“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)

I’ve long been someone who thrived on being in control. (I just preferred to view it as part of my organized nature). There’s an element of my controlling that is, indeed, helpful. It makes me good at my job, which requires orchestrating many moving pieces to pull off an intensive workshop.

Being in charge is great….until the storm hits. Actually, storms. Plural. Nothing like the weather to mess with my illusion of control.

First on Monday came the freezing rain, then sleet, then snow that paralyzed Middle Tennessee and earned the state a spot on the national news. After a one-day reprieve, Wednesday dawned with more snow and bunkers of ice in the roads where the slush had melted, then refrozen overnight. Temperatures were below freezing for days, and Friday afternoon and evening brought another storm.

The real challenge was that 24 men were registered for a Healing for Men workshop that started on Wednesday, and only five were within an hour’s drive of Nashville. The rest came from all across the country, and flight delays and cancellations (including for staff) were a kaleidoscope of confusion. Cancelling the workshop was never an option, but making adjustments to accommodate the unforeseen travel glitches was challenging. Twenty-one of the 24 men made it to the workshop by supper on Wednesday, including one whose flight from New York City was cancelled, so he flew to Knoxville, then rented a car and drove the rest of the way.

Repeatedly, we had to move the workshop from the Bethesda Center back to the hotel a few miles away to get the men safely off the steep hill and icy streets before the next round of storms raged in. Each time we lugged supplies and materials for the upcoming activities, including food and paper goods as we adjusted our catering.

With each change, my insides became more constricted. Every step felt like a crap shoot. How would we do such and such without our usual space and arrangements? Would there be a meeting room available at the hotel for that night’s activity? Is the single open lane still passable on the major artery between the Bethesda Center and the hotel?

Remarkably, every adjustment came together just in time. Crisis by crisis a workaround appeared. Yet even with God’s provision, I found it nearly impossible to trust during the in-between moments. And my determination to be in control led to some crazy scenes, like wielding a broom Wednesday morning in an attempt to clear the icy sidewalk, alone and crying with the weight of responsibility for the men about to arrive. What a picture of powerlessness and unmanageability!

Trying to be in control is exhausting. God, why is it so hard to turn the world over to you? I beg for more faith to trust you to be in control, and a willingness to admit when I clearly am not.

Marnie C. FerreeĀ 

“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)