On the first day of Spring, the impossible happened—I held my newborn, premature daughter in my arms for the very first time. After our third boy, I had given up hope of ever being the mother of a daughter. But God chose to bless us anyway, with precious little Anne Elizabeth.
Annie and her twin brother, Andrew (my bonus boy!!), are eight months old now, and every day I marvel—not just that God has given us the special privilege of parenting twins, but that one of them is a GIRL!! And it’s not that I don’t adore our boys—I’d take twelve of them if I could withstand the pregnancies. But, I did, for many years, deeply long for the honor of raising a daughter.
In fact, for a long time, I begged, demanded, and cajoled God—anything to get Him to give me that little girl. Nothing worked. The key, finally, was surrender. When at last I yielded to God’s apparent will that I not have what I sought, He was free to bless us as He had wanted to all along.
And, it seems that Annie has known from the beginning that she is a dream fulfilled. Even as a four-pound premie, she came out grinning and hasn’t stopped since. In fact, now, she often squeals in delight—a true sunbeam extending straight from one of God’s smiles.
My only regret is having her fairly late in life. If only I had learned the art of surrender sooner!!
As I reflect on other times that God has moved in seemingly impossible ways, it is evident that surrender has always been a key ingredient. Along with Spring, of course.
We spent five years working to plant a church in Sydney, Australia, with few apparent results. Some people were born again, but they came and went—no one really “stuck”. Then, one spring, we surrendered. We stopped trying to make things happen ourselves and just turned it all over to the Lord.
One Sunday afternoon, we started our service ass normal, in a tiny room we borrowed from an established church. During the first hymn, visitors started to trickle in. We had to stop the service several times, to keep bringing in more chairs. I will never forget the look of awed delight on my husband’s face as he watched the events unfold.
The church went on to grow from there, and through cell groups, it has now branched out into four areas of Sydney and is under the leadership of its own pastor.
The key to its growth, it seems, was surrender. As long as we thought we could do it ourselves, God wasn’t going to interfere. But when we got out of His way, He was free to do His work.
This lesson is being reinforced as I am beginning to see the rebirth of my extended family. For years, I tried to “bring them to Christ” by my own efforts. I went to bat for the Lord, trying to defend my faith and persuade them that I was innocent of the accusations they made against me.
But then one spring, the Lord led me to study the book of Philippians, and I surrendered. I stopped defending myself. I accepted their view of me. I apologized for where I’d erred. And, I just started to show them love in ways that would please the Lord.
It was a painful experience that seared my soul, but it was worth it. I grew into fellowship with Jesus like I’d never known before, and He began to refine many different areas of my life.
And then, recently, the unthinkable happened. My father was born again! When I got out of the way, God moved in and changed a heart I had always thought it was impossible to change. And now, I am enjoying for the first time the wonderful status of being God’s granddaughter. I always thought before I learned to surrender my burdens to the Lord that that was a privilege others could enjoy—but not one that I could ever have.
Spring, for all of us, is a time of new life. For me, it has meant the arrival of a long-awaited daughter, the fruition of a long-hoped-for church plant, and the dearly longed for rebirth of a beloved parent: all because of surrender.
I can hardly wait to see what new life this coming Spring will bring.
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