Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Surrender All

"I Surrender All"
Judson W. Van DeVenter, 1896
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live. 

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
 All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me. 
All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

 In a time of deep emotion, when our feelings are high and nothing too difficult is looming on the horizon, it's pretty easy to say a big "yes" to God. But in the dark times, when nothing is clear or easily understood and everything seems to be at stake it can be oh, so hard to say "yes".

To "let go and let God" isn't so easy for those of us who like to be in control. We might be able to talk real big about how much we trust God, and of how He has complete control of our lives...and even believe it to be true. But when problems arise and life gets overwhelming we find out that WE were still gripping tightly to the controls; and that we don't even know which way to go. Even then, when we know there's nothing else we can do, it's so hard to turn it over to Him. We still rack our brains for any possible solution and drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it all out. 

But when we come to the end of ourselves and we can finally let God take over, we find...peace. More than likely we still have no idea how matters will turn out; but just trusting Him, knowing that He really can work it all out and believing that He has our best interest in mind, makes it all more bearable. If only we would realize this sooner rather than later! If we would do this at the first sign of trouble instead of waiting until everything is in such a mess, we would save ourselves hours of stress and worry. Because, even if nothing turns out like we think it should, we'll know that it's HIS plan. And His plans are always best.

Something that is even harder than turning over our problems to God is handing over control of...ourselves. It goes against everything in our human nature. We try to do it all. To be in control of ourselves and everything around us...and it never works. Unless we allow His Spirit to cleanse us, to mold and make us, we can never be whom He intended us to be.  Everything we try to do and every change we try to make will fail. He alone can truly change us and make us what we ought to be, and He can only do that if we allow Him to. If we surrender to Him.

Surrender is hard. Very hard. But if we will give ourselves, all that we have, our broken dreams, failed plans, and every problem we're dealing with to the One Who has all the answers, the One Who already knows how it'll turn out...we will find peace. He's promised it to us. 

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    I will. Well...I'll try.

    "Do all things without complaining." Philippians 2:14a, NKJV

    "Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused." Numbers 11:1a, NKJV

    I'll admit it. I complain too much.

    The story of the Israelites always convicts me. I've heard preachers speak quite harshly about them; but really, I think we all would have a hard time NOT complaining if we were in their shoes.They had it pretty rough when you think about it. Still, they were punished for their murmuring. That's a little hard to understand until you really consider it. No matter how difficult the circumstances may be, bellyaching doesn't help anything. It bogs down the complainer and everyone in contact with them. It only makes an unpleasant situation worse and, in some cases, can cause serious trouble.

    Complaining can wreak havoc in our homes. Whining, griping, and grumbling, etc. sours the whole atmosphere. Think about it. All it takes is for one child to start whiiiiining and things get real ugly real fast.  Everybody hates whining!

    But I seem to forget about that when something doesn't go MY way. I can be just as guilty of whining as my children.

    So. Having been convicted of this, I make the following resolve. Um...okay, I won't exactly make a resolve. I'm still quite human. So I will try, with God's help:

    When the sink (and countertop) is full of dirty dishes, I will be thankful that we have food to eat and dishes to wash.
    When I'm having a bad hair day, I will be thankful that I have hair.
    When my kids are driving me nuts, I will be thankful that they are healthy enough to do so.
    When I'm exhausted and don't feel like getting out of bed, I will be thankful that I'm still able to get out of bed.
    When I want to complain because I can't get a "moment's peace", I will be thankful that I'm not all alone with no one to talk to.
    When it looks like my home has been vandalized by a band of four wild things, otherwise known as my beloved children, I will be thankful that I have been blessed with children.
    When the dirty laundry seems to be multiplying at the speed of light, I will be thankful that we have plenty of clothes to wear.
    When it's hot and humid, I will be thankful that I do not live in Siberia.
    When I stub my toe, I will be thankful that I have a toe to stub.
    When I dread cleaning the bathroom, I will be thankful that we don't have to use an outhouse.
    And so on and so forth.

    There. I have reprimanded myself, and I will try to be cheerful and un-complaining.

    Oh, great. I forgot the nasty crock pot when I did the dishes, the kids keep tracking dry grass all over the floor, my bed isn't made yet, and I am so SICK and TIRED of the toys EVERYWHERE....  (Sheepish grin...)

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    Hold Me

    We're sleeping soundly when, suddenly, we're awakened by a flash of lightning and the crash of thunder. I wait, smiling, for the sound of little feet pattering down the hall. 1...2...3.... The door opens and in they tumble. "Mommy! It's storming!" And, of course, we get up, spread out blankets and pillows, and let them finish the night in our room so they won't be scared.

    Poor babies! Not one of them is brave when it comes to storms. They're scared at even the thought of one. Being all grown up, I have a pretty good idea that the storms won't hurt us. Oh, a few come along that make me nervous, but not very often. My children however, don't seem to believe me. No matter what I say or how I try to comfort them, they're still afraid.

    And poor little Drew...vacuum cleaners...trains...such scary things! He's absolutely terrified of the vacuum and has in recent months, for some unknown reason, become very afraid of trains. When he hears one coming he stops whatever he's doing and...plugs his ears. Yep. His ears. Like so....--->

    I try to comfort my children, and I do my best to reassure them that they'll be okay. The storm isn't THAT bad. I tell Drew that vacuums and trains might sound scary, but they won't hurt him.

    To me, it's pretty silly and I feel sorry for them. But then I think about myself...and my fears. I'm an honest-to-goodness fraidy-cat. Really.

    Problems and Decisions that I'm facing are big and very real. I'm in a storm. And I'm...scared. And, like Drew, I feel like just plugging my ears and hoping everything goes away.

    I guess this is a very simple and maybe a child-way of looking at things, but I wonder if God feels like that sometimes, when He tries to reassure me like I try to reassure my children...and I don't listen very well. He knows I'll make it through the storm. He knows these things that I'm so afraid of will all turn out okay in the end if I'll just trust Him. He offers comfort and protection from the storm, but I still fret. I'm still afraid. He offers His strength and His peace, but I choose to huddle in fear.

    And He understands.

    He knows I'm only human. I'm His child. And He pities I pity my children.

    He rebukes me, but does it gently.

    And He keeps encouraging me to trust. To rest in Him. And to let Him "Hold Me".

    "Father, thank You for being there...always. Thank You for Your promise to "Hold Me", and to keep me safe in Your strong arms.  Forgive me for my lack of faith! Help me to just leave it all to You. To trust You. Help me to believe that You'll bring me through this storm; and through every storm that comes my way. You understand even my "silly" fears. And You care."

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Welcome to my world!

    It's a beautiful, rainy Saturday! (Yes, I LOVE rainy days--unless I have to get out in them.) The lemon candle is burning (it was supposed to make it smell like I'd just scrubbed the floors...even though I haven't...yet. Instead, it smells like something plastic melted in the dishwasher. Oh, well! ;), the children are quietly occupied for a change, and I'm getting ready to snuggle in my chair with my Bible and a cup of coffee. I can pretend it's not already afternoon.

    I felt like a truly blessed woman this morning as I enjoyed the coziness of our family around the table, laughing together as we ate breakfast. Laughter is such a gift! No wonder the Bible says it's the best medicine. And what a joy it is to be able to spend those moments together. This is what I dreamed of; my own little family to cherish. How I love them all! I'm trying to hold onto these precious, fleeting moments.

    It really is the little things that make up life. I'm afraid that too often I'm guilty of focusing on the "big" things, and I miss too much of what life is all about.

    Speaking of little things...I want God to help me to be more thankful for the things I take for granted. I may not have much in the eyes of the world, but I have everything I need and more. And, most of all, I have a Heavenly Father who cares for me. He holds me in His hand and He knows what is best for me; and that's not "little". That's huge. :)

    Treasures Unseen
    (Ann Ballard, Canaanland Music 1978)
    My home may not look like a castle
    My clothes may be lacking in style
    And if you come sit at my table, a meager supply you might find.

    But Oh, It’s not what you see that makes me a king, makes me a king
    To me, I’ve everything, All that I need, all that I need
    Treasures unseen.
    God made a world filled with beauty
    With things we enjoy everyday
    My secret to hidden possessions
    Is love Him and serve Him this way.
    But Oh, It’s not what you see that makes me a king, makes me a king
    To me, I’ve everything, All that I need, all that I need
    Treasures unseen.
    To me, I’ve everything, All that I need, all that I need,
    Treasures Unseen.