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Hands Open, Hands Empty

Surrender and Trust. Those are terrible words. They feel terrible anyways.
I mean, I'm sure they are wonderful in theory. But anyone who has ever struggled with Surrender and Trust knows what I am talking about; that sinking feeling when trust comes up in a conversation, the numbness when someone says, "Don't you trust yourself?" and the near hysteria when you realize that trust and surrender mean that sometimes bad things happen.

Well, I guess bad things happen anyways whether you trust, surrender, or not.

Yes, this post is off to a cheerful start.

I have been thinking a lot about this time when I was in Peru and vividly remembering my conversation with God about surrender. I remember that I was reading the book of Job on that trip, and I was struck by the encompassing tragedy of it, and how Job just sat in the dirt and wept for days. I remember that when I finally told God, "I think you can really HAVE my life... Yes, really." I wanted to sit down and weep too. I was undone, untied and free, but also completely out of control.

And now fast forward. Here, sometimes a few minutes from the house where I grew up, watching people surrender their breath, watching families lose everything, and crying in and out for God to just Be There. Sometimes I forget to cry in and out, and instead I try to carry everything. I try to do it all. My superhuman badass tendencies come back again and again. You would think I would have learned.

Last Tuesday I was in a room of thousands of people singing "How Great Thou Art" and I put my hands out trying to surrender. Once again, I pictured my rock, the one I carried with all the sharp edges when I told God that He could have my life. I pictured other rocks too. Not just my life, but other people, faces, dear relationships, and things I really want to work out. This time there was no river in front of me. This time there were no mountains quieting with snow. There were no condors gliding over the hills. But there were thousands of voices singing of God's greatness. My face was a stream of tears and my feet felt rooted to the floor. I could not take my eyes off of what was happening around me even as I felt my own heart shift. I looked over to my left and saw my sister Kim. Her hands spread wide, her face upturned to the ceiling, and her eyes closed.

Later we prayed together, both crying and both surrendering and both struggling. And I remembered that four years ago I did not have a sister, and then my brother married this one. So here's my place of rest today. Sometimes we give our hands over to be emptied, and God takes those rocks, those burdens and those worries. He lets us feel empty so that we know we cannot do it all. But then... He fills our hands with Love.

"Though He slay me, still I will trust in Him." - Job 13:15

So God. It's me again surrendering to the best of my abilities. Take the things I carry and give me yourself instead.


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