Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Submit, Submit, Submit

In my devotional book, Radical Grace (by Richard Rohr), I found this on p. 44 yesterday, and have been turning it over, kneading it in my heart, like clay, and hoping that it will seep into me.

"The Meaning of Life

"Humans are called not to make something of themselves but to submit to creation and to re-creation from another. Yahweh alone is our support, our rock, our deliverer. A person's life cannot be made secure by what one owns, but by who one is.

"The central Old Testament themes of election and of the anawim--a Hebrew word meaning 'the poor little ones'--show a continual refinement of what Jesus finds most attractive in human persons, and, therefore, the core meaning of humanness. It can be summed up in four terms: littleness, longing, openness and surrender."

It is so tempting, in our society, to try to "make something of myself," especially since Americans seem to be masters of self-hatred --of not accepting who we are. Submission to creation, to accepting who I am, made by God, with all of my imperfections, is difficult. Accepting re-creation, as God uses the events of life to shape and form me, is not easy, when I am busy trying to change myself, worrying about what I am "supposed" to be doing, now that I am not as fully employed as I was when Katie was alive.

But upon reflection, the times when I have been forced to allow events (submit) to do what they will with me are the times when I have lived most genuinely. Those are the times when I didn't question (no time for that!), and had no ability to lean on false supports, but lived as I am, in the moment, and I had to live from the goodness (God) that is my very being, because it was all I had. My degree, our house, clothes, looks, family, background, religion...none of these offer security.
It is hard, and scary, and challenging, each day, to trust God and God alone.

It is even harder when you know, first-hand, that the answer to your prayers may come in the form of "No."

There is a saying: "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." I believe this, but it is not easy to place my full trust in God when my deepest, simplest, most natural desire as a mother has been thwarted. Is it so much to ask that my daughter could have lived? Just one sweet, strong, spirited girl, living out a normal life-span?

Submit, submit, submit. Lord, I pray to live as you have created me, in Your image. Please continue to re-create me in Your image. Help me to have a heart that is open to You, for You, for Your creation. Fill me with Your Love, moment by moment. Amen.


Contemplative Photographer said...

What a wonderful photo of Katie; I had not seen this one before.

I remember going to an Episcopal priest for counseling during my divorce, and having him tell me there would be no one, not even him, whom I could trust to take my own best interests to heart EXCEPT GOD.

A very hard lesson, that - especially when God doesn't seem to be providing what we feel we need most...

Busy Bee Suz said...

I imagine you are an endless search for answers....I know I would be too.
Praying you find something in all that you are learning....reading...praying.
This is a thought provoking post. Thanks, Karen.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I have read your blog for some time now - having arrived at it from Alison Kline's blog. Katie was a beautiful child, and I can't imagine how much you must miss her. There is a family in Fishers, Indiana, who has a young son who is struggling with cancer. The prognosis is not good. Please visit his website at I know your beautiful words would mean so much to his family.

Clippy Mat said...

that is a lovely and heartfelt prayer.

Karla W. said...

I love you Karen. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for reaching out to the Palmer Family in Fishers, IN. Your blog is a wonderful place to go for a parent who is struggling with coping with loosing a child. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and the insight that you have to help others. That truly is what life is all about.

God Bless

Dreamer girl said...

This is one message I might attach to my refrigerator. "Submitting" has always been an enormous issue for me.

My big submitting moment was watching my youngest get rushed to the ambulance, see his heart rate get lower, and have a grand mal seizure in the intensive care unit at the age of 5. With my eyes brimming in tears and restless pace, I naively begged God that I would do anything for Jack to be better...quit smoking...change my ways...anything.

In the back of my mind at least on a weekly basis, I worry constantly about losing him especially now because hormones can wreak havoc on a kid with shunt. In reality, there is nothing I can do about it. Submit, submit...very difficult.
God's love is prevalent but at times so hard to understand.I suppose that is why I want to leave a mark in any way that I can make the world a better place.Almost losing Jack has made me want to be a better person, more caring with a sense of purpose. I cannot say that I would easily be in your "place". Your belief is so commendable even through your daily struggle to live life with out Katie. What an amazing person you are.

You are right we often focus on things that are not what really matters. Thank you again for reminding me about what is ultimately important.
P.S. You are using your writing very well to inspire others.

Steve Emery said...

I came to your blog for the first time today, from CED 2009.

This was powerful stuff, and it stopped me in my tracks. Having recently (just before Christmas) had my own first ambulance ride with our youngest in respiratory distress, I caught the faintest glimpse of the loss of control that I might experience if one of our "little ones" were to be in serious harm's way with nothing we could do. We can't protect them, we can't make them happy, we can't make them good. They are like us - themselves, and out of anyone's reach but God's - and it is so scary and difficult as a partent to be confronted with that.

In my worst nightmares I imagine losing one of our children. Your blog shows some awe inspiring faith and healing after such a harrowing event. I am deeply moved.

Thank you for posting your journey for all of us to follow.

Sarah said...

I found you because you have read my blog recently. I like your blog! Feel free to sign on as a follower of mine.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Interesting that I happened to read this post tonight.
Tonight in my small group we were talking about the need to stop striving, and to quiet oneself and listen in for God's voice.
Psalm 46:10 .. "Cease striving and know that I am God"....

A simple verse, but one that is a daily challenge to put into practice.

I continue to pray for you Karen (almost every day you are in my prayers).... and I will continue to. Perhaps this simple verse, along with Richard Rohr's words of wisdom, will help you along your journey.

Blessings and peace to you in life's journey, friend.