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Brenda Nail DeLauder Columnist

  The phone rang the other day and I smiled when caller ID showed the name of a former neighbor. I was happy to see who was calling, which admittedly was not once the case. This time it was good to hear from her and spend a few minutes catching up.

  Years ago, when she was going through a very dark time of her life, the calls were  excessive and distressing. Being a young mother of two children and going through a divorce was a trial not only for her, but everyone she knew. She had a great burden, and I became her sounding board. While I appreciated her desire to get her life turned around, I grew weary of hearing how she told God what needed fixing, along with how to do it. Telling her I felt sure He had a plan which would work far better than any suggestion she could give Him fell on deaf ears. It was like watching someone continue to try and climb a slippery slope, only to keep falling down repeatedly. Her constant frustration over how things didn’t work out, according to her plan, became exhausting. If I didn’t answer the phone, I knew the doorbell would soon ring, which would take even more of my time.

  Realizing my listening was not helping, I sought God’s guidance. One morning I took her hands and while she talked, I began to pray. I kept praying until she joined me. It was a difficult visit, but it was also the final push she needed to stop the whining and take charge of her own life again. The day we loaded the truck and waved goodbye, as they set out for her home state, was hard. I knew I would miss her and the kids, but there was also a great sense of relief. It was not all peaches and cream for her, but the move was indeed a turning point to better days for the whole family. Returning to her hometown, the nurturing care from family members and friends, helped them all get back on track.

  In this recent call, I was thrilled to hear both kids are in gifted programs. They had struggled in school before, but now that life isn’t so stressful, the light bulbs have clicked on and they are both excelling in their classes. They have also become active in a church there, which is feeding these sheep. Hearing my friend talk about how she finally stopped telling God what needed to happen was music to my ears! She can even laugh about it now, which tells me she truly is talking less and listening more.

  It is easy to say, “Thy will be done,” but not necessarily as easy to really mean it. God gave us minds to think with, so we often feel we must find a solution and offer that up in prayer to God. I’m so glad God has a sense of humor, because as much as I’d like to say I never do that, I do. We probably all do it from time to time. We say things like, “God, if only this could happen, then this could . . . ” or “God, we want Your will to be done, but please let it be this way . . . ”

  When we truly “let go and let God,” then we are able to walk with Him, even over the rough spots, without ever letting go of His hand. Each time I try “helping God” with suggestions, the memory of my neighbor’s struggle comes to mind as a gentle reminder to listen and continue to learn. Teach me Master and thank You!

 Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.



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