Wednesday, February 11, 2009

HDG: License to Let Go

hump day

It's Hump Day Giveaway time! I had a few people email to tell me the new theme made them giggle like a junior high boy... to be honest I tried to think of a million different names, but the response to this one just cracked me up so I stuck with it. Feel free to giggle to your hearts' content, peeps... I won't tell anyone.

***** ***** *****

Not to beat a dead horse or anything... but did I mention I can open a window and breathe fresh air right now?

Just making sure you didn't miss the memo.

I'm sitting in my living room with the door wide open writing this post, thinking back to Friday when I sat here enjoying fresh air for the first time in ages. Susie had called on her way home from work and, of course, I was excitedly relaying to her my fantastic news. We were trying to think back to how long it had been since I could have a window open and she recalled that she knew exactly when it was. The last time I went anywhere without breathing issues was on June 12th... the next to last day I had to renew my driver's license.

Susie and I almost share a birthday; I'm her elder by 2 whole days since mine lands on the 13th and hers is on the 15th. And I really appreciate that fact every year when the girls and I get together for supper and they all remind me that I'm the ancient one of the bunch. Of course I remind them it also means I'm wiser, but they seem to enjoy the beauty that comes with youth too much to care.

It was almost a month to the day that we celebrated my birthday when Susie called as she and the boys were out running errands. She was telling me about some event that had happened while getting her license renewed and my heart almost got stuck in my throat. Having not driven anywhere in ages, it didn't even occur to me to check my license... and sure enough it was expiring the very next day.

Now, originally this story started out funny. We both panicked and she told me that she and the boys were just bumming around all day, so they would grab lunch and then come pick me up to take me to get it renewed. I was bustling around as fast as I could to change and get presentable for the ensuing photo... my main concern being the fact that five years ago I took a really good driver's license photo, and now I had been on steroids and looked like Theodore, the fullest-cheeked chipmunk of the bunch.

So when Susie picked me up in the sweltering Iowa heat, and I had on a sleeveless turtleneck, I thought she was going to drive right into the building because she was laughing so hard at me. My theory that the turtleneck helped cover up some of the steroid look of my neck only made her laugh harder. And through the insanity of all of this, reality still hadn't hit me.

My friend was picking me up to get my driver's license renewed because I could barely walk to her car on crutches, let alone drive. My biggest concern was what my photo was going to look like and that I didn't want to retake a written test that I barely studied for when I was 16, for fear I wouldn't pass.

Can you say denial?

It wasn't until we were pulling into the parking lot that it dawned on me. It wasn't until that moment I looked at Susie and said, "You know... I couldn't pass a driving test. They'd watch me try to get into the driver's side of the car and tell me no before I ever turned on a key."

Her eyes got sad and she said, "I was wondering if you were going to mention that."

I can still feel the knot in my stomach that I had eight months ago. That realization that I was like my Grandpa Joe when he had Alzheimer's and they had to hide the keys to his truck because he wouldn't hand them over ... he didn't want to let go of that part of his life, and couldn't accept the fact that it wasn't safe.

But my brain kept thinking... what if? What if they come out with a new medication and I suddenly do better and then I could drive and it would be harder to convince them to give me a license? What if the summer was better than the spring that was supposed to be better than the winter that I had hoped would be better than the fall?

What if?

Which is the only excuse I have for entering the DOT, trying to act like it was totally normal to walk in on crutches, and getting my license renewed. It's the only excuse I can give for answering all of the worker's questions honestly... until he kept asking me about my disease. Asking me if I ever jerk in pain, if it would be a problem when driving, if it was something I was concerned about. And I stood there, sweating in my turtleneck because I was trying so hard not to jerk in pain from the nerve zing that was pulsing in my leg... and I told him the only truth I could... that my doctors hadn't put any restrictions on me and they knew all about my condition.

I didn't mention the fact that we had never discussed if driving was a good idea or not.

To put your minds at ease... I didn't so much as open a window to my condo the last eight months, let alone go for a joy ride. My car has sat in my garage with a dead battery for almost a year now. Driving was something that I hadn't been able to do for a long time, but it wasn't until I stood there - feeling the burning realization - that I knew I had yet one more thing in my life I had to let go of.

I love this phrase: "Blessed is the person who finds out which way God is moving, and then gets moving in the same direction." It took me until January to finally make the decision to let go of the thing that kept me from moving in the direction my life had already headed. My nephew Thomas is turning 16 this summer, and since they need to get a car and I need to get rid of one, it was a pretty good match. And truthfully, knowing that it is going to someone I love makes it easier to let go than if I just put an ad in the paper to sell it. I don't know why, but it is.

What matters about this story is that the minute I let go of the notion that I needed life to change, rather than to change my life, the knot in my stomach went away. The moment I stopped trying so desperately to walk against the tide my life was flowing, I was relieved.

So, on this "Hump Day Giveaway" I made a canvas with the saying that helped me let go of something I no longer had a use for:


To win the canvas, leave a comment about something you have let go of, or need to, to make your life more manageable. You can comment until midnight CST and I'll announce the winner tomorrow!

Oh, and if you've already won previously, do keep playing. I'll be doing this every Wednesday so there are plenty to go around, and if you win more than once you can give them as gifts!


  1. i love this story. i love your heart.

    i need to keep letting go of my need to hold on... that sounds weird. but it's the only way i can think to say it.

    [and yep! hump day made me giggle. again!]

  2. I need to learn to let go just the tiniest bit of my daughter. She just turned 13 Sunday, and the mommy in me wants to hold on so tightly, to protect her from all the possible hurts she may encounter. But I know that she is getting older, and that while I am here to catch her if she falls, I have to start letting her go a tiny bit each year until she is able to stand on her own two feet, a grown woman who loves the Lord. And I need to keep reminding myself that He is there for her in ways that I never can be. So I don't need to hold on so tightly, because He has it all under control.

  3. Tonight I let go of control a little and asked for help...I tried not to admit it, but I let myself be taken care of and let myself be loved during a tough time. I don't feel so alone anymore and I feel terribly lucky.

  4. You have such a way of sharing your story.

    I have a house for sale right now. It's been on the market for 7 months. We've had MANY showings and only positive feedback on the house. And not one offer to buy it.

    We have many of our children's toys and home "clutter" boxed and stored at in-laws to make the house seem less cluttered. We have changed our decor to neutral so as to appeal to more people so as not to distract from looking at the HOUSE instead of our decor. We have to keep the place almost spotless all the time because the market is SO competitive right now. We have our house listed WELL below it's actual value because we know we can't sell it at actual value in this market.

    I'm struggling with letting go of the idea that I'm ready for it to sell so it's time for it to sell. God's timing is not my timing. And letting go of my timing is not as simple as I would like.

    And when I read your posts I feel like I have no right to be selfish about this or anything else. I know I need to let go of that also and it is easier to be convicted than it is to change my thinking.

    Thank you for sharing your gift and thank you for the chance to win a canvas!

  5. I am so excited that you can sit with the window open and get some fresh air!

    This really hit open for me! I need to let go of a doomed relationship with a guy that has never gone anywhere and will never go anywhere. I know that, God knows that...problem is, my heart does not know that. I truly believe God lead me to Europe to get away from this I pray I will go home and continue to stay away. God is working on me...I know and feel it! My heart needs to catch up and let go.

    Thank you, my friend, for always making me think!

  6. Great thoughts - love this!

    Control. Just plain letting go of the things I have absolutely no control over. And letting the worry and fear go right out that open window with it. How old to I have to be before I know Who's the Boss?? Geesh. I have not added one hour to my life....

    Riley's picture with "Hump Day" conjures up some serious giggles. He is so precious.

  7. Nothing makes you learn you have no control than kids who leave the nest. I've had to give it all to the Lord over and over again while watching from the sidelines. We're supposed to do the directing, leading, and guiding for 18's really hard to let all that go and give it to God.
    But God has their best interests at heart and will work things out for their good because they love Him and are His. (One child flown the nest, two more to let go...sigh.)

    Thanks for your blog and the giveaway.

  8. I had an AVM in 1993, similar to an annyerism. Since then, I have lost and regained single vision, taste, coordination, and balance. Well, the balance comes and goes. But what I wasn't prepared for was the short term memory and the endurance! I try my darndest but I am continually reminded that only God can give me that boost when I haev nothing. He's given me a lot to compensate for it, too. And I try too hard! I worry about everyone else's view of me instead of God's view. I want to let go of these VOIDS and let Him fill them. On a daily basis!

  9. My husband's job is up in the air right now. We won't know until April if his professorship will be renewed. We are praying for guidance. We don't know what God has in store, so we have to let Him have it. We sure can't make plans for this, but we trust we will be provided for.

  10. Letting people see my heart. I have this HUGE shell/wall around me that very few are allowed into. Even w/my blog, I am very cautious about revealing myself. It's open up is to be vulnerable. God is definitely dealing w/me in this area. Blessings, Susan

  11. The thing that comes to mind for me is all of the struggles we had with infertility. I must admit that those years were definitely the most difficult for me to endure. Friends and co-workers all around me were pregnant, and I wanted nothing more in the world than to be a mom. I got tired of being sad and bitter about something that wasn't fully in my control. I decided it was time for me to rejoice in others' happiness, which resulted in me being a happier person.

    I am oh-so pleased to say that I now have two wonderful children and feel so incredibly blessed by them everyday!

  12. Love the fresh air too, here in Moorhead it's been in the mid 30's...a heat wave! It's spring like, melting and slushy!

    I need to let go of a grudge or some anger I have towards a person in my life. I cannot control what this person does or thinks, she is her own person. I can only step back and learn from her, how I won't act. She is limited in her vision. I need to let go and stop judging her and love her for her.
    'put the blinders on'.
    Thank you for letting me air this!

  13. You always give me something to think about, Sara....besides providing pics of the cutest pup since Beau. LOL

  14. I'm so glad you are able to get some fresh air - although the Iowa snow out your doorway made me laugh. (I live in MO but have friends and a brother who live in IA, so I'm familiar with its crazy weather!)

  15. You really have a great way of telling stories. I love to read your blog!

    I also would love to win so here is one think that I need to let go of: I need to let go of this weight that is holding me down or bringing me down rather. I am always on egde and don't know what for. I have a hard time letting my hair down and enjoying the finer things in life. I listen to you and your story and it reminds me to count my blessings one by one. (thank you for that). So I need to let go by just "letting go!" and hand it all to God and let my life go where he leads.

    ♥ Lesley

  16. You have me grinning from ear to ear, from Riley to the beautiful canvas!

    I've been a good student of yours. Today I took a huge risk and let go. I posted about a loss that has weighed heavily on my heart in not ever talking about it. Even thought its been 8 year, the pain at this time of the year is new again. Its freeing to walk through the fear and let go and trust! Thank you for helping me take that risk!

  17. Sara,
    How I rejoice and thank God for giving you the freedom to truly enjoy some fresh, Spirit-filled air! Looks like Riley needed it, too! I love the pics you share with us.
    Letting Go...a process that began when we were born. For some reason I have always loved to learn from those older and wiser than me. I have sat at my elders feet for 55 yrs come the 19th and I've witnessed the struggle of weakening conditions leading to end of life stages, loss of car keys and freedom of independence, loss of eye sight and thus changing life style, loss of close friends through CA. Just received news of Fr. Darrell Rupiper's death this morning. I was in Carroll, IA on Sunday and spent some time with his 95 yr old Mom, Rita. "Letting Go and letting God" is the way to go and faith, experience and wisdom make that saying seem to be inverted. "Letting God be first makes letting go much easier.
    Your reflection this morning put into perspective in a clearer way for me why loosing our home in Hurricane Dolly WAS NOT devestating to Ron and I. After we had put wood blocks under all our furniture etc. for the second time to try to stay ahead of the waters ruination, the laminated wood floor started to come up and the furniture started toppling over. We gave one another a big hug and said it didn't matter. We have one another and what else do we need. When God is in control that's all that really matters. Please pray for the Rupipers.

  18. Oh Sarah - you always find just the right thing to say. I've been grumbling to myself lately, about some of the "restrictions" that have come about in my I think that the light has been turned on. The less I have to do outside of my home, the more time I have for things inside of my home AND inside of my home, is the best place I can think of, to be!
    Love you Sarah!!!

  19. I ran across your blog through another....You have such a talent! What a beautiful canvas... I love the quote... Thank you so much for sharing... I feel blessed today to have heard this quote and read your blog....

    I need to let go of worry about what lies ahead.... Sometimes it seems so hard to give my cares to the Lord, even though I know He wants me to give all control to him... I just always want to keep part of it to manage myself :)

    Thanks again for inspiring me today :)

  20. I guess I need to let go of trying to be the "perfect" mom because I am never going to be "perfect".

  21. I need to let go of trying to control every minute of my life because there is NO rest in that!!!

  22. I first learned the lesson of letting go of something that just wasn't working when I was a sophomore in high school. I was living in Seattle with insanely curly hair that I fought my whole life up to that point to keep straight. Finally I decided, HEY! It's curly so LET IT BE curly. Oh.My.Goodness, what a relief it was. And FUN, too! I could walk in the rain, in the mist, in the fog and it mattered not one whit, and I LOVED to be outside in that wet stuff, so it worked perfectly. My stress level dropped and I was a MUCH more relaxed person. So now when I find myself fighting something tooth & nail it's easier for me to step back and really look at it, to see if it's really something I need to fight or if I'm just banging my head against the wall out of stubbornness.

    (But, dang, sometimes it's incredibly hard not to be stubborn! LOL)

    [Okay, it's *always* hard to choose not to be stubborn :P]

  23. Praise God for fresh air!! I am a new mom- my daughter will be 2 months on Saturday. I have learned over the past 8 weeks that I need to let go of my fears in regards to her well being. At first I worried so much at night about SIDS and her in general. I have had to learn that God is in control and He is watching over her. He already has all of her days written in His book and only He has true control. As the days go by, things are getting easier- but I know it is something I need to continually work on!
    I hope you are able to continue to enjoy the wonderful fresh air today!

  24. You are great and I love reading yoru writings, and LOVE LOVE LOVE your canvas. I wish you sold them because I have seen some I would love to have.

    What do I need to let go of...fear. More importantly fear of dying as it causes me panic attacks. After watching my brother & grandma die of cancer it unfortunately controls me...sad! I pray one of these days I will just be able to let it go, and give it all to Him.

    Thank you!

    Heather in IN

  25. I am finally going to let go of correcting people's spelling in blogs... naaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! LOL

    It is license, not licence.

    Garlic Man

    ps I'm not perfict iether

  26. Sara....oh yes, that letting go can be a problem. I'm letting go of allowing my husband to donor with me when I do my 3rd kidney transplant. I'ld rather give then receive!!

    Blessings on your day.

  27. what a wonderful post. I'm amazed at all your posts and how wonderful you are. This is my first time posting, but have been reading for about 6 weeks...

    NOw for the letting go - mine is control. I've learned that I have to let God be in control and that I can't be. That has been the hardest lesson i've learned recently.

    Love your blog.

  28. Mine is letting go of the idea that I am in control. On most days, I able to, but there are somethings that still linger in my head.

    I try to always say, Let go and Let God.

    If you trust God, why worry and if you worry, why trust God.

  29. I let go of control. At least I am trying to let go of control. Letting God be in control. Easier said than done. A work in progress.

  30. Great post Sara.

    Love the pic of Riley.

    Letting go--wow--which one should I say? lol. I have had the hardest time letting go of my opinions and judgements. It has been so easy for me to tell them what they "should" do (so I think) rather than just love on them. I'm (slowly) learning that God's direction is LOVE.

  31. I recently let go of the idea that I was still 18 (I'm 49) and got bifocals. Guess what? I can see much better. Who'd a thunk it?

  32. Wow - where to even begin. First, let me say I've more recently found your blog and just by chance checked it today. I think it was a God moment, His showing me yet again what I needed to see/hear. This past Sunday in church we had an amazing service and it was about Shadows in the Darkness. The things in life we carry with us and never full let go. Or the 'ideas' we have, that are not of God, that we never let go. Personally, I went through a really tough divorce a few years ago and it's a shadow I still feel that follows me, I need to fully let it go. I need to spend more time thinking about what God thinks of me, than what other people think of me. We sang a song, I Am Not Forgotten - I'd encourage you to check out the song if you've not heard it. I wept, the most important person in my life with never leave me nor forsake me...what more could I ask for?
    Thanks for allowing me to share!

  33. i love this canvas. it speaks deeply to where i am at in my life right now.

    mine is a very emotional issue for me. i feel God is moving me in some new directions so i am having to let go of where i am right now and open my hands to what he may have for me.

    so i'm letting go of my fear of the future, the worry about money, and where i am comfy.....

  34. Funny Sara, I wrote and erased this 2 times...I had to give up drinking alcohol in order for my life to return to sanity. There! I said it. It's been a couple of years and life is so much more peaceful now, but for years I struggled with being honest about it...some people can drink and be fine...I am not one of them.
    I love the canvas and love the post. Thanks friend~

  35. Great story. I am in the process of letting go of the need to "have it all together." So what if the house is messy, the boys' nap schedule is all messed up and the laundry is piling up dangerously high...those aren't the important things in life.

  36. Wonderful glance into your life, thank you for sharing. The first thing that came to my mind of something that I had to let go was the hope of finding the "true love of my life and living happily ever after." It's different for all of us and for years I felt so alone and lonely that I had a hard time enjoying all that was before me. When I came to the realization that I most likely will be a single mother and a single person for the rest of my life I embraced my independence and self confidence and realized there is no one I'd rather be with than myself anyway. It was an amazing turn around for me and I know that God was holding my hand through this realization. I love my life. I love being a mother. I love being responsible for myself and my son. My life may not be perfect for anyone else but my life is perfect for me.
    ~ Ginny

  37. What a beautiful quote and wonderful perspective. This whole weekly contest thing is going to be SO much fun (and Hump Day is a good day for a Giveaway...even though "Hump Day" doesn't have quite the same meaning when you don't work M-F...still very fun!)

    So, onto the contest question...I am still learning that it is not possible to please everyone. I am learning not to take things personally. As long as I am doing what is pleasing to God and staying true to my heart, that is what matters. This has lessened some of the pressure and decreased the number of tears (I think!)

    Yay for Hump Day Giveaway :o)

  38. what a beautiful post. what a beautiful spirit you have. i was feeling every single word you wrote. i've had to give up my entire life as i once knew it, due to my illness. (please don't think that i am comparing at all!) each new thing that i realized i could no longer do brought great sadness. HOWEVER, i would not trade it for the world. i know God in a way i never would have before. there is great promise that i will be healed but in the mean time i am trying to grateful for ALL things.

    sorry to write you a book!!

  39. What a great canvas! I love the quote! I need to let go of my family. I hold on too tightly to my son, my daughter, and my husband. Letting go so God can work in them (and me) and through us all is the best thing I can do!

  40. I am so glad that I found your blog. I need to let go of my need to always do everything myself for fear other people won't do things to my satisfaction.

  41. i recently let go of my job to pursue what i really feel i'm called to do... photography

  42. I have let go of the dream of taking my kids on a vacation with my parents. My favorite childhood memories are going to Minnesota to a small resort with our whole family. We would swim in the lake, fish with my Dad, and cook homemade dinners with Mom. We would watch the sunsets together. I have always wanted to take my kids to Minnesota and be with our whole family on vacation. Since my parents are not able to travel far from home because of their health I have had to let that dream go. I have decided to cherish EVERY moment the kids and I are with my parents. I want them to be filled up with memories of their very special Grandparents...the sunsets are beautiful in Iowa, too!!!!

  43. I need to let go of some of my material possessions. The clutter is driving me crazy.

  44. I think I need to let go of the illusion that I have any control at all!

  45. Sara, I keep you in my daily prayers. You are such a talented writer. Your blog is a gift to all who read it. Thanks!

    I am learning to let go of always being in control - like so many others. It's really nice to not have to be in control.

  46. I am working on letting go of the need for perfection.

    Love your blog & appreciate your wisdom!

  47. You are amazing, Sara, and I appreciate so much just how beautifully you share your life stories with all of us. Thank you! I'm sooooooo very happy for you that you were able to enjoy fresh air once again!

    When I knew it was time to sell the home that my kids grew up in, there was much pain. This was the home that we had put our hearts and souls into during the 13 years we spent on renovations. We watched our children grow up before our very eyes there, and now it was time to sell it. Although I knew it was the right thing to do, I had a difficult time reconciling myself to the fact that my kids would never have what I have to this day. I still get to go 'home' to that physical place where I spent my growing up years. They would no longer have that, and it made me very, very sad. I had to come to accept that this was something I wasn't going to be able to give them. I also came to accept that 'home' is wherever we are gathered together. Along with that realization came a keen awareness that we never truly 'own' anything...that everything is just borrowed for a time, that it's all a generous gift from our loving Father. Gratitude for gifts given has taken on a much deeper meaning since this loss.

    Thanks for providing this opportunity to share, Sara, and for the opportunity to win that beautiful canvas, as well!! God bless you, dear-heart!

  48. I loved the story.
    I guess it would be letting go of my son, Patrick. First it was the oversea trip to German by himself. But mostly currently it was letting him handle his cancer by himself which he did outstandingly.

    Riley has got to be the top blog dog.
    Thanks for sharing!

  49. im proud of you. i feel like im saying that to so many people lately. and thats a great thing!

    i have to let go...of my fear of letting go. and what i mean by that is - just...going. trusting to be free in Him, with Him and for Him. just to...let go....

  50. Love your blog- congrats on the fresh air!
    Letting go of worry/control. Knowing full well that it is HE who is control and to trust in HIM.
    Blessings to you!

  51. Hi from Disney -

    For a minute i thought you had lost your mind and were going to give your car away on your blog . . .the canvas is a much smarter giveaway . . .and I am sure Thomas appreciates it.

  52. I wish I could let go of Fibro... my life would be sooo much more manageable!!

  53. I was so blessed by your blog today...and then blessed again by reading everyone else's comments. It gave me much to think about. I have learned to let go of many things as I have matured, but one thing I am going to concentrate on LETTING GO is the need to shop to feel good. I am going to stay out of Target, even though it is may favorite store in the world. This may sound superficial but I do believe I can glorify God by discipining myself better in this way. The money I save can better bless my family and/or others and help me unclutter my home and the desire for more, more, more. I will think of Sara who is happy to breathing fresh air and go outside for the "rush" that Target gives me. Thanks for your Blog.

  54. You are such a courageous young woman. I need to let go of the thought of ever getting back with my ex. I love him as much today as I did when we married. It has been a very long time and I can't find someone new by holding on to the past. Your dog is the cutest ever!