Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 15: Surrender

Jen Final

(So sorry for those of you getting this twice in your email.  I accidentally pushed "publish" instead of "save" before I was finished.  This is what happens when one tries to write with small children around!)

What to do when God says "no?"  Here enters the hard task of surrendering that which I deeply desire.

It took me quite some time to surrender my own will for my grandmother.  I've written many posts about my relationship with her, so if you've been along for my journey, you know that letting her go was an extraordinary feat.  The thought of surrendering her to God, laying down my desire for her to live, and being willing to graciously place her in the hands of Jesus, was pretty much incomprehensible.

I remember one night, crying and praying in my bed, and I had this vision of a tree.  I saw myself sitting on one side of the tree, calling out to Jesus for healing for her on this side of Heaven, begging Him to rid her body of cancer, pleading for strength and wellness to return.  And then, finishing those prayers, I got up, walked to the other side of the tree, and begun saying the only words that I could say on that side:

Let Your Will, not my will, be done.

The only way that I could stop praying for the miracle cure for my grandmother was considering the very real possibility that there would only be more intense pain and suffering after this battle was over.  If somehow dying now was going to prohibit an even worse scenario down the road, I had to concede.  I had to put down my "yes" and receive His "no."  But just the same as with my hearing loss, His voice was kind.  He met me on that side of the tree, the side where I laid down my will, and I saw Him enfold me into His arms.  And He cried.  And He said,

I grieve with you.

The thing with surrendering to God is that when I lay something down, I don't walk away from Him empty-handed.  Even when I feel like literally my heart has been ripped out of my chest, when the breath has been taken from my lungs, when my strength to move one more step has been sapped, His Presence assures me that somehow He will fill me again, that my life will somehow still be whole, and that He doesn't expect me to walk this path on my own.

Surrendering to God does not mean defeat.  I didn't walk away from the tree with my head hung low because I had lost a battle.  Even though by no means did I feel victorious, there was a certainty that somehow my relinquishment was honored, that it was right, that it perhaps, simply, the best thing I could do.

Challenge:  Is there something you need to surrender?  What are the costs?  What are the rewards?

Linking with Michelle at Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday.  Find out what others are hearing from God.
Don't forget about these amazing authors of other "31 Days Closer to..." series:


  1. yes...I have done that before too. (Publish before ready...they are so close together) don't you think they should have been on opposite ends of the editor? .... blessings to you.

  2. Okay and the tears start again. Surrendering is easy when it's well, easy but hard sometimes. Pray I get to the point where my yes is joyful instead of choked out through weepy tears. Thanks for writing sweet friend. xoxo

  3. I can so relate to the battle you describe here, as it's so similar to what I felt when my mother-in-law was dying last fall. I didn't surrender my will easily. But Janice herself was an amazing role model, going gracefully toward death and in the process making it easier on all of us. It really was a miracle to witness.

    Thank you for linking up such a moving and important story about surrender. I don't think any of us can hear it enough.

  4. "The thing with surrendering to God is that when I lay something down, I don't walk away from Him empty-handed." This is so true. Surrendered peace is a beautiful gift indeed (albeit bittersweet at times.)

  5. Surrendering to God is never "easy" - it always costs us our pride. As I read your account of surrendering your grandmother, I was reminded of my own surrendering of my grandfather. Though he is still alive and well physically, he is dead spiritually. I have wept over his spiritual condition and have prayed that God would change his heart. I know that God has a plan for him, and I have to continually surrender his heart to God, knowing that I cannot change it. Thank you for this reminder!

  6. This is the second post I've read today from Michelle's link-up, and already I'm sensing a theme. Even the giving up is blessed by God, isn't it?

  7. I love you my friend. And your heart encourages me so much. This is a beautiful post and one my heart needed. <3

  8. Always, always, always, I need to surrender my children. Lest the controlling, nit-picky, wicked-witch-of-the-west shows up again. And again.
    Did I mention this is an ongoing surrender???
    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

  9. Catching up on Mondays reading - it has been a mad week - your post on surrender is just what I needed to reminded of. I just wish I could reach the surrender place without needing to have a tantrum first!


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