Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Surrender Your Heart

Photo courtesy of Julie via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Julie via Flickr

That poem kept coming to mind. It spoke as if God knew how much I wanted someone to love me and stay with me. It spoke of that someone being prepared for me. It also spoke so much more—words that messed with me. My sister had it framed in her room. God was framing it in my heart.

I wanted someone to hold me, to cherish me, to take care of me. How could God do that? How could he comfort me now? I was a single mom with two boys with different bio-dads.

I’d gotten pregnant my first year in college. He was “the love of my life.” He’d left his girlfriend of two years to be with me. I believed I was special enough that he would stay. Then he didn’t. Then I found out I was pregnant … and alone.

In the years to come, I was nearly engaged more than once. These young men had said words I longed to hear. I felt comforted. They said they’d be crazy to ever let me go. Then they did. Again … I was alone.

Five years after my first son’s birth, I was pregnant by a guy who didn’t respect “no.” I had just wanted to be treated well and feel pretty and worthwhile. He took me out on a nice date. He said he’d never do what I didn’t want him to do, but he did.

Now, I was pregnant for the second time, by another boy. “Who will love me now?” I wondered. And to think I was the one who was going to stay a virgin until I married! I was “the good Christian girl.” My life was so different than I had ever dreamed or desired it to be. Instead of going to college, getting married and raising a family with the man who would be my “true love,” I had graduated from college as a single mother … alone.

That poem again. It kept coming to mind. It spoke of God’s love. It spoke of a plan for my future. It spoke of a husband in that future. That sounded really, really good. I wouldn’t be alone.

But, it also spoke of surrender. It spoke of loving God first and foremost. It told me that He desired my heart and trust completely. God wanted me to love Him and surrender everything to Him. God was trying to tell me that I was not alone after all. He was ready to receive me with open arms. He wanted me to let go of trying to control my circumstances and operating on my own.

How could I possibly do that? If I surrendered, it would be like accepting defeat! In my mind, I believed it meant I would agree to never being married. That wasn’t what I wanted. It also felt like an if-then proposition: “If you surrender and love me, then I’ll give you a husband.” Those weren’t the exact words, but the sentiment was coming through. It didn’t sit well with me. You can’t really surrender and trust God if your motive is to get something in return.

Yet I was tired of the hurting, the crying and the loneliness. More than anything, I was tired of doing it on my own and living in the painful consequences when my attempts failed, so I prayed. “Lord, help me to want to want you. I don’t really want you right now, but I want to want you. I want to really, truly want YOU and stop seeking comfort in everyone else. I give up. I surrender.”

That moment and that poem have stuck with me. The God I had grown up loving became more powerful and more amazing to me. The Holy Spirit felt more real than ever. He strengthened my heart so that I could embrace surrender and find life in it.

Over the next eight months I purchased a home, allowed a stranger to move in and fought attorneys and bio-dads on my own. These were all steps of faith and acts of surrender. They were scary, but for the first time I was holding God’s hand while making every decision. He was with me.

My new roommate said she’d met a guy for me. It was a tempting thought, but I’d only known her for two weeks. How could she know who was right for me? I had to fight the thoughts—planted in my mind before I even met him—that he could be “the one.” He didn’t know what she had said to me. He wasn’t looking for someone new, and I didn’t want to be looking.

Yet God was doing His thing. He had been asking each of us if we were going to love Him above all else. He was asking us to walk with Him and put our trust solely in Him and not in other people. We responded to this in different ways. He worked through both of them.

God, in His sovereignty, brought my future husband shortly after I prayed that prayer of surrender. It has been a beautiful thing and a really hard thing. Over 16 years later, we still struggle with the thing God asked each of us to do back then, to put our trust in Him in all things. He still reminds us that we are not alone and that he is good and trustworthy.

In that poem, God was asking for all of my heart. It wasn’t an if-then proposition about getting a husband. It was a message to my heart that said, “If you love me, then trust me and see what I will show you.” He is still showing his goodness, and we are still being transformed.

Today, this prayer is something we find ourselves needing to say again and again: “Lord, help me to want you more. I surrender.”

About the author

Jolene Underwood writes about “living for Him with faith-filled eyes” at Through trial after trial, she has been challenged to step forward with confidence in the faith she professed to have. God has continually beckoned her to “be strong and courageous.” Through fear and failure, God’s grace has broken through. On the blog you will find stories of fostering, faith, family, fear, failure, freedom and grace. She’d love to connect with you in the journey to live with “faith-eyes.”
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