Letting Go

by Linda Summerford


“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You”

(Psalm 56:3, NIV).


Grandma Elise always said, “Let go of circumstances you cannot control and never let hatred rule your heart. It will only cause you pain.”

Though not something I wanted to hear, her advice was needed. Her words stuck with me and changed my life.

I could have grown up a bitter person. In 1956, authorities pulled my sisters, brother, and me out of an abusive home. Many times, I felt unlovable because I believed someone didn’t love me enough to keep me. My younger sister and I had spent 904 days in foster care before our adoption at ages three and five.

Within a new family, the memories of our older sister and brother faded. We dealt with extreme anxiety and abandonment issues we didn’t understand, but divine intervention ensured our new family came complete with a wonderful grandmother.

“Grandma, aren’t you mad you can’t walk?” My innocent mind couldn’t comprehend the peace that enveloped her.

“No, dear.” She pulled me up onto her lap. “You see, I’ve learned to be thankful for what I can do and not be angry about what I can’t.”

Confinement to a wheelchair never diminished her love for life. With twisted hands and fingers, she played the piano so beautifully that it brought tears to my eyes.

Grandma’s sweet spirit spoke volumes to my heart. She never shouted or preached. I witnessed no bitterness from her. She lived out her life of love before me, and I learned from her example. Her advice guides me through rejection and challenges as a writer.

When I catch myself letting my insecurities haunt me, I remember what Grandma told me. Her wisdom still carries me throughout my adulthood, and I will pass it on to the next generation. My words can bless others if I refuse to allow negativity to poison me.

Twenty years after our adoption, my older sister found us, and all four children reunited. Our sibling bond resumed strength as if we had never separated. Instead of growing up with bitterness in my heart, I feel a calling to share our adoptive story of redemption and love despite the atrocities we all endured. Because of Grandma Elise’s advice, I’ve let go of the circumstances I couldn’t control in life and in my writing journey. Instead, I let love rule my heart and pour through my work.

Lord, when situations arise I cannot control, and I am fearful, remind me to put my trust in you.


Linda Summerford served on a Foster Care Review Board for two years. Adopted at five with her younger sister, she found out at age 21 that they had an older sister and brother. She determined that she would research what happened to cause their separation. Linda is working diligently for foster care and adoption reforms.  Summerford lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Connect with Linda at www.authorlindasummerford.com

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