In this “Control Girl to Jesus Girl 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.
I’m welcoming Pearl Allard, from “Look Up, Sometimes“, as our guest blogger today. Here’s Pearl’s story:
As I’ve read the other stories in this series–stories about surrender when the stakes were so high, I’ve wondered does my little story have significance?
“Big arrow” experiences, as Shannon discusses toward the end of Control Girl, stand on their own. Yielding to the Spirit’s leading (or “arrows”) when we’re asked to sacrifice something big–like when we’re asked to change courses in a relationship, give up a dream or career path, or lay something we desperately love on the altar–makes for a dramatic experience. These painful moments are etched into our memories and our timelines forever. In these instances, surrender produces big change and obvious course correction.
But what about the “small arrows”?
My Small Arrow Story
If, like me, you are tempted to have a dismissive attitude about the work God is doing in your life simply because it’s rather mundane, brake hard. Shannon states her belief that small arrows are even more transformational because “…if I only give God control of the indefinite future and never the next five minutes, I won’t be transformed.” Waging war by choosing God’s way over my own in myriad small, everyday ways has a massive, cumulative effect.
My story is a “small arrow” story. It’s one of a bazillion ordinary moments of my life that became significant because I chose to surrender. (After some figurative kicking and whisper screaming, as you’ll see!)
Seeing it Differently
I didn’t particularly consider myself a control freak, but Control Girl opened my eyes to how I let good desires – like wanting my daughter to become a Jesus Girl – warp into an anxious and angry mama grasping for control for the happy ending I envisioned.
It all started when I instructed our 6-year old daughter, Zoe, to do a job. She muttered something snotty under her breath and just sat there.
My husband, Paul, witnessed Zoe’s reaction, so he reinforced the instructions. Zoe rolled her eyes, arms crossed, let forth a flood of whiny complaints, and stomped down the hallway still mouthing off. Six going on sixteen?
It was bad enough she disobeyed me, but I was livid at her disrespect toward her father. I started lecturing Zoe the second she returned, bent on turning her into a Jesus Girl if it was the last thing I did!
Apparently, the husband did not share my concern. He lounged on the couch like nothing was wrong. Didn’t he realize he’d been disrespected? Didn’t he want his daughter to respect authority? Didn’t he see the need to mete out justice? I was about to retrieve the wooden ruler, which we keep for times like this, when something stopped me. Was it right to punish my daughter for her offense against her father when her father was present and able to do it himself? Should I appeal to my husband first?
“Can I have a private conference with you – right now!” I hissed. Paul looked up startled.
As soon as our bedroom door clicked, I flew off the handle questioning his ability to handle his daughter’s disrespect. I kept the screaming to a whisper so the kids wouldn’t hear.
“I handled it. I told her go do it, and she did,” Paul said.
This wasn’t how the conversation was supposed to go. Didn’t he understand I was thinking about him? Trying to reclaim his honor? And ultimately, wasn’t this an expression of how our daughter thought of her Heavenly Father?
“Don’t we discipline for defiance?” I asked, eyes narrowed. Was the man blind?
Paul’s quiet voice was strained but controlled. “She did what I said. Compliance can’t possibly be defiance. I already handled it.”
I’m sure my hot face must have resembled a contortionist working out in a sauna. I clenched and unclenched my fists. But I couldn’t think of a single thing to say in response. My zealous, heavenly-minded mission had been deflated with one prick of logic.
Finally, I caved. “Ok, you’re right,” I mumbled.
Zoe skittered to her bedroom when Paul and I reentered the living room, no doubt hoping to avoid punishment. I huffed and sank into the couch, feeling defeated. A few minutes later, Zoe shuffled back out and stood in front of her father, now relaxing in the rocking chair, eyes downcast.
“Daddy, I’m sorry I wasn’t nice to you. Do you forgive me?”
You could have heard my jaw thud against the carpet. I was floored. How had Zoe’s heart changed without my intervention?
Then it hit me. Paul had not been blind to our daughter’s disrespect. He had simply endured more of it, for the sake of showing mercy. I had been the blind one. My respect for my husband swelled, and I was humbled realizing he had tolerated not just her disrespect but mine, also.
I recalled Shannon’s words “submission isn’t submission until we disagree.” It was kind of ugly to get to that point. But there was something else. Shannon writes in Chapter 3 “God gives unique clarity and vision to our husbands He doesn’t give to us.”
Until I submit to his leadership. Then I get to see, too.
Each decision I make is a choice to move in a particular direction. In a recent blog post, Shannon wrote “The more consistently I surrender in these moment-by-moment ways, the more my life changes directions. The more I change from a Control Girl into a Jesus Girl.” You and me – that’s what we want!
What “small arrow” course redirection have you undergone?
I first met Pearl, when I spoke at her church, and then she joined me at the Breathe Writer’s Conference. Through our love for writing and Jesus, we’ve become fast friends. Pearl also added her sparkly, sweet personality to my launch team for “Control Girl” this year. She gets the “Most Invested Launchie” award, in large part because of these AMAZING pictures she took of herself and used to promote my book. Isn’t she fun?
Look Up SometimesPearl Allard, plain and medium-ish, is happily-mostly-aftered to her hero of thirteen years and is stay-at-home mama to two crazy-wonderful kids in Southwest Michigan. Tired of tip-toeing around the edges of life defined by fear, she invites you along on her journey to experience freedom in Christ. She blogs encouragement to glimpse and embrace God’s grace at .
Take the Quiz to find out! Then come check your answers with the “Control Girl Quiz Series”. This series is meant to get you thinking about your own possible struggles with control. As a follow up, I hope you’ll consider my new book, Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible.
Control Girl to Jesus Girl
Have you checked out the inspiring, real life stories in the “Control Girl to Jesus Girl” series? Come learn from other women who are on the path from Control Girl to Jesus Girl. Learn from their mistakes and take hope for the future.