I was going through a bunch of emails last night that had gotten pushed further down on the list and deleting ones that I had already read or responded to (I'm a little anal about trying to keep things organized). I came across this question from one of you blog-folk: Vicky wrote, "Can I ask you... was there a "moment" of surrender for you or were there "moments?"
I kind of liked the idea of getting to write about things you all want to talk about. So here's an idea: whenever you have a specific question you want to ask or a topic you'd like to talk about, click that "Email Me" link off to the right and type "Blog Question" in the subject line. It can be something nosy, something serious, or something ridiculous -- as long as it doesn't involve Math I'll probably try to take a stab at it. You know, within reason. Now that we're getting to know each other a little better it's nice to have your input, too.
As for Vicky's question, I think it's a daily process. I have to say I think I have the advantage of growing up in a home that encouraged my faith. There was never a moment when I first learned about God... He was just always a part of my world, always a part of a discussion, always a part of the routine. When I was little, Mom would wake us up by coming in the room and singing, "Rise and shine and give God your glory, glory..." We prayed at mealtime, before going to bed, observed the rules during Lent and prayed during Advent while lighting the candles on the Advent wreath that Dad made on our fireplace mantel. No one was beating on a bible. It was just a part of our everyday life.
But I think when you're a kid, believing and trusting go hand-in-hand more easily. As I got older, believing was never a problem. Trusting was a whole other story. I knew God could do anything, but as I started to be able to question and rationalize, the question of why He would spend time on little old me was perplexing. The idea that my seemingly huge junior high problems of mean girls could be fixed by someone who wasn't in the room when they were spreading rumors seemed ludicrous.
But then I got older still and started realizing that God could fix all those things. But He doesn't fix them by sealing shut the mouth of the girl spreading lies. He fixes the problem when I ask Him to fix ME. I believe He can do anything. I think He can physically heal me, I think He can stop a tornado and halt a flood. But I think what is most powerful is when He lets natural things happen and lets people use their free will, and at the same time fixes my heart and spirit to handle them.
That's kind of what my Peace post was all about. Over the course of the last 15 years I have had progressive stages of getting sicker and developing more pain. And I had many moments of surrender to walk through them. Just when I thought I had a handle on things something else would happen and I would start learning to accept it all over again. Only each time, I didn't start over... I had a little more head start from the time before. Each time it took less time to get to the point where I could take a deep breath and say, "Ok. There is nothing that You and I together cannot handle."
Charles Caleb Colton said, "It is good to act as if. It is even better to grow to the point where it is no longer an act." That is how I feel this process has been for me. I acted as God wanted me to even when I didn't want to. There would be times when I would lay down and think... when do I get to have my nervous breakdown? When do I get to just lose it? But I knew deep down that if I trusted Him to handle it, even when I didn't feel like He was handling it, that it would be ok. And so step by step I acted as I knew I should... and now it's not an act or an effort.
When I have moments of frustration, be it with my health, with another person, with a situation... I remember that junior high lesson and stop asking God to change the other person, change the situation, change my health. I ask Him to change my heart and steady my soul... to see what He needs me to see and be who He needs me to be. Those are my moments of surrender, and I think as long as I'm breathing I'll have to keep repeating that process.