In your life, is there anything you’ve told God to leave alone? Something that you know you could “never” do? WATCH VIDEO HERE…
A couple of years ago, many things were up in the air in life. So many circumstances we didn’t know the outcome of. Finally, I reached my last straw in “what if” conversations with Steve, my husband always up for change. And I told Steve that I wanted to table that conversation. Too much was in flux. Too much was uncertain. Can’t we just keep this one thing solid, unshifting?
Even as the words tumbled from my lips they felt wrong.
Will I limit God by my lack of belief? Will I tell Him that He may only go so far in my life? Or, will I submit everything I have, even everything familiar, to His shaking? Will I be open to and ardently seek the kingdom, or will I continue in what is known and safe and predictable?
The Lord brought me to Hebrews 12…challenging me to be open to the shaking. I had to ask myself: is anything in my life off limits to Him? If so, then it stands as an idol in my heart, more valuable, more trusted than my precious Jesus.
Putting limits on the areas God has permission to touch limits His work in our lives. Yes, we have the ability to influence God’s access to us, His ability to work through us, through the boundaries we put up. (See Mark 6:4-5) Jesus – the Son of God – was limited in His works because of the people around Him. Their unbelief hindered His work.
Are we limiting God’s work in our lives because of unbelief? Or because of fear? Will we tell Him He can only go so far?
Living limitless is as basic as surrender…surrendering that so-called “right” to tell God where He may or may not interfere in our lives.
Our surrender opens up the limits of our lives to the boundlessness God wants to work out through us. Our surrender opens the window from the here and now into the present kingdom of God, inviting Him to have His way in and through us.
My latest book, The Sacred Shadow, is an invitation to enter into this daily mystery of God’s kingdom…an opportunity to see past our limits into the limitlessness of God and all He is doing and longs to do in our lives. Get your copy here!
Do you like to use coupons? Some people make it into a sport all its own. I don’t go hunting for them, but when they show up in my mailbox from my favorite store for my most-purchased items, that’s a game-changer. It’s amazing how these little slips of paper can save so much money!
Let’s say I have a coupon for $2.00 off a pound of coffee. How much is that coupon worth?
Well, the paper and ink are nearly worthless. According to the teensy-weensy fine-print, a coupon is worth approximately 1/100 of $0.01 – a hundredth of a penny! Good enough to catch a piece of used gum. Not much more. And yet this worthless piece of paper will somehow save me $2.00. How? An exchange must be made. I must surrender it for the coupon to be redeemed.
A redeemed coupon – worthless when it’s stuck at the bottom of my messy purse – is exponentially bumped in value upon surrender.
Is there anything in your life experience that you look back on and think, “That was worthless”? Loss. Heartache. A bad choice. Illness. Tragedy. Just as worthless as the drops of ink are on that slip of torn paper.
What if there was a value to be discovered only through redemption? What might happen if you took that worthless thing and laid it down once and for all in nail-scarred hands?
My coupon worth 1/100 of a penny is valued at $2.00 only upon surrender. Its value increases 20,000 times through surrender! Imagine the exponential return of value upon something we call worthless when placed in the hands of the only One who is capable of redeeming!
In 2006, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that would shake everything I understood about my own health. It would threaten a shortened lifespan by 10-20 years. It would daily threaten to take my very life. It would interfere with clarity of thought and convenience in living. It would steal finances and sleep and the loveliness of ignorance of such a reality. Worthless…right? What a waste!
Two years later, on my knees in a messy puddle of tears, I handed this worthless mess over to Jesus. I heard simply, “I have healed you.” What could that mean? I still face the physical facts every day that seek to convince me of the inherent worthlessness of this reality. But through that surrender, I have experienced the most surprising redemption.
Death threatens daily. God has redeemed me with fulness of life, recognizing even more the value of the lived moment.
Fear threatens to smother. God has filled me with a peace beyond what makes sense that my body is most secure when surrendered to Him.
Brain fog and fatigue threaten my calling to communicate. God redeems by using the very thing which threatens to be a powerful testimony of His goodness.
People look and wonder at why He hasn’t healed me yet and I look at them and say, “He already has. And He continues to do so.”
A worthless, torn slip of paper surrendered to the hands of One with authority to redeem can reveal a miracle. Within each so-called worthless thing is a hidden, exponential value.
What worthless situation is God asking you to surrender today?
Everyone needs a healing touch, whether in a physical, soulful, or spiritual way. While there can be frustration in facing a chronic issue, hope can be yours in the waiting. For more, get your copy of Chronic Healing today!
We’re moving this week! And that’s set my mind towards an awareness of all the final things – those final experiences we’ll ever have in this home.
We’ve been so blessed with our little home these past 8 years. When we moved in our children were 20 months and 4 months old. This is where our daughter took her first steps. Where we became foster parents. Where we saw the hand of God move time and time again, providing for our needs when finances seemed depleted. Where I learned how to keep a home. Where we began homeschooling. Where I’ve written all my books. Where we’ve picked pears from our tree and preserved them for the upcoming year each summer. Where we’ve tirelessly renovated and worked. Where our children prayed their first prayers and asked Jesus to come live within them.
And this week we will say goodbye to this special place where our family grew.
Mowing the lawn for the final time. The final pear-picking season. The last meal we’ll cook. The last game we’ll play. The last sleep under this roof. The last load of laundry. Everything feels nostalgic now.
It’s easy to get stuck in the mindset that where we are now – in this temporary place – is where we always will be. Despite the tyrannical urgent we feel in this transient space, we must keep our eyes focused on the lasting. This may be the final time we see that person, walk down that road, perform that task.
How will we handle our moments, perhaps our final ones here?
“…Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire…For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” Hebrews 12:28-29, 13:14
It’s time to move on, move ahead towards a new set of memories under a new roof. And we’re so excited to see what God does in this new season for our family!
But this move has made me consider the two homes for the follower of Jesus: earth (the temporary) and heaven (the eternal). Here on this planet, we take our first steps and make our first progressions, explore our giftings and develop relationships. In heaven, we’ll take all of who we are, stripped of our sin nature and sickness of soul and body.
Are you ready for that move? If you aren’t sure, right now is the perfect time to get ready. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” It’s a surrender to Jesus as the new Lord over your life, trusting Him with who you are. It’s a belief that God has done what we never could do on our own – defeat sin and death.
As we pack up the last box and load the last stick of furniture on the truck this week, I’ll look back on this precious place with thanks, pray that it will bless the next family like it’s blessed us, ask God to keep His peace and Presence here to touch the lives of all who enter after us. And we’ll move to the next place He has for us, ready to experience everything He has beautifully prepared for this new season.
I sat restless, my certainties from just hours before upended. Surrounded by coffee house chatter, the smell of roasting beans, and a sense that life was about to shift in a dramatic way, I poured out my heart on paper. The years and my choices had taken me far from God. My dreams, ambitions, they had nothing to do with Him anymore. My world centered firmly on me. But my world was experiencing an axis-shift.
Just 19-years-old, my future before me, a longtime dream in my hands, I finally opened my ears to hear His opinion on my future, my identity, my purpose.
My dream: to become a recording artist and producer. My reasons: I loved music and I wanted the spotlight. Surely my career was supposed to be all about me. Right?
But as my world shifted and turned, poles realigning, and I heard His voice, suddenly what I wanted shifted too. In a matter of moments, I’d stepped out of the center of my own life and invited God in to be the new center. With fresh eyes, with a heart finally opened, I began to care more about what He wanted than what I’d had planned.
And He asked, “Will you give Me your dream?”
I paused…not quite resisting, just facing the depth of His question to me. Finally, my heart spoke, “Yes. Here’s my dream. Here are my plans, my hopes. I don’t know what You have in mind, but I’ll trust You.”
My hands unclenched, opening palms up.
He wanted to talk about who I was before He would let me in on what I was supposed to do. He wanted to focus on my being before my doing. We spent months chatting in journals and quiet moments, speaking of things like identity and being and His truth.
One day, sitting outside the student union building between classes, He was suddenly there, radiating light…sitting in the patio chair across the table from me.
And I asked, “Lord, since I’m a part of the Body of Christ, what part am I? What is my purpose?” I was ready to see a glimpse of what my being was designed to do.
“Be My hands. Be My voice.” Somehow, I knew this meant to write and speak, though both things were alien to me at that moment. “Be there, not to stand in the spotlight, but to reflect My light.” And He was gone. The patio chair empty once again.
Now, journals stacked two feet high show me more than a decade of conversation between us in the years to follow. A non-writer began writing. A blog began, space dedicated to continuing this conversation about Who He is and where He is to be found. A book written and published, all about identity. More writing projects stand on the horizon. A perspective shifted, a new dream discovered. Doors opened that I never could’ve imagined on my own.
It’s the most exciting journey of my life, following Him each step of the way, wondering what’s next, still dumbfounded that He would choose to work through me in any capacity. It began with a conversation. With unclenched hands, opened to new possibilities. With willingness to let go of what I thought was best. Given a new hope and a new future.
Today’s post is by Summer Hoover, a guest contributor and dear friend, full of wisdom. This particular poem has touched me deeply and challenged me to closely examine what I may be holding onto that needs to be released to God. I know it will bless you today!
After a lifetime of living in neutrality,
The King took control.
Suddenly she was asked to take her steps in faith.
He asked her to give Him everything.
“Have faith in me, my child.
I will fulfill your every need,
Just have faith in me.”
“I will, my King.
I will. I’ll give you everything.
I’ll give you my work,
But I’m sorry…I can’t give you this.
You see, this is something
That has protected me.
It has shielded my heart from hurt and despair.
So let me keep just this one thing.”
“I’m sorry, my child,” her King said through tears,
“I’m afraid I can’t let you keep that.
I know it has protected you,
But that was in the past.
I know it has kept you safe
But that safety will never last.”
“Oh, but it will,” she persisted,
“I promise it will.
It won’t interfere with your plans.
You won’t even notice I still have it.
Once you provide me with the one thing I long for,
This thing will simply disappear.
I promise I will let it go.
I just can’t do that right now.”
“My darling, you must.
Please, try to understand.
The one thing you long for
I desire to give you.
But you cannot wrap your arms around love,
If you’re holding on to this too.
Please give it to me and I promise
I will guard you.”
“But, how can I, Father?” she questioned
As her eyes filled with tears,
“I’ve lived with it for so long,
I’m afraid I will feel so incomplete.
How can you ask me to give this up
And lay it at your feet?”
“I ask you because I know
All that the future will bring.
And this one burden
Will only keep you from my blessings.”
“But, I’m so afraid, Father.
I’m so afraid,”
She cried, quietly, barely able to speak.
“Do not be afraid.
I am with you,”
He whispered as He kissed her cheek.
With one long and deep breath,
She slowly looked down at her hands
That for so long had been clinched.
Her body trembled
And her chin quivered,
While tears rolled down her face.
Her Father and King
Wrapped his arms around her quivering body
“It’s okay, my precious child,
I know you are afraid,
But have faith in me.
Surrender all and enter my safety.”
He lifted her chin
And looked deeply into her eyes.
“I love you,” He said softly,
“I love you more than you will ever know.
You must let this go.”
Slowly she stretched out her arms
And looked down at her hands
And one by one lifted the fingers
That had held onto the past.
With a trembling voice and a hopeful heart, she said,
“Father, please take it.
I don’t want to hide anymore.”
“Thank you, my child,
Thank you for your faith.
I will take this far from here
For it is no longer your concern.”
And with the lightest touch,
Her King removed the past
And placed it with the other burdens
Of the life she had left.
A sigh of relief came over her
One like she had never known before.
“What is this that I am feeling, Father?”
She asked Him with wonder in her eyes.
“That, my precious, is new life.
It is the freedom that comes
From depending on me.
It is the hope you encounter
When you see what I see.”
“Why have I never felt this before?”
“Because you gave me your works.
You gave me your mind.
You gave me your will,
But you left one thing behind.
But, now you are a new creation
For you have given everything.
Now you live by faith, not by fear.
And, you see the world as a new place
Surrender all to me.”
Summer Hoover is proud to be a military wife to her wonderful and supportive husband, Jason. They have two beautiful children who have inspired her to pursue her passion for discovering beauty in unexpected places as a natural light portrait photographer. Whether she is home-schooling her children, speaking, writing or simply having coffee with a friend, passion for living fully in that moment best defines her style and rule of life.