Oh, friends, I feel as if I am only touching the tip of the ice-berg in sharing this part of the story, the part where dream-seeds must die. And this is all part of the dream process — surrender. This is when the true work of refinement and transformation begins.
My entire sophomore year of high school, I was pregnant. I had my daughter the summer between my Sophomore and Junior year, eight weeks before school was to begin again. At 8 weeks she was able to go into day-care and did, all day, while I finished high school.
Somehow I was able to keep my grades up. I graduated with the national honor society, weighted 4.3 GPA and was close to the top of my class. I passed-up a full ride scholarship to a really great school — I was young and scared and a single mama. I chose a university close to home and went for a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, which I came 3 semesters away from earning.
I was married young, at 19 years old, a year and a half into college. And a little over a year later, I became pregnant and withdrew from all my classes because morning sickness got the better of me and more than that, it was time to come home.
It was a decision I made with much peace. I had been putting my marriage and child-raising on the back burner, saving it for later, while I pursued my education and career, and I had an inkling that wasn’t a good idea. At the same time, my first daughter was about to enter Kindergarten, but she was going through intense separation anxiety. So, I chose to home educate her.
That was the year I became a stay-at-home mama. That was the year I had to surrender, and let the dream-seeds die.
My husband was beginning a new business venture and God spoke to my heart, “You cannot pursue your dreams and go one way, and have your husband pursue another, not without your family suffering.”
I held on to this promise from Him, “If you yield, allow the seed to die, and support your husband in pursuing his dream, then I will pave the way for yours. Your time will come.”
That was 15 years ago.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:24 NLT)
I had no idea of how painful that dying was going to be. Over the next decade and a half I had to learn what it meant to live a life surrendered.
These words I pull straight of the pages of my journal.
this is what surrender means to me…
an abandonment of self
a releasing of all things temporal
a cease from pursuing selfish ambitions
this is what surrender is to me…
a stripping away of all things unclean
a tearing away of all things that cause Him displeasure
a letting go of what I hold in my hand, as an offering for Him
this is what I call surrender…
a running the race toward the only prize worth running for
casting off every other enticement
and not turn to the left or the right
this is what surrender brings…
sometimes it is accompanied by pain
it is the pain that yields the fruit of righteousness
a godly sorrow that leads to repentance
this is what surrender costs…
it is when my heart yearns for something that He says, “No,” to,
and then I say, “No,” too.
and this is surrender…
it is when I am going the same direction with the flow of traffic,
caught up in where everyone else is going
and I hear a gentle whisper and pull over on the median to lean in close to listen
as others are rushing the way that seems right to go
and He says, “Go the other way.”
and I turn His way.
this is my surrender…
“If we suffer or die on the Calvary road of obedience with Christ, the cost of following Him is not just a result of making much of Him, but a means. Death makes visible where our treasure is. The way we die reveals the worth of Christ in our hearts. Christ is magnified in my death when I am satisfied with Him in my dying — when I experience death as gain because I gain Him…Take up your cross and follow Jesus. On this road, and this road alone, life is Christ and death is gain. Life on every other road is wasted.” John Piper, Don’ t Waste Your Life
Oh, this is not an easy one, my friends. You may wonder how a post about the death of dream-seeds would help you to dream again. No doubt some of you have waited long to see the fulfillment of a dream because you have surrendered yours or given it up for a reason that is yours. But know this, nothing is ever lost of that which we offer to God. Don’t let hope die. Though we focus on what is happening all around us, God is at work, in the deep and hidden places, preparing us for the fulfillment of that dream and all that comes with it.
Write It Out: Do you remember a long-forgotten time in your life when a dream-seed was planted, and you lost hope in ever seeing it come to pass? Will you pray and ask God to renew your hope and dream for it again?
Or perhaps He asking you to surrender to His will? Will you dare to ask God what it is He may be asking you to give up? And then ask Him for the grace to do it?
“How did God choose to accomplish the redemption of the world? By His grace — and through the willingness of Jesus to sacrifice His life. How will God accomplish the impossible vision He has planted in your heart? By His grace — and through your willingness to sacrifice your life for the sake of Jesus.” Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still
Say it Loud: Will you pray for God to make this a reality in your life? “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him…” (Philippians 3:7-9 NASB)
And this, which is also my life-verse, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me andgave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
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