Kathi Repinski
SG Member
August 31, 2020

Who Is In Control?

When I married my husband, Jim, I inherited quite a large family. But, I also wanted a child that we conceived together. We were ultimately blessed with Jeremiah, our first son. As this made twelve kids for Jim, we decided that an even dozen was enough and measures were taken to avoid another pregnancy. 

God, however, had a different idea. Twelve years later I discovered that my “flu” was really morning sickness. What was God thinking? Our family was complete! We did not need another child.

It was time to trust God.

As result, we now not only have a baker’s dozen with the addition of David, but two additional grandchildren, and every one of them has been a great blessing.

God is good, and He knows what He is doing.

But even as I testify this fact, I struggle to want to be in control of many of life’s situations. The Lunch Bunch book club at Shepherd’s Gate read and discussed Jodi Picoult’s ”My Sister’s Keeper (2004). And, if there was ever a theme that could relate to us all right now, it would be control — to let go of what we cannot control and trust God knows best. Every character in that book needs to “let go and let God!”

Novel Summary of “My Sister’s Keeper”

I want to make it clear that “My Sister’s Keeper” is not a “Christian” book and, honestly, I don’t know a thing about Picoult’s faith life. I also know that there are parts of the book which you might find offensive though it is in keeping with the character of the individual involved. Picoult’s books are always thought-provoking.

This book explores the medical, legal, ethical, and moral issues related to long-term illness, but even more so, the main theme of the book is something so many of us long for right now during this pandemic: control. This is the  issue that shapes many of the characters and situations in the novel.

Almost every character in the book was searching for control over some aspect of their life. Does this sound familiar?

Everyone wants to be in control

In the book, 13-year-old Anna sues her parents for the right to control her body. Conceived as a sibling donor match for her sister Kate, who suffers from leukemia, Anna has undergone numerous procedures to provide Kate with whatever she needs to fight her disease.

Eventually, Anna hires a lawyer and takes her parents to court. She knows she cannot control her mother any more than she can control Kate’s leukemia, but she is searching for some control of the situation.

Kate, the sister in need of all these donations, wants to control her life as well. She hopes to be a ballerina because she believes they have total control of their bodies. She felt that she was a burden on the entire family as her medical needs seemed to direct their course.

Then there is Sara, the mother. She has done literally anything and everything in her power to save her daughter right down to genetically engineering Anna to be the perfect donor.

As a mother myself, I had a very difficult time trying to like this woman! She was so intent on curing Kate that she never even seemed to consider the effect it was having on everyone else in the family. Tunnel vision, anyone?

Sara spent much of her life trying to control Kate and her disease. Sara has done everything in her power in an attempt to control Kate’s destiny. She has done this while seemingly without truly examining the consequences to herself and her family. 

What to learn from “My Sisters Keeper”

There are several other individuals who I could comment on but you must be tired of reading this by now. So I will end with some personal reflections:

(Let me assert that as a Christian I am not anti-science but I am opposed to using technology to create a child to meet a person’s desires or perceived needs. Let God be God! Trust that He knows what is best!)

  • As a control freak myself, I can tell you I don’t find that as easy to put in practice as it is to say it. Giving up my control requires that I trust God and accept His will for me.
  • It is interesting to me that now as we are trying to navigate our way through this pandemic we have had to relinquish a good amount of control of our daily lives to the government and somehow we can accept it. Yet trusting God to control our lives —  that is where we fall short. 
  • We can believe in God, but allow Him to run our lives seems to be asking a lot. But that is precisely what we need to do. My suggestion? Get to know God. Be in the Word daily, pray often and take time to listen.