Surrender

I have a place: a place where I go to be by myself, a place where I go to hide away, if only for a minute. {It used to be in the arms of someone I loved, until I realized that places can’t have a beating heart. Beating hearts too often walk away, and sometimes our sweet little fragile souls need consistency}

This is going to sounds strange, but my place is the bathroom floor. It’s clean (I promise), it’s cold, and it’s my spot to go. It’s the floor I lay on when I am feverish. It’s the floor I sit on when I’m trying to relax while doing my hair. It’s the floor I paint my nails on while watching an episode of whatever I’m binging on Netflix. It’s the floor I have slept on too many nights when my body fights a war with itself.

I have cried on that floor when the grip of heartbreak squeezes a little too tight.

I have laid on that floor when I wondered what the world would be without me in it.

It’s floor where I fell on my knees when I finally realized I didn’t want to fight God anymore. 

Do you remember? Do you remember the day you threw your hands in the air and gave it all up?

You lost the facade of “I’m okay.” You gave up your plans, those sweet pretty things that melted in your hands like snow falling from the sky. You gave up your fears and your desires and your hopes and your dreams and your heart and your life. You gave it all up.

I have been sick for a year and a half, and every day I struggle with the fact that God hasn’t healed me yet. It’s exhausting, both being sick and not having any answers as to why I am. I have had to sacrifice so much of myself to whatever illnesses my body is fighting. I have given up relationships, good grades, fantastic job opportunities, countless nights I could spend with my friends, a semester of school, and sometimes I feel like it’s taking away the future I am constantly working for. It sounds like I’m complaining, and I guess I am, but I’m also trying to paint a picture of where I am physically, but more importantly, where I was emotionally. At the very beginning of 2016 I felt like every day I stared up at my ceiling begging God to come and do something in my life. Every night I felt like He was not there, He was not loving, and that I would never be okay again.

But

I couldn’t take the weight my own expectations of what my life should look like, and the day when I finally gave it all up changed everything. Sweet surrender. I gave God all of these plans, even the ones that I thought I had made perfect, but weren’t perfectly working out. I looked at my heart, shattered into pieces, and gave Him that too, despite the fact I didn’t want anyone to have my heart again. I gave Him my fear, which I have a lot of. I am scared of living, dying, changing, staying the same. Somedays I’m even scared to breathe. I had to look all of that fear in the face and give it to the only hero who can truly stand up to my monsters (which I have plenty of).

Two weeks later, I was back home from the school I poured my heart and soul into. If I hadn’t looked at God before I made that journey home and told Him He could have it all, I think the darkness might’ve swallowed me whole. I was in a very, very bad place, but I had absolute faith that God knew what He was doing. That’s all I could hold on to: He knows what He’s doing.

It’s not easy…not at all. Every day is a fight between what I want, and what God needs in my life. Sometimes those things overlap, but sometimes they don’t.

I look up at the sky and scream: what’s wrong with my plans, God? Why wasn’t he good enough for me? Why wasn’t I good enough for him? Why didn’t I get that job? And did my mom really have to get cancer? Why God? What wasn’t enough? And I think He looks down and sees the tears streaming down my face, and knows that I will be okay, despite the pain I am fighting every day. And maybe His version of “okay” looks different from ours, but that’s alright because God won’t give you a fractured plan. He doesn’t offer you a part of His heart. God looks at our souls, our sinful souls, and promises it ALL.

He had the power to create a world without our reckless human hearts. He has the power to wipe us off the planet without a second thought. But because of His great love, He looks at the mess we as a human race are, and He says that He wants us to have everything through Him.

He promises His kingdom to those whose love Him. He sent His perfect son to die the worst death for the worst people. He chose us and continues to choose us, which to me is the very definition of love. He doesn’t give Himself in pieces. He doesn’t keep Himself from our hearts to torture us or to withhold love. He is always here, especially when we cry out to Him. Even when we can’t feel Him. In the midst of the moments when we feel furthest from Him because our life looks a whole lot different than the reality we thought we created, He asks us “when will you look at your life and let ME be the writer of your story?”

That phrase hit me in February, before the worst part of the storm, before the moment of surrender. I didn’t realize it then, but this was not a random question for a random person: God was asking me that question. Was I willing to give up my grip on my plan, to open my hands for His plan?

The greatest thing God has taught me, and the greatest thing I could possibly try to share with you, is to walk through life with open hands and let Him tell your story

I have had a lot of doors close that I never expected to. God does that sometimes: He takes away from things we believe are good, and brings us to things He knows are better. But often we don’t believe that what’s next will be better. We don’t understand that God has ways that are unknown to us. I find myself looking at my life sometimes and wondering why did that particular part of my life have to go away? God often doesn’t answer that question, and I think we just have to come to terms with our human hearts and acknowledge that sometimes things just don’t make sense. God is going to slam some doors in your face. It’s hard, it sucks, and sometimes it breaks our hearts, but it’s going to happen.

He will also open some doors you didn’t even know existed. He has plans for us that far surpass anything we could imagine. He loves us, He loves us so much that He gave His flesh and blood son to take away the sin that separated us from Him. That’s an indisputable love.

You have to be willing to walk around life with your hands open and ready. I didn’t know what opened and ready was until… now. Until I realized that I was ready for whatever God had planned. And I am ready. I’ve had some doors shut that I never expected to close. There have been some things I lost that I still struggle with letting go of. But there is so much hope I carry around (even on the bad days) that God is going to show up no matter what.

God doesn’t promise us the life we think we want, He promises the life He knows we need. If I wasn’t going through these things, I wouldn’t be writing. And I write every single word for the glory of God, but also in hopes that someone who is going through something scary similar to what I am knows that there is hope. Babe, there is hope.

You’ve got to see the sweetness of surrender. You have to learn that things are not going to work out how you’ve planned it, and it sucks but it also doesn’t. Learn how to throw your hands into the air and give it all to Him. Dance and be free in love.

The sun doesn’t have to worry about anything but shining, and you are the sun. You are bright and fiery and passionate and warm, and your job is to shine. So don’t worry about anything except shining. Let His light be bright.

I can’t fight Him anymore. I have tried to push what I want to happen to the forefront, instead of being receptive to what He knows will happen, what He knows is best. Life looks a whole lot different when You’ve created the heavens and the earth, while we stare at the mountains and gasp at their vastness. You can’t fight anymore either, sweet soul. It’s exhausting and you deserve a life of sunshine and smiles and cups of coffee, not a life that revolves around sleep that will never rest your tired bones. You will never be whole in your plans, but only in the fullness of His plans for you. Being right doesn’t compare to the sweetness of being His. 

You are alive. You are here. Be here. Be small and big. Be everything your heart was created for, and be the walking love letter you are. Be as radiant as I know you are. And never believe the lie that you are not deeply loved.

Each breath I breathe is the breath of sweet surrender. Lord, your plan will always be better than mine.

Surrendered in love,

Em

“My heart beating, my soul breathing, I found my life when I laid it down.” Hillsong United

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