The Dance of Grace & Trust

As my daughter creeps closer and closer to six months old, I get more excited and more freaked out. You see, I had a goal of having her solely breastfed for her first six months. In those early weeks I thought, “there is no way in heck I can survive this for SIX MONTHS.” But a wise friend told me (even before I had my baby girl), “It’s hard, just take it a day at a time. Don’t set up big goals, set tiny ones. I’m going to nurse her this week.” Nursing got easier and easier as I developed the procedures that worked for us and as I figured out what accessories I needed or didn’t need. And here we are….the end of full-time breastfeeding is in sight.

I can NOT wait until her daddy can feed her and I’m not her only source of sustenance and we can watch her experience new foods and sit at the table with us. I have a freezer full of pumped breastmilk and we taught her to use a bottle around 8 weeks. I kept offering to Kevin that I could share the feeding with him and a bottle. But he knew how well things were going and how much I had desired this gift. So he waited.

And I’m so stoked that we made it. But I am sad to see this special season of breastfeeding intimacy transition to something new. It’s been so sweet; most of the time I take it for granted. Lord Jesus, I am so thankful for this gift that was not a given. Thank you for bringing in my milk and allowing her the skill the nurse well and plumping her right up. I am so thankful.

Another paradox of motherhood, right? 

But here’s the real confession: I’m freaked out by what may or may not happen once I ease back on nursing.

I know my fertility will (maybe, probably, perhaps, who knows…) return once I’m not breastfeeding ’round the clock. I know I could conceivably get pregnant (…conceivably….ha. that’s punny…) in the coming months. And part of me thinks, “FOR THE LOVE, I just want to be normal again! I don’t want to be pregnant or nursing or a storehouse of uncontrollable hormones!” (I suppose that last one happens regardless…) I can’t fathom going through that whole ordeal again, so soon. Pregnancy was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Pregnancy is no joke.

But the other part of me thinks, “What if I can’t get pregnant? I’m not getting any younger and I have endometriosis and a whole bunch of other fertility issues and time is of the essence. And what if?” How long do we wait this next time before calling it quits?

So yeah, I want to get pregnant like right now…in the next few months. I would love to have babies close in age. And we always said that once we started a family, we wouldn’t prevent pregnancies until we’re “done.” I don’t want to live once again in the fear of monthly cycles and wondering and waiting and trying to not get all wrapped up in the hope and expectation for the future.

It’s hard to believe that I could move from one worry to another so quickly, despite the glorious answer to prayer dozing in her crib down the hall. 

And so I pray:

Holy Father, giver and sustainer of life, grant that I may know your perfect peace and trust in your infinite wisdom. Keep my mind fixed on the work of your kingdom and content with the gift of “today.”

Amen.

Our Church

One of my friends sent me a birthday text that included encouragement of what I’d “accomplished” in my 30 years. She listed “several flourished ministries” and I stopped dead in my tracks, thanking God for the privilege of being a part of his Kingdom Work.

Last Sunday we were excited to attend our former church family in Albion, New York. It was so glorious to be back in the presence of friends-turned-family, to feel the love and knowingness that hadn’t faded because of time or space. Being in that town makes me smile. Eating at that Tim Horton’s, walking down Main Street and waving to passers-by, walking through the halls of that familiar church building. I loved every minute, every conversation, every hug.

And I have to be completely honest when I say I expected to feel some discontentment rising up in my heart during that weekend. For we loved that place and those people fiercely and it was terribly hard to leave. The last year and a half in full time, lead-pastoral ministry has been intense for the Eccles. It’s a big job with a steep learning curve. I thought I’d want to quit and go back to my “happy place.”

But even as I braced myself for the ride home when I might cry wishing I could stay in My Albion, I found that the Lord had already laid seeds in my heart for something totally unexpected – deep contentment, true joy, and resonating peace. As we drive those many turnpike miles, Kevin and I could hardly stop talking about all the things we love about our church, Our Monroe. We had truly missed worshiping with our congregation that Sunday. We realized we truly love everything about Monroe FMC.

And I was somehow surprised that God had done this work. I was surprised that I still felt all the love and affection for my New York church while feeling eagerness and deep connection with my Michigan church. It’s hard for a pastor’s wife to feel truly safe among her congregation. There’s this unspoken expectation that our family should be better and holier than others, that we should have everything all together. It’s hard to know who to trust and who to talk to because your church people are somehow supposed to be those under your shepherding leadership, but also those with whom you share life authentically. It’s a tricky situation. So to have prayer gatherings where tears are shed, life’s hard stories are shared, meaningful hugs are exchanged…it’s like taking a deep breath of fresh air. It’s what Church is supposed to be. And I get to be a part of a growing congregation that is learning this true-life kind of Christianity.

These people know me. I mean, for Pete’s sake I received peanut butter M&Ms, Reese’s cups, Chai Tea, a Nintendo 64, music note earrings, and KALE for my birthday. Those are my favorite things ever. To be known is every heart’s desire. And to be known by the congregation to which you were called to shepherd…THAT is a true blessing. 

 

Always Aware

My dear, sweet girl,

There is so much about pregnancy that no amount of research or real-talk with friends can prepare you for. I knew you would kick and squirm now and then. I had seen pictures or videos of the baby’s movements in mother’s belly. But I never imagined how incredible your motions would feel inside of me. It’s absolutely indescribable. It’s a holy thing, really. God…creating life…knitting you together…plumping you up…choosing me to keep you safe all these months. 

As your movements get super intense (to the point of you startling me now and then) I wish I could share the experience with others…especially with your dad. No one gets to see your kicks or feel you move or anticipate your turns like I do. But this journey is just for you and me, Little Girl. It’s a beautiful, quiet journey…a sort of sweet loneliness.

And I’ve finally come to a place of acceptance with the physical changes in my body. Things have “balanced” out as you’ve made your presence known to all who look at me. I appear decidedly pregnant and not awkwardly chubby. I like that. And even now God is refining my own self-image, preparing me for what my appearance may or may not be after giving birth. He is teaching me grace. The beauty of freedom and peace and confidence.

So I will carry you with confidence.  I will carry you with joy. 

We have just 8 (ish) weeks left in this intimate setting, Child. A part of me cannot wait for next step – meeting you face to face, holding you in my arms. But the other part of me knows I will never get this opportunity again; this chance of intimacy between you and I; this knowing and feeling of you in my inmost being. So I will cherish the next weeks, for they will certainly go by too quickly. Even as my belly (and ankles) swell with you, Child, as positions get uncomfortable and complaints lengthen…I will remember. I will choose joy. I will be a vessel worthy of carrying you until the Lord says, Now.

All my love,

Your mama

 

Teaching Years

Dear Child of Ours,

I’ve been quiet lately, at a loss for words. Two months have passed since the adoption fell through. I had been waiting for my breaking point, waiting for the deluge of tears, waiting to collapse into a deep depression. I braced myself for this heartbreak. And it was was heartbreaking. We questioned God, wondering what in the world He was up to, why would He bring us through this situation and seemingly leave us in the dust? So many people who’ve been in this with us (for years now) were just as broken. They, too, wanted to know God’s end-game.

And just as He’s used these last five years of infertility to transform me, God has used this adoption loss to draw me closer to Him. The breaking point never came. The Holy One was lifting me up, holding me close, granting me divine comfort. My heart turned towards that young mother and the heartbreak she was experiencing. The attitude I was developing was not of my own will. My humanness wanted to be angry, bitter, depressed, and despondent. But God’s Spirit invaded my own and developed peace, contentment, prayer, and trust. That is NOT me. All the glory be to God!

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:6

And it took a friend’s comment and counselor’s insight to make me realize what God was doing in my life.  I am so thankful for the wisdom of caring people in my life who have continually spoken truth to me. Through this journey, and in particular over the last few months, I have been showered with sincere love, deep concern, honest discernment, and steadfast prayers. Let me just say to each one of those people – thank you.

And to you, Child, I want you to know that I am thankful for the years of infertility. Yes, thankful. I am thankful for 7 years of marriage, for 5 years of barren hopefulness. I am thankful for the steadfast spiritual disciplines God has developed in me out of the intense need for His presence. I am thankful for the new-found confidence I’ve rooted in Christ. I’m thankful to be following God’s call to ordained ministry, pursuing Holy Yoga training, believing He is leading me to the fulfillment of His great purpose. The Lord has been faithful, showering me with grace. He has shown me a glimpse of the me He created me to be, and He has so much more for me than I ever imagined for myself. These years have given me the time to become.

I still don’t know what the future holds, Child.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Philippians 4:12-13 (The Message)

Feeling the Love

Dear God,

We were well-loved today. Thank you for the evidence of your truths from Jeremiah 31:2-3.

Thus says the Lord:
“The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

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These were reminders of your faithfulness in the midst of these wilderness days:

1. A gift card to Lisa Leonard Designs (in that beautiful “you am loved” envelope.) This was one of the most thoughtful gifts I could possibly receive. Would you believe that one of my dear friends remembered a blog post I wrote in January 2013, where I shared the story of a necklace? In August 2011, I had wanted to use my original Lisa Leonard gift card for a necklace with my baby’s initial on it. But in an act of surrender, I ordered a necklace with only mine and Kevin’s names. Today, this gift card was given to me to replace that original one, for the intent of adding that child’s name, believing God will do this one day.

2. Two different cards from our Albion family, sharing heartfelt concerns and prayers for us during this time of hurting and waiting on God. In one of the notes was an incredible message:

I have received no enlightenment as to how and why God works as he does. But this very small check represents my confidence in His goodness and perfect plan for your lives. 

I am encouraged by the confidence others are having in God’s plan for our lives. He is only good.

3. Another ($200!) donation to our adoption fundraiser. Thankful for friends who aren’t giving up on us or on our God.

4. Deep, meaningful phone conversations with our grandparents. Kevin and I spent about 20 minutes talking with Grandma Arvidson then Grandma & Grandpa Eccles and then Grandma Simmons. Our family is incredibly blessed to be led by these rooted God-followers. Their examples of faith mean so much for us. Their support and sharing in our heartbreak is soul-stirring for us.


 

I could believe the lie that this adoption didn’t go through, God must not love you, or maybe He’s punishing you. But, God, I am experiencing your lavish love even now. Just as you told Hosea to pursue Gomer, just as you pursued your people Israel and called them to freedom in you.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”

Hosea 2:14

I love you, too, God. And I’m hearing your tender voice even in this wilderness.

Favor and Honor

Dear Child of Mine,

Sometimes I get scared of how life will change when you come. I realize what a great gift these almost-seven years are, just your Dad and me. We can come and go as we please. We can go on dates and visit friends or host a gathering without thinking of how it will affect you. I don’t have to worry about how my body will change when I become a mother, struggling to let go of any pretense that it’s “mine” in the first place.  I can go for runs, practice yoga, study Scripture, take a nap, go for coffee…whenever I desire. It’s a wonderful freedom and I’m so thankful for it.

But I want you, more than anything. How can both things be true worry and want? I don’t know but they are. God is constantly reassuring me, soothing my fears, and reminding me he will equip me for whatever task lay ahead.

This morning in my time alone with the Lord, I read a passage from Psalms that a good friend recommended for me.

Psalm 84:11-12

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

This verse struck me as heartbreaking and true. It is hard to squelch thoughts that flicker in the back of my brain. Why am I barren? Is God punishing me? Am I not good enough? Do I just need to “get over it?” I know in the depths of my being that none of those statements are true. But it’s hard to read “No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly” and not question why I can’t have babies. Am I not righteous enough?

Only by the grace of God are any of us called “righteous.” That alone proves His goodness, bestowing favor and honor on all who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus. 01_23_15 Favor and Honor

And through these months of longing and waiting for you, Child, I have learned that God’s good gifts are being poured out on me. In each dark day, Jesus shines.

It is because of this time of barrenness that I have accepted the lifelong call to ordained pastoral ministry. I finally listened, I finally agreed with God. I finally said, “yes.”

It is through these dark years that I’ve sought after the Lord with such fervor that I could never have mustered under sunnier circumstances. 

It was during our years of infertility, that your daddy and I learned to minister together and recognized how our calls to ordination are so beautifully intertwined.

It was this first season of marriage, nearly seven years of just us, that we learned how to be married. We learned how to love, how to forgive, how to serve, how to woo, how to never stop learning.

It has been these years that brought us deep into relationships with countless teenagers. The glories of youth ministry are in these relationships. Connections that are forged in the rocky waters of adolescence and proving to sustain through time.


So, Child, I am thankful. And I am longing. And I am asking the Lord that you would be the next “good thing” the Lord bestows on us.

In His righteousness,
Mama

Why So Quiet?

Dear Child of Mine,

I’ve thought of writing to you many times over the past two months. They’ve been very full weeks, traveling, making big decisions, spending time with people we love. But my absence isn’t due to my busy schedule. I easily could have carved out time to share my life with you. I think I’ve been avoiding our little correspondence due to my psychological efforts to convince myself that I am doing just fine without you.

I know I’ve confessed that at times in my life my need to have children had risen to an unhealthy level. Over the past few years, God has been revealing to me my worth as an individual, my value as his creation, my unique calling and contributions in this world. I’m certain these lessons will continue to transform me. I’m just so thankful to finally be listening to these messages from my Father.

Your dad and I have been up and down, back and forth on topics like infertility treatments, adoption and foster care. We’ve talked for hours trying to determine the “right” thing to do. Everyone has opinions and stories and advice to share. But in the end, it’s Kevin and Melanie who have to make the call. And thus far, no matter how much we really want to start a family, we have not heard the “yes” from God. So we continue to wait. We wait with hope while we go about the rest of our lives, knowing we can’t be inactive and unresponsive while we anticipate getting what we want (you!)

Wait Expectantly

Each day brings new thoughts and conversations, new prayers and stirring in our spirits. We’ve had conversations with someone one day only to be heard saying the exact opposite thing the next. Somehow both stories are true. Being content in our being means following what we discern to be God’s leading day by day by d a y by d a y. For a girl who just wants to make a plan and know it’s the right plan and then stick to the plan at all costs, this is gut-wrenchingly hard. To onlookers, I’m sure we seem indecisive and perhaps immature. At least that’s what I’m afraid people are thinking. I worry too much about what people are thinking.

To say yes to God’s call requires saying no to our own voice and sometimes to the voices of persons and things we love.

-Rueben P Job, Guide to Prayer

Some days I feel content with no children and think I could live forever just the two of us.

But other days I’m on the floor in a pile of tears and tissues, crying in anguish for what I may never have but so desperately desire.

How can these both be true? I have no idea. But they are.

I have attempted to capitalize on that feeling of peace and contentment, stomping down emotion and convincing myself that the reality is I don’t care whether or not I ever have children.

But that’s just not true.

Some days God gives me a grace, a break from the emotion, an other-worldly peace. I am so thankful for those days. But I’m coming to grips with the reality that this same good God has also placed a marker on my soul, calling me to motherhood. It’s ok to have these desires. It’s ok to not pursue any forms of child-bearing until we’re certain God’s okayed it. It’s ok, it’s beautiful even, to finally recognize that I can have two callings: motherhood and ministry.

I’ll have to give you the latest “ministry” update another time. But I just wanted you to know, Child, that we’re still waiting.

Come quickly,

Mama

 

Downsizing Lessons

Over the past five and a half years of marriage, we’ve lived in five different homes. Each one has had it’s own purpose, it’s own cost of living, it’s own quirks, it’s own redeeming qualities. Some of these moves have been necessitated by life’s circumstances, but we’ve learned lessons in each move.
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Immediately following our honeymoon in May 2008, we moved into a loft in the city of Detroit. Sounds rather fancy and romantic, doesn’t it? It was quite a nice apartment in a reasonably safe, gated complex, but it was in the heart of the city. And I was a naive girl from the suburbs.

Every day, your dad and I would haul our bikes down three flights of stairs and bike 4 miles to his chemistry building at Wayne State University. I would then turn around and bike home, at lightning speed and lock myself in my apartment for the next 9 hours.

I tried desperately to get a job, any job. But it was the summer of the stock market plummeting and even McDonald’s wouldn’t hire me. Perhaps my newly-earned Bachelor’s degree overqualified me. Or maybe I just didn’t fit in.

After paying for our pricey apartment, our health insurance, our car insurance, our Comcast (tv/cable), we had just enough money for the potatoes and rice we ate for most meals. I didn’t even buy milk – a childhood staple of mine – because it was $3.99 a gallon.

>>>Looking back, we now know we shouldn’t have picked the loft apartment. We easily could have lived in a smaller space, a more cost-effective space. Most of our belongings were unnecessary, quite frankly. Desirable, maybe, but it is not fiscally responsible to pay for a larger home in order to fit all of your stuff.

>>>We didn’t need  health insurance, at least with the state of finances at that time.

>>>We certainly should have done without the cable portion of our Comcast bill. Once again, this was a case of, “But I’ve always had cable my whole life so I simply can’t imagine living without it.” But that’s simply not true.

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When we moved into the Monroe FMC parsonage just five months later, our possessions suddenly seemed meager. This was a 2000 square foot, four bedroom, 2-1/2 bath, full basement home. OF COURSE we didn’t own enough to fill the space. But over the next 3 years, thanks to friends, family, garage sales and Craigslist, we managed to fill all of the rooms.

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It was nice, having 3 spare bedrooms and plenty of space to entertain a group of 28 for Thanksgiving. It was awesome, actually. But the cost to heat and cool, and electrify that home was extremely high. And again, when it came time to pack the moving truck in July 2011, we realized how much STUFF we had accumulated.

We sold a lot of excess furniture and other various possessions at a successful yard sale, but we still managed to require the LARGEST trailer UHaul offered. For two people, Child, that’s just ridiculous. Honestly, I’m kind of ashamed, looking back. The amount of STUFF (are you catching a theme, here?? stuff…) that I was positively convinced I could not live without was quite ridiculous.

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We arrived at our new dwelling in Albion, NY with our oversized  truck full of STUFF and as the church movers helped unload its contents, there were moments of panic. “There is no way we’re going to be able to fit everything in this house!

Front of Platt St. House

Now, mind you, this house was a tiny compared to most American’s standard of living, but it still had a decent sized bedroom and bathroom, a tiny guest room, another room I would use as a piano studio, yet another  room Kevin would make into his office, a dank basement with storage and washer/dryer, and a decent sized kitchen, dining room and living room. Nothing to complain about.

But it felt so tight compared to our sprawling ranch in Monroe.

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The next two years fell into a nice rhythm in our cozy, two story home. It did feel small when we had 15 teenagers squished into the living room or if we hosted friends or family. But most days it felt too big. After many conversations about our STUFF, I finally started realizing how much excess there really was in my life. Why was I unwilling to part with these items – particularly those that sat in storage for the past 2 years?

And so I began sorting through our basement boxes, brushing away cobwebs and discovering a few lost treasures. But mostly, I found things I simply didn’t need. I went through our closets and we both got rid of clothes that were too worn or too abundant or too infrequently used. (I definitely do not need to hoard clothes. I love Goodwill-ing every 3 months or so and refreshing my closet. Which leaves plenty of items up for grabs for someone else. It’s a beautiful thing and it only costs $30 or so.)

With that house up for sale by our landlord, we felt the need to find a new place to live before we were forced out. Completely by happenstance, it would seem, I stumbled upon an ad in the Pennysaver for a studio apartment with utilities included for $430 a month. WOAH. Now THAT would be worth downsizing…saving a good $350 each month on living expenses.

Feeling motivated and freed of my bondage to possessions that needn’t define my worth, we had yet another yard sale and gave the rest to anyone interested. I thought I would need to buy all sorts of storage or living devices to make this small space feasible for the two of us. We did lots of shopping and would you believe…we returned almost everything. All of our favorite pieces of furniture and personal possessions made the cut and we didn’t lose any money in the switch.

I believe God honored our conviction that our treasure-focus needed to be changed to an eternal mindset.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

Matthew 6:18-20

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Yes, our home is tiny. Yes, it’s a little cramped when we have 15 teenagers over, or family gatherings. But we think it’s totally worth it. You see, it’s just your Dad and me 90% of the time, and we love sharing space. We really do. When I’m in the dining room and he’s in the living room, we’re still in the SAME ROOM. :D It might drive some people crazy to not have any privacy. And it really is like an upscale, expanded dorm room. But it’s exactly what we need.

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I love my STUFF. (After all, if I spend money on something, should it be something I really, truly LIKE?!) But I no longer feel attached to my STUFF. If God asked me to leave everything behind, I believe I could. And I definitely couldn’t have said that before. It certainly won’t be easy, but my mind is now ready to follow Jesus no possessions attached

The STUFF of life is an ebb and flow kind of thing, Child. There’s a time for gathering and holding and storing and collecting. And a time for cleaning and sorting and giving and ridding.

I hope you can learn, sooner than I did, that STUFF is not what life is about. Life is about being with the people you love, and being completely, totally willing to do what Jesus tells you to do, no matter the cost.

Love,

Mama

3 Years, 6 Months

Dear Child of Mine,

Today we usher in another year, 2014. I think it’s going to be a good year, if for no other reason than it’s an even number. (Your mother likes even numbers. I liked being 10 years old. Eleven? Not so much.) Last January 2013 was the first time I publicly shared our secret struggle with infertility. It was painful. It was freeing. I am continually affirmed that sharing my story with others has brought healing and wholeness. There’s a time and place for the discipline of secrecy, but Child, please know there are great gifts awaiting in community. When you think you’re all alone, or feel that no one could possibly understand what you’re going through, or if you’re convinced your struggle has tainted you, please don’t believe those lies from Satan. He wants you to feel alone, isolated, dark. But Jesus says,

I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. But I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

Believe Jesus. And share your story with trusted people in your life. Surround yourself with those who will embrace you in the midst of your failures and hold you up. May your friends and family be as dear as mine, people who love you just as you are and yet are willing to help (or even push) you to become what they know God wants you to be.

Beyond all that, though, I wanted to confess the cries of my heart from that first New Year’s Day of coming to face to face with infertility. January 1, 2011 was just 6 months into our journey where I shouldn’t have been worrying, but the fears were very real.

Jesus, I don’t know what you have in store for me–you definitely have my attention that’s for sure. I have no choice but to run to you and cry in your arms. Father. Oh Father! I do want to start this year with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed. I am afraid, God, to submit my hopes and dreamsfor fear I might not see them come true. But you say I should let go. I can’t make any changes or see anything good come from my own plans. Jesus, I am discontent with where I am. You know my deepest longings, but you seek for me to be where you are. Give my heart an openness to be changed. Please, God, change my heart. Make me who you want me to be.

Child, I’m still waiting. Sometimes I feel content. Other days I fight with God. There are tears to be shed. That’s the truth. I am praying you’ll join us in 2014, yet not my will, but Yours be done, O God.

Love always,

Mama

The One with Surrendered Dreams

January 1st, 2011 is so vivid in my mind. The transformation God was working in my heart. Contentment.
I didn’t even need to look back into all those months blog archives to be transported to that time alone with Jesus on the couch. But, reading my own sentiments all over again stir up in my heart a renewed pursuit of true contentment. {please read it again with me.}
This year I have learned much and grown deeply. But there is still so far to go
I have clung to Christ in new ways. But each day brings a choice
I have repeatedly meditated on the words of the worship chorus Surrender (by Marc James; Vineyard.)
I’m giving You my heart, all that is within 
I lay it all down, for the sake of You my King 
I’m giving You my dreams, laying down my rights 
I’m giving up my pride, for the promise of new life
And I surrender all to You, all to You 
And I surrender all to You, all to You
I’m singing You this song, I’m waiting at the cross 
All the world holds dear, I count it all as loss
For the sake of knowing You, for the glory of Your name 
To know the lasting joy, even sharing in Your pain

And I surrender it all to you, all to You

To surrender not just today or my present struggles. I’ve found it’s actually easier to give up my struggles and sins and give over my heart to Jesus in a moment of emotion, than it is to truly say, “God, I’m giving you my dreams.” Those wishes, hopes, aspirations have somehow seemed off limits to surrender. But every single time I hear that song, I am convicted of the necessity to give over my future to Jesus. Why not? He deserves all my trust. He holds the world. He knows my heart. He will cherish my dreams, yet bring me step by step through the life He knows is best for me
And so my 2012 will start with the same purpose as 2011. Contentment each day, found totally in Jesus. And surrendering my dreams to Him.
Have you made any commitments in this new year?