Are you a Basket Case?

Dear Lindsey,

Have you ever had one of those nights when you can’t sleep? There have been times when I have fallen asleep in exhaustion, only to lie awake a few hours later, because the conflicting thoughts are back into my head. 2:18am, 3:18am, 4:18, maybe I should just get up…no! I’m tired! I doze before the morning alarm rings, but wonder, “Did I ever sleep?” I think my body collapsed and my mind stayed vigilant all night.

After moving to a new state, I went to general practitioner for a “meet the doctor” appointment, and I’ll never forget one of the questions he asked: “What do you do to manage stress?”

He didn’t say, “Do you have stress?” nor “Do you feel stress?” he asked how I handled it.

I suppose that must be true of most lives: it’s not IF we have it, it is WHAT WE DO with it when we DO have it.

I don’t handle it.

One of my favorite Biblical illustrations to which I have clung for a decade is that of a mother, found in the second chapter of Exodus. Jochebed, one of the Israelites (who were at the time brutally enslaved by the Egyptians), gave birth to a son. In an attempt to reduce the power of the growing Israelite population, the Pharaoh had ordered ALL male Israelite babies to be killed.

I think of this woman, and think of her 2:18am’s and 3:18’s and 4:18’s. Did she stay up thinking “what if?” all night? During pregnancy, did she wonder if she was carrying a boy? Had she hoped something would change –the law, the slavery, anything? Did she cry? After the birth, knowing it was a boy, did she cling to him as if every breath were his last? Did she have nightmares of the Pharaoh’s soldiers coming? Did she hear phantom horses’ hooves of the chariots? When did she “plan?”

Because she did plan. We are only given a glimpse of it in a couple verses of Exodus 2:2-3: “When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.”

I don’t know if she was “up all night” thinking, but I do know that she took a basket, made it waterproof and put her precious little bundle inside. Then, she set it in the reeds along the bank of the Nile River, crocodiles and Pharaohs and all. And she Let Go.

I guess the fact is that it wasn’t “her” precious bundle. It was God’s all along.

This story has played in my mind countless times.

When I have faced scary medical news, I have had to do my due-diligence of preparing a basket, choosing the right doctors, the right locations, asking God to guide every step…and then I have had to let go of the basket.

When I have had to watch a person whom I love deeply deal with intense pain, thousands of miles away:  I have had to get out my pitch and tar – on my knees in prayer that God would show me my role- and then let go as God guides the basket. Sometimes I have wished I had fishing wire attached, so I could reel it back in and think on it more, or do more, but don’t I trust that God can guide its path perfectly?

As I watch other moms’ hearts ache over their wayward adult children who just seem to go the wrong way, I can only encourage: “You have selected the basket. You have waterproofed. You may not ‘deserve’ the treatment anymore than Jochebed deserved to be an abused slave, or to lose her son, but God does have a plan.”

Of course, you know the rest of the story, right? The place where Jochebed selected to leave the basket was where the Pharaoh’s daughter bathed. When she found the baby, she named him Moses, who grew up as an Egyptian. But as an adult, through God’s providential plan, he freed all of the Israelites from slavery…and I could go on forever about this amazing, providential, history-making story!! The implications! The impact!!

The impact of one woman, who made a basket…and let it go.

So how do I deal with stress? I wish it were as easily done as it is said:

Let go of the basket.

I love the old saying: Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.

He’s got the basket in His hands.

Love ya, girl!


27 thoughts on “Are you a Basket Case?

  1. Wow! What a beautifully written post. Thank you for your wisdom, Terri! Such a powerful message — one that I need to be reminded of daily :o) Thank you!

  2. This message could not have come at a better time for me. Thank you for sharing, in a world where so many ladies have nowhere to turn for advice. Thank you!

  3. Terri awesome post! Sharon Jaynes has a poem I love that goes along with this message!
    Just as my child brings his broken toys with tears for me to mend,
    I took my broken dreams to God because he was my friend.
    But then instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
    I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
    At last I snatched them back and cried,
    “How could you be so slow??”
    “What could I do, my child?” He said, “You never did let go!”

    Letting go of the basket can be hard sometimes! Thanks for post and the reminder to “let go and let God”!

  4. Excellent post Terri!

    You have a way of capturing us, having us evaluate, then giving us wisdom to re-look at what we were thinking and see it from a different perspective. Thanks for your time and energy into this blog. It certainly is a rich blessing in my life.

    Love ya back!

  5. Love this! Working on setting next Tuesday’s basket afloat . . . it was very heavy for a couple of days. As always, this is a much-needed post.

  6. wow! very moving and so true! God carries our burdens so why should we be bothered with them as well? you just need to put your trust in Him and believe that everything in life is for the best.

    Much Respect,

  7. Terri, thank you for such a humbling post. As always you are such an encouragement to many (as is evident from these responses) during trying times when you don’t even know what the situation may be. I thank God that he has given you not only wisdom but the ability and desire to share it with so many others. Thank you Terri, for sharing your heart and in doing so changing mine!

  8. Terri, you are awesome and so right!! All 3 of my boys are grown men now, but I STILL pray over them every morning during our Bible Study and Couple’s Devotion time. (Moments Together for Couples by Dennis and Barbara Rainey!!!!!) Anyway, I continue a habit I learned a long time ago from an older parent at our church. I pray a hedge of protection around them- from top of their heads to bottom of their feet, in their coming in and going out! I cover them in prayer and then give them back to the Lord, every morning! Then I let them GO for the day! It’s freed me from Mom-worrying for all these years of being the mom to 3 sons! Now we have a new daughter-in-love and another one soon-to-be daughter-in-love and they are covered too! Then we pray for everyone else- including the PC and our leadership!! I love the freedom God gives!! Well, blessings and prayers to you Terri!
    Hugs, Dena J Burch

    • Wow! What great advice, Dena! I love the term you used, “daughter in love.” Similar to your prayer, I have heard Dr. Dobson speak of praying that “if I am not the one you have chosen to influence my child for You, Oh God, put the right person in his path, so he will be influenced for righteousness without me.” What a wonderful way of letting go of the basket! Thanks again for sharing. -Terri

  9. Terri- after reading your Facebook comment I spent some time in prayer & read some scripture. Dad was with a nurse sleeping so I slipped in an AGO cd (yes. I have them at the hospital). I had asked God to guide me in the decisions that are coming upon me during this difficult time. He sent me to this blog post. So once again thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you. I now know what I need to do.

  10. This is this one of the beautiful eloquent blogs I have read about mothering. God has given you a special gift in relation to a mothers heart.

  11. thank you terri . for sharing the wisdom from your heart , I have 5 kids, I really think that God send me to your blog, some times we have situations that we don’t understand but I like to think God have a purpose in every situation God bless you!!

  12. Terri. I always love how you can frame things you have such a way with words. You are a true example of letting the Lord do the work through you. Thank you for your example and Leadership.

  13. Pingback: Is My Lack of Forgiveness Undermining My Character? | Lynda Varada

  14. thanks for writing that. I see so much of what i deal with differently because of what you have shared. Blessing girl!

  15. Thanks for your post Terri. It is so hard sometimes to let go but we must all have faith that God has THE plan and belive in him!

  16. i would get what I call the “two a.m. willies”…got a daughter in the Navy and I KNOW she did some stuff in places she cannot talk about…I know God has it in His hands, but still: those “two a.m. willies” were very pervasive. great good message, Terri!

  17. I first read your perspective in this article almost 3 years ago. Every time I refer back to it I find comfort. That simple “let It go” analogy has helped me countless times. Thank you! Your words have truly changed my life, .

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