When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.
Years ago, when I began to follow Jesus, and I was young and fresh and new in that commitment, someone close to me reminded me to "count the cost" of my decision--
To count the cost in my day-to day-choices,
To count the cost because the cost to Jesus had been so great,
To count the cost because following Jesus would certainly mean persecution and sacrifice and surrender.
And I realized that the Christian life is one of giving, of offering up, of dying to myself and crucifying my flesh daily.
When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
It is only as we go on in a life of surrender that the blessed joy of pouring forth upon Him our costly things dawns on us. The giving sets free, as has been well said, a spring of conscious love, and the love, in its turn, inspires to fresh giving; and though the pain involved is still pain, such a strange sweetness becomes interwoven with it that we wonder whether heaven can be perfect without the possibility of suffering loss for Him.
Surrender at the moment, is a dying, but it ultimately brings life, in the richest and truest and most absolute sense.
Surrender brings JOY, deep, unfathomable joy, and a peace that is indescribable.
...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
We follow Jesus when we surrender... We follow Him into suffering and loss, but ultimately, we follow Him into JOY --"unspeakable and full of glory." (I Peter 1:8)
I asked the Lord to come into my heart as a little girl, but it was not until I was a teenager that I began to "put on Christ," and to experience the intimacy of love and grace with my Savior.
The trials came. Deep and strong and severe. Only because of His grace, I held on to the Lord as He held on to me.
As a senior in high school, academics were very important to me, although the Lord had been weaning my heart away from a self-serving love for them.
In the Fall/Winter of my Senior year, I applied to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, as well as to various other schools. My "dream" was to attend there. But when I received my acceptance letter to that University with a scholarship as well as to other schools, an indescribable tugging from the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. The more I prayed and sought the Lord, the more I believed that He was telling me not to attend college.
I struggled with this decision, prayed, asked counsel, and pleaded with the Lord for His direction. Finally, I became convinced that this was how the Lord was directing me--not because attending college was wrong or sinful--I surrendered college only because this was how the Lord was directing me at the time. It was painful in ways that I cannot describe. It was my beloved Isaac, and I laid it on the altar and raised the knife. Surrendering college was a pivotal point in my life, and it was costly.
But it was that decision--surrendering the thing that was most important to me at the time, that drew me near to Jesus in a beautiful, indescribable way. I have no regrets about the decision not to attend college, because I believe so strongly that the Lord spoke to me and used this act of obedience in my life.
In the years following that decision, I wrote, learned to play the piano, learned to sew and knit and worked in various care-giving, nanny, and food-service jobs.
I married my husband in 2010 (you can read that story HERE) and we have been blessed with two precious gifts from God--a daughter, Deborah Naomi, and a son, Elisha Job. Our desire is to bring them up in the ways of the Lord and that their hearts would be knit to Him in joy and surrender.
I am grateful to the Lord for His kindness and grace toward me and I want to share about Him on this blog and to encourage other believers to experience the joy of surrender and the blessing of living within His will.
It is a daily walk, a daily, learning and falling and struggling and clinging to His grace.
It is a pilgrimage that each one of us is on, and that we share together as fellow pilgrims and sojourners.
I am so glad that you joined me here... May we press on to know Him and may His love and joy fill our hearts with hope. May He give us His peace and strength to each of us and may we lift each other up in prayer...