Sweet Surrender

surrender pic

  Surrender.  What a profound word.  It can mean conceding defeat, giving up a seat, or it can mean giving up control.   It can be easy to give up a seat to someone who needs it more; it might be easy to concede defeat.  But giving up control? Who wants to do that? Not I.

    I long ago had a dream to become an RN and I was sure this was also God’s plan for my life. Then the unthinkable happened and I was accused of hurting a child while caring for them.   I didn’t hurt said child, would never do so under any circumstances.  But boy did it impact my life.  I took my RN dreams put them in a deep dark cellar of my heart and shut it with a heavy metal door, securing it tight with the biggest, strongest pad lock I could find.  Did I ask God about this? Nope.  I decided I didn’t want to be an RN anymore,  I was going to do something else. What about God’s plan?  Didn’t care, didn’t want it.  For 2 years I stood over this cellar in my heart with its padlock, arms crossed, daring God to make me surrender.   And for 2 years he let me have my way. 

     Then two weeks ago something happened. Somehow, this dream got out of the locked down cellar and began creeping up into my thoughts.   I admit to being a bit freaked out. Surely God wasn’t asking me to do something I had no desire to do!  The bible says God gives us the desires of our heart (Psalms  37:4) so if this wasn’t my desire why would God give it to me?   I kept ignoring it, thinking it would go away.  Then I got an email about a program that fit my needs.  I couldn’t ignore the thoughts any longer.  I had to do what I didn’t want to do…. Surrender my will and desires for God’s bigger plan. 

      I would be lying if I said I had peace. I didn’t. What I had was a big knot of fear in stomach, and a lot of “ok God here is what I need from you” type of prayers.   God answered every single one of my “needs”, and although I still have a lot of fears, there is also a prevailing sense of peace.   Why did I surrender? In between the dream creeping back up, and the email, I realized a few things.  

  1. Not following God’s plan would be wasting my talent.  God gifted me when it comes to nursing.  I am good at it, and I have a brain for it.  God gives us talent to be used up. That is part of his purpose for us- to use everything he gives us.  To not do so cheats the world around us.   Surrendering to God’s plan opens up opportunities to use everything he gave me.
  2. No regrets.  I decided I didn’t want to get to end of my life and have a case of “I wish I would’ve”, “I should’ve” or “I could’ve.”  Those are the opening words to regret statements.  I don’t want to come to the end of my life and have regrets.   Surrendering  to God’s bigger plan means I can be content with the way my life was lived.
  3.  Jesus gave his life, why can’t I?  This, I feel, is the most important reason.  Jesus surrendered his life unto death to free me from all my sin and shame. He did so out of love and to share eternity with me.  Who am I to deny such a simple thing as going back to school and getting my RN?   It is a small sacrifice in light of what he sacrificed for me                       It was hard to surrender. In fact, I held on fingers bleeding and muscles trembling from fatigue and exhaustion, until the last possible moment.   When I finally gave in and surrendered? Sweet relief.   Surrendering control for God’s will and not my own isn’t and will never be easy, but it will always be sweet.      482
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August 21, 2014. faith, life, spirituality, Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Illuminate part 1: The Arrival

              It was quite a dark night.  Cold and shivering, the shepherds huddled in the fields around a small fire hoping to keep warm.   At least a hundred sheep lay by, black eyes watching the shepherds who cared for them.  As long as the fire stayed burning, and the sheep could see their shepherds they knew no harm would come to them.  The shepherds chatted, discussing the next day’s plan, and how soon they would be home.  They looked up at the billion stars glittering like diamonds, having no idea that the light of the stars was nothing compared to the light they were about to see.

                All at once their night changed, because God had looked upon them with favor and chosen them to be the first to hear the birth announcement.   A light so bright it was like the dawn appeared.   Terrified, astonished, and confused, they couldn’t utter a word.  It was the angel of the Lord. He said to them knowing their fear, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in manager. “ 

   After that announcement, as if they weren’t amazed enough, a great heavenly host joined the angel, and the earth’s first worship service took place. As the shepherds looked on, the angels sang in the most beautiful melodic voices ever heard: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rest.”    Then they were gone, back to heaven.  And the shepherds sat there a few moments mouths agape. 

    Once they got over their shock, they immediately decided to go to Bethlehem.  Here is what I imagine happened upon their arrival. They found the baby wrapped in cloths, at his momma’s breast nursing.  An empty manger sat by, the animals stood in their stalls looking on.  A small lantern lit up the humble stable.   Joseph greeted them, asking what brought the shepherds to them.  They gladly re-told their story, Joseph listened, and Mary smiled shyly. The baby done filling his belly, looked up at them with huge dark eyes.  Then it happened.  The shepherds looked into the eyes of their shepherd, the one who would care for them, lead them, and save them.  “What’s his name?” the youngest shepherd asked.  Mary responded, “Jesus.”   Each shepherd stood there and whispered his name, “Jesus”.   The light of the world had finally come, and would not be overcome by darkness. (John 1:3)

 

 NOTE:  This is the first in a 3 part Christmas series..  the next two will be released over the  next 2 weeks

 

 

  

      

 

December 6, 2013. faith, spirituality, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Acceptance with Mr. Rogers

 

 “There are many times that I wish I had heard that ‘just who you are at this moment, with the way that you’re feeling is fine. You don’t have to be anything more than who you are right now.’ I’d like to think it’s also something that’s happened to me through the years, that I’m more able to accept myself as I happen to be, rather than as somebody thought I should be.” –Fred Rogers

    Confession is good for the soul, so here I am reader friends confessing. I struggle with acceptance.  I don’t always feel good enough, loveable, or forgivable. I don’t often feel like I am ‘ok’ just as I am.   Who I was in the past haunts me.  The mistakes and messes I have made shame me.  They tell me I’m no good, not worth loving, not worth keeping, and sometimes not even worth living.   They tell me that who I am is not acceptable.  They tell me I should be what someone thinks I ought to be rather than who I am.

                   There are times I wish I had heard those words of “just who you are at this moment… is fine” from SOMEONE!   But the next part of his quote is what I find most profound.  His hope was that as the years went on he could more easily accept himself, just as he was.  And that is where the test is.    

    Other people can tell me I am ok and acceptable just the way I am until they are blue. It won’t change what I think and believe about myself at all. It is like pouring water into a cup with a hole in it. It might fill up temporarily, but eventually the cup needs refilling.  It is only when I tell myself I am loveable, forgivable, good enough, worthy of living, and really ok, that I accept myself.   I don’t have to be someone else’s idea of who I should be. That can only lead to more shame and self-contempt.  I just have to be who I am right now. I am acceptable, no matter what I am going through, feeling, or thinking.

                  My hope is that as time passes I will be like Mr. Rogers, more and more able to “accept myself as I happen to be, rather than as somebody thought I should be.”  How do I accomplish this? I suspect the same way he might have- one day, one moment at a time.

Quote taken from the book “Life’s Journeys According to Mr. Rogers- things to remember along the way.”

 

March 8, 2013. faith, life, spirituality, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What Is Love?

Love is a lot of things in my opinion. Love isn’t just feelings, for feelings are fickle and fleeting. Love isn’t sex. While sex is an expression of love, sex isn’t love. Love isn’t jealous, prideful, demanding, or rude (1 Corthians 13:4-8). Love isn’t the tingles. So what is love?
Love is a choice. It means loving the person who has wronged you, hurt you, or rejected you. It means hanging in there and fighting till it is worked out. Love is choosing to love someone when they act unlovable toward you.
Love is forgiveness. It means forgiving the unforgivable. It means forgiving and turning the other cheek when you want to retaliate. It means forgiving even when you think you can’t forgive anymore.
Love is unselfish. Love means putting someone else’s needs and wants before your own.
Love is grace. Love means accepting someone for who they are, where they are on their journey, and for what they can give you. It means not expecting more from them than what they can give.
Love is a risk. There is huge risk involved in opening up your heart and letting someone you love see the real you, wounds, warts, and all. Loving someone does not guarantee they will love you back. To love means to risk being hurt.
Love means loving yourself. You can’t love others well if you don’t love yourself. It is impossible. You can’t give nor receive love when you don’t have love for yourself. Love yourself.
Love is a gift. To love and to be loved is precious. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
Finally, at its best love is unconditional and sacrificial. Jesus taught us that. Love means sacrificing and giving your all, even your life if necessary.
This is what I know love to be.

February 14, 2013. faith, life, love, spirituality, Uncategorized, Valentine's Day. Leave a comment.

A Gorilla and his blanket

It was a beautiful, sunny, seventy degree, Florida January day. The time was 2 pm, nap time for the animals at Disney’s Animal kingdom. As I was walking by and watching the gorillas I witnessed a gorilla picking up his blanket and taking it with him to another spot. Yes, his blanket.
I stood there giggling thinking to myself, “That gorilla is not going anywhere without his blanket, wherever he decides to lay himself down, he wants to be sure that blanket is there too.” I pondered that for a moment, and then I started thinking about Linus from Peanuts, and his blanket. Linus never went anywhere or did anything without his blanket. He held on to his blanket like a life line. Then it hit me. Don’t we all have “blankets” in our life?
“Blankets” are the things we hold on to, like our life depends on it. We take them everywhere we go, home, work, school, the movies, even out to dinner. Now obivously as adults we don’t actually carry around a physical blanket. No, the “blankets” I am referring to are the “blankets” in our hearts and minds.
What are these “blankets” ?? Bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, jealously, insecurity, lack of trust, unhealthy friendships, negative thoughts,an abusive past. Really our blankets are anything that stands between us and living life to the fullest. They weigh us down and encumber us.
The harsh reality is we don’t really need our blankets, and they aren’t good for us to hang on to. But without them? We feel naked, scared and unsure, confused. Holding on to our blankets means we don’t have to change, we don’t have to do the work it will take to let go of those blankets. Holding on often feels better than the pain of change. But the truth? The pain of change is worth the letting go, and living life unencumbered. The pain of letting our blanket go and learning to live life without the blanket, soon becomes our new normal. After awhile we realize that we don’t need that blanket anymore after all.
I have let go of many blankets. All of them have been hard, but I don’t miss them. I still have more blankets to let go of. Some of them I have let go bits at a time, and I continue to hold on to the last few remants. But I continue to work at letting them go, and leaving them once and for all. I have come to realize that some blankets just require more work and a longer time to let go of. And I am ok with that.
I would encourage you today to search your heart for your own blankets. And start that journey toward letting them go. I promise you it is well worth it.
And the gorilla? I don’t know if he will ever be able to give up his blanket, as it probably is, in all reality, necessary to his physical comfort. However, next time I go back and see that gorilla, I will remember the lesson I learned from him and his blanket.

January 27, 2013. faith, life, spirituality, Uncategorized. 2 comments.