Surrender and Redemption
God’s love is like a powerful, strong force. He is zealous for His children. He will go to the ends of the earth to save you. Yet, when He comes, His voice is the gentlest of whispers.
I was lost. I didn’t know which way to turn. I had just made the biggest mistake in my life. Yet, I noticed that I felt numb. For somebody who is known to be emotional, I felt nothing. It wasn’t just an emotional numb, it was a spiritual numbness. I had gone too far, crossed a huge line. I could feel the connection with the Lord stop. That’s when I knew something had to change.
Thankfully God was gracious enough to have a mentor in place at that time for me. I called her and confessed my sin to her. I told her the depravity I was feeling and the fear of the numbness I had felt. Even though emotionally I didn’t feel like I cared at that point, I knew spiritually and mentally that I wanted to do something to get back with the Lord. How did I go about restoring that relationship?
She told me I had to surrender. I was going through the process of becoming a full time missionary, while also heavily invested in an unhealthy relationship, though I wasn’t willing to see it at the time. She told me I needed to lay it all down before the Lord, surrender everything, and let Him decide what He was going to do with me and all that was happening.
I had a choice before me; one much bigger than I could choose on my own. Canceling everything I had that week, I sat in confession, surrender, and silence as I sought the Lord. It was in that moment that I realized the weight of everything I could lose that I loved – that I thought identified who I was. I fasted, I prayed, I wept … and I waited.
I read through Psalm 51:1-17, and asked the Lord to break my heart again for Him:
“Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.(emphasis added)”
I understood that I was a child of God and that my sins were forgiven. I understood that His grace was sufficient. Thankfully, the Spirit dwelt within me and could not be removed because of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, I also knew that I needed to allow God to discipline me in order to grow and mend the relationship I had injured between the Him and I. So there I sat, arms open, heart now vulnerable and broken, willing to let it all go.
I had to make a very difficult call to the mission board and resign my candidacy. I stayed in the relationship and worked at trying to mend it for another year or so, but eventually gave that up as well. In full surrender to the Lord, whom I love more than anything else, I waited with only ashes in my hands. I had nothing to offer Him but a broken heart and an empty life. I thought I had lost all purpose and identity.
God’s best workmanship started with ashes in the garden of Eden. “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7).
God’s love met me in that moment and transformed my life from the ashes that it was to something beautiful once again. He reminded me of His love, grace, and power in my life. Little by little He directed my path to a beautiful marriage with Michael. He gave me jobs that I could show Jesus’ love to others and help to make a difference in their lives. He restored family, my faith, and my life bit by bit.
God met me in a hard, broken, desert place. His gentle whispers spoke to my wounded heart, and His fierce love restored my soul.
No one is too far from God’s grace and mercy to not find redemption for their lives. If you’ve done something that you’re ashamed of and afraid to tell anyone about, turn to God. Ask Him to show you who it’s safe to share with. Share your story with that person. Pray together, and walk through the process of redemption with Jesus. He bled and died for you. He’s not going to leave you broken. He wants to restore you and renew hope within you.
But, the choice is yours. Will you surrender yourself back to Him? Will you settle your soul down enough to listen to His gentle whispers? Will you allow the power of the Most High God to call you back into a good relationship with Him? I pray you make that choice today.