Hiking down a rock scramble, Katya slipped and caught herself with her hands.
She had been home with us for ten months. No blood, no injury that I could see. I knelt beside my daughter and drew her into my arms. Fist balled up, quivering chin, and one single tear sliding down her cheek indicated pain. As I pulled her close to me, rather than melting into my arms and allowing the tears to come, my daughter glared at me and pulled away. Trudging down the path with her eyes locked downward, she remained silent refusing my comfort and holding to the familiar grooves of the orphanage.
We hold to the familiar grooves of the orphanage too, don’t we? Our foot slips on the pebbles in our path. We fall and catch ourselves with our own hands. The injury may not appear deep to others, but the scrapes are real, and we ball up our fist wrapping our hands around the gravel. Rather than melting into our Father’s arms, this One who claimed us from the orphanage, we glare at Him, blame Him, and pull away. Shaking it off, we trudge on, eyes downward working hard to not trip again, to get it right. And when no one is looking, we wipe away our tears.
But this trudging onward, this doing it “my way,” this eyes locked downward, refusing comfort, shaking it off is not the way of adopted sons and daughters of the King. Rather, it’s the way of the orphanage. It’s the pattern of this world grooved into our heart.
God wants to lay new patterns, new grooves so that when our foot slips, when we land palms down on the gravel, we
- melt into his arms,
- rest in his presence,
- and open our fists inviting him to kiss away the pain.
Surrender isn’t a one-time deal. There is a moment, that time when we say for the very first time, “I’m done.” But there is the ongoing surrender, the practice of surrender in the midst of our day-to-day. The moment of surrender is necessary, but it’s in the practice of surrender that transformation takes place.
To surrender to God 100%, you’ve got to unclench your hand from the pebbles that cause you to stumble and release them to this One who is gentle and humble in spirit. Are any of these pebbles keeping you from surrender?
Thomas Kepler wrote about a woman who realized fears were ruining her life. She began to keep track of what was worrying her and found:
- 40% of the things she worried about were things that would never happen.
- 30% were things that had already happened, water under the bridge.
- 12% were peoples’ opinions and criticisms which she realized were mostly unjustified.
- 10% were needless health worries, which made her health worse as she worried.
- 8% of the things she worried about were legitimate real concerns of her life.
What are you worrying about? Are these legitimate concerns, or are they in the 92%?
Cast all your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22
Your painful life experiences can be your tragedy, or they can be Christ’s victory. Let him do a Great Exchange in your life.
What wounds are you nursing?
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me … to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes. Isaiah 61:1-4
Not only are we hurt by people, but we hurt others. And often, our pride gets in the way and we lose relationships. Who have you hurt? Perhaps you are blind to the way that your words, your actions wound others. Be bold and ask the Lord to show you the wrongs you have done against others.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
And then confess them to God, and if possible, to the people you have wronged.
What wrongs do you need to confess to God? To others?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
We just can’t be good at everything. We are not superwomen. We’re just not. And we shouldn’t be. But everything out there screams at us that we really should be.
Weaknesses show up in an absence of skillfulness in an area. Like for me, I just am not great at managing the daily household tasks. I know that everyone needs clean underwear, food to eat, and a reasonably picked up house, but I struggle to manage our household well. Everyone has chores, but I get tired of managing the chores. If I could hire someone to clean our house weekly, better yet, if Alice would come and live with us, I’d love it.
But weaknesses aren’t always an absence of skillfulness, they can also be an affinity for something that’s not good for us, something that may be permissible for others, but is not beneficial for me. (1 Corinthians 10:23) Something like ice cream, or alcohol, or shopping for shoes, or Facebook …
Sometimes weaknesses are hardest to surrender. When we get honest with our weaknesses, we can experience God’s victory over them and power through them.
What weaknesses to you need to surrender to God?
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast about my weaknesses, so the power of God may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Unfulfilled dreams are tough. Several years ago, I showed up at She Speaks, book proposal in hand. My life passion, to see women root their identity in Christ, cultivate intimacy with Christ, and impact the world through Christ was poured into this document. And Bill had invested countless hours covering the kids in order for me to write.
With hopes high, I practiced my elevator pitch, planned my platform building strategy, and rallied women who believed in me to pray. At the conference, agents and editors heard my pitch, but didn’t give my document a second look.
Unfulfilled dreams are tough. But they’re not a dead-end.
Rather than pursuing dreams that are not for this season, my choice is to be faithful in what the Lord has given me, thriving in the now, rather than striving for the not yet.
What wishes hinder you from enjoying this season of your life?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;Lean not on your own understanding.In all your ways surrender to him and he will direct your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
Surrendering to God 100% isn’t a one-time thing. Daily we need to let go of the gravel in our hands and crawl into our Father’s lap trusting him to comfort us, keep us and guide us.
Katya and I walked down the mountain that day. I stepped carefully in front of her to catch her if she slipped again. While I pointed out the beauty surrounding us, she trudged with her face down and fists clenched. As we neared the bottom of the mountain, I felt her hand still-gravelly hand slip into mine. I didn’t say anything, just held her hand, smiled, and began to sing a new song, a song of new patterns, of motherhood, of home, of surrender over her life.
It ministered to me then, and continues to minister to me now. Enjoy, and consider what is hindering you from laying down your burdens and surrendering to God 100%. And let me hear from you by leaving me a comment or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.