A Legacy of Surrender
I was sitting at my worship desk seeking inspiration, yet feeling overwhelmed by all God is calling me to in this season. My heart yearned for a word from Him, to worship Him through my writing, but I merely stared at the blank screen. Then, as I shifted an end table closer on which to lay my journals and my Bible – splayed open for inspiration rather than tucked into its cosy nook on my desk – my attention settled on a book my late gran had treasured. I distinctly remember her explaining how she had written her name, address, and phone number in the front of the book. Should she had ever borrowed it to someone, she wanted it back.
I have picked up this book from time to time. Each time I’ve read a section, I have walked away refreshed. Today, however, as I pored over the supposed randomly-chosen chapter, I found more than that. I discovered a treasure of my own. A phrase underlined by my gran. Now, Gran passed into eternity in 2019, right before I fell pregnant with my son. She was the most joyful person I had ever known until I met him. I remember when I found out I was pregnant and I prayed for her joy for him. And by God’s grace, he has it.
Gran and I didn’t have a regular granddaughter-grandmother relationship. Even with me as an adult, we had sleepovers. We talked about everything, nothing was off-limits. She made me the tea lover I am today. She gave me my first copy of Jane Austen’s work. And she confessed to me one day that she had wanted to be a writer and was amazed at the opportunities I had to do so. She said she only wrote little poems to her daughter now, but how she loved writing. And a few precious books. Which brings me to the phrase she had tenderly underlined in pencil –
Fall before Him and learn that when you are utterly helpless, God will come in and be all you need.Absolute Surrender, Andrew Murray
I shouldn’t be surprised when the Lord reveals Himself in such intimate ways, but having this encouragement from across space and time, and from someone so beloved and so missed, someone who constantly sought to point me to Him, is awe-inspiring.
Just before this quote, Murray writes the following words, ‘In absolute surrender to God we are meant to be brought to an end of ourselves and yet we may feel: “I cannot see how I can actually live as absolutely surrendered to God every moment – in my home, in my business, in the midst of trials and temptations.” Here we need to learn the lesson: If you feel you cannot do it, you are on the right road. Accept that position and maintain it before God: “My heart’s desire, O God, is to be absolutely surrendered to you, but I cannot perform it. It is impossible for me to live this life; it is beyond me.” Fall before him and learn that when you are utterly helpless, God will come in and be all you need.’
Over the last few years, the Lord has challenged me to have open hands. To not grip things too tightly. So often I feel like I fail at this but then He provides moments of clarity. It’s like the sun breaking through an overcast day. The sky was still relatively bright and I could see, but nothing beats those moments of pure rays beaming down on me in all their glory.
Sometimes I forget that when I come to the Father with open hands, my mind riddled with confusion but my heart postured in worship and gratitude, that I am exactly where He wants me. I don’t have to have it all together. And the clarity He provides may not bring an immediate answer, but it will bring peace.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.Philippians 4:6-7* (The Message)
I don’t know about you, but this brings a wave of relief over me. So often I need to be reminded to stop striving, to put off my high-achieving ways and to rest in the goodness of God and in His presence.
I’m not looking at a blank page anymore. There are words. Inspiration. I’m not overwhelmed. Because I know I can fall at the feet of Jesus, fully aware that I am utterly helpless without Him, and that He will rush in and be all that I need. I pray you find that peace today, in Jesus’ name.
Jesus… thank You… Please bring peace to our restless hearts and minds. Remind us to come to You with everything, holding nothing back. Help shape our worries into prayers, and rain Your peace over our hearts and minds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Post Script: You may know that sense of God’s wholeness as ‘the peace that transcends all understanding’. I do love the traditional translations of this verse, however, I was recently encouraged to look at paraphrases of God’s Word (like the Message translation) as a means of renewing my mind and the way I perceive the verse. Often, my mind will almost glaze over at familiar passages. Like Lisa Bevere writes in her book Lioness Arising, ‘I like to be surprised’.
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