The year I turned 33, I found out I had a hole in my heart. My options were surgery or potential heart failure. It was a lot to take in. I had small children to take care of, a household to run, ministry and school obligations. On top of that, I’d never had surgery before, and recovery would be long and painful.
But I had a track record with God. My husband and I had faced hardships before. We knew God as a healer and trusted that my surgery would be successful. We knew God as a provider and trusted that the finances we needed would be there. We had Christian fellowship, and we knew we wouldn’t struggle alone. Brothers and sisters in the Lord came through for us in that season. Family members traveled hundreds of miles to help.
Even knowing that, my heart was still burdened. I had spent most of my life up to that point using my own effort and strength. I knew God’s grace and power resided in me, and I walked in faith, pushing forward, breaking ground. But this time was different. Surgery would force me into a place I didn’t like, didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for.
It would take six weeks for my chest bone to heal. For the first four, I wouldn’t be able to lift much of anything. No baskets of laundry, no bags of groceries, and most definitely not my snuggly, chunky two-year-old. I couldn’t drive, and my first week home, I couldn’t sleep in my bed. For weeks, I was helpless. My job, every day, was to breathe. And even that felt too hard.
I worried a lot. All the big stuff was taken care of, but there were a million tiny little things that had no delegation. Things that I took care of because I was strong and smart and able to juggle a million things at once.
Being helpless is scary. I can imagine how the disciples felt when they found themselves in the middle of a storm (Matthew 8:24-27). The Bible describes it as a furious storm that sent waves crashing into the boat. Imagine being inside a boat, violently dipping up and down, with water coming in from all sides. They weren’t unfamiliar with storms. They were fishermen, after all. But this storm was different. It was too big for them to handle. They didn’t have the strength to navigate through it. They were completely helpless.
Up to this point, the disciples had seen Jesus do amazing things. They knew Jesus was a healer. In that same chapter, He’d healed a man of leprosy, a servant who was paralyzed, and Peter’s mother who was sick. They knew Jesus was a wise teacher because his lessons put their teachers to shame. But when Jesus silenced the storm, this was their response in Matthew 8:27:
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
They knew Jesus in some ways. They didn’t know Jesus like that. And discovering this new facet of who Jesus was, of what He was capable of, changed them. Not too long after this, Jesus would send his disciples out to spread the message of the gospel. Imagine their faith as they went.
Just like his disciples, I found myself in a situation where I needed help. I was powerless, and I was scared. I knew God would take care of the big things, but I wasn’t so sure He would take care of the little ones. I didn’t know God in that way. I always relied on myself for those. But when I couldn’t rely on myself, the Lord helped me to see a new side of Him. I learned a few things about God in that season.
First, God cares about the details. I don’t have to reserve my requests for the big stuff. God is our father, and He cares about every aspect of our lives. We see God’s attention to detail in both the Old Testament and the New. His orchestration of Christ’s birth had a million tiny little details. God is meticulous, and little things matter. They matter to us as parents, too. If my daughter asks for help tying her shoes, that job isn’t too small for me. (Side note, teaching a kid to tie their shoes is actually pretty hard).
Second, God has made fellowship and community a necessary part of our Christian lives for a reason. We’re taught in scripture to bear one another’s burdens in Galatians 6. It’s okay to ask for help, and yes, it’s okay to accept help when it’s offered.
Finally, I learned that God has everything under control, even if I don’t. I learned to let go, and honestly, it’s taught me to be more gracious. Did some things slip through the cracks? Sure. There were days the kids had meals without vegetables because the goal was getting them fed, and that’s okay.
Walking with God is a journey, and there’s so much I still don’t know. But as we continue to grow in faith, He shows us who He is. And I’m grateful that I now know Him as the God of the little things.