During this twelve week series, I’m sharing stories of women who are on the path from Control Girl to Jesus Girl. Like me, these women would not say that they’ve arrived. They can’t claim to be perfectly Christ-like. But they are heading in a new direction. Here’s Hailey’s Story:
I’ve never really considered myself to be a Control Girl. I’ve always been a “pleaser.” I like for everyone around me to be happy, and I work tirelessly to make it so. But here’s my problem. I want to do it all on my own, with no one else’s help. I’m learning that this desire to prove that I’m enough on my own comes from a Control Girl heart.
But rather than allowing me to continue in the façade that I can do it all, God has used two unplanned, painful experiences to press me to recognize that I’m not in control! He is. And He invites me find peace in surrender.
The first surprise came when we learned that we were expecting twins. My husband, Jack, and I literally did not speak for three days. He was furious. I thought he was furious with me. Our three year old son even told me he did not like me anymore because Daddy was mad. Of course Jack wasn’t mad at me, just in shock.
Me, too. In just a few months, our twin girls were born and we became a family of five.
New babies require lots of work, sleepless nights, and visits from grandparents wanting to help. Twins are double that—literally. But this girl did not want the help. I was convinced that if God thought enough of me to bless me with twins, I should be able to care for them both equally: giving them equal time, make them each happy, and bonding with each of them separately by MYSELF.
If I couldn’t do this by myself, then I wasn’t a good enough mother. This was my mindset. I literally drove myself crazy, my husband, and the whole family crazy! It took a loving intervention from my wonderful mother-in-law and my own wonderful mother to help to realize that God hadn’t just blessed ME with these twin girls, but the entire family.
As a family, we were all responsible for loving and helping to care for them. Bad habits are hard to break, but slowly, I came around to accepting the help I so desperately needed.
The twins are now six, and apparently God decided it was time for me to back up and relearn this same lesson.
We are an active family. We have a small farm with horses, dogs, and a cat. Our three kids compete in rodeos. We grow hay. I’ve always been fairly active. My back has never completely agreed to this, but I’ve managed. (Remember how I like to be independent?)
Back in November, we were at a friend’s house so the guys could go deer hunting. That morning, while everyone was out, I was making the bed and as I reached across to pull up the sheets, I heard a POP! The loudest, most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt radiated down my back, and my entire left leg contracted all at once. Even when I was in labor with the twins—with contractions stacked and no breaks between—did not compare to this pain.
I fell to the floor and laid there crying, unable to move, for an hour until Jack came in. I screamed in pain as he picked me up and helped me to the bathroom, since that was my most immediate need. Several doctor appointments later, the pain was manageable, but I had to accept help for every single thing I did. I relied on Jack to help me shower. (Not very romantic.) I relied on my twin girls to help me dress.
One morning, when Katie was putting my socks on she said, “Mom, I never thought that when I was six years old, I would have to help dress my own mother. You are supposed to do this for me!” Yes sweetie, I know.
I had surgery from the ruptured disc in my lower back, two weeks before Christmas. Afterward, I had strict restrictions not to lift, bend or twist. I had done zero shopping. Hello Amazon Prime! A very dear friend took me to do some store shopping in a wheelchair.
Two weeks after Christmas, I hosted our family Christmas dinner. Instead of staying home for six weeks, I went back to work teaching three weeks post-surgery. This made me happy! Everything was great! Until I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis in February. Lots and lots of sneezing and coughing—which caused me to re-herniate the same disc.
Same excruciating pain. Same surgery.
What did I do to deserve this?!! I’m a Christian wife and mother and a hard-working, well-liked high school chemistry teacher. (That last part may be an oxymoron).
Looking back, I realize that I’ve behaved much like I did when the twins were born. I never realized that I was controlling. But God did, and He’s been using all of this to teach me some things.
Recovering Control Girl
As of today, it’s been four weeks since my last surgery, and I’m still home recovering. I’m also reading Control Girl. In the very first chapter, the idea of considering my future self really hit me. I had never thought about the person I will become. And reading Shannon’s stories have caused me to think about my own mothering. How will my children remember me? What kind of marriage am I creating? Where do I go from here?
These past six months have left this Control Girl raw with pain and emotion. The controlling walls that I’ve so carefully built up around me have had to come down. Before, I thought that it was right at good for me to be independent and try to juggle everyone’s happiness. But I’ve had to recognize that our happiness does not depend on me. I can’t do it all. And when I try, I degrade my relationships instead of helping them.
In lesson four of the chapter on Eve, Shannon says, “My culture may cheer me on when I’m pushy, independent, demanding, and domineering, but when I turn on my heel and bring these attitudes to my marriage and other relationships, I inevitably drive in wedges. The more controlling I get, the less happy we all are.”
Thankfully, God has been inviting me to lay down my burden of control. I’m learning to let others in and accept their help. Most importantly, I’m learning to let God in! He wants me to depend on Him. He is using the things I can’t control to transform me from Control Girl to Jesus Girl.
Control Girl to Jesus Girl series:
Are You a Control Girl?
Take the Quiz to find out!
- Do you struggle with Anger?
- Do you struggle with Anxiety?
- Do Other Control Girls Irritate You?
- Would Others Say You’re a Control Girl?