How We’re Learning

By Katye Riselli

I stared at the names, crestfallen. Those weren’t the teachers we wanted. It felt a bit like a gut punch, and all too quickly I was criticizing myself and the route I’d chosen in this motherhood moment: “So much for just praying about it – I should have emailed the school.”

I found myself half praying again, half working through my disappointment and searching for resolution: “God, I thought I asked You to give them the best teachers? I wish I knew the school’s process for placing kids; if I knew that they specifically matched each girl with the teacher that would be best for them, maybe this would be ok. I wonder if I should call the principal?”

But as I wrestled, I began to see the irony of my own temper tantrum with God. I had asked Him to place my girls with the best teachers, but in this moment of disappointment, I didn’t trust He had. If I believed the principal and last year’s teachers knew my girls well enough to appropriately place them, how could I not trust that God knew them better?

The truth is, as much as I pray, as much as I say I trust God, I still want control. I’m hardwired to plan, organize, and orchestrate. And in most areas of my life, especially as a military wife and mom, my ability to make a plan, adapt a plan, and execute a plan feels like a job requirement.

But when it comes to walking by faith, my natural inclination to direct all things needs to take a backseat. The control I crave is an illusion that will never satisfy. My white-knuckled grip merely reveals my need to trust.

As a mother, it’s hard to let go, to lift my eyes from the challenge of the moment. But as a woman of faith, I’m not called to blind trust in an abstract God. I’m free to trust a personal God who cares about what I care about and who sees more clearly than I do.

Psalm 139 reminds me that God knew my girls before I did. He knit them together in my womb, He saw them before I did, He knows all their days already. He knows better than I do what they need – in school, in friends, in confidence, in all the ways I prayed for this upcoming school year, He knows.

Remembering Who I trust reminds me how many times He has proven trustworthy. There have been so many times that I didn’t have the answers as a mother: why one baby couldn’t eat, or why a toddler couldn’t use her legs. By faith I sought the Lord who created them and entrusted their healing to Him. Today both girls are thriving with no outward signs of those early challenges.

God’s faithful provision in the times I couldn’t control the outcome frees me to trust Him with my girls in the moments that I want to direct their steps. I can release my grip because He isn’t letting go.

Trusting God isn’t just something I do and check off my list as done. To live in trust requires remaining with the One who counters my natural desire to control with His supernatural ability to love.

He is the source of my trust. When I remain in Him, my life – my motherhood – reflects the fruit of that relationship. My greatest accomplishments will not be what I do, but where I choose to be.

How to Be Free to Trust:

  1. Remember Who you trust. Who do you trust? In your ability or your experience? Who do you turn to when you feel life is out of control? 2 Timothy 1:12b reminds me, “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” 
  1. Recall God’s provision. When has the Lord provided for you? How has the Lord earned your trust? Psalm 145:15-16: “The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” 
  1. Release your grip. What are you holding on to? What area of your life beckons you to trust God? Picture yourself securely placing whatever it is into the Lord’s hand. And whenever you’re inclined to snatch it back, fix your eyes on Jesus (not the challenge, not your fear, not the what-if scenario). He is the author and perfecter of faith.
  1. Remain in God’s love. Do you ever find yourself trying to DO something? Or do you seek distraction (even in good things, like a book) rather than just being still? When you’re practicing trust, resist the urge to walk away, even when you are discouraged. When you feel like it’s up to you to do something, resist the lie and focus on where you need to be. He is the source of your trust. He will strengthen you so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.

Verses to Consider:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-5 NIV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV


Lord, help me remember Who I trust.  Remind me of Your faithfulness and give me eyes to see Your provision when I long to control the outcome rather than trust You.  I surrender my desire to DO and direct, and I ask for the grace to BE, content and confident in You. Thank you, Lord, for Your patience as I remember to be still and to trust You with the desires of my heart, with my marriage, with my children, and my dreams.




Katye Riselli is a writer and editor for Planting Roots. A known storyteller with a passion for the written word, Katye previously served as speechwriter and deputy communications director for Mrs. Laura Bush.  Since leaving politics, Katye uses stories to encourage women to live what they believe by digging deep roots of faith.  She writes at about life in the military, rediscovering faith, and building community. Katye is married to Mark, and they have two daughters. They call Virginia home, but welcome family and friends wherever the Air Force sends them. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her chasing her girls or reading a good book.