All to Jesus, I surrender.

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.  “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him,  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?  “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.  “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.  “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?  “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Luke 14:26-35 [NASB]

One morning the week before Sarah left, I vividly remember sitting on the porch having my quiet time and being prompted to turn my palms up to the Lord as I prayed a familiar prayer, “all that I am and all that I have, my life and my family,  I surrender to You, use it all for Your glory.”  I had a slight sense of foreboding prior to praying, which is actually what prompted the prayer.  At the time I assumed it was my personal health, well being or physical life that might be impacted.  I think that is a natural assumption as a parent, rather than the very unnatural idea of something terrible happening to our child or children.  However, as I prayed I surrendered everything I held dear to Him, including that which is most precious to me, my children.  It wasn’t the first time I felt led to surrender all in prayer, I had done it many times in the past, each time recognizing the priceless value and weight of the offering.  But each time I surrendered all in the past, like Abraham, my Isaac(s) left the altar with me, physically alive and well.  That is, each time until this time.

I’ve pondered the significance of that specific prayer of total surrender on that specific morning many times since Sarah left.  For three and half months I have not prayed that prayer again.  I came close to praying it when we sent Sophie on Another Mission Trip and I in obedience entrusted her, as well as Katelyn and Kristen, to God.  In my heart and mind, though, there is a difference between entrusting and sacrificially offering or surrendering.  I recognize my inability to protect, preserve and sustain the lives of my children, so I  entrust them to His care, and plead with Him to protect and preserve them as only He can.  In the process of entrusting I recognize His sovereignty and surrender my futile sense of control and my fears to Him.  However, when I with open palms before the Lord offer up my life and all that I treasure, namely my family, to Him, I am symbolically surrendering all on the altar before Him, saying, “take it and do with it whatever You please, for Your glory.”

Katelyn, Kristen, and Sophie are all traveling out of town without us this weekend.  Kristen and Sophie will be going with our student ministry for Fall Retreat.  The students are traveling in charter buses.  They were both uncomfortable with the thought of riding in the bus, not for fear of the bus, but because they are both too raw to sit in a bus for a prolonged period of time, knowing it would trigger the agony of thinking nonstop about the details of what happened to our sweet Sarah.  Kristen’s boyfriend will be driving them to their location, and Katelyn will be riding with her boyfriend’s parents to an out of town wedding.  Fear so easily creeps in as I think about them traveling, especially apart from us.  As I was praying for them today, entrusting them to the Lord once again, I felt that tug, that calling I knew would eventually come my way again.  He was prompting me to place all on the altar once again, to lift my heart, my life, my family, my all to Him in surrender with open hands, palms up.

Today, after three and half months, by His grace alone, I did it.  I moved beyond entrusting my family to Him while pleading for their protection, to praying with palms open before Him, saying, “whatever You choose to do with my family and my life, I surrender all to You, for Your glory.”  My family and I have once again counted the cost, this time through the lens of fiery trials and excruciating pain, and He is still Worthy.  He is worthy of our full trust and our total surrender to His will and working, whatever it may be.  So, with a shattered heart and weary arms and hands, I stand before Him, palms up, saying, “All to Jesus, I surrender.”

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2 [NASB]

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8 thoughts on “All to Jesus, I surrender.

  1. Your words prompted me to surrender those I love most to my Lord again. I have not done that in a long time. Thank you and God bless!

  2. When I look at this family picture, Sarah is set apart…some would say the color of her dress, her fair complexion, but for me, it’s a transcending peace. Then, through your pain and gift with words, I see how God blessed us all with her last message. I know peace may take a new form in your heart, I am just moved that we can see how God prepared a path for that peace. Continued prayers for your precious family.

  3. I Surrender All was sung in worship during the church youth group meeting the first Sunday I returned to church following the stillbirth of my firstborn, Cole, 25 years ago. (My husband and I were serving as counselors for the youth group at that time). I Surrender All was so much harder to sing that morning because it had become the grim reality I would wish upon no other parent. It was no longer a distant, far off possibly and that, of course, left a real impression upon me.

    I’ve lost two more children since then and my surviving daughter has a progressive neuromuscular disease. I’d prefer not to sing that particular song anymore. I expect loss with resignation more than surrender these days. Maybe resignation is a step beyond surrender as it seems surrender is opening your hand to an unexpected possibility while resignation is surrender with a clear expectation of impending loss.

    Regardless of the minute distinctions between surrender and resignation, I know with certainty that not even death can separate us from the love of God. I know that God is faithful. I know that He does not abandon us in fear and sorrow. And I am oh so thankful for these truths and for His presence. I am grateful for the hope that lies within. I may not rejoice in His plans this side of heaven, but I can rejoice in the truth that this is not all there is. I do not fool myself into thinking that what is coming my way won’t hurt, but I can rest in the truth that the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more tears or pain. I can rejoice in the knowledge that reunion day is coming.

    God bless you as you live a life of humility and surrender before the King of kings.

    • Janet, thank you so much for taking time to read my heart and share yours. I started to send you a message earlier this week, but didn’t. I have no doubt your life is very busy and I was reluctant to interject myself. Since you are here, though, I want you to know that on Tuesday my husband sent me your post on Elijah, it was the perfect Word of encouragement and much needed compassion for me in that moment. I had the weariness of Elijah and was crying out exactly as he did. Thank you for encouraging me and ministering to me. I think of you often and will continue to pray for you as the Lord leads. Much love and appreciation from your sister in Christ.

      • Karen, I’m not THAT busy and I’d never think of you as an intrusion. Send me a message anytime!

        I’m so glad to hear that you found compassion and encouragement within the Elijah post. I like to think that we (bereaved parents everywhere) are all reaching back for the next brokenhearted believer and somehow they won’t feel alone and misunderstood. We need to each other, so keep writing!

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