Surrender and Valentine’s Day?, some might ask, incredulously. Seriously?
Well, surrender is a funny thing.
Were I to surrender myself to the wrong thing, say sexuality, or drugs or alcohol, or the false gods of materialism and wealth, it would consume me totally. Ultimately, it would change the person I am, change my goals, change my loves, change my relationships. It would become difficult for me to maintain relationships on more than a superficial level.
In some ways, I suppose, surrender to God is similar. Surrender to the Lord changes me. It changes the person I am, changes my goals, my loves, and my relationships. Yet, our surrender to the Lord will never consume us, not in the “All used up and good for nothing else way.” It’s an amazing thing. Rather than being consumed – used up – we are given more.
In fact, it is only through our total giving of ourselves to the Lord that we can totally selflessly give to others.
I’ve witnessed this first hand in these past few weeks, as my husband has grieved the tragic loss of his best friend. I knew he needed time to grieve. I knew that, in his grief, he needed loving arms to come home to, and caring ears to listen. He needed the security of knowing that I was there, no matter what.
For the first few days, I was completely immersed in prayer, knowing that I could not possibly give him everything he needed without much needed support. And, for those first few days, I must say, I was pretty spot-on.
But then I began to slip a bit. Quite frankly, that whole self-donation thing isn’t easy, especially when the person that you’re giving, and giving, and giving to is in no shape to give anything back. And my husband wasn’t. In that first week, all he could do was take, and take some more, and then a bit more. And that got hard.
We had received the news Saturday afternoon, and already, by the time I was in adoration early Tuesday, I was begging Jesus to help me overcome the anger and resentment that I was beginning to feel. I was disappointed in myself, but I knew that I never could have gotten through the previous three days without clinging to Christ, and that I would never get through the days and weeks to come without continuing to do so, humbly aware of my own inadequacies.
And that’s when it hit me: Surrender. I had already taken it for my “One Word 2014” two weeks prior. At the time, I didn’t know how soon it would come into play in my life, or that my surrender would be so important to others around me.
That morning in adoration, I realized that, only by my total surrender to Christ, could I give my husband the support he needed. Only by giving myself utterly and totally – every shred, every desire, every need- over to Christ, could I allow Him to use me as His servant in support of His precious son, Ray. Only then could I be the hands and feet of Christ – His loving arms, His caring words, His supportive presence.
Our God is pretty awesome, isn’t He? He’s a jealous God (Ex 34:14; Deut 6:15; et al), yet His jealousy is not like that of humans. He doesn’t attempt to keep us for Himself, like a jealous husband or boyfriend. Instead, when we give ourselves to Him, He essentially multiplies us, making us more for others, and giving us back to those around us in a fullness that we can never achieve on our own.
Love and marriage are all about self-donation. And self-donation is hard. But we can do it, when we are surrendered to Christ.
Last Saint Valentine’s Day, I was Meek but not Milquetoast. This Saint Valentine’s Day, I’m Surrendering to the Lord. Perhaps not the box of chocolates or lacy lingerie that my Valentine had in mind, but I think it will serve us well in the end.
And maybe I’ll throw in some chocolate and lace just to keep him happy tomorrow as well. 🙂