This song has been in my heart and mind for a week. I sing it during the day. I even wake up singing it. So I thought I should pass it along…..someone may be needing it.
This morning I wrote here about trying to surrender and about the hymn “I Surrender All.” A while later God told me I was concentrating on the WRONG WORD!
My focus should be on ALL!
Wow. Now that’s a change in perspective.
I started to fret about a friend’s situation and what to pray and do and felt the usual burden of not being able to help. Felt myself getting overwhelmed by the situation and my inadequacy. Felt like I just wanted to ignore it. Felt the GUILT about…quite honestly….the twinges of annoyance or impatience, etc. that pop up.
“Surrender it to me. Give her and her situation to me. Relinquish whatever need YOU have to fix it (and you and I both know you have a need to do that). I AM the fixer, not you. You don’t need to ignore the situation. You’re there for the journey, not for the repair work. Just give it to me. I want you to surrender ALL. Everything. Not just what you think you should or the things you can’t handle. But ALL. Don’t worry about surrendering. Just RELEASE. Don’t be burdened. Take MY yoke upon you, and I will give you rest. ”
He’s the fixer. Of everything. Of ALL. Surrender ALL. ALL. What a relief….
My prayer this morning was one of trying to surrender. I sang about it in a song yesterday at church. I’m opening my hands in a posture of submission. I’m trying. My heart is still wrestling though.
I want to surrender totally to the God who Loves me. I want my heart to be completely open and trusting and surrendered to His Will and His Love and His Healing and everything He has to give to me and everything He wants me to give. To what He’s calling me to do.
I’m still fearful of what that means. I still desire to grab control…even though I know that’s useless and futile and doesn’t mean that I actually HAVE control…..but I’m trying.
I’m trying. I’m praying that He knows my heart and is happy with my progress. With my desire. That even though I’m NOT where I want to be, I’m on the path. Help me Holy Spirit.
This old hymn came to my mind today in my quiet time as I prayed. I Surrender All. Then, as He often does, He mentioned it in a devotional I read afterwards. Yes, the devo actually mentioned the same hymn. Amen, Lord. Make it so.
I didn’t write this (and now I don’t remember where it came from so I cannot give credit to the writer. If the author of this finds it here somehow, please acknowledge yourself….sorry about that), but every part of it comes from my heart. I found this particular line to be of significant importance: “It comforts me that God doesn’t waste anything. Every piece – broken, incomplete or whole – in the collections of our lives is made beautiful and significant in His hands.”
This scripture has always touched me. In fact, so much that I named my crafting business after it – Nothing Wasted. I take old discarded things and try to upcycle/re-create/repurpose them into refreshed or entirely new items because I’ve never liked wasting things either. But it’s interesting that I don’t always equate that with myself and God. I’m glad He does though.
“When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.'” John 6:12 (NIV)
Sparkles from the scalloped, green glass bottle sitting in the window fill my mind with memories of my grandmother. She was the original owner of the bottle, and once it contained sweet perfume.
The bottle was once stored in Grandma’s basement, where I’d go on treasure hunts as a little girl. Shelves in a dimly lit room held mysteries like my grandfather’s fossil collection and my grandmother’s collection of Avon perfume bottles, of which my precious green bottle was one. There were tall bottles and short ones. There were shiny glass bottles and heavy ceramic jars. My favorite one was covered with elegant ladies in 18th century voluminous dresses.
Each bottle was unique. Many were in perfect condition, but a few were chipped and worn. I can envision Grandma pouring over her catalogs choosing each bottle with time and care. Her collection carries scents and memories of people and places, some sweet and others bitter.
Those bottles are like the circumstances of my life. Some are happy, but sadness infuses others. A few have left me with scars, but lots have left me better than before. Just like the bottles, the collection of events in my life is more beautiful when viewed together than individually.
It comforts me that God doesn’t waste anything. Every piece – broken, incomplete or whole – in the collections of our lives is made beautiful and significant in His hands.
Just think about the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 hungry people in John 6. The people had followed Jesus out of town to listen to His teaching and watch Him heal. They were all still gathered as mealtime approached. The disciples asked Jesus how He planned to feed the crowd, and Jesus miraculously produced enough food for the crowd from a boy’s small lunch of five loaves and two fishes.
Once everyone was fed, it seemed the story would end, but Jesus had one more lesson to teach. He instructed the disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted” (John 6:12b NIV). It wasn’t enough for Jesus to feed the people until they were full. He wanted every last crumb collected.
There’s nothing that escapes the notice of God. Everything matters to Him. Not only does it matter, but if you are His child, He promises that every part of your life will be used for your good and His glory.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV). This verse tells us that God uses our grief, our joy, our loss, our gain, our trials and our triumphs. Nothing is wasted.
Today may hold hard things—a sick child, a grouchy boss, an unforgiving friend. Or it may hold beautiful things—a new love, a chat with a neighbor, an affectionate pet. Either way, we can trust God that He is collecting the pieces of our life in His hand and creating something more beautiful than we can imagine.
Dear Lord, I trust You with every circumstance and moment of my life. Help me to see glimpses of how You are making my life beautiful for You. I trust that You don’t waste anything, but You use everything. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
More about what I wrote here….
In January, before I saw the video and screen I referenced, I met someone from my denomination (and that’s another whole story in itself. Seeing His Fingerprints in lots of places) who was a regional coordinator in a ministry called Mending the Soul, whose mission is “an educational and equipping ministry created to serve the church and the community by embodying the justice, mercy, and goodness of God. We believe we best show: God’s justice by prophetically standing against abuse; God’s mercy by protecting the vulnerable and helping to heal the broken; His goodness by loving the broken and helping to restore the exquisite male and female design for healthy relationships.”
As this regional coordinator explained what the ministry was, I was very intrigued in light of the GC’s I’d been experiencing about brokenness, healing, etc. It stayed in the back of my mind for months until I learned about our denomination’s national “once-every-three-years gathering of multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-vocational, multi-expressional women” called Triennial XIV being held basically in my backyard this year.
Guess what one of the workshops is? Yep, Mending the Soul Facilitator Training. Guess who’s the leader? Yep, same woman.
Still, I hesitated to register for it. With reasons such as “I’m not sure if this is really where God is leading me, I’m not sure I have the time, I don’t think I can do anything like that, I don’t think I’m qualified even if I got training, etc.”
But honestly, I’ll confess here…what I’ve come to realize is what I REALLY meant was “I’m afraid. I’m afraid WHERE God is leading me. I’m afraid WHAT He wants me to do. I’m afraid HOW my life may change.”
And even….”I’m afraid to face my own wounds, whatever they are. I’m afraid to peel back the carefully placed camouflage and bandaids and uncover hurts and heartbreaks that keep me from living the abundant life Jesus offers.” As the MTS video says “There are 2 categories of people: those who admit they’ve been wounded & need God’s healing….and those who aren’t ready to admit they’ve been wounded & need God’s healing.”
Then I was sent the clincher……Through a blog that I subscribe to, I was led to Cheryl Meakins’ blog when I found a button on her page “Join me in San Diego, CA for Triennial XIV.” WHAT?!?
And another guess what? She’s going to the workshop. She encouraged me to register. Yeah……I get it, Lord. You want me to register. You want me to go.
I registered. I’m going.
As I posted here, at this point, I’m just going to walk through the door He’s opened….take the first step. I have to trust that He’ll open the next doors in His time.
A few months ago, I got totally blindsided by my INTENSE emotional reaction to something. Seriously. My breath caught, and I had some difficulty breathing smoothly. I immediately started crying my eyes out and couldn’t stop for about 10 minutes. I actually still fought the urge to cry for several minutes after that.
This is what triggered that reaction:
Intrigued by someone’s blog, I had been directed to a YouTube video (scroll to the bottom for the video) which I couldn’t stop watching…over & over. I was mesmerized, appalled and heartbroken. Although this is a fictionalized video, the look on the woman’s face at the end of the video made me cringe and twisted my heart.. But still I was totally caught off guard when I clicked on a link that led me to the Abuse Hotline and its “Quick Escape” button.
I must tell you that I have never been abused in any way nor has anyone close to me that would have caused me to have this kind of reaction. Yes, I obviously do know some people that have been abused and that knowledge has affected me, but I wasn’t involved/affected in a way that would have triggered this kind of emotional response. This extreme response.
There have been many other GC’s over the past year concerning this. Brokenness. Emotional healing. Jesus as healer. Books. Scripture. People that God’s brought into my life. I even wrote a blog post about the beginning stirrings in my heart.
So…..what now? That’s what I’ve been asking myself and God. What now? What exactly does this mean? What do I do with this?
I could keep asking or I could take the first step. Through the first door He has opened as I wrote about here. Oh yeah. There’s been a door opened….wide. With a pretty big sign on it that says “Enter here, Chrystal.” I’ll talk about that next….
I’m still here. I am still reading, listening, and learning, but I’ve been too busy (still) to think about writing much. Unfortunately, too busy to REALLY meditate on what God’s saying to me, also. But thank goodness, He still gets to me. Maybe one of these days I’ll catch up on writing down what He’s telling me.
Read a devotional this morning (BELOW) that I thought were good words to think about, to remember. Words that I’d heard about and read about in many different forms over the years, including the first part about Corrie ten Boom.
I always wonder about the ability to forgive someone who has done something horrific, atrocious, evil, etc. in your life – to you or to loved ones. I have a friend who has forgiven the person who murdered her mother. Incredible.
Most of us hold on to our hurts so tightly. They become our closest friends. Not “best friends” in the definition of “best.” But definitely the “closest.”
As I read the devotional below, the Lord placed a name on my heart. From an incident many years ago. One that really hurt my heart and cut to the matter of my honesty and integrity. I thought it really didn’t affect me anymore. It was such a long time ago that it just didn’t matter to me any more. And it certainly didn’t in my daily life. But God obviously knew something I didn’t. I realized that I had never taken the action of forgiveness. I had never said “I forgive you, Ed Shevlin.”
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Corrie ten Boom often thought back over the horrors of Ravensbruck prison camp and realized that it was hard to find forgiveness in her heart—the true Christian attitude for the former Nazis that would reveal through her the Spirit’s goodness. Where was love, acceptance, and forgiveness in a horror camp where allegedly more than 95,000 women died? How could she ever forget the horrible cruelty of the guards and the smoke constantly coming from the chimney of the crematorium?
A few years later, Corrie was speaking in a church in Munich, and when the meeting was over she saw one of the cruelest male guards of Ravensbruck coming to speak to her. He had his hand outstretched. “I have become a Christian,” he explained. “I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, will you forgive me?”
Conflict raged in Corrie’s heart. The good Spirit of God urged her to forgive. The spirit of bitterness and coldness urged her to turn away. “Jesus, help me. I can lift my hand. I can do that much.” As their hands met it was as if warmth and healing broke forth with tears and joy. “I forgive you, brother, with all my heart.” Later Corrie testified that “it was the power of the Holy Spirit” who had poured the love of God into her heart that day.
Philip Yancey gives a pragmatic reason why we must forgive that seems very foundational: forgiveness alone can stop the cycle of blame, pain as well as vengeance and violence.
The meaning of the New Testament word “forgiveness,” he says, is literally “to release, to hurl away, to free yourself.”
The only way to break the chain or cycle of hurtfulness is to stop and ask forgiveness. This allows a relationship to start over and begin anew. The Russian writer, Solzhenitsyn, believed this forgiveness is what truly makes us different from animals. Only humans can perform that most unnatural act of forgiveness that transcends the relentless law of nature.
The only thing harder than forgiveness is the alternative. A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refused to forgive in their life’s experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work. The hassle of lugging this around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places…Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and it clearly is for ourselves as well!
RESPONSE: Today I will give myself the gift of forgiveness. Is there someone I need to forgive?
PRAYER: Father, I pray today for the power of Your Holy Spirit to enable me to release any cycles of hurtfulness in my life by forgiving others.
“God wants you to take the first step in obedience, He wants you to walk through the first door. Don’t attempt to walk through all the doors at once; He hasn’t opened those yet. Take the first step, first!”
Not too long ago, I read those words on another Crystal’s blog – The Flame Within Me.
I actually just stopped reading for a while and let those words run around in my mind and heart. Wow.
Don’t attempt to walk through doors He hasn’t opened yet.
So simple yet so profound.
No need to plan my moves ahead of time as if I was in a chess game. What if? How will that happen? How DO I? Then what? It’s already all figured out.
There will be no checkmate for our King.
After I received a G.K. Chesterton quote twice in one week, I thought about it a while. At first glance, it seems pretty black and white, self-explanatory. But for me, it’s not. It has really caught my attention, and I
want NEED to dissect it for some reason. I wasn’t sure which part of the quote intrigued me the most:
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.
There are so many thoughts in my mind about all this and so many rabbit trails I’m heading down that this will probably not be very organized & clear, but I’ll try. There are a couple of posts along these lines.
The sermon, entitled The Heart of a Seeker, (mentioned here) that referenced this quote emphasized discipleship and the abundant life that Christ promised us – a closer relationship with Jesus. One that we would want to share with others. Discipleship is NOT easy. But even before that is discussed, there’s this little thing of RECEIVING. Just accepting the grace & love of Jesus is not easy. It SHOULD be easy. After all, He gave us a gift. But we MAKE it hard.
According to another sermon message I heard recently, most of us have a very hard time receiving and accepting the love that God wants to give us. Not just receiving and accepting from God, but that most of us have a problem receiving gifts or help from anyone. I actually always thought that it was just me and my issue/problem, but I guess I’m not that “special” to feel/think something that no one else does. Seems like there are more of us in the club than I thought.
Why do we have such a hard time? What do we think? We’re not worthy? We don’t deserve it? Now we’re obligated? We’re too proud? Makes us look weak?
Sure, some gifts are given to obligate us, to manipulate us. But the majority of gifts are given out of love.
As I recently read, “Too many Christians do ministry from a place of their own needs. They do good deeds because it’s a part of the identity they want: I’m that guy who does those things for people. I’m the girl who is always there. I’m the one who saves the day. Similarly others cultivate relationships because they have love-needs that are yet to be met in their lives – needs designed to be met by Christ alone.” Later I read, ” He (God) did not create us out of need but out of His nature. HE DID NOT CREATE US TO GET LOVE FROM US BUT TO GIVE LOVE TO US.” Wow. Double wow.
Then the speaker of the above sermon explained that the Triune is the “hospitable house of Love that we are invited into!” That the fullness of the Spirit is complete wholeness within, at home in God’s love.
So is receiving the love of Christ the difficult part that is left untried? Does it seem too manipulative for people? Is it too hard to accept that God created us to give us love? To just accept His love because it seems “too easy…there must be a catch?”
Exploring such topics as developing a REAL relationship with Jesus, the Christian Ideal, Incarnational Christianity.
***POOF*** That’s the sound of my head exploding!