The Day God Taught Me To Surrender


This morning, Wednesday May 1st, I added the wallpaper for this new sermon series to my phone. I went on with my day – breakfast made, lunches packed, and dropped the kids at school. Went to meet friends for coffee and do a Target run. And then I got the alert that my kids’ school district was in a hard lock-down.

I grabbed my phone and there it was: Surrender.

I searched for every morsel of information I could find. I called friends. I read every Facebook comment I could find. Every parent’s worst nightmare was reality. There was an active shooter in our school district, near my son’s school.

My phone rang. I went to answer it and the word was there again: Surrender.

From 11:30am until 6:00pm I had no choice but to sit and wait. And, somewhat obsessively, search for any information that could be found. Each time I picked up my phone to answer a text, check my email, scour Facebook, the image was in front of me.


“What will I surrender to Him today?”  I had no option today but to learn to surrender my children to the Lord.  As I wait for my children to succumb to sleep and I process the events of the day I am realizing that God taught me a lot about surrendering today.

I learned that it is OK to not have the words to say.  At noon I sat at my dining table and cried. I wanted to pray. My heart ached for Jesus. But I didn’t have the words.  Romans 8:26 filled my mind.  “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”  So I surrendered my words and my prayer and asked the Holy Spirit to speak on my behalf.

I learned that to fully surrender is to accept that I don’t have control. I could not access my children. I could not get answers to my questions. I had to intentionally say, and repeat many times, that I was putting them fully  in God’s hands.

I learned that surrendering is easier done in community. Instead of sitting at home alone, Micah and I chose to go sit and wait with other parents. We encouraged each other, laughed a bit, reminded each other of truth when our emotions were high, and found safety in others who were experiencing the same thing. By choosing community over isolation I was given food that I didn’t realize I needed, deepened friendships even in the midst of crisis, and was able to first hand see God at work.

I learned that the process of surrendering provides space for deep gratitude. When I chose to surrender I was able to see what was happening around me with new eyes. I saw hundreds of people come together in peace and unity. I witnessed moms comforting each other and parents offering a shoulder to lean on. I watched as the body of Christ (Life Church in Mount Horeb), in a matter of minutes, opened their doors to support hundreds of parents. I saw generosity in bags of chips, pizzas, bottles of water and coffee. When I surrendered I was no longer focused on myself but instead was able to feel empathy for the teachers, the police, district leaders, and the parents sitting next to me on a church lawn.

I learned how true it is that God works in and through all things. My 10 year old, Oliver, and the rest of his school were evacuated to the public library.  What did Oliver want to share the most when we were reunited? Another student spent their time at the library praying over kids and touching each one saying “God bless you.”  God was not absent in the crisis. He worked through a child who was emboldened by the situation. Who am I to refuse to surrender to a God who brings light to darkness?

God made sure that I put that image on my phone this morning. And while I would never wish this type of day on anyone, I am laying down tonight in deep awe of how God can and does move in all situations. I am thankful that God worked in my heart in the midst of deep fear and anxiety.

So my prayer for tomorrow is that when I wake up, grab my phone and see “Surrender” that I will be a little bit more willing to surrender to Him again.

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