Mom Life

Finding Life in Surrendering It

This post has been on my heart and mind for some time.  You see, there is this fear that keeps me from a higher level of transparency here on this blog.  I truly call those who follow our antics here, a friend.  But, you see, these posts go out there.  Like, way out there.  Once I click “publish”, a blog post is out of my hands.

I feel blessed by the opportunities this blog has provided me with and the connections that it has fostered.  Truly blessed by you being here right now.  But, I still hold back quite a bit of myself.  And then I hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit.  Really, Lord?  Yes, He says.  Be you.  Be open.  Don’t worry about the breadth, just focus on the depth.  He just spoke those words to me this morning through Beth Moore.  So, I am jumping in with two feet.  I’m “doing it scared” as my friend Sarah says.

{Post contains affiliate links.  You can read our disclosure here. Thanks for loving on us here in our farmhouse!}

You see, we’ve lived in our current home {and state} less than two years.  It is certainly not the place that I thought we would be.  Actually, I never thought He would call us to move.  We had a sweet Cape Cod in the suburbs.  Life was convenient.  Life was comfortable.  Life was fairly easy.  And then suddenly {actually, it was a groaning in my soul for a few years} it wasn’t easy.  Let’s back up a little and see when life changed.

I am going to adapt my testimony that I shared with our church family only a few days before we drove away in our {two} U-Hauls in July 2015.  Here it goes…

Six years ago, my journey of spiritual healing began.  I absolutely did not recognize it as such as the time.  In the midst of raising three kids between the ages of 3 and 8, God allowed my body to begin experiencing a physical affliction.  For a while, I thought it was just a fluke.  But after a year, I was miserable and wrapped up in complaining and lamenting.  At this time, I began seeking medical intervention.  I was open to anything and everything for relief.

It was also around this time that I realized that my walk with God was not what it should be.  I was depressed and frustrated.  I was a tired momma who did not get much peace and quiet in my day.  I told God that if He wanted more time with me that He’d have to wake me up early.  Be careful what you ask God to do!  It began with a bird pecking at my bedroom window early the next morning.  God has a sense of humor because the most random things happened every morning for a few weeks that awoke me before my kids.  But, after a few weeks, I was hooked.  The Holy Spirit began a work in my heart that caused me to wake earlier and earlier on my own every morning so that I could spend hours in the Word.  I awoke with such excitement every morning to read the Bible and spend time in prayer.  And the blessing also came in a renewed and sustained energy throughout the day.

Through these months of beginning to draw nearer to God, my physical thorn in the flesh persisted.  I pursued even more drastic solutions for the next year and none provided the solution.  It was around this time that a friend said, “Instead of asking why, start asking what do you want me to learn through this, Lord?”  The words stung, but I knew she was right.  So I asked God to work in me as He willed.  The relief of not carrying the burden of my life anymore was exhilarating.  God brought books, teachings, and songs into my life at just the right moment that spoke to and challenged me.  And this deepened my journey of surrender to Him.

By the grace of God, He opened my heart to receiving correction and reproof.  He examined my heart and one by one revealed the areas that I was holding too tightly.  God specifically spoke to me regarding the use of my time and He brought my children home full-time for me to teach them.  He has given me the precious gift of learning to be a submissive and respectful wife to my husband, which has caused me to fall in love all over and more deeply with my James.  He revealed the many ways that I was keeping one foot in the world.  It was painful at times to give up the things that I felt I needed over to Him.  But after every purge or fast of a habit, I felt even more free.  Through this time I devoured Scripture and I was amazed at how the Holy Spirit revealed Biblical truth to me that I previously did not comprehend.

After two years of this physical condition, I specifically felt God telling me to give Him two more years.   He had worked so much in my heart that I simply said, okay, and I did not argue.  I focused on being half way through it for a little while, but then let myself put it out of my mind.  I knew that He wanted me to focus on where He had me and not on the future.

Because of God’s grace, mercy, and love, He continued to reveal His truth to me.  I, in turn, continued to ask for specific revelation of areas that I needed to surrender and then focused on acting on my faith through obedience.  There were a lot of growing pains, such as the Lent that I gave up making decisions for the family and relegated those decisions to James.  And the time that I gave up tv and movies was, well, very quiet.  But I felt so liberated afterwards.  The world had less and less of a hold on me and the freedom that I was finding in Christ was true freedom.

A verse that kept coming back to me time and time again was Romans 12:2.  It has since become my verse.  It says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  I desired to know what God wanted me to do through this trial on my body.  I was looking for a magic 8 ball answer, if you will.  But what I found was even more precious.  All He wanted was for me to hold tight to Him and allow Him to work in and through me.

Two years passed and I was at the four year mark and said okay, God, I will continue with this longer if you will it.  I gave it all to Him and didn’t think on it any longer.

There had been one option to cure my issue, but I had been extremely adamant against it for four years.  I had not ever felt peace regarding this option.  And then a conversation with a friend in the fall of 2014, caused me to mentally entertain this solution.  I quickly let it go if it wasn’t the course of action God wanted for me.  Once I surrendered that decision, He worked in my heart to give me the most absolute peace to move forward with surgery.  James and I let God direct us to a doctor and to orchestrate all the details.  So, in December 2014,  I found the physical relief that God had promised for me.  The timing was all His and even during and after surgery, He was in control.

I wish that I could say that all went smoothly.  But 1 surgery and 6 weeks of recovery turned into 3 surgeries and 3 months of healing due to a complication.  In the midst of the most severe pain that I have ever experienced and 11 weeks of physical limitations, I kept my heart open to God’s plan and what He wanted to teach me through this.  Looking back now, I can see that He wanted me to continue depending upon and trusting Him even after my physical healing.

It was a long four years, but when I reflect on that time, I see how what I needed more than physical healing, was spiritual healing.  I grew up in the church so I never thought that I would be in need of such a thing.  I was so wrong.  In the midst of physical affliction, I had received the peace, hope, joy, and contentment that can only be from our Lord.  He had to teach me that true freedom was found when I surrendered my life to Him.  He has done a work in my heart that has given me the fruits of the Spirit that had always eluded me.  I see the world through His eyes now and His Word is the filter by which I examine every moment.

Only when I surrendered and submitted my life to God did He step in.  He’s always been here waiting for me to fully give Him my life. I just needed to take that next step towards Him.

All of this coincided with my husband surrendering to God as well.  He was on his own spiritual journey.  Maybe I will have him share on here sometime, but for now you get my rendition.  Here are the “Cliff Note’s”: a job that he was very unhappy in, that could not sustain our frugal life, left him exhausted, and a shift that left me as a single mom.  Add my hospital stay and surgeries to all that.  And those were the lynch pins.  We were already just making ends meet and then the unexpected medical bills threw us into the red…very red.  We began to make our own plans of how to supplement and throwing out options to one another.  In early 2015, we had no idea what God had in store for us.

The first incredible blessing came in the form of an anonymous check in our mailbox.  I still get teary-eyed thinking back to that day when we opened that letter.  It was for an amount that we could barely comprehend.  And do you know what?  It came only a few days before we would of run out of oil to heat our home…in the middle of the coldest winter in years.  We were able to pay off our maxed-out credit card.  We were now out of the red.  Not in the green.  But somewhere in between was better than the burden of debt.  And we were in awe of God’s provision and the faithfulness of one of His followers when they were called to lift us up off the ground.

“Now what, God?”

“How about a new life?” He said.

“Okay.”

What?  Did I really just say that?  Yes.  I trust you, my Lord.  We will alter our expectations of the future and move four hours away.  To a place that we have never even been.  But if it is where God wants us, then I’m all in!  In the midst of the prayer, fasting, seeking wise counsel, and staying in the Bible, there was only been absolute peace in my spirit about this move for our family.  I truly believe that in the previous four years before this, God was preparing me for a leap of faith.  And since there is no irony with God, I have to admit that in the summer of 2014, I had asked God for a big leap of faith for our family.  I was open to anything that was of Him.  Little did I know, but, that moment was the beginning of that leap.

My journey of surrender did not stop and was only heightened in this new chapter for our family.  I am continually praying for further sanctification and for more of Christ’s righteousness in me.

I share this with you all not to make you think anything good of me.  I share this story of the redemption of this cradle Christian to acknowledge the work the Lord has done in my life.  I feel a wholeness and passion that I had never felt before.  He has done the work.  He created the desire in my soul, and I simply responded.

If you feel God calling you to something that is bigger than you, lean in, friend.  He is your Comforter, Sustainer, Father, the Creator of your soul.  You can trust Him.  He has plans for you that are even better than your heart can imagine.  It might feel scary, but His arms and love will cover you.  And you will look back and see that you have truly found life in surrendering it.

“to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” Romans 16:27

{There were a few songs that shook me to the core and spoke the words that I could not as we packed up our life as we knew it and took that leap.  I thought they may speak to you as well, so I have included some links below.}

Touch the Sky by Hillsong

Beyond Me by TobyMac

Crazy Faith by John Waller

Steal My Show by TobyMac

xo,

Leigh

18 Comments

  1. Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing your story my friend. What a journey of trial and God’s unending faithfulness.

    1. Leigh

      Sarah,
      Humbled by your sweet words! ♥

  2. Leigh, this post spoke to my heart. The amazing works God has performed in your life are a testimony to His goodness and Grace…and your surrender challenges me in my own walk. This…”He is your comforter, sustainer, Father, the creator of your soul. You can trust Him. He has plans for you that are even better than your heart can imagine. It might feel scary, but His arms and love will cover you. And you will look back and see that you have truly found life in surrendering it.” made me pause and think. Thank you for your encouragement- and I’m so proud of you writing trhia post and sharing your story- and doing it scared. Love you, sweet friend.❤️

    1. Leigh

      Sarah,
      Encouragement from friends like you has made me less “scared”! Thank you for blessing me in return! ♥

  3. Christi

    Thank you for this post, Leigh. This was incredibly inspiring, and core shaking. I was reading through almost the entire way through!
    Such courage to write this, but what a ripple effect you’ve just created for Him!

    Much love & prayers, my friend!!
    Christi
    Carolina Belle Furnishings

    1. Leigh

      Christi,
      Your words are uplifting and encouraging my heart! ♥ Blessed by your friendship!

  4. Cindy

    Your testimony truly touched me. Thank you so much for sharing. I am at a point in my life and I have truly been desiring a closer walk with God and there are some leaps of faith in going to have to make. I’m scared and unsure but know that this truly has inspired me to make them. Thanks again for the confirmation I needed😄

    1. Leigh

      Cindy,
      You have blessed, encouraged, and confirmed me today! I am praying for you and would love to hear how God is and will be working in your life! “Draw near and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8a)

  5. Ana

    Oh Leigh! Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your testimony. It spoke to me in so many ways and it touched my heart. God is good! Love ya sweet friend💕💕💕

    1. Leigh

      Ana,
      Yes, God is so good! I feel so blessed to have found such wonderful women as you that are so supportive and encouraging!

  6. Dearest Leigh, I just read your blog post. I am in the middle of my own 4 years and just begging for Gods mercy. Your testimony is inspiring and a word to my soul. God bless you!

    1. Leigh

      Michelle,
      I am praying that God rewards your faithfulness to Him. Just keep pressing in and keep your heart focused on Him. He loves you dearly! ♥

  7. Leigh thank you for sharing your story and your heart! Your testimony is honey for my soul as I navigate through my journey and faith! So thankful for you!

    1. Leigh

      Kelly,
      I so appreciate your sweet and kind words. I am blessed by your faith as well! ♥

  8. Sharon

    Your testimony touched me so deeply. I am at work, reading this on a break, as fast as I can. But I will come back and read more carefully. I can relate to your story on so many levels– Our family is going through some difficult times because my husband left his high stress job to pursue a business dream. We are living on our investments and getting to the end of that, waiting for a financial breakthrough. God has been so faithful, though, in our daily needs. We want to see the future and have assurances and a certain level of comfort that we were familiar with, but that’s not how God wants us to walk in faith and trust in his assurance. Oh my this is not easy, but the spiritual growth that is happening is exactly how God planned it all along. We are not out of the storm yet, but we are clinging to his voice in the midst of it, trying not to look at the swells, but rather at the Master. Thanks for sharing your story with folks you’ve never met. I love how God helps us to find the right encouragement at the right time.

    1. Leigh

      Sharon,
      You, in turn, have blessed me! Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your journey. It is so wonderful to be able to encourage one another as sisters in Christ. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers. Please keep in touch! ♥

  9. What a testimony friend. What a testimony. 🙂 So thankful for you and your heart.
    And that you leaned in. 🙂

    karianne

    1. Leigh

      Aww, your words are very encouraging, KariAnne! From one jumper to another, it means a lot! ♥

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