Tag Archives: Following Christ

LIVING WITH A SURRENDERED HEART

LORD, WE SURRENDER ALL YO YOU

As I laid my head on my pillow one summer night years ago, my mind was clouded with worried thoughts. It was the only time in my life I ever felt anger toward God. Jesus, I’m mad at You.  Jesus patiently listened as I poured my heart out to Him.

I was questioning the Lord while my husband was facing another season of unemployment. Why are You allowing this to happen again, Lord? After several minutes of wallowing in my pity party, I fell asleep.

I woke up eight hours later with a new attitude. How ridiculous for me to be mad at Jesus. He’s the only one who can truly rescue us from the difficult challenges. Being mad at God will only make things worse.

After realizing how silly I was for being mad at Jesus, I prayed, “Lord, forgive me for my silliness. Please forgive me for being mad at You.”

It was in that precise moment that I arrived at the end of myself. I prayed, “Lord, I surrender everything to You. I will do anything You want for me to do or go anywhere You want for me to go.”

Prior to that moment, my fear of losing my home was holding me back from surrendering all to Christ. In the previous decades, I had surrendered parts of my life to Christ, but this was total surrender. It was the last time I ever tried to do things my way, without Christ’s help and guidance.

With a serious heart and a little bit of humor I told Christ, “You can have my house, all my material possessions, even my closet full of clothes, but will You please leave me one outfit?”

Obviously, I knew that Christ was not going to leave me destitute with nothing to wear, but I wanted to lay everything down. I was more serious than ever about following Christ’s will and no longer living controlled by my own will.

Christ rewarded my seriousness in the form of a great miracle. Amazingly, about two weeks later, my husband was offered a job that ultimately led him to his dream job and far exceeded any of our expectations. Miraculously, my fear of losing our home subsided and we are still living in our house after thirty years. Keeping the house was no longer more important than following Christ, so He helped me keep it.

There is something mysterious about totally surrendering to Christ. It’s as though our submission to His will opens the door to the supernatural realm.

When we place Christ as the highest priority in our lives, then miracles begin unfolding left and right.

I’m a work in progress and I do not have this journey of following Christ figured out, but I can testify that total surrender is the key to the door that leads to abundance and never-ending joy. Disappointments have absolutely no power over us when we live with a surrendered heart moment by moment. When desiring nothing but Christ’s will, we see His glory in greater ways and we are free to live in His abundant peace eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to You with gratitude and we thank You for Your never-ending grace, mercy, and love. We surrender every part of our hearts to You and ask You to guide us in everything we do. Let us pray without ceasing and let our relationship with You be the most important part of our lives. Help us to grow spiritually every day and let us look to You for every need. Let us make a difference in the world every single day and let us share Your love in countless ways to those who are hurting. Fill us with bold faith and let our prayers shake the heavens and bring down the dark forces that seek to devour us. Let us arise as powerful, mighty warriors and let Your glory and light shine brighter than ever in all of us so that multitudes of people will come into Your kingdom. We trust You to keep Your hand upon our families and our nation and we wait expectantly for You to reveal Your glory in greater ways in 2017. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

May you have a blessed year in 2017!

XOXO,

Amy

WALKING BY FAITH TO SEE GOD’S POWER

Walk by Faith

As my car was sputtering down the road, barely moving at the speed of twenty-something miles per hour, I felt unsafe driving. My car was an old Honda, nearly twenty years old. It had been acting strangely for weeks. I must have looked crazy as my car jerked down the street while I passionately proclaimed to God my hopes for Him to rescue me. With an assurance in my voice I loudly said, “Jesus, You stated in Your Scriptures that all things work together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. Well, I need a car. So I am expecting You to work this out for my good and provide another car for me.” As those words rolled off my lips, peace fell all over me and I knew everything would be okay.

Just weeks before my car had started giving me trouble, I’d written a prayer to the Lord professing that I didn’t want to ever doubt Him again. I know that sounds courageous. But I’m not really all that brave. I was simply ready to walk in faith moment-by-moment and see God’s power working in my life in a greater way. For a number of years I’d been following Christ at all costs. During that season, the Lord was taking me to the place of knowing that every good thing in life would be provided by God if I followed Him wholeheartedly and would really, really trust Him.

At the time my car was breaking, my husband Michael was working hard to finish college while I worked several different part-time jobs including very late nights on the weekends for a catering business. Even with the catering job, my cleaning jobs, teaching dance on the side, and cutting all our spending to only necessities, we still barely had enough money to keep food on the table, much less money for car repairs.

After that day I’d found the courage to tell Jesus I needed for Him to provide me a better car, my old Honda continued to sporadically act up. I never knew if I would make it to my job safely or not. But I just kept praying for the Lord to keep my car running and waiting on Him to provide a new one. I truly knew He would. Just a few weeks later, I received a call from my mother with some sweet news.

In her kind voice, she said, “Amy, I want you to know that the Lord put it on my heart to give you our car since we’re purchasing another one.” The timing was impeccable. My mom had no idea that our car was seriously malfunctioning. I had decided not to share those details with her so she wouldn’t be tempted to worry. There wasn’t a reason to tell her because I knew God would handle it. His Holy Spirit whispered in my mother’s ear and shared our need with her at precisely the moment we needed to see God’s hand working in our midst.

God’s timing is perfect. He never fails us when we place our trust in Him alone.

It’s been years since Jesus provided that car for me when I desperately needed it. He has continued to open doors and has blessed my family with everything we’ve needed through the years. Even after undeniably seeing miracles in my life, I can be tempted to doubt Christ at times. Life is challenging. When things aren’t going as I had hoped they would, doubtful thoughts tempt me. But now, after watching God’s faithfulness in my life over and over and over again, I continually choose to push out the negative thoughts by focusing on what the Scriptures say. I continually rejoice over the way Jesus comes through for me every single time I need for Him to work on my behalf.

Doubt and self-pity open the door for disappointments. Faith opens the door for the impossible to be unleashed in our lives. In Mark 11:22-24, Jesus said, “Have faith in God. I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him…When you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”

Are you in need of a miracle? Being in need is the perfect position to see God’s power. It’s not until we let go of things, surrender everything to Christ, and release it all into His hands, that we see His power working abundantly.

Walking by faith is not easy. It takes practice. But I have learned that the only way any of us will truly see God’s power in our lives is by leaving doubt behind forever and choosing to walk by faith and not by sight.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (English Standard Version)

REJOICING IN SMALL BEGINNINGS

We were ecstatic when my husband Michael was hired by a small German company after a two and half year season of him being without full-time work. But as we began to ponder the details, we realized that it wasn’t exactly what we had planned for. After all, my husband had returned to college and worked tirelessly earning a Biomedical Engineering degree. We had expected to have a better salary, better benefits, and most definitely hadn’t planned on Michael having to live in Germany for three months of training.

Without medical coverage for me and the kids, Michael worried that he may have been making a mistake by accepting this job. I wondered, “How in the world will I handle everything with my husband in another country?” After some time of wrestling with God, we surrendered to what we believed was his divine plan for our family, but not without reservations. It was hard to let go of our concerns without all of the dots connecting.

Still, we moved forward with faith. As I trusted God, I could hear His encouraging voice in my spirit. He reminded me of a scripture in Zechariah. “Do not despise small beginnings…”

Looking back, I am beyond grateful that I chose to trust God during that season of small beginnings. If we had not, our family would have missed, perhaps, the greatest blessing of our lives. Within months of Michael accepting the job with the German company, it was bought out by one of the largest corporations in the world. We were blown away by the medical benefits, the increased salary, the opportunity for promotion and growth. Who would have dreamed that our obedience in following Christ in the small things could lead to such grand, new things?

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Small.” Today, I wrote for about twelve minutes, trying to find a good stopping point.

 

Five Minute Friday