You know those times when you ask for God’s will and your uttermost prayer is, “Lord, Your will be done, not mine.” There is a liberating freedom in surrender such as this. When our plans and agendas fade into the background and God’s will and the unknown is embraced within our deepest parts.
For beloved, the unknown is not for the faint of heart, yet surrender still calls as we long to obey and follow God.
And when our prayer of surrender is answered, if we were honest we would confess that our response is often not with abundant joy of which we thought, but with great questioning and doubt, yet there is an unexplainable sweetness found within surrender which liberates us.
I am one of those; a surrendered soul longing for God’s will. Yet the very place God has taken me and my family was nothing of which we had ever dreamed and we have found ourselves at a place of great surrender.
My family and I have joined an elite 2-percent group as we await to recieve the unexpected bonus of life by the name of Audrey Grace. Audrey Grace will be born within the next few weeks and we are excited about her arrival! Oh just the thought of kissing those sweet baby cheeks brings tears to my eyes (yes, my hormones are flowing overtime)!
And although this pregnancy was a surprise to us, it was no surprise to God. He knew from he foundation of time that it was His will for this precious girl to be born at such a time as this. For Audrey Grace has always been His will, therefore we can freely surrender and rest assured that everything we need rests within the palm of God’s hands.
If we could only grasp that our lives are not our own, but in our human nature, too often we resist and resist and resist until we finally reach the freedom of surrender. To some this type of surrender sounds delightful to others it brings up our greatest fears, in our case it was a little of both.
Yet, the truth is, we can freely surrender to God for He is the kindest, most generous Person you will ever know. He is the essence of goodness and whatever He brings or allows within our lives is for our good in the end. When Moses asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 33:19, God replied, “I will let my goodness pass before you.” God’s glory is His goodness, He cannot help but to be good, faithful, and kind for it is His nature. Therefore beloved, we can rest in His goodness. We can open our hearts to His will for our lives knowing His goodness will always be displayed.
We can trust in the goodness of God.
No matter what you are going through, I encourage you to surrender to God’s goodness in your life. Hold on Dear One, for even in difficult times His goodness will be seen in the end. If He is calling you to let go, let go. If He is calling your to embrace, then embrace. If you are in need of a miracle, God is willing and able to provide it. He is the solution to every problem and the answer to every question. You can trust in the nature of God, for He is good.
“Jesus, I surrender my life to you. I may not always understand why I am going through a situation or what to do about it, but I can rest in Who You Are. For you are good, gracious, kind, generous and lovely. You love me and are for me. Please manifest your goodness within my life as I surrender to your will. May I experience the freedom of surrender and rest in Your goodness all the days of my life. Amen.”
“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” Proverbs 17:17, The Message
Has God ever shown you that you needed to let go of a friendship, but instead of following His lead, you intentionally held onto them too long until it resulted in conflict? As a counselor, I often tell my clients, “When you set a boundary, someone will be hurt.” And although none of us like this truth, what we fail to see is that by NOT setting a boundary – we are the ones who are continually being hurt – over and over again! Boundaries may hurt people’s feelings but it will not harm them. Boundaries allow us to be authentic to ourselves and with others. Boundaries are a good thing and keep us and our friendships healthy.
I have found in my life that there are 3 types of friendships:
1. Friends for a moment.
2. Friends for a season.
3. Friends for a lifetime.
And believe it or not, all three types of friendship are just as important as the other. You may be thinking, “Come on Tracy, surely a lifetime friend is more valuable than a friend for a season or moment!” But, I beg to differ with you – each type of friendship is valuable in its own right.
A friend in the moment can impact you for eternity.
I will never forget sitting in a Chapel service at Mid-America Bible College. A young student presented the gospel. I don’t even remember his name, but through his message and invitation, I accepted Jesus as my Savior – he was a friend for a moment that has impacted my life for eternity. Years later a beautiful blonde intercessor prayed over me and declared “Tracy, you are not a misfit, you may not have fit into your father’s or mother’s plans but you fit into God’s plans.” Her words still ring within my being and although she remains a nameless friend for a moment – I will never forget her or her words.
A friend for a season can also impact you more than you know.
I had a best guy-friend named Wayne during my college years. He greatly prepared me for my husband. His friendship brought needed healing and restoration in my life – he was an amazing friend for a season. And although our season ended due to us establishing healthy boundaries once we both became married, I will forever be grateful for his friendship in the “right” season. You see, when seasons change, friendships can change or may even need to come to an end, but it’s okay – the Lord giveth and taketh away – blessed be the name of the Lord.
The thing about friendships is that we too often try and keep “right” people in a “WRONG” season. Or how about this one – how many of us expect everyone we are friends with to act like our friends for a lifetime? I will never forget when a friend failed to ask me about a recent speaking engagement. She knew about the event, but never inquired about it. After much prayer, God clearly showed me that I was wrong by expecting her to act like my friends for a lifetime – who ALWAYS pray and ask about my speaking engagements.
A friend for a lifetime is a treasured jewel.
These you can count on one hand. They are the individuals who know you, your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions, your deepest secrets and longings. They celebrate the good times and weep with you in the dark times. They do not keep a record of wrongs, always give you the benefit of the doubt, they are there for you 24/7 and no matter how much time has passed you can pick up with them right where you left off. These are the treasured jewels of life.
Today I would like to honor all of my friendships. Whether you have been a friend for a moment, a season or for a lifetime: I honor you and I am a better person because of you – thank you!
As women of God, it is time for us to let go of wrong, out of season, relationships and and grab onto God with all of our might! God is the One person I can declare is your Friend for a lifetime! Selah (pause and think about that for a moment). Jesus is the One who is always on our side. He is cheering you on from heaven and intercedes for you when no one else does. Jesus is the friend that you are all longing for – grab onto Him and trust that He will give you wisdom in all your friendships.
“Lord, thank you for being my friend and Savior for a lifetime. You are always with me and I love you. I give you my friendships and ask that You forgive me for placing my hope in them rather than in You. Show me who my friends are for a lifetime, season and moment. I acknowledge today that each level of friendship is important in my life. I let go of childish things – offense, rejection, trying to defend myself, he said – she said conversations, gossip, criticism, and the such and grab onto You – the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.”
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV
*Lately, I have been on a quest to add more fun into my life. I realized that I needed additional fun when my husband and I went to see a romantic comedy at the movie theater and after the movie I could not control the tears that ran down my face. My husband looked at me totally perplexed (ladies, you know the look), he assumed that after viewing a fun, romantic comedy, I would feel encouraged and uplifted, but instead a deep sense of sadness filled my heart. I felt as if I was “missing out,” that everyone else was having fun, except me (do you hear the violin playing? LOL). And so began my quest for FUN!!!
The next day my husband and I sat down and made a list of the things we considered, “fun.” Of course, our lists were completely different! My husband, who is a ex-paratrooper and Golden Knight for the Army, listed various adventures, such as: jumping from planes, mountain biking, getting his pilots license, watching Brave Heart and Blackhawk Down. My list consisted of things such as: more girlfriend time, dinner parties, buying new shoes and travel.
So my husband began watching his war movies, doing his “guy stuff” and I bought some new pair of shoes (sorry honey), met girlfriends for coffee and together we hosted a few dinner parties, but these activities DID NOT SATISFY our desire within.
Finally, one morning during my quiet time with God, I asked Him why we were having such difficultly implementing fun into our lives?
Then God led me to Psalm 16:11:
“God will show me the path of life; In His Presence is the fullness of joy; At His right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
The truth is, nothing on earth will bring us eternal joy. Don’t get me wrong, a mountain bike and new shoes are great, but both will eventually end up in the junk yard!
The truth is, we were looking for fun in all the wrong places! Only the Lord can provide the JOY that can satisfy your soul. Fun is fleeting, but JOY is eternal.
EXTREME JOY is only found in God’s Presence, JOY is seeing God bring breakthrough and healing into people’s lives, JOY is telling people about Jesus and how good HE is!!
As Psalm 16 sank into my spirit, a smile spread across my face. I found what I had been longing for in the Word of God. My quest had been fulfilled! That following weekend, my husband and I hosted a Bible study and I sensed God’s Presence in our home. As I looked around the room I thought to myself, “NOW THIS IS FUN!”
Lord, forgive me for looking to the world to bring joy and satisfaction into my life. Nothing this world offers can bring me eternal peace. It is only in Your Presence that I am filled with supernatural joy. And this joy is not dependent on my circumstances. I choose to no longer look for fun in all the wrong places, for it is only in Your Presence that I am filled to overflowing! Amen.
*A Published Article by Tracy Hurst, “Atlanta Christian Chronicle”, June, 2004
“Behold I will do a new thing, and it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19.
*When I was a little girl, I loved stuffed animals. I had so many on my bed each night, that I barely had any room for me! I named them all one by one and if any of them fell off the bed during the night I would apologize to them and purposefully place them closest to me the next night. While my obsession of having hundreds of stuffed animals has lessened with my growing age, I will admit to having one stuffed animal, named “Brian” during my college years. He was a fluffy white bunny with long ears and a smile. I loved him deeply and my bunny saw me through the best and worst of times. I would hold onto him tightly each night and snuggle with him, especially after a long day. During the hard times, he would absorb my tears into his mangled fur as they fell from my face. Needless to say, what started out as a beautiful bunny began to resemble a tattered lamb.
When I married my husband, Michael, we each selected one thing we wanted the other person to get rid of prior to our honeymoon. And can you believe that he chose for me to get rid of my beloved white fluffy bunny?!! While letting go of Brian was not any easy task, I felt consoled because I would soon hold tightly onto my new husband in this new season of life. I was counting on him to perform all that my bunny had these past eight years.
Unbeknownst to me, with the letting go of my beloved bunny, I shifted my hold onto my husband and also my best friend, Kelly. This was all well and good until Kelly moved into her beautiful new home – in Egypt (okay, so maybe it wasn’t literally in Egypt, but it sure felt like it – LOL)!! Don’t get me wrong – I was thrilled for her, but to my dismay her new home was fifty minutes away from mine! I would never have thought of myself as someone who held tightly onto things. After all, I did move every few years and I considered myself very adaptable. But Kelly and I had planned to get pregnant at the same time and that she would watch my children when I worked a few days each week and her recent move upset our beautiful plans.
It was at this point that God began to speak to me that I had been holding tightly onto things throughout my entire life. God graciously revealed to me that the only thing I am to hold tightly onto is Him. People will move, relationships will change, but God never does!
I finally told Kelly of my struggles and asked for her forgiveness for being selfish. She of course was wonderful, and reaffirmed that no one could ever replace me in her life. Our heart-to-heart talk was a blessing and we made a pact to work hard at getting together even with the new distance between our homes. I then hung up the phone with her and prayed for the Lord to bless her new home and our friendship.
Next, I had a heart-to-heart talk with God.
He showed me that by holding onto things tightly, He wasn’t able to bring new blessings into my life. Tears filled my eyes as He spoke this truth to me. Then I happened to look over at my little Maltese dog, Noah, and it hit me just how much he looked like my old bunny “Brian.” He was soft and white with fluffy ears. Yet, I love Noah so much more! I also found out that a new friend of mine is moving into a neighborhood down the street from me. I began to realize that God has many new blessings to bring my way, if I will just let go and trust Him to bring them to me.
We can let go and grab onto Jesus because He is already holding onto us!
Truth be told, I still miss my mangled bunny and I will forever miss the close proximity of my best friend, but I now know that I must let go and “Behold, I (the Lord) will do a new thing, and it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
You see, if we will just let go and grab onto Christ, a new thing will appear.
So, let me ask you, Is there anything you are holding onto tightly? If so, I encourage you to let go and hold tightly to God’s Word and His promises for you this New Year because if you do -The best is yet ahead!
*Update since article was written in 2003- Kelly and I got our hearts desire to have children together and are still best friends today even with the distance between us. God continues to teach me to hold tightly onto Him for He is the one holding me and He is forever faithful. As we enter 2014, I believe that God wants us to “Expect Him to do the unexpected in our lives.” God has many NEW things He wants to bring into our lives in 2014!
**Above Article was my very first published Article in the Christian Chronicle, 2003.