To quit. To cease fighting. To give up or hand over typically on compulsion. To cease reistance to an enemy or opponent.
Surrender to God…
To cease resistance to the authority of God. To abandon oneself entirely to God’s plan. To yield to the power, control or possession of God.
Surrender is often a negative term in our culture. When an army surrenders, they admit defeat. When a sports team surrenders, it quits striving for victory.
But, when we surrender to God, we win. When we ask God to take control, He steps in and does a mighty work in our lives. When we give up on living life our way, we give God permission to step in and direct our lives. When we admit our weakness, we allow God to show His strength in us and through us.
If I boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am…. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:30, 12:9
Surrender is a subject that I am learning more each day. Throughout this journey, I have truly surrendered my life to God one area at a time. With each moment of surrender, I see God do amazing things in that area.
When I first learned of my husband’s affair, I finally came to God and said, “I surrender to this journey. I don’t like it, but I will let you do a work in me so you can do a work through me.” Although I did not see the future or understand exactly what it would entail, I experienced His peace. I somehow knew that He would carry me through this journey and use it for His glory.
After I filed for divorce, I ran from God and straight to another man. I heard God whisper repeatedly, “Get your security from me.” When I finally surrendered to His gentle calling, I began to trust that God was preparing a husband for me. I committed myself to praying for that man. I was given a verse from Daniel that says the moment you humbled yourself and began to pray, God heard from heaven and answered (Daniel 10:12). I am convinced that on that December day in 2009, God began an amazing work in a man who will one day be my husband.
My longing for a relationship was often overwhelming. I ached to have someone hold me, to care for me, to love me. I was looking for love and I found myself caring less about what the man was like and more about simply having someone. Then one day in the summer of 2011, I surrendered. I asked God not to bring anyone into my life unless he was the one that God had chosen for me.
In the early days after my divorce, I struggled with my commitment to purity. Was it truly necessary to remain pure until marriage? What if I knew I was going to marry this man? Did we really have to wait until we were legally married? Through a series of events, I came to understand the importance of sexual purity. I began to recognize the amazing opportunity I have to model purity in dating for my children. I surrendered my sexuality to God in April 2012.
I love my children so much that I quit parenting—I surrendered control to God. Over the spring of 2013, I began to struggle with their spiritual good. Why were they not growing? What was I doing wrong? One day I found myself in tears, realizing that I had been solo-parenting my children for years. God never intended for me to solo-parent; He wants to parent through me. Since I surrendered and quit parenting, I have seen amazing signs that God is drawing my children to himself.
Last fall, I began to write—something I have always enjoyed, always dreamed of. I had contemplated a book for many years, but never knew how I could make it happen. I collapsed one day after months of a blog read by only a handful of people. What was the point? I simply gave up and asked God to write through me. The very next week, an editor of a publication asked to publish one of my articles. God has been doing amazing things through my writing ever since.
Every time I think I have surrendered it all to God, I find Him calling me to let go of another area of my life. Right now, I hear him calling me to surrender my finances. As a single parent in an ailing economy, it is tough to make ends meet—let alone get ahead. By God’s grace (and an amazing grandfather), I have a place to live. But, without that provision, I don’t know where my kids and I would be. With a child who grew nine inches in about a year, I can’t find the money to keep him in shoes and pants. I long to be completely debt free (which is not too far away), but I don’t know how to get there. It will certainly require God’s intervention.
I have an overwhelming desire to give. I have an overwhelming desire to meet the needs of others who are struggling. I have an overwhelming desire to be a conduit of God’s grace meeting the physical needs of others. I can’t do that with my finances right now. But, I hear God whispering, “Surrender complete control of your finances to me.”
I’m not completely sure what that looks like, but I am willing! Last week, I learned that my home insurance was going up another $50 each month thanks to the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma this spring. I walked away so frustrated. In my heart, I threw up my arms. “I give up! I quit! Every dime of that raise now goes to insurance!” In the quietness of my spirit, I heard God say, “I finally have you where I want you.”
I know that my Jehovah Jireh promises to meet all my needs and pour out blessings so great there is not room enough to receive them! I know He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He can sell a few and funnel the money to me. I know that I can never outgive God!
Every time I surrender a piece of my heart and my life to God, I see an amazing return on my investment. I recognize that I am weak and unable to live my life the way He wants it. I realize that my pride prevents me from experiencing the true blessings God has in store for me. I realize that all my work, my efforts to be great are futile. I realize that it is through the admission of my weakness, through the recognition of my dependence that He is able to pour out His power in my life (2 Corinthians 12:9). I see that as I humble myself before God, He lifts me up (James 4:6-8).
I am learning that surrender comes in stages. I am learning that there are specific moments of surrender. I am learning that surrender is a choice I make every day.
Every morning before my feet hit the floor, I remind God that my life is no longer mine. I tell Him that I don’t want to live my life; I want Him to live my life through me. I remind Him that I have quit living my life—that it is His to do with as He pleases. I quote Galatians 2:20 to Him:
I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
I ask God to parent through me, to love through me, to speak through me. I ask Him to write through me and work through me. I ask Him to show me where to give and where to spend. I ask Him to step into my life and take over every aspect.
I cease resistance to the authority of God. I abandon myself entirely to God’s plan. I yield to the power, control, and possession of God. I ask to live a Spirit-controlled life.
I ask God to live every area of my life, that His power be made perfect in my weakness, that I would be totally dependent on Him.
I wave the white flag of surrender.