Miriam-Webster defines surrender a few ways-
1.To yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
2.To give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another
Foster Care has taught me a whole host of things. But the last few weeks the word surrender has been on my heart. I wake up in the middle of the night and it’s like I can see the word, feel it in my soul.
Control, or really lack thereof, and not knowing the long term plan with L & B case plan has been one of the hardest parts of foster care for me. The true, or worldly, definition of surrender are accurate but it didn’t give me this overwhelming feeling of peace. I know that I am more or less powerless to the “system”. That Sean and I are here first and foremost to advocate for L & B, so we’re doing the “in favor” part of the second definition. But I knew there had to be more. I could just feel it. I had to give it all to the Lord. My worries. My plans. My anxieties. My reservations. Everything. I had to learn that those were “mine”, I was carrying them. God has never asked me to carry these things.
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
But what God has asked of me is to give it all over to Him. And truly, nothing sounds better.
I’ve learned very quickly that motherhood can be quite lonely. Sean is an absolute dreamboat of a husband and dad, but that doesn’t negate the feelings we moms feel. And being a foster momma is hard. Like really hard. Because while we have the best support system, no one understands what it’s like to love these two perfect babes but not know how much longer you’ll get to be their home. And while that’s tough that’s the nature of the beast. So, I have 2 choices. I can fret and worry about what the future could be or I can praise Jesus for giving us these past 11 months and today. I have to tell you, for a really long time I was living in the first option. I was so caught up on the “what ifs”, “somedays” and “maybes” that I was missing out on the NOW. My lack of surrender was stealing my joy! I wasn’t able to see all the beautiful things that were happening in my home every day because I was so consumed of not being in control. But that’s the thing, I didn’t have control. All I had was anxiety. But that’s not the life God wants me to live. He wants me and you to have lives so full of joy and love and peace; but first we must surrender. It’s the only way. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
A few weeks ago I had truly had a mental breakdown in our dining room with Sean and the next morning in staff meeting our preacher lead a study on Psalm 23; such a familiar passage. I remember so vividly my mom teaching my brother and me that passage as young children. Our rooms were across the hall from each other and she would stand in between our rooms and each week we would learn a small section of the chapter. Week after week building on what we had learned the weeks before until we eventually learned all of Psalm 23. So when our study for the meeting was that passage it was just what my heart needed; a little wink straight from the Lord.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousnes
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Friends. Let it go. From one Type-A momma to another. Give it up. I’ve fallen to my knees at the foot of the cross just releasing all the pressure and stress that comes from gripping so incredibly tight to my plan and my will. But that’s not what our Savior want for us. God WANTS our surrender. Not because He wants us to be these people walking around with no free will or thoughts. He wants us to surrender because He loves us. He wants us to live lives full of goodness and peace and we cant have that when we refuse to give it to Jesus. I want, I NEED, a soul restored in Jesus. Because it’s not about me. Foster Care isn’t about Sean and I “keeping” L & B. It isn’t about their case plan. Foster Care is about one thing. Being a safe, loving Christ filled place to land for whatever child God bring into our lives. And the second I released my desires and anxieties and truly surrendered my heart, mind and actions to the Lord and His will my soul was restored.
One night B was just having a really hard time getting comfy and going to sleep. New teeth were coming through and he was just not a happy bub. I prayed that God would settle him, let him know and feel safe and loved and that he would be able to get some rest. The song “I Surrender All” came to mind…
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me Jesus take me now
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
We rocked, I sang, and after a few seconds I could feel his body relax. It was what we both needed.
Surrender. Letting go of our own desire to be in control and letting God, our father, guide us; and with that comes great rest for our soul and a peace-filled heart.