Today I'm praying for/about:

Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again

- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him

- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school

- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships

- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld

- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.

Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wrestling With Surrender

I'm homesick.  I have been for a long time.  I grew up about an hour from Seattle in western Washington and my whole family is still there.  I left home in November of 1997 and except for moving back for a year in 2006, I haven't even visited yearly during the last 14 years.  Thanks to Facebook I keep in touch with the majority of my family and childhood friends and I talk with my mom daily but I miss them terribly.  I also miss the scenery and climate (yes, even the rain and gloom!).  If you've never visited there I highly recommend it someday; I've traveled a lot in 14 years and I believe it's the most beautiful place I've ever lived (the second would have to be the Yorkshire Dales).  Furthermore, I grew up spending a lot of time with extended family.  We spent many a weekend on my late grandparents property riding bikes or horses with our cousins, playing softball games in the pasture or frisbee 500 in the driveway.  My kids asked the other day "What are 'cousins'?"  I didn't know how to explain (especially since they're actually second cousins!)  

Because I don't want my husband to feel bad for "keeping me away" I have been praying that God would take away this desire for Him to eventually call us back there.  When I solemnly shared with my husband that God had not done so he suggested that instead of praying for God to take away my homesickness that I instead pray for joy right where I am.

That's when the tears broke loose...  He's right.  I didn't cry about praying for joy though; I cried because of the revelation I had in that moment.  I realized that while I was serving in the Navy that everything was "for a time" (basic training, schools, each assignment, etc.) that was usually pre-determined.  Now that we're in ministry I'm realizing that it's all indefinite.  We don't know where, when or for how long God will take (or leave) us anywhere.  I realized He may never lead us back to Washington.  I realized that it's not just the little, everyday things that God asks us to surrender.  

There's several scripture passages that come to mind lately.  One is Abraham laying Isaac on the altar... oh how he must have felt leading up to the moment where the ram appeared!  I also think about all the times Jesus told people what they would have to leave behind or sacrifice to really follow Him (family, friends, careers, comforts of home, all that was familiar)...  I think I can relate.  It's so much easier to say "I want what God wants" but there's a very painful battle that we each face when the proverbial rubber meets the road.  Do we truly want what God wants?  Are we fully ready to surrender all?  Born with sinful hearts every one of us has to make the choice to die to our desires; even ones that seem healthy.

Who knows but God whether He will send us back to the west coast some day...  For the sake of peace though, since it is not now, I have to hand it over, being careful, of course, of that fine line between true, joy-filled surrender and fatalistic, begrudging pessimism reminiscent of a child's tantrum.  I think of a situation the other day when a particular toy was the source of conflict between my boys.  When I asked for the toy to be handed over the boy in possession threw it towards me with an attitudinal "Fine!  Take it; you don't want me to have anything!"  Which, of course, is not true but oh how our sinful hearts have a propensity for selfishness!

What has God been asking you to surrender?  Is it pride?  Control?  Comfort?  Fear?  A relationship (or lack of one)?  Something (or someone) else?  None are ours to withhold, though the enemy will tell you otherwise.  Pray today that God will show you where you are keeping something back and hindering your ability to serve Him in the full measure of your capacity.  What is the one thing that you fear would turn your world upside down if He takes away or fails to grant?  That's your "Isaac".   Do not, however, fear the altar, for freedom, blessing and a deeper measure of faith await you there.

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