I recently had someone tell me, “I love that you and your husband have surrendered to the ministry.” I smiled and thanked her for the encouragement, but my mind was spinning. “Surrendered to the ministry”- such a beautiful and peaceful picture, right? Honestly, when I think of our experiences, our “surrender”, the picture above comes to my mind.
Yes, Matt and I felt a definite calling to the mission field over a year ago. I would love to say that with open hands we quickly surrendered to the calling we knew was being placed on our lives, but that is not what happened. We took that calling and neatly tried to blend it and fit it into what we considered our “normal” life. We dug our heels in deep and convinced ourselves that WE knew what was best and WE could make it work- we could fit God in our little, perfect, pretty box. God had very different plans.
About a month later, Matt was asked to meet with his boss. In a short 15 minutes our lives were turned upside down! In that meeting, Matt was informed that his job was gone; we lived on site, so this also meant that our housing and Matt’s vehicle were gone. God stripped us of our “normal” life. We were trying to fit God into our box, and He tore it wide open! As Proverbs 16:9 states:
“The mind of man plans his way,
but the LORD directs his steps.” (NASB)
We had our plans, but the Lord firmly determined our steps. This was our point of surrender. No, it’s not a pretty story, but it’s our story! And despite the pain and loss that is evident, there is also such a thread of God’s goodness and mercy throughout. How awesome that we serve a God that loves us so much that He will cause us to walk in His statutes (Ezekiel 36:27). We serve a God that grabs and pulls our reigns, even when we stubbornly dig in our heels and resist Him. He tugs those reigns (gently and at times not-so-gently) to lead us to the beautiful plans He has for us.
There can be fear of the unknown, but there is complete peace in loving and trusting in the One who holds the reigns and knows the future He has for us. Yes, it hurt as God stripped our “normal” life right out of our tightly clenched hands! My prayer is that we can all come before God with open hands and with honest hearts, motivated by God’s amazing grace, and cry out: