I assumed she still had . . . wealth . . . fame . . . a great marriage . . . and an incredible faith. Her books changed the way I lived my faith during my college years. So. It was exciting to have her as a speaker at the conference I directed so long ago. Her spoken and written words impacted all of us. But. Years and the stuff of life separated us. I had been unaware she lost everything, entering into a life of loneliness and addiction. She struggled giving up the habits which comforted her in pain; however, she eventually surrendered it all to God and began a new life, writing and speaking with a raw and transformed faith. There was a time I would’ve been disappointed by her choices; now, after experiencing more of life, I’m struck by the power of redemption:
But now, God’s Message,
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you. (Isaiah 43:1-4, The Message).
Isaiah outlines how our life comes from the heart of God, sustained by grace and covered by love.
We’re not doomed to the pull and pressures of this world but freed from it all, never sentenced to a dead-end but assigned to a new beginning, gripped by God, not by fear. We’re identified as the redeemed, our name uttered by the Creator of everything with the divine promise to never be left alone. We’re created, called, and completed by a relentless love, undeserved and indefinable.
So. Why do we struggle giving up anything when God has given everything for us? Most of us would say the struggle comes from not understanding the power of surrender in our relationship with God. When we finally give in and release it all to God, we find ourselves going through a new door, leading to what more has been planned for us. When we make it a daily habit to surrender, we go through the doorway as if it’s the first time, being made new all over again. Yesterday no longer needs to define us when we surrender it all today. The truth of it comes from one of my favorite passages, one that I often write about:
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland (Isaiah 43: 18-19, NIV).
Receive God’s word. You are identified as redeemed, loved with relentless love, infused with divine grace.
- Trust God.
- Go through the doorway of surrender.
- Receive God’s new work of today.
Learning to Kickstart the day with God,
(Written by Kerrie Carlisle Palmer © 2013 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)