Just say…

My article which was published last week on the Writers’ Blog, More Than Writers.

We were at the birthday party for my husband’s granny. All her sweet, elderly friends were there, cooing over our children who did look cute and gorgeous. All was peaceful, and they congratulated us on our happy instant family. Until Granny’s cake was brought in, and a room full of old people started up ‘Happy Birthday’ in quavering voices.

My son was instantly transformed into a raving monster, his loud shrieks, howls and raging sounds easily outdoing the old folk’s singing. As soon as the singing ended, his shrieks did too, replaced by a sobbed, “Cake?” A few ladies did question us quietly, later. Were we sure about it? After all, three children in one go? And he had seemed so very angry…

Seeing bags packed for holidays has a similar effect on his older sister. Not the mad but short-lived rages, simply the falling apart quietly. Someone suggested to me, “But can’t you just explain that it’s just for a holiday and you’ll be back at the end?”

Of course I could explain. I used to be a teacher, I can explain anything. Being a Dutch teacher means I could explain literally Anything. If only life were that easy. As Christians it should be easy to trust God though, right? God explains something to us in His Word, and He would never lie, His Word is totally trustworthy. So, when we read something, why can’t we ‘just’ do it, believe it, trust it?

Why do we still worry and question things around us? Why is my daughter still fearful, even though she loves holidays, and her head knows that we’re only going away for two weeks? What would it take for us to trust God on His Word?

Sadly, leaving a traumatic situation doesn’t make the trauma leave us. After trauma, we can live with the effects for years, as I explored in my novel, Sapphire Beach. (Shameless plug!). It simply adds to my daughter’s guilt when people point out to her that surely she knows it’s just a holiday and she should just trust us, and just relax, just know that we’re coming back soon… Just…

I do like the word ‘just’. It reminds me of the small words we have in Dutch that add weight and depth to our sentences, completely changing their meaning. ‘Just’ feels like one of those words, but it grates on me when it’s used to make things sound simple. If it were a case of ‘just’ counting your blessings and trusting God, there wouldn’t be a single person with depression in the church. ‘Just’ trusting God with the outcome would mean not a single Christian mum would worry and fret over her children.

Instead, we do worry, we do feel weighed down, with the added burden of guilt of failing as a Christian because we can’t ‘just’ trust God, leaving our burdens at the foot of the cross. So ‘just’ accept that? Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” and the man cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” The Lord knows us, like He says in Psalm 103, but trusting Him more does bring more peace to us. Trust does grow, bringing a closer relationship with Christ, and a peace that passes all understanding. It’s a gift to be able to write encouraging words to people and ourselves. It’s a blessing when we can write in an honest, but sensitive way. Just say…

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