that I would literally hurt him with all my love. I couldn’t help it, I would just squeeze his little body so tight. If I could tuck him inside me I would. I just couldn’t get him close enough to me.

A few years later while in Bible College, my boyfriend (husband to be) and I broke up after dating for a year and a half. I was devastated. It was my first real Christian relationship and I put so much pressure on it to be perfect. I would get so hurt when it wasn’t. Just like that kitten I would squeeze so tight, I loved too hard that I was actually pushing the one I loved away. I tried controlling our relationship so I wouldn’t get hurt. I served the fear of being hurt until the very thing I feared the most came upon me. When we broke up we both walked away with very little hope we would ever get back together. I was crushed, having thought I heard God and holding broken dreams of the future in my hands.

I remember laying flat on the floor in my apartment crying mascara stains into the carpet, crying out to God to heal my broken heart. He showed me my heart and it had three thorns in it. He said if I would let Him pull the thorns, they would bleed and hurt initially (we had to go back to some hurtful memories growing up) but then they would fully heal. I would face the fear head on with God and on purpose feel pain instead of devising plans and controlling people so I would never have to control situations again. One by one God and I revisited memories, dealt with pain and the fears that hindered me from giving and receiving love in freedom.  The Lord sent me to India, Argentina, and New Orleans on missions’ trips to serve Him with my whole heart and to share with others the same love I had received from Him. Six months after our break up Yuri and I got back to together and were married within six months. My husband told me how the Lord had told him the old had to die, so the new could live.  Eleven years later, I’m still thankful for the work that God did in our hearts during that time.

This year our church started off the year with a 21-day devotional called, “Let’s Go!,”  I started to read it and the Holy Spirit began speaking to my heart and His words shined like a beacon light again exposing where that little culprit of control had set up camp. He said, “For others this may be “Let’s Go!,” but for you this year is about, “Letting Go!”

We have four boys ranging from eight to three years old. I’ve home schooled the oldest two and kept all my boys really close to me, desiring with the entirety of my heart that they know and serve God their whole lives without having to experience things I went through.  So here’s this picture of me squeezing that poor little kitten again until it’s yelping for relief, except this time the Holy Spirit shows me it’s my children. The fear is that they won’t turn out to love God, they’ll make the same mistakes I made, they’ll hurt and I’ll have been the one that hurt them (that’s as real as it gets from this Mama’s heart.) I began to cry and repent asking the Lord to reveal His truth. Under all that I did well, hidden was a motivation of fear. I realized if I kept squeezing I was eventually going to produce the very thing I feared. I love that the Lord is faithful to put us right back on His track fueled with His truth when we are quick to repent.

The Holy Spirit began to talk to me about the hand posture of letting go, how it is the same open palm posture of giving, receiving, surrendering, praising, and worshiping. The hand posture of closed fists is associated with squeezing, clinching, fighting, striving …  all expressions of lack of trust. Even holding, as when I pull in one of my boys and hold them my hand runs flat across their back, we in openness give and receive love. Everything is open and nothing is closed. In my heart I wrote my children’s names on my hands and lifted them to the Lord.

I prayed, “Lord, I let go of my children and surrender them to you. I let go of trying to make them love you and know you in all my own strength. I let go of the false control I thought I had. I repent of serving fear and making it an idol in my heart making provision for it by not trusting you with them. I give them to you and receive your grace to steward these gifts that are yours. I praise you with them written on my hands in my heart worshipping You because in every way You are good! I partner with You to parent them, lead me by your wisdom for You know them better than I do. Teach me how to gain their hearts. You have always been faithful. Lord, I will trust You!” Amen!

For me it was my children, what area in your heart is the Lord shining His beacon light and exposing where control and fear have camped out? Sometimes it’s really scary to step out and trust the Lord especially because we like that feeling of “being in control.” But the truth is: if He is not in control, we were never really “in control.” Whatever it is I encourage you to let go! Shake those hands out, loosen up the grip, open up your hands and give all your pain as well as fear to the Lord and receive all the freedom he desires you to walk in.

I’ve decided to live my life hands wide open, I encourage you live like that with me!

With hands wide open and Great Love!

~ Ris

Quote from ~ NEMO (Disney/Pixar)

Crush: ‘Let us see what Squirt does flying solo.’

Crush: ‘The little dudes are just eggs. We leave ‘em on a beach to hatch… and then, coo-coo-cachoo, they find their way back to the big ol’ blue.’

Marlin: ‘All by themselves?’

Crush: ‘Yeah.’

Marlin: ‘But, dude, how do you know when they’re ready?’

Crush: ‘Well, you never really know. But when they know, you’ll know, you know?’

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