The colorful array of leaves and the golden sun bursting through these vibrant colors, never quite seems to overcome the melancholic emotions that I can feel this time of the year. There is a sense of dread and heaviness that seems to follow me as we approach the date that will forever be etched in our minds. The day that our life, as we knew it, was forever changed.
October 31. I don’t like this date. Four years ago, on this day, our son, Austin, unexpectedly passed into eternity.
I struggled tremendously with this huge loss. And I still do! I miss him as much today as I did four years ago…and I still cry. The loss still remains. It still hurts deeply. I find myself struggling with many emotions as this day approaches. There’s a bit of turmoil that accompanies me in the weeks leading up to this date.
As I was reflecting on why this happens, God gave me a clear picture of what was going on in my heart…
It came through my four-year-old, daughter, Kyra. The other day, she gave a precious gift to me. When Kyra Shianne was just a baby, I bought a soft, pink baby blanket for her. She was only just beginning to crawl when she would begin fussing and crawl into the bedroom as if she was looking for something. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this meant she was tired and she was looking for her favorite blanket. She needed to have this blanket to settle down to go to sleep. I tried to get her a similar blanket over the years, but there’s been no other blanket that could replace this one. This blanket has been her most priced possession.
She is now four, and, last week, she was wanting to show how much she loved me. She sweetly and sincerely told me she wanted to give me her “blankie.” As she held the blanket close to her, I could see the struggle going on as she contemplated whether she was truly ready to part with it. My heart was deeply touched by her sweetness and genuine love for me. As I reflected on the magnitude of her gift, I was challenged. It reminded me of the struggles I’ve had in surrendering to God all the things that have been precious to me. Doesn’t my heavenly Father love me much more than I will ever love and cherish my own sweet children? Does He not deserve my complete surrender?
Because of the love for my Abba Father, my sincere desire is to open my clenched hands that have tightly held onto the things that are special to me. My all. My everything. I want to surrender, but, my flesh cries out, “It’s too hard! I can’t!”
Yet, in reality, I know I will never have the peace I desire until I do! My husband and I have, at times, walked through difficult things in our lives. God has asked us many times to surrender the things that have been the closest to our hearts. This surrender has not happened without us first experiencing a real struggle. Surrender is never easy!
I know the hypocrisy of singing the song, “I Surrender All,” as I stubbornly cling to what I believe rightfully belongs to me. After all, it’s what I deserve from God because of ALL I’ve done for Him! We sing this song… “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give…I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed savior, I surrender all.” But then, what happens during the times of difficult loss in our lives? Do we struggle to accept what God has taken from us? Was it ours in the first place? Had we really given it to Him? Even though Austin is no longer here with us, we can still struggle in surrendering him to God. It’s easy to continue wrestling with God’s sovereignty as we painfully acknowledge and grieve Austin’s absence in our lives. This, however, causes turmoil rather than peace and joy. So today, I am choosing joy!
As I watch the leaves falling off of the trees and decaying into the soil, it again reminds me of how I absorb my losses. Just as the leaves decompose into the soil and become a part of it, so my painful circumstances become a part of me…who I am. Yet, my painful losses and deep disappointments can enrich my life, strengthen my faith, and make me a better person–if I allow it.
What are the things that God is asking you to surrender to Him? Are you going through the motions and singing the right words, while living a lie? Have you truly released your “Isaac” and let go of the things closest to you? Is your hand still clenched in control?
We often say we love God, yet, we hold on to our dreams, desires, goals, treasures, and the gifts God has given us. We love Him only in word. If we truly loved God, wouldn’t we be eager to give Him everything? Shouldn’t we even be willing to lay down our lives for Him? We have the tendency to not surrender something to God, because we don’t want to give up our control over it. Surrender is never easy, is it? However, there’s great strength available only THROUGH surrender.
The true test of how much you’ve surrendered to God is determined by how you respond to losses.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)