About That Whole Control Thing

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Control, Devotions, Holiness, Prayer, Trusting God 130 Comments

“Mom! We have to go buy sponge rollers! They’re incredible! Last night, before we went to bed, Mrs. Robertson rolled our hair in sponge rollers and when we woke up this morning our hair was curly! Can you believe it? My hair was curly!”

My flaxen haired little girl bounced with uncontainable effervescence.

I’d been out of town at an event. Gone just one night. While I was away, my then eight-year-old daughter, Kennedy, had spent the night at her girlfriend Catherine’s house. I came home to a groundswell of youthful enthusiasm.

“Wow! That’s pretty exciting, Kennedy,” I replied amused. “I used sponge rollers when I was a little girl too… but I wasn’t a big fan. They made my head hurt when I laid down. Are you sure you want sponge rollers?”

“Yes, mom! I loved having curly hair! It was so great. We just have to get some!”

My daughter is many wonderful things, but patient is not one of them.

So, the very next day we went to the store and got us some.

Fast forward to that evening. I gave her a few basic sponge roller instructions:

“After your shower, blow dry your hair to be mostly-dry. Leave it just an itty bit damp and then I will come up to roll it. And in the morning your hair will be nice and curly for school!”

“No, mom! I know how to do it. I watched Mrs. Robertson last night. I don’t need help.”


“Kennedy, it’s a bit tricky. There are a lot of important little details that I can teach you, but I really think it would be best if you let me roll your hair tonight so you can learn.”

“I can do it, mom! I want to do it myself,” she stubbornly insisted.

“Okay, honey. I’m just trying to help you,” I sighed.

And she rolled her hair… exactly as you would expect an eight-year-old-sponge-roller-novice to roll her hair. It was a whack job. I knew the next morning would not be her finest hair moment, but I also knew enough to bite my tongue for the sake of the lesson she would learn. With an ache in my momma heart, I tucked her in and prayed for the best.

While it was still dark, she shook me awake. BIG alligator tears falling…

“Mom! It didn’t work! My hair is a mess! Half the rollers fell out onto my pillow… sniff… and I look horrible!”

More tears. Deep little-girl sorrow dripped everywhere.

“Honey, I’m so sorry. It’s okay. Just go wash your hair again and wear it straight for school today. We can try again tonight and I will help you this time.” I used my most consoling mom-voice… stuffing down the I-told-you-so that wanted to slip out.

That night after Kennedy’s shower, she blew her hair to mostly-dry and then handed me her sponge rollers. As we sat on the edge of her pink comforter, I taught her some sponge-roller basics.

Section off your hair evenly.

Begin at the crown of your head and roll down.

Tuck the ends under so they don’t go funky on you.

Give each roller the same amount of tension and secure them close to your scalp so they stay on while you sleep.

Once her hair was rolled, promise danced excitedly on her canopy bed as she dozed off with tender expectations of curly hair.

Morning brought the beauty she had hoped for! Springs of blonde bounced lively around her unstoppable smile. I snapped a photo as she her ate cereal because it was a darling moment. A little girl and her happy curls. Good times.

I journaled about the sponge roller ordeal once she and the boys had gone to school. I was struck by how stubborn she’d been that first night. She simply would not hand over the sponge rollers to me – even though I had a lifetime of experience with the squishy beauty tools. Once she surrendered them, however, lessons were learned and she began to understand the proper way to accomplish her beauty goal.

As I wrote, the Lord whispered to my heart. “You know, darling, you do this all the time with Me.”

And I do.

I frequently and stubbornly insist on doing things on my own. Without help from God. Without help from the One who is all wise, all knowing, all powerful, all gracious, and fully able.

Perhaps you do too?

Oh, that we would hand over the sponge rollers to the Master beautician and allow Him to craft a work of radiance in and through us.

Let’s pray as the psalmist David did. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

Your way, Lord.


Not mine.

Let that be our charge for today. Let’s relinquish control of our actions, thoughts, and responses to the LORD. When we do, the world around us will surely see His beauty.


Dear Lord,

Forgive me! I’m guilty of often taking matters into my own hands. I want You to lead. I need You to lead. I need to want You to lead – so much more than I do. Teach me Your ways. Empower me with Your Spirit and give me an undivided heart that I might follow tight to Your Word and to Your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen



If you accept the charge to hand over your sponge rollers to God, CLICK HERE to leave a comment telling me about your rollers, or simply say, “I want God’s way!”

While you’re in the comments section, take time to encourage and pray for one another.

Merry Christmas, friend! I truly love doing life with you and am praying for each of you to know great depths of wonder and joy as you celebrate the coming of our King!



PS. If you are still doing last minute shopping, wrapping or baking, I’d love to join you! Get caught up on all the latest GRACEOLOGIE episodes while you drive around, wrap and bake!! 🙂 Click here to LISTEN NOW!


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Comments 130

  1. Amen!! Your way Lord, not my own. THY will be done. Help me Jesus. Thy will be done! I am praying right now in the name of Jesus for your guidance during this time in my life. I know the enemy heard your plan for me and sent distractions. Please show me the way Lord and send me your peace. Please Jesus. I give all glory to you! Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your plans to prosper me. I claim it done. Amen.

  2. I want God’s way….as I have been struggling with impatience on a particular matter and going back and forth with trying to control and being patient this hit home in a special way. I’ve gone from crying to fighting to a pity party and back around to trying to control this situation and today I sit and I tell myself its all in his timing(I’ve been here before but this time I refuse to get in my own way and recalculate my route)…his ways are better than my ways and he knows way better than I do…and yet it is still so hard. I am that hard headed little girl who wants what she wants at the core…however everything I want isn’t the best for me….I want his best…so I wait with every attempt of waiting in gratitude.

  3. I want God’s way. I know that it is the best way for me but sometimes I get so relaxed and lazy and I don’t do the things that I know God wants me to do. I want to do better. I really want God to lead and direct me. I just want to learn to follow.
    I want God’s way.

  4. Gwen, please don’t print this but thank you for allowing me to get this off of my chest:❤
    I can so easily relate to this discussion issue. My husband of 50+ years told me today that I needed to develop a ‘thicker skin’ to his comments because he’s not going to change and doesn’t care what people think of him. Sting? Ouch? Resent? Feel hurt and unconsidered? Yes! After all this time, one would think I would have learned how to effectively communicate with this type of person who “doesn’t need friends”.
    God notified me today, that yes, maybe I do need to develop a thicker skin and start speaking His/my thoughts instead of biting my tongue and internalizing each comment/criticism. I’m not going to learn any younger and I might certainly be a happier Child of God. Less stress & less self-doubt would be a wonderful thing.

    1. CLLA…..I just read your comments & I can so relate to you in less stress & self-doubt!! The one person that is to “love us like Christ loves the church” falls short & hurts us which causes us to loose respect for our hubbies. We will be married 45 years at the end of January & when I look back I thought I had a close relationship with Jesus – nothing like now!!! Memorizing scriptures has been the best!!!! I’m a simple person & learning more everyday that God has a plan – sometimes “men can be the crabgrass in the lawn of life” ☺️ but keep looking up!!!!! Don’t make that “skin” too thick – (hubbie tells me I’m too sensitive too!!) – God made you & me & all women to be sensitive – it’s when we get hurt too many times we get “thick skin” &.shut down! I’m praying for you – claim God’s promises & STAND STRONG ON HIS TRUTH!!!! HE MADE YOU & YOU’RE PERFECT IN HIS EYES!!!!!

  5. Convict me Lord, to leave my hair rollers moments with you. Give me strength to avoid taking the roller, stubbornly back, wirhout asking YOU permission to pursue. Heavenly FATHER, it’s easy to ask YOU to take it, but difficult for me to leave it with YOU, even after lesson learned and wisdom granted. Thank YOU for your love, grace, and patience. I pray this pray for all women reading comments. In the Mighty Name of Jesus Amen!

  6. I want God’s way! About 3 weeks ago, my husband had a heart attack. The news wasn’t good-He is taking things really slow and realizing that there are just some things he will never do again. I’m just grateful and thankful he survived, but there are definitely some changes. Trusting God to heal his heart and keep him with me, but of course, that may change too at some point. God is faithful and still in the miracle business, but my heart has had to confess some things and with confidence I can say, I want God’s way, not my own. Thanks for all the encouragement I find on a daily basis from all 3 GIGS! Means a lot to me.

  7. I have recently been diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. this is my second cancer diagnosis as I went through breast cancer 8 years ago. Since my diagnosis is incurable it’s been difficult for me to rely on God. I’ve made many big decisions just based on my own knowledge in recent weeks and I realize the error of not consulting with my Lord and Savior. I’m committed to giving this back to God and calling on his grace mercy and love to help me navigate this road. Thank you for your daily inspiration and reminding of who I’m supposed to be in Christ. God bless and happy New Year

  8. Yes, I am handing my rollers over to the master dresser.

    Please pray that I give total control of my marriage and my need for my husband to change over to the Lord.

  9. I desperately want God to lead. I so often want to control things and solve problems that arise. This devotional spoke to my heart as I just went through an issue and decided to solve it my way.

  10. I want God’s way because doing things my way feels awkward and confusing. My heart, soul and weary mind longs for the clarity and certainty that only God can bring.

  11. I want God’s way. I’m tired of worrying about things I have no control over. My son, Brian, has special needs. I need to relinquish his needs to our Lord, and trust that He and He alone has a plan.

  12. I am FINALLY figuring out that God HAS to be in control! Three years ago we moved to be closer to our kids and grandkids! It was what I WANTED-but I didn’t ask God what He wanted. It has turned out to be a bad move_financially, personally and it has made my relationship with my daughter worse! Yet God has been faithful and brought me closer to Him because of these struggles! At age 62, I have finally learned that He has to be in control of EVERYTHING! I want God’s Way!

  13. So true Gwen. I am still learning to rely on God rather than worry. My limited income just goes so far. Sometime my bank account is close to zero at the end of the month. Miraculously my deposit always comes in before the next bill comes due or a badly needed trip to the grocery store. Yet I still worry. You would think that after a few ‘almost’ experiences, I would learn.
    I pray for all of us to trust in God’s continuing love and grace to provide for all our needs. Amen

  14. I have a daughter who is a prodigal, and often I also have to keep from saying, I told you so. I need God to keep reminding me, he Loves her more and can change her heart and life, I cannot. Please pray for me and my family

  15. Oh wow! I envision God shaking is head wondering when I will relinguish control to him. I even kid myself that i have prayed to God and asked for help, knowing all the while i never waited for his answer. Thanks and Happy New Year. Terri

  16. I want God’s way. I am tired of feeling like I have a fake relationship with Him. I am so tired of ruining my life and marriage because I have not listened to Him or been very willing to follow His plan for me. I prayed last night that this new year is going to be different. That I am going to walk by faith and not by sight. I am going to put the past behind me and figure out how to love myself again and forgive myself for the things I have done wrong. Today, or rather last night, I chose my Lord and Savior. I choose to walk with Him and have Him guide me through life and the plans He has made for me. This year instead of saying “I will do it”, I am saying “I am doing it”. I know it won’t be easy and that I am going to need all of the love and support I can get it, but I know 110% that every minute of every day will undoubtedly be worth it.

    1. Sarah-I have often felt as you do! Your post rang deeply within me. I will pray for you to find the deeper relationship with God that you seek.
      Consecrate your mind and heart to him daily and don’t be afraid to ask for his forgiveness when you fall

  17. So as a mom I of course ALWAYS know what is best for my daughter’s😞😒😕! I of course have the best of intentions for them and only want to protect them, but my “roller moment” was one that was more from God to me than me to my children! I got a word from God to leave my home that I had made for the last 17 in South Carolina ( where I was quite comfortable and content by the way ), and move back to Missouri to help my aging family! I figured it would be fairly easy where it concerned my children, they would automatically just come with mom and they would want it that way! WRONG!!! My youngest only being 8 of course came with me, but I and the father of my oldest daughter decide to let our 14 year old make her own decision… she chose to stay there and do her high school years in a place where she was comfortable and already had established friends ( she deals with alot of depression and anxiety ). My heart was broken especially with everyone telling me that I was doing the wrong thing and abandoning my child ( even though God had given me peace about it ). After many tears shed the day came for me to leave and I prayed so hard for God to help me release the control I thought I had over her and the decisions for her life, and His response was gentle and loving and He told me ” I loved them first and I love them more than you, trust me to take care of her because I can do it better than you”!!! OUCH GOD!!! But it worked, I was able to relinquish my “control” to God and she is doing much better! She finally talks to me now and is happy with a “boyfriend” who so far is very good for her self esteem and she is willingly going to church every Sunday now!!! So I try to relinquish my “control” daily because I definitely have seen the benefits firsthand!3

  18. This is going to be a year of changes. My husband and I are retiring to a place that’s near family but hours from where we have lived for over thirty years. We’ve known this for a couple of months now and believe it’s God’s leading. We aren’t moving until May, so I call it the long goodbye. Sometimes I’m excited, and sometimes I’m frightened by all the changes. I’ve decided to say every day, “I choose joy! I choose trust!” Of course, I mean God’s joy and to trust in Him. I want His way not mine. So I find that at some time in nearly every day I am saying those words, because I know that if I don’t, I will be fearful and depressed. I must trust my God, who loves me unconditionally. As I write these words, I am remembering the things He’s done already to point the way. Even so I must continue to say those words to remind my fragile heart that He is faithful.

  19. Amazing how God knows what you need when you need it.woke up this morning and before my feet hit the floor, I was trying to “solve” an issue, an issue I had just given to God yesterday morning in my prayer time! This morning through this devotion, I was reminded to let go and let God. Thank you God for allowing me not to get so caught up in the day to day — on this day, so I could be reminded of your desire in my life.

  20. Gwen…..oh how Iove your reflections. Ahhh…. I remember those rollers (at 72 I also remember the wire brush rollers two inches in diameter…… now there was a real “OUCH” in the morning)! God has so many little stubborn girls to deal with …. and I’ll bet He bites His tongue too ! Thank you for this one….. I will share with both my daughters in their 50’s – one has a daughter just like your Kennedy.

    Loved this life moment that reminds us to listen to Him. He knows a way, a better way.. I want my life to be lived His way.

  21. Wow! I do the same thing. Do first, ask God later. Too late! At least for that encounter. If we could just learn to rest in Him ALL the time we’d do life with others so much better. Better for ourselves too. He really does know what is best for us. It is so important to start each day with God. He can equip us/you for the day ahead. He gives us the knowledge we need. All we need to do is to apply it. When you’re resting in him do you ever have a conservation with someone, even a stranger, and afterwards you’re like “Where did that come from? Did I just say that?”. You know where. Jesus. It is then that I get such a high that I want to jump up and shout! It’s called a God-high. The more you get the more you want. We do have a choice. Are you ready? What are you going to do?

  22. I want your way as I team in ministry with my husband in a revitalization ministry.
    I need your strength because mine is limited with multiple disabilities.
    You are showing me encouraging and praying for others is my area. I miss being more of a regular onsite leader. Fill me and help me shine right where you have me.

  23. This hit so close to home. This very thought has been tugging at my heart lately. Feeling broken and exhausted inside, battling relationships and life… but I forget to hand my rollers to Him. I keep trying to show him I can do it but it the rollers fall out a lot. Thankful for Gods patience and unwavering love. I pray for God to take this stubbornness from me and keep my heart/mind open to His words, love, and guidance daily ❤️

  24. Oh Lord forgive my stubbornness. Even when I think I am not being stubborn. Shine the light on those times. I do not want to lead. I do not want to get ahead of You. Hold me close and remind me You know my path. In Jesus name

    This one hit me like a squirt in the face. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Merry Christmas, Gwen!
    I want God’s way! At the very ripe old age of 62, I’m finally getting it that I am helpless. I’m trying everyday to give my problems to God.
    Thanks for all you do, Gwen. Your blogs are an inspiration!

  26. My heart was blessed by your “sponge roller” story; ) I can so relate to it!! So many times thinking I’ll just “do it myself, get the ball rolling” kind of thing-all the while letting my own impatience guide me. Lord help me to surrender all my loved one and hopes and dreams to YOU, and TRUST YOU with the outcome. Amen

  27. I want God’s way!!! I’m learning, not only, is Gods way the only way BUT it’s time to make a conscience effort to get out of my own way!!!

    Thank you, Gwen, for continuously making it all “make sense”!!! You are a true inspiration and always a joy!

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  28. I want what God wants for me and my family. Father I pray Your will be done in each of our lives and may You receive all praise, honor and glory.

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  29. I want to do it Gods way. Listen for His instructions and follow His plan. Lord i ask you to open my ears to hear, my eyes to see and my heart to comprehend and receive what the holy spirit is saying to me at all times so that I may follow your direction and do the same for others

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  30. I want God’s will in my life more than anything! Thank you Gwen for all you do for us.
    I love to hear the stories of you and your kids!
    Merry Christmas

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  31. Hi Gwen . I’m giving my husband to the Lord to dirrect him & guide him . I’m starting to see change in his life . I know the holy Spirit is working on him. I hope you have the happiest Christmas ever! May God bless 🙏 and you & your family safe . Love you 😘♥️ Anna Marie

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  32. Gwen, Merry Christmas to you and your family! I want God’s Way!
    I love listening to your podcasts as well- such a blessing!!

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      YAY! Love my Graceologie community! (Please SHARE the podcast and episodes with a few friends each time you listen!?) Thanks, Colleen!

      Blessings to you and yours as well, friend.


  33. My situation is not about curls, (although I DESPERATE NEED some right now!!!!!😢). But this hit ‘home’. I have been under a terrible evil attack, for 3 years, from apartment management. I do not have money to move!! I have been trying to fight this, but have been unable to get legal help or any other! (I was raised under the phrase “the Lord helps those who help themselves” ) The situation is very serious now—-they’re even trying to bring fraud charges against me! Anyhow, I do get to have an informal hearing this friday. I have been terrified! Being a holiday week, I have no one to go with me, I have to face ‘my goliath’ humanly alone. But I know I won’t be “ALONE” ! I just need to allow God to handle this for me! This devotional was good for me this morning. Thank you, & Merry Christmas !! 🎄💖

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      Heavenly Father, Please be with Judith as she faces this legal challenge. Help her to process her situation, choices and options in a way that honors you and trusts in Your leading. Send her your comfort, wisdom and guidance. Allow your compassion to flow and your mercy to speak hope.

      In Jesus’ name, amen.

  34. Thanks for always speaking God’s word through your writing. Yes, I pray for God’s way & leading, not my stubborn way. Wishing you a blessed Christmas season dear lady, as you continue your ministry.

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  35. Merry Christmas Gwen. Thank you for bringing encouragement thru God’s Word. Handing over my sponge rollers has been my life lesson for 2019. Listening to the prompting of The Holy Spirit to let go, takes Faith. Knowing and trusting that God has a better plan. He sees the whole picture and I know I will see Beautiful, Bouncy Curls someday. Just the way I really wanted it. ❤️

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  36. I want Gods way! Merry Christmas Gwen! Your writing speaks to me in a very relatable girlfriendy way! Thank you for sharing your gift with all of us and Gods richest blessings for you and yours! Xoxoxo

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  37. My son and my son in law are having a very difficult time.
    Both of them or suffering from depression.
    Freezing them into non movement.
    I pray I stay positive.
    I need Gods help and guidance.
    To step in and help guide them both.

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      Holy Father, I ask that you would illuminate the hearts and hopes of Patrice’s son and son in law right now. Lift the veil of darkness and allow them to see your goodness and grace in the midst of depression. Grant Patrice an extra dose of love and compassion. Give her the grace to love well and experience your greater joy this Christmas.

      In Jesus’ name, amen,

  38. I need to let God lead me and his help at all times . Not trying to figure things out on my own how things are going to turn out. He’s in control of All things.

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  39. I needed this message/reminder on the importance of relinquishing control to the Master. I am in a challenging situation with a friend and a loan in default. I don’t hear from them and I want to reach out and tell them off…but I need to want to have God’s way in this matter. Keep me in your prayers so I wait on God for wisdom and direction, and let Him have control of the situation.
    Thank you.

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