The Art of Surrender

Surrender. That was my word for 2019. I talked a few blogs ago about how to surrender means to abandon oneself entirely. Another definition can be “to give up or hand over“.

I should have known then, that this was going to be a year for the books. I am still very much learning how to abandon myself entirely for what God has in store for me. The glimpses, I have been given are amazing, and I know that in order to get there I have to surrender. I have to abandon myself, I have to find delight in the Lord, and that is when he will bestow his blessings.

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:3-4

Now why would a good good God give me this amazing desires and this vision for a beautiful amazing future without the intent of fulfilling those desires. It is simple. He has the intent. But for me to receive them I have to delight in him, I have to be faithful to his calling. In other words I have to abandon myself. What? Mind Blown.

In other words I have to take what God has given me and be faithful in that. I have to show God that I can be faithful with little, before I am entrusted with more. Light bulb. It is that simple. Every moment I am given is a chance for me to say, I will use this 5 minutes to glorify you or to glorify me. I can only do one of those. It is my choice.

Crazy?

Right?

As I have been learning to lean in on that one definition of surrender. God has used the other definition “to give up or hand over” as a way of teaching that to me.

Leave it to God to use the same word multiple ways to teach me several lessons.

Give up or hand over. How hard is that. My humanness wants to hang on to every ounce of control I have. To micromanage my way into tricking myself that I have the power to control the outcome of anything.

Olivia’s surgery in particular was a huge catalyst of surrendering, of handing over. In more ways than one. I had to hand her over to the surgeon. To trust that he was making the right decisions. More importantly I had to give her up to God. I had to come to realization that she is simply a gift he has chosen to bless me with, and at any time he can say her purpose has been fulfilled and call her home. Handing my daughter over to a surgeon with her life and quality of life hanging in the balance was humbling. I had absolutely no control over what was going to happen.

I wish I could tell you that it was easy, that I trusted God so much with her future that I had complete faith he would bring her through surgery unharmed. That wouldn’t be true. I doubted God so much that I had her entire funeral planned out. I knew what flowers I wanted, what colors, I knew what picture I would use, what songs would be played, the quote for her headstone. I had it all planned out. I wanted to be able to fully grieve without having to make permanent decisions. In my heart of hearts I knew that God could perform healing for her, but I doubted that his idea of healing, and my idea of healing were the same.

I hoped and prayed for the best, but I prepared for the worst. However, it was in the preparing that God worked in me.

By preparing for the worst, I was finally accepting that I had no control. I was finally saying “God, she is yours. She was yours before she was mine. She will be yours long after I am gone. Lord, use her, use her story in whatever you see fit. Let her story be known. Use this, in whatever outcome use it to your glory.”

Surrender, it is a hard lesson to learn. It is even harder to live out. But in the surrendering there is a beauty to be found. I am not called to anything beyond what Jesus himself would not do. Jesus, too had to surrender to God’s will.

“And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but you will.” Mark 14:36

Surrender. To hand over to give up. To abandon oneself entirely. It is raw, it is hard. Yet it is so beautiful. Just like the rainbow after the rain, there is growth after surrendering.

I surrender. I surrendered. I surrender still.

What do I do when God disappoints…

This week has been a dream. Olivia has been off one of her medications. It has been pure bliss as we have watched her come back to life. Without that specific medication in her system she has flourished.

Where once it was like waking the dead, now she is up before the sun.

Where once she couldn’t pick out her clothes or get dressed by herself now she is doing both.

Where once she was taking daily naps after school now she is playing and being a kid.

Where once she dreaded school she now looks forward to it.

Where once homework was hours of tears for 10 minutes of work now it is done in 20 minutes.

Where once there was no energy to play now there are giggles from the other room.

Where once she only ate maybe half of one meal a day now she is eating 3 full meals.

All these changes and we have only been a home a week. Two weeks without this medication and I am seeing my little girl again , not the medication haze version. But MY girl.

It has been a dream. Unfortunately usually we have to wake up from a dream.

Along with these changes her seizures are back in full force. Having multiple daily. I don’t want to call the doctor with an update. I don’t want to look at new medication options. I don’t want to talk about adding that awful medication back into arsenal. I don’t want to watch my baby girl fade away again. I don’t want to watch her suffer. I don’t want to watch her seize. I don’t want to watch her fade away again. Yes. It’s worth repeating.

Yet. Here I am.

Throughout this whole process I have felt Abraham’s pain as he took his son up the mountain. But was he in pain? Was he desperate? Or was he so full of faith that he trusted God completely to fulfill his promise.

“Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.” Genesis‬ ‭22:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God promised him that he would have more descendants than he could count, yet he found himself taking his only son up a mountain to be sacrificed. He trusted God so much that he knew he would provide. He knew God would keep his promise. Such faith.

God doesn’t disappoint or does he? Or do we believe we are disappointed when God doesn’t provide in the way we believe he should. When we aren’t believing he is enough.

Such as when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Did his friends not seem disappointed when Jesus was “too late” yet in his perfect timing he did just as he knew he would and he not just healed Lazarus but raised him from the dead. The dead. Did you hear that? But healing didn’t happen in the way his friends expected.

“Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”” John‬ ‭11:32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This last week I thought we were here. This was it. Our Abraham moment. Olivia’s was off all but one medication and no seizures. I found myself cautiously optimistic in that all I had to do was surrender myself over, surrender to this process, surrender over Olivia to this process that was terrifying and could cost what I am so dearly clinging to, her life. Yet, it wasn’t my Abraham moment, the seizures are back, there wasn’t some miraculous healing, some sacrifice from nowhere to take her place and for a minute I was devastated. And that’s okay.

It’s okay to allow myself to feel that disappointment, it’s not okay for me stay there. To stay there means I’m not believing something about God.

So what am I believing? Am I believing God is good, that he wants to give me good things? In this disappointment am I believing that God is enough. That no matter what happens God is enough.

Steve Fuller says: If God is our greatest good, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God. So being healed of a sickness can be good because it can bring us more of God by showing us his power, mercy, and goodness. But not being healed can also be good since it, too, can bring us more of God by drawing us even closer to him.

So what do I do when it feels like God has disappointed me. When I didn’t get my Abraham moment or at least the one I thought I was going to.

I hold on. I hang tight. I remember that I can’t see the whole picture. That he DOES have a plan that is far GREATER than I can even ask for. I pray for God to quiet my soul. I pray for the strength to carry on. I pray for peace. I pray. I pray and pray some more

I pray for more faith.

Dear God, help my unbelief.

Why? Because God is enough. He is enough for me. My greatest joy comes from knowing him.

Did you hear that.

My greatest joy comes from knowing God.

Not Olivia’s health, not our circumstances, not knowing about God. But truly knowing God.

“I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭17:26‬

Dear God help my unbelief.

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