Peeling back the layers, Part 1

I have to admit, these last few weeks have been rough.  And when I say rough, I mean rough-rougherson.  Or rough-y-mcrough’s-alot.  THAT bad. Blood pressure rising, chest getting tight, roller-coaster emotions.  Every day.

This time, like an onion, my thoughts, feelings and processing came through in layers.

While questioning my sanity, deep breathing and otherwise praying against panic attacks I had several ongoing conversations with God.  And, like an onion, he peeled back the layers of jumbled and bunchy thoughts and feelings. All of which can (and will) be their own blog topics. Let us begin with:


A family who I have been working with placed their child in an inpatient psychiatric unit.  I was with them as they made the decision.  I was there to see their tears, hear the frustration in their tight voices, and watch their child (who was over the ugly moment) enjoy a popsicle in the ER. When the social worker talked with Mom, I offered her options for where to place her child. She decided and we moved forward.  I talked with the family some and then headed home. But in the parking lot it hit, “This feels really shitty.”   All of that in there, all of that emotion.  Worse, the outcome.  “Man, I let that kid down!  I should have talked them into this, or advocated for that, or tried to convince them of the other thing.” I felt dirty.  Like a turncoat.

I continued to feel that way for the next few days.  As I was asking God about why I was coming unglued, I realized why.  It was because the situation was out of control! So I let God know.  It was scary to be in an out-of-control situation.  It was, and is. But. . .his response caught me off guard.

Cue deep internal voice (that I am pretty sure was God) “Out of control?”

Cue tone that begs the question “Out of who’s control?”


I thought about how I fear handing situations over to God.  He and I have different opinions about suffering, especially HOW MUCH He should allow. Especially when it’s kids, or those who don’t have the power to choose differently- you know, victims.  On the topic of suffering, THAT is where our gulf is the widest.

Yet in the moment, in the midst of my stomach knotting up (like I said, NOT an easy thing for me) it was true and I could see it:

God knows.

He knew for me.  He knows for others.

I would still chose differently than he chose, but. . .  I have known healing.  Sweet, deep and ongoing.  And I have known freedom.  And redemption. And relationships.  And joy.

In dark times I saw my losses as irrecoverable and my inner world without hope.  Yet. . . that was NOT the end of my story.  Not by any means.  And God knew what would sink me forever.  What would break me.  And I believe those are the things that he protected me from.  And if He had the broad-wide-deep wisdom to know and prevent one over the other for me, then he will for others.

And so I let go.


And that, my friends, was the first layer.