I’m not quite sure how we’ve reached the beginning of May already! Time seems to be flying past and it’s hard to believe that we’re already a third of the way through the year.
For four months now I have been focussing on the word “surrender” and it has been an interesting journey so far. It is funny to think back to the start of the year and remember how much the idea of surrender terrified me, because over the last few weeks as I have learned to do it more, I have realised that the rewards can be great.
“The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life.”- Mandy Hale
One of the biggest surprises for me so far this year has been God asking me to join with others to be part of a new church plant. When I heard the proposal, it was initially something that I resisted. I didn’t see how I would fit in, it was too risky and too scary, and there were too many unknown factors that I couldn’t control. But then it became clear that it was what God was asking me to do, and so I surrendered.
Last Sunday we began, and, as someone who has struggled a lot with church over the last few years, nothing could have prepared me for how amazing it would be. There was such an atmosphere of love and welcome. There were about thirty people there from tiny babies to people in their 70s and every age group in between, and everyone was valued and included. I was on the verge of tears throughout most of the service because it felt like this was how church should be. I can’t completely explain it, but there was just the sense of God confirming that he had led me to the right place, that this is where I’m meant to be, but also the sense that the struggle I endured to get to this place was necessary and that, with him, nothing is wasted.
The other big challenge to me over the last month has been about surrendering self-protection– taking down my defences and letting people in to a greater degree- and I have tried to be intentional about doing this, to deliberately open up more and seek to deepen relationships with people in this new church. Again, although it has meant facing my fears, it has been so rewarding. I was even able to be honest with the people in my small group about why I had found church hard and why I had been holding back from fully entering in to it. Their response was encouraging- full of love and acceptance- and it was worth the risk of vulnerability to feel understood and to build these deeper connections.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)
I write this to encourage you that God’s ways are better. I find myself now in a place I would never have imagined two months ago, that I would not have chosen myself, but where I am blessed beyond anything I would have expected and where I know God has called me.
I know there will be challenges along the way and that it will not always be easy, but this has increased my faith that God knows what he is doing, that he has a plan for good, and that it is worth laying aside our own agenda, our fears, our pride and our stubbornness to surrender to him.
“No life is more secure than a life surrendered to God.” (Our Daily Bread)