My journey to Surrender

I really don’t know why it took me so long to get to that place I talked about in my previous post.  That place called Surrender.  I’ve had an open invitation to go there for quite some time, but I’ve been ignoring it.

Let me go back to Summer 2011.  Rob had been deployed for a few months and I had been having my quiet time with the Lord, reading my Bible and praying.  I knew I couldn’t get through that deployment on my own.  I mention the quiet time because I have found over the years that the more I spend time reading my Bible and praying, the easier I hear from the Lord.  I would love it if I could just come across a burning bush and hear a booming voice of God telling me exactly what I am to do, but that’s not how He speaks to me.  At least not yet.  I’m still hopeful.  Instead, I “hear” from him as I’m reading the Bible – his very words.  Some days as I read, I just learn more about him and his character.  Other times, the words seem to jump off the page to me as I read as though it is written specifically for me at that moment.  I hear from him when the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and I feel gentle nudges, or as doors open and close to certain circumstances.  Other times I feel he speaks to me through music.

One particular day, I was driving home from a friend’s house when the song “Blessings” by Laura Story came on the radio.  I had never heard it before, but by the time it was over I was in tears.

The whole song is amazing, but a couple things really stuck out to me.

“’Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise”

Right away, I felt like I was being reminded that I needed to cry these tears.  I needed to have sleepless nights where my soul was aching and longing so that I would turn to the One who could comfort me.  The One who wanted me to remember He was near.

When I heard these words:

“What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy”

It was as close to a burning bush moment as I’ll probably ever have here on earth.  I just knew.  I knew because I felt it in the pit of my stomach.

I had been longing for something, thirsting for something, aching for something – that this world will never satisfy.   My greatest disappointment has been not being able to have more children.  Not being able to get pregnant again made me feel like a failure – as a woman, as a wife, and as a mom.   I failed to have more kids.  I failed to give Rob more kids.  I failed to give my daughter siblings.

I failed.

I have failed at many things over the years and have spent too much time feeling like I wasn’t good enough.   I spent too much time feeling awful for not being able to fix things that were never mine to fix like my father’s alcoholism, my parents’ marriage, or certain events of my childhood.  I had to finally accept that I could not fix them or control them.   (Not to be confused with the wonderful, blessing of a man I call Dad that my mom is married to now!)

I could at least be in control of my own life, right?

NOPE.

I told you, I’m hard-headed.

When we were first dealing with our infertility I remember feeling so out of control.  It was easier to deal with not being able to fix other people’s problems because I could always blame the other person.  But this was about ME, and there was not a single thing I could do to fix the situation.  It was completely out of my hands and I had to surrender my body to the will of God.  Letting God be in control should have felt comforting and safe, but instead I felt scared and frustrated that I couldn’t do something about it.

I couldn’t do anything about it, but God could.  He gave us Emily.  He showed us clear as day that He – not us or the doctors – was in control!

After having my hysterectomy, I remember feeling like I lost all control again.  It felt like my heart had been taken out with the rest of my insides.  Now I couldn’t even hope for another miracle.  I mean, sure God *could* do a crazy miracle and make a woman without a womb get pregnant, but I wasn’t betting on that one.

I felt lost and empty.   So out of control.  Void of any hope.  Like a failure.

It’s a failure I am completely reminded of.  Every time I go out in public and see a family with lots of kids.  Every time a friend announces a pregnancy.  Every time Emily tells me she wishes she had a brother or sister.  Every time a stranger tells me that I really need to give my child a sibling.  Every time someone assumes I don’t like kids just because I only have one.  Every time someone tells me that I can take their child home because they can’t stand them.  Every time I hear someone say they are so thankful that it was just a ‘scare’ and they aren’t really pregnant.

So, I jumped on the adoption bandwagon again.  As I examine myself, I think I latched onto this idea so tightly because it was my only hope.  It was something I could hope for.  It was something that I might be able to control.  I told myself for years that once WE were ready for another child, we could always adopt.  As if it’s as easy and stopping by the mini-mart to pick up a child.  I tried to convince myself I was in control again, but I failed at that too.

As I listened to this song, I realized that I was longing so desperately for a child – but all this time, God just wanted me to long desperately for HIM.   I was putting more hope into trying to control my life than I was into surrendering to the one who gave me life.  God wanted me to put my hope in HIM, not in things of this world.  Not even in a child.

As soon as I heard the song, I knew.  I prayed and cried out to God and told him I knew I needed to surrender it all to Him.

I tried.

I failed.  Again.  I kept trying to take back the control.

To be honest, I think I’ve known since that summer almost 2 years ago that we would be parents of an only child.  I think God put that on my heart and has been calling me to surrender to him ever since.

And I’ve been fighting it every way I know how ever since.  I didn’t want to admit it.  Maybe I thought God would change his mind.  Maybe I thought if there was just something I could do differently…

Just surrender.

I must have heard that phrase in my mind a thousand times.  I convinced myself I didn’t hear it, or it must mean I was supposed to surrender something else.  Not THIS.

I thought, “I am a fixer…and I have to fix this.  I have to make it right.   The only way to rid myself of this failure is to have more children.  I have to make this work.”

No, you don’t have to do anything.  Just surrender.  Let it go. 

I need you to be content with where I have you.  I need you to put your hope in me.

I know why I put you and Rob here.  I have things I need you to do.

God was inviting me to come to him in my brokenness.   He knows I’ve failed and he loves me in spite of it.  He knows my limitations and he never once expected me to be perfect or to fix everyone’s problems.  Not even my own.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:9

And you know what?  I love it here in this place called Surrender.  I’m sure I’ll slip up and leave the island from time to time, but my goal is to spend a lot more time here.  It’s really peaceful.  Like laying in a hammock, reading a book and listening to the ocean waves.  I honestly haven’t felt this much peace in years.  After all, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace and his arms are open wide just waiting to receive us if we will just choose to run to him.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

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