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A Surrendered Heart

She was nineteen, scared, and lonely. Dreams of the college life and a career, lost in the midst of her unfamiliar reality. A reality that now carried a responsibility she was unsure she could handle.

She sat on the hand-me-down couch in the living room of the small, brick walled apartment. Tears rolled down her cheeks. The salt stains were not new. Tears had traveled these paths many times before.

The loneliness, guilt, and shame seemed to be suffocating her. Every day felt like she was drowning in sorrow, desperately trying to tread the waters of depression.

She knew God but He had never been her first refuge. Today the sorrow and desolation was more than she could bear. She surrendered to her frailty and reached for her bible in hopes that the despair would be lifted.

Through tears her eyes scanned the words as her fingers flipped the tissue-paper thin pages praying for God to show her something. Her surrendered heart opened the door for honest prayer.

As she wiped away the tears from her face, leaving damp marks on the pages of her bible, her finger rested on a verse. She read the verse. Then again. Then again.

For the first time in her life God was real. She felt His arms wrap around her. She heard His soft whisper through the pages of that book. The sorrow was being replaced by an unexplainable joy.

In that moment God began to tear down the wall of religion around her heart and opened the gate of a relationship with Him.

That young nineteen-year-old was me.

I was newly married, living 400 miles away from home, and had my first child. I had no family nearby. I had lost my closest friend. I had nothing in common with the other people I knew from my home town going to school where we lived. I had entered a different stage of life. During this period I felt abandoned.

That day I sat on my couch listening to my son coo, all I could do was cry. God showed me something so beautiful that day in spite of the dark place I was in.

That day as I cried all I could think of was the mess I had made of my life and my husbands. I realized that myplan for my life was shattered. I realized thatIhad made life so much harder for my husband who now had a family to care for on top of going to school full time and working full time. I realized that Ihad disappointed my family.

Through all these realizations I repeated over and over “look at whatIhave done”.

In my sorrow I could not see how selfish I was being. All I could think about was me.

Was I remorseful for the sin I committed? Yes.

Conviction and repentance are different than shame and guilt.

God convicts us of our sins so that we repent and turn back to Him. God focused.

Satan shames us for our sin so that we wallow in our guilt. Me focused.

When I read those words “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”, it was as if God whispered in my ear “No dear child, look at what I have done.”

Oh the beauty of clear vision when the veil of lies is lifted from our eyes.

I looked down at my beautiful, healthy baby boy. He laughed and cooed and flailed his little arms and legs in complete joy.

Yes, there was a consequence for our sin. Our lives did change dramatically. The plans we had for our life did not go accordingly and we did have to adjust to a new plan. But God’s promise is that in every situation good can come out of it. Nothing in our life is done in vain. God always has a plan, even in the midst of our mistakes. My husband and I were blessed with a wonderful healthy son. God certainly brought something beautiful out of our situation.

I want to encourage you, no matter what you are going through God promises good from it. We may not always be privileged to see the good that comes from the tough situations we go through. The good may be for someone else’s benefit that we will learn of only in glory. If we believe God and believe in His promises, then nothing we go through will be in vain.

Lord, thank you for showing me Your promise all those years ago. Thank you for revealing Yourself to that young girl who cried out in desperation. Thank you that You saw me even when I felt so alone. Thank you for loving me so much that You pursue me with every part of your being. Lord, may I always have a surrendered heart to You.


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