When our kids are small, we are so tempted to shelter them from every possible harm. And somehow we begin to believe that we are able to keep them safe from sadness, disappointment, even sickness. We don’t willingly give up the illusion of control until we are forced to. For Trent and Lydia Hol that hard lesson came early, when their 6 month old baby was diagnosed with cancer.

It began when Lydia took their baby, Ruby, for her 6 month wellness check. The doctor felt something in her tummy, and scheduled an ultrasound. A few days later, Trent and Lydia found themselves in the clinic, waiting on a call from their pediatrician. An ultrasound tech had completed the scan, and asked them to wait for a phone call. As Lydia took the  doctor’s call, she dropped to her knees on the waiting  room floor.  He said, “Lydia, this is not what I was hoping for.”

The scan detected a mass that, after several days of testing, would be determined to be cancer. A softball-size tumor was on her adrenal gland, and the cancer had spread to Ruby’s liver and lymph nodes. They were devastated. Lydia said,

“I immediately jumped to doom and gloom. I just knew she was going to die. All I wanted to do was get a big blanket and cover up me and Ruby and protect her from it all.”

But there was nothing she could do. It was outside her control. She had struggled with hanging onto her children and wanting to control every factor that might bring them harm. Now, she wondered if God would take Ruby.

Lydia decided to do everything in her power that might earn God’s healing for Ruby.

“I remember thinking, I’d better learn what God is trying to teach us, otherwise He will take our daughter.”

She began pouring over scripture and constantly praying. She believed if she removed herself from anything pleasurable in life, maybe God would see her behavior, and save Ruby.

Trent could see the legalism in what Lydia was doing. Although there were clear benefits from spending time in God’s word, he could see the load his wife was bearing in trying to earn God’s love and power. Thankfully, God had been teaching Trent about legalism, and what it means to simply enjoy God’s love. He was able to help Lydia identify the pressure she was putting on herself, and help her lay down that load.

Surrender became an important part of their parenting journey, especially as they walked through Ruby’s illness.  God used the experience to teach them about resting in Him, and trusting that He will use all things, including the most difficult, for His glory.

Hear Trent and Lydia’s story in Chapter 38 of Epic.

Giving Up Control - Trent and Lydia Hol

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