Monday, November 15, 2010

Mother of the Munchkins... Don't quit

Don’t quit
Mother of the Munchkins
By Bethany J. Royer

I’m a control freak.
It only took thirty-six years for me to realize this but I will unabashedly admit to it nowadays. If the grass is green and I want it purple, I’ll figure out a way, no matter what, and if you tell me no, you better believe I’ll go behind your back for a yes.
Maybe that’s more stubbornness than a control freak?
Regardless, I’ve an obvious problem with control in my life. It leads me into problems with my faith, too.

It’s a long, complicated story but I am very much a fence-rider on many issues, including where I stand in terms of my Christian upbringing. (Not an easy thing for me to admit.) I have a tendency to look at both sides of the coin and try not to draw permanent conclusions. In other words, I may very well change my mind at any given point of the day and for just about any reason. Some people do not like that sort of back and forth-ness but it has proven to be a valuable asset in that I’ve a great ear to bend for just about anybody in any given situation.
This is something that should prove immeasurably useful since I’m currently going to school to be a counselor.
At least, I hope it proves to be helpful.
However, being a fence-rider can over-complicate things in my life and this is where the control freak in me starts to cage-fight with my faith.
In my weekly divorce support group I hear over and over, God will provide.
I’ve a really hard time with this, not only because I’m a fence-rider in my faith but the control freak inside does not want anyone else telling her what to do. I want to make decisions on my own, especially nowadays as a single mother of two. Plus, handing over the reins to God, or the Universe, as I like to prolifically say, is really outside my comfort zone.
Yet, it has become obvious that many of the decisions I’ve made in life have not always been the best ones.  I’ve stated previously that I’ve no regrets, and I stand by that conclusion. However, there comes a point where past missteps are prolific enough to have me literally frozen in place with indecision.
What’s a control freak/fence rider to do?
            That’s where a fleece prayer book came into conversation as my mother and I glossed over our relatable control issues.
            “You write down specific prayers and when God answers them you go back and write the answer,” she said.
So instead of trying to force something to happen, I write down my prayer request, basically handing the issue over to God and letting him decide if it is the right thing to do. Later, when the prayer has been answered, I return to the book and write the result.
            Sounds great, ‘cept the control freak/fence rider inside would fill an entire notebook with fleece-style prayers but never return with any answers.
            First off, the fence rider would never be certain if the answer was really, truly from God or just chance. The control freak would see the answer but then refuse to write it if she did not agree with the outcome.
            A great example is moving; an issue at the very top of my impending fleece prayer list, alongside the request for the Universe to make all answers henceforth really clear, in writing if at all possible.
I’ve had several opportunities presented to me over the last few months, all of which require a big move. One is an enormous, leap-of-faith sort of move, and the other is smaller, though still fairly big in terms of a gal who has never lived outside the state of Ohio. It’s manageable if I need to come home for a weekend or two, or forever.
The list of pros and cons on either move has been long, pragmatic, and humbling.  
A fleece prayer book makes sense in this case, though how the fence rider and control freak in me will manage to work through the results remains to be seen.
As I contemplated which notebook of many empty ones I have about my room to make fleece-worthy one Sunday afternoon I overheard the following being said during a sermon my mother was watching on TV:
            What I need is close to me. God has already put within our reach everything we need to be victorious. The solution you are looking for is already here.
            I held my empty palms out as I shrugged and whispered to my blue-painted bedroom, “Where?”           
            If the answers are close I certainly don’t need a fleece prayer book to figure out whether or not I should move or stay or if going back to school was the best choice or if I should have stuck strictly with novel writing. But for all my looking it wasn’t there, no matter how hard I stared at the blue walls, peeked through dresser drawers or glanced over the bulletin board above my desk there were no immediate, in arms reach, solutions. There was nothing but a littered bulletin board with a list of homework assignments for both my girls and me, a picture of yours truly in the hills of Kentucky some twelve years ago and, of course, pictures of my girls and a collage of their various artworks.
At the very center of the board, overlooked a million times, but I saw it that afternoon as the sermon rang out from the living room, and I debated the usefulness of a fleece prayer book in my life, was a card given to me many, many years ago.

It reads:

Don’t Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twist and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worse,
that you must not quit.

That card was stuck in my in-box at the Greenville Library when I worked there some 15 years ago. I never found out who put it in there and I don’t even recall what mountain I may have been climbing at the time to warrant it, but I love it.
I’ve no intention of quitting, I’m too stubborn and far too much of a control freak to quit on my dreams and prayers.
However, my indecisiveness on what to do next in my life, now that it has been turned upside down and set in a most unexpected direction, that’s enough to fill dozens of fleece prayer books.   

            The mother of two munchkins, Bethany J. Royer is an independent contractor and writer currently studying psychology with Florida Institute of Technology.  She is actively seeking a publisher for her first completed novel while working on a memoir about her personal trials and tribulations with divorce.

She blogs prolifically at and can be reached at

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