the lesson of submission

Jun 16, 2011

I have been learning much.

Learning that I can’t solve my problems.

Learning that I can’t control my life.

Learning that I have been far too prideful.

Learning that I am much too reliant on my own pitiful attempts to rescue myself.

Learning that it doesn’t matter how smart I am, how good I am, how angry I am, how deserving I am, how anything I am…I am not in charge, I can’t change my husband’s job, and I can’t change this lump in my breast.

Now, I am not saying I am powerless…I AM saying relying on my own strength, tenacity, brains, or anything else of MY own won’t work.

I have had to give this all to God and let Him change things.

I have had to submit…in some ways it is the most frightening experience of my life.

It is also the most humbling.

Several weeks ago, I was told that because my mammogram results came back clear, I was no longer eligible to receive funding through the Early Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. Since then, I have made countless phone calls, had numerous appointments with specialists in a variety of fields, and been researching till the cows come home…actually far later into the night than when the cows come home. Through all this study, I have decided that the mammogram results are not accurate due to my dense breast tissue and that I need to pursue further testing.

The Screening Program said they would absolutely not pay for any other appointments and they would certainly not pay for the $5,000 biopsy. No way around it. I did not meet the guidelines to continue with further testing and there was nothing I could do about it.

I have pondered fundraising ideas. Bake sales, selling my beloved bike, my cello, some of my books, creating some sort of new business that could quickly raise the money needed. Ideas have poured through my head and all of it was completely overwhelming. I knew I wasn’t up to doing anything that large or that quickly. I am tired. Each day is a struggle to get through and there is just not enough of me to get it all done.

For years, I have thought if I just worked harder, stayed up later, smiled more, or involved more people, I could solve whatever problem is in front of me. For the last four years, I have been learning that I can’t solve our financial problems. I can’t magically give Richard a new job. I can’t give him more hours with us. I can’t go back in time. But, I have made myself miserable and exhausted by taking the weight of that burden on and trying to solve it and feeling the weight of guilt and torment that has gotten us here. I have beat myself up over and over and OVER. I have distanced myself from God because I have felt so absolutely unworthy of His love. I have sobbed into my pillow all night long more times than I can count because the pain is so unbearable. I have not allowed the atonement to work in my life…all because of debt and poor choices and guilt and not measuring up to my vision of a good steward.

Sometimes the reality of trying to get through the day feels like a boulder pressing down on my chest. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. Sometimes I try to escape into a book, but at the end of the last page, the problems are still in front of me. Sometimes I look into the eyes of my children and start crying because I can’t solve this problem.

I know God does not want me to feel this way. Yes, He wants us to be good stewards, but He does not want me to hate myself and be unwilling to accept His atonement because of my self-imposed guilt. My priesthood blessing of a few weeks ago helped me to feel and know His great love for me. It helped me to let go of the guilt and bask in His peace. Since then, I have felt His love on a daily basis. I have felt wrapped in His arms.

Many times, I am able to be comforted by the fact that innumerable miracles have fed, clothed, and sheltered us in the past four years since our business closed. Many times, I am able to remember hope. Many times I am functioning in a state of shock as my family and friends give me clothes, make-up, gas, food, trips to Utah, warm meals, books, and all the other wonderful things people have provided for us. Many times I am so embarrassed by the help people give us that I am unable to communicate and perhaps they don’t know how grateful I am and how perfectly timely their gifts have been. Many times, I know, absolutely know, that I am in God’s hands and that I need to trust.

But mostly, I still think I can solve everything.

This lump has taught me that I can’t. I can’t get rid of it. I can’t find out what it is on my own.

I can eat healthy foods. I can cleanse. I can relax. I can trust. I can simplify. I can try to fix the hormone imbalance.

But I can’t solve it.

I don’t know if anything I am saying is making sense. I am typing a million miles a minute and pouring my heart out into my keyboard and probably not really communicating the feelings of my soul. I hope someone can sense what I am saying.

Last night when I got home from having a wonderful time with my friends, Jessica and Jessica, I had a message from the screening program.

By some miraculous turn of events (and by miraculous, I mean miraculous…I’m sure there had to be some angelic intervention), they have decided to pay for another surgical consult AND the biopsy if it is necessary AND follow-up appointments.

I’m speechless.

I cried and cried last night. I do not deserve this. I haven’t earned it. It doesn’t make any sense.

But that is exactly how God works. I need to stop trying to earn His love and just love Him, just trust Him, just submit my willful, prideful, selfish self to Him.

The next miracle happened this morning.

Dr. Jones’ (the best breast cancer surgeon in our area) office called and said they had a cancellation for this afternoon and it was mine if I wanted it.


Generally they are booking appointments 4 – 6 weeks out.

Miracles are everywhere.

I am learning to submit to God’s plan for my life. It is hard, but I am learning that His hands are best place for me to be.

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  1. Oh, Tracy! {{{{HUGS!}}}} I am weeping with you, cheering with you, and thinking that we never did have enough time together when we were “Up North.”

    I TOTALLY get what you are saying– we are so alike! Our circumstances may not be the same, but we are so alike in personality, it’s spooky. I’ve had those same late into the night sobbing sessions, loathing myself, feeling like I’ll never be “enough”, carrying enormous guilt that seemed to stretch out forever before me… oh, I so hear what you’re saying.

    And then, Father will do something so kind, so miraculous, and I think “How could I not see you holding me all the while, Father? How did I miss your presence?” but He never left me, and He’s never left you, either.

    One of these days, we’ll be able to slow the mind gears and hear the beautiful music beyond the static ALL the time, instead of just once in a while. *grin*

    You are in my prayers and thoughts, Miss Tracy. Love you!!!

  2. Tracy! I am so grateful for your miracles! You are much too hard on yourself, but I can relate to all of your feelings of inadequacy…I suppose it is a woman thing to be so hard on oneself…but know this- I think you are amazing! You are in my prayers!

    • tracy

      I’m home…had a 90 minute appointment with Dr. Jones. She was very thorough. She took me seriously. She is now researching thermography to see if she should trust those results or not. Please pray that she will guided to the right information and that she will approach it with an open mind.

  3. Heather

    We moved here from Oregon 6 years ago. We moved with the hope of a greater life. I have struggled for 6 years to figure out this “greater life” since. We had a great house, a fabulous ward, in a great partnership with a great company, making decent money. In other words we were comfortable. BUT the feeling was strong and we decided to put all of our faith in Heavenly Father . As a family we prayed and fasted, again and again (just double checking). Our feeling was strong that this was the right thing to do…our house sold in 18 days and we had to be out in 15. My husband got a great job making more money than he had in Oregon. The job also had great earning potential ( I should have known it then). The day we got here everything fell apart….the house fell through, my husbands new company went bankrupt after about 6 months and I was stuck in this weird and strange place with no friends or family. On a daily basis I wanted to pack up and go home. I couldn’t understand why? So… for 6 years…I have questioned why? Why would Heaven Father stick us in this place with nothing…..I have found myself drifting further away from god and questioning him more and more. I still did my duties as a member of the church, but not to my fullest. 6 years later I found I was still disgruntled with Heavenly Father and our choice to leave behind what we had. Until recently when we returned to Oregon…..WOW…it was my slap in the face. We returned to our ward to find it almost abandoned, struggling to exist. I found friends and family members had strayed by the influences around them. Porn shops, fantasy stores, cigarette and coffee shops on every corner. We also found that the company that my husband had been a partner in had fallen hard. Every member (except us) had filed bankruptcy and had lost almost all of their earthly possession taken. Some facing huge law suits.
    I suddenly realized that “the greater life” wasn’t what I thought….It wasn’t about more money, big house, great job…He saved my family…he saved me.
    So… Heaven Father had to slap me to show me….this is what it would have been. So instead of being thankful for what he had done… for 6 years I murmured and was disgruntled against him. Although my family is still struggling, (we now make it on a third of our previous income) we make it…and some days I don’t know how..But now I don’t question.. I just know that some how we are…and even though tithing is hard to pay at the end of the month..we do it. I am not going to say 5 years from now I wont forget this trail and that he wont need to give me a slap down. I am so thankful for what I have So I know that this has nothing to do with your trial…but I guess I know how you feel about questioning your self and asking your self why….and I am stubborn. Heaven Father has to slap me or shake me and say, “I love you, see….” I know he loves you too and he will be there for you and your family.

  4. Heather

    ok so that wasn’t done…:) my 2 year old slapped down the computer and pushed the button… to long…I am not simple winded..but you get my jest…But I know he loves you….I am very grateful for you and your words. You’re not alone.

  5. Tina

    Thinking about and praying with you everyday.

    • tracy

      Oh Tina, it brings me such comfort to know you are praying with me. I need God to walk before me, to hold me, and to comfort me. Love you so, so much.

  6. We had such a wonderful visit! You are one of my heroes– so full of love it just oozes out of you! I am so thankful for your miracles and want you to know I think YOU are a miracle.
    love, love, love, jess

    • tracy

      Ahhh, Jessica, you just totally made my day! I am not always loving, but I am trying to be and I am pleased as punch you think I am. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us. It was so fun! I only wish we had had much longer together!

  7. TheJoyfulPalmer

    Mmmm. . .it’s like a breath I’ve been waiting to take to see deeper into your soul, to catch a glimpse of what is going on in the secret chambers of your heart. Thank you for sharing yourself here. It’s a treasure to me, you are a treasure.


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