Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: YEAR (05/17/18)
TITLE: Sweet Surrender
By Dianne Janak
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Carrying infant Amy, I held onto my toddler, Jessica, all of us bundled up, against the storm. The street was freshly plowed, but, as a native Texan, I was not accustomed to snow, much less blizzards. I was scared of falling, or a car hitting us up against the snow banks, but too excited to allow fear to keep me home.
Suddenly came a large dog out of nowhere, yapping at our heels, and impeding our careful steps. The babies started to cry.
I had fallen on my knees the night before and pleaded to God for help. Postpartum depression had enveloped me for several months, and the isolation of wintery days had added to it. The Valium was not working, and I felt trapped, in a pit of despair.
I still, to this day, remember the emptiness, loneliness and brokenness of that season, when life should have been satisfying and rewarding. I didn't want to live another day in misery alone without asking for God’s mercy and strength.
I repented for my selfishness, and asked Him to please show me a sign He was listening. That moment in time, something that had hardened inside of me started to dissolve. My own resolve to do things my own way was not working.
I knew the next morning something in my heart was different, but there were no words for it. Joy, hope, peace… what on earth was this? I didn’t know what “born again” meant, but was this it? I needed to see my friend who would enlighten me.
The three of us pitted against the storm uphill, with a dog at our heels, must have been a sight, but what startled me the most was huge blue Cadillac that pulled up beside us.
No one drove gas-guzzling cars in the day of long gas lines, and the culture in Massachusetts was not like not like the South, where strangers often stop to talk to each other.
The two women asked if I needed a ride, but there was something other-worldly about the encounter. I could not look at them, almost as if they were too good to be true. I felt unworthy to even be talking to them, much less hop into their car.
I said “no thank you" without giving a reason. My personality default was independence, and though God had touched me, I still had trust issues.
It didn’t even occur to me to tell my friend when I got to her house about the Cadillac ladies. I was too eager to share my surrender to God the night before. She told me my new joy was a gift from Him and prepared me to hear His voice clearer now that I had repented and told Him I wanted to be “all in.”
The next morning in half-sleep God rewound and replayed the whole snowstorm uphill journey in living color memory. He told me He had set it up to reveal to me a glimpse of my life from His point of view.
His perception of me was a woman constantly trekking up hill against the storm, with burdens He said I didn’t have to carry alone. They were my issues and sins with consequences, but sometimes even His gifts to me, like my husband and children, caused me to fear that I was failing my family.
The dog represented the enemy yapping at my heels trying to trip me up even more, and I was helpless not seeing the truth of this invisible war.
He showed me, by sending me help, He had been consistently wanting to rescue me, but I had been stubborn and prideful, always rejecting it. My biggest issue that needed to be broken was a determination to be independent.
God had shown me, without condemnation, how messy life can be without Him. That was past, and now He has my hand, teaching me what life with Him can be, when He drives me to His destination.
He did answer my prayer that night, as my moods and attitude turned from black and white to living color.
1977 was the first year of the rest of my life.
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