The timing of reading “Anything” and a request presented to me, could have only been God. Would I have surrendered without the coinciding of the reading and the circumstance? Not certain. But I do know God used Jennie’s book to abandon my wants for His desire.
As a reluctant speaker, when the invitation presented itself to be the guest at a ladies weekend conference, I was thankful it appeared I would have an excuse to say ‘no’. My son had written a symphonic piece that was going to debut in concert by a full orchestra and this momma didn’t want to miss the opportunity of being in the audience the night it was going to be performed for the first time. After all, my university aged son was a composer! How could I miss this thrilling evening?
Although the date of this concert was still under debate, the possibility was very high that it would fall on this exact weekend of the ladies conference. Recognizing for one reason or another the school couldn’t host the performance on any other weekend, the dates appeared to match exactly. If I said ‘yes’ to the speaking request, I would most assuredly miss the performance. Certainly the Lord would want me to put family first.
Suddenly lessons from “Anything” began echoing in my mind. I had been shaking my head in agreement over the pages of Jennie’s book. I had “Amen’ed” truths. Tear-stained paragraphs declared my desire to surrender all that God asked of me. Easier agreed to when God wasn’t asking specifics of me.
His Word sounded in my head: “…anyone who loves their son…more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). Son? I thought it was just “father and mother”. Really…son? Not worthy of You Lord?
Falling to my knees, face streaming with tears, I surrendered the ‘anything’ of the performance of my son’s composition. Lord, if You desire I speak at the ladies conference for the weekend…if they somehow found this reluctant speaker who certainly doesn’t advertise or promote…if You want me to go, I’ll go.
Phoning the lady who had sent the speaking request, I told her I’d be delighted to come and then asked the Lord to help the hurt that still remained in my heart. Anythings aren’t easy. (I also asked my husband to make certain the video camera was charged and in good working order.)
About a week later I received an email from my son. He confirmed that the concert had been booked for that very weekend…however…for reasons completely unknown the conductor changed the date to a Tuesday evening, something that had never been done. It would not be the same weekend!! I would be home!!! I wouldn’t have to miss the performance of my son’s composition!!!
I so often believe when we surrender our “anythings”, God desires to see our willing sacrifice. He may or may not do with it what we imagine, but may return even more than our hearts can understand. I let go, and He let me know that this time He would allow both in His divine Sovereign plan. Like Abraham I was willing to surrender my son for the purpose of obedience to God. God took my ‘anything’ and gave me back ‘everything’. To Him be the glory.
I’m finding this releasing of ‘anything’ is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment of opening my hands. Recently I was asked to take on a new ministry role at the church. If a decision had to be made at the moment the request was presented my answer would have been ‘no’. I loved the positions I was currently filling, finding great delight in the ministries with which I was involved. However, the following morning after being presented with the request, I wrote down all my involvements and lifted them in open hands to the Lord, asking Him to give back only what He desired. The story is too long to tell now, but He did decide to remove what I thought was my greatest joy, for this new ministry. I cried. I will probably still cry. But I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this new ‘yes’ was His direction to me. I’m now praying that I will embrace it with excitement, moving forward as I leave the familiar for His foreign amazing!
(I realize I’m just sharing this because God is great and His stories need to be told. Living in Canada I am not eligible to be entered for the prizes.)