Archive | July 2011

I know what is best for my life! Really?

© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

“You’re not the boss of me!” declared my four-year old granddaughter to her siblings.  I waited to see if I needed to jump in and referee. But with a little give and take they worked it out and Kylie marched on victorious.  As I watched her maneuver her little world, I reflected on the different places in my life where I demand my way.

Of course it is a different scenario when an adorable four-year old shouts out that statement versus an adult.  I have spent many years, telling others and God, “You are not the boss of me.”  Oh, I didn’t use those exact words.  But you know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Makes me think of the old song by Frank Sinatra, “My Way” that states the following, “And faced it all, and I stood tall; and did it my way.”  I have always struggled with those lyrics.  I wonder would we really at the end of our life be proud because we did everything our way?  As I look back at my life the places that have caused the greatest regret have been the areas where I did it my way, and where my actions shouted, “You are not the boss of me!”

I asked Jesus to be my Savior many years ago.  His powerful presence and transforming love set me on a journey of great healing.  But even as I yearned for Him to be my guide I still clung to my life.   And while I desired for Him to be in control of my life, my actions shouted,  “I still want to be in charge. You are not the boss of me!”  Again, I didn’t actually say those words to Him but through my stubbornness and demanding  way I was really saying I know what is best for my life.

In the bible we see a potent statement made by John the Baptist, that I feel really captures the essence of our relationship with the Lord, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30   Yet human nature wants its way.  And in the midst of our scramble to try and figure out  life, our Creator who has the answers longs to flood us with direction, fulfillment, purpose; and above all the gift of  Jesus.   And yet we continue striving and attempting to understand or make sense when it is impossible without the missing link.

This adventure was not intended to be self-directed, nor was it to be navigated by our finite perspective.  But instead to be relinquished to a loving God who desires to take center stage in our lives.  To supernaturally fashion His purpose for our lives in and through us.

After a few really costly mistakes I began to see that there is another way to live life.  I saw more clearly how the misguided view of “You are not the boss of me,” was driving me deeper away from God’s purposes for my life.  I saw how doing it my way is not the best for me, how it leads to disappointment and despair.

Demanding my way complicates.  Allowing God to direct ignites freedom  –  A freedom that sets in motion God’s amazing destiny for our lives.  I mean really who knows what is best for us but the ONE who created us.

So “Your not the boss of me,” is not my assertion anymore, but rather, Lord, help me decrease so that you can be all in my life.

And LORD, YOU ARE the boss of me!

Maybe you too have struggled with this in your own life.  I welcome your comments and or feedback… I think there is much to be learned from the journey of others…

More to come on RisenDreams…

You are HIS prized possession….


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© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

How many times have you been lunged into a new course in life?  The unexpected comes.   The loss of a loved one, a sickness overtakes your body, a job change,  or having to move to a new place.  Or a relationship is crushed as the imperfections of our humanness take center stage. Life can be very hard and painful.  It is filled with continuous change.  And I resist change.  I am a control freak.  Yes, I admit it.  I like to be in control.  Or should I say I live with the notion that I am in control.

I wonder if there is a sense of comfort in thinking we are in control.  And yet when the largeness of life comes, I am continually reminded just how much I am not in control.  I certainly did not have the power to control my exit from Cuba.  Or in the case of my amazing 17-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with MS four-years ago.  If I was in control I would not have willed her to be diagnosed with this terrible disease.

When my life set sail literally on a new course out of Cuba I had no idea what awaited me on the other side.  My heart resisted the change with everything within me.  From that point on I developed the pattern of wanting to control my own life.  I embraced the perception that if I could just control the situations of my life, I would never again have to feel the pain that had infiltrated my heart.

But something remarkable has happened in my life that has carried me from the passage to pain to the passage of freedom.  For as much as I have strived to be in control I have miraculously discovered the joy of letting go.  My journey out of Cuba not only provided me with the right to freedom as a human being versus the grip of communism and or socialism.  But it was also to be the catalyst that would unfold the path to the freedom for my soul,  whereby I would experience the life saving grace of Jesus Christ.

What’s on the other side?  The beauty in life is really found in the continuous metamorphosis that surrounds our journey.  A journey filled with new beginnings and new seasons and the adjustments that come with the ever-changing scope of our life.  God has placed us in this world infused us with the ability to love, hurt, feel, think and even doubt, and sets us on a journey of grand mystery.  The unpredictable looms every day.  And yet we are to trust, have faith, and move forward in the unseen.

Quite often, it may seem that staying in the current situation we are in is easier than facing where God may want to take us.  When God rattles our world, we can suddenly be hit with sticky fingers clutching the very life we have grown accustomed to having, yet knowing how desperately we need to let go.

I never could have envisioned what that painful passage of change from Cuba to Spain to America would provide for me.  That I would have the privilege to live in this great nation, to be blessed with everything I need and to experience learning a new language and a new culture.

You see on this side of change it’s hard to see all that God is up to.  But this is where letting go of the illusion of control, and allowing the powerful hand of God to move in our lives comes to play.  There is a peaceful confidence to life when we are being guided by Someone much greater than us.  Someone that knows the beginning to the end of our journey, and knows what is best for our life.

What is awaiting us on the other side of change?  What is God asking of us today?  Let go, trust Him and watch and see what God does in your life as you surrender to Him.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

© 2011 Marta VanGerwen

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Passage to Pain…

© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

It was like so many other days where the sun shined its brilliance upon the beautiful coast of Cuba. But on this particular day amidst the refreshing coastal air there would be heartache and sadness.  The backdrop was a seaport where a very large ship stood filled with children.  Pandemonium, sadness, and separation could be seen everywhere.  Moms and dads clinging to their children, sons and daughters sobbing, uncles, aunts and grandparents painfully saying their farewells.  Right there submerged in the emotion of all the activity is where my life would take a sudden and dramatic turn. 

I was born in Havana, Cuba during the time of Castro’s insurgence.  I have many memories of Cuba, but the one that carved its most significant imprint on my life was that day on the seaport.  I was five years old and my brother was eleven.  From a distance I spotted the activity. There were people everywhere looking lost, confused and very sad.  Children walking up the ships ramp without their parents, and countless kids lined up on the ship’s deck crying and waving at their parents.

As we got closer to the commotion my mom gripped my hand as if to prepare me for what was about to strike our family. My small little mind could not wrap itself around the seriousness of what was taking place.  Something was not right.  I looked up at my mother to catch a glimpse of comfort but she was drenched in her own emotion.

I glanced at the ship, then at my mother, then at the numerous children waving from the ship.  I looked at the people crying and waving good-bye to their kids and the countless children walking up the ramp.   And then without warning, reality struck like a lightning bolt through my heart.  “No, I don’t want to go!” I looked at my mom, and said, “You are coming with me, right?”  Kneeling down to make eye contact with me, my mom said, “No, I can’t.  But I will see you very soon.”  Frantically I said, “Please come with me Mommy, I’m scared.  I don’t want to go. Please!”

Desperately trying to be strong for her two children, my mom begins to direct us to the ships ramp where she is about to make one of the greatest sacrifices a mother can make.  The ships last call echoed throughout the port.  The excruciating final moment had arrived.  My brother began to peel me away from my mom as I drastically held onto the only security my little life had known.  But to no avail my destiny was out of my control.  My brother gently escorted me up the ramp as I wept profusely.  Within seconds I found a spot on the deck where I could see my mom and dad and began to wave at them as the ship sailed away.   My eyes remained glued to my mom, who was immersed in her own tears of relinquishment and sacrifice, as she watched her only two children sail away into the sunset. 

“Bye Mommy, I love you.  I will miss you.” I whispered to myself, as my heart nudged into complete chaos.  The ship sailed further and further away and my life’s purpose seemingly diminished.  My parents were in a desperate situation.  Life in Cuba was changing quickly and dramatically.  The only option they had was to send us away.  Unbeknownst to them was the extent of their sacrifice, and what they were truly rescuing us from:  the communist takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro.

From that point on I would view my life through the lens of pain and heartache.   My perspective was tarnished and my heart would set sail on its own lifelong journey to find hope and healing.  Whether it is pain, disappointment, failures or regret life has a way of revealing to us just how much we really are not in control.  You may be reading this and have your own painful story.  Maybe you were plunged into a journey which you did not choose, and you carry the marks of abandonment, rejection or hurt.  You may be regretting poor decisions you have made in your life that have left you with painful consequences.

I have found that it has been in the most difficult moments that I have experienced the magnificence of a God that loves us and desires to heal our shattered hearts.  No matter what has happened God has a plan for our lives.  Whether we are in the midst of the hardest trial we have ever been in, or are living with what seems like an impossible situation God is still in control and He can work all things out for our good. 

More to come in Risendreams..…and I hope you come back and visit again…

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

 © 2011 Marta VanGerwen                      

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.