Radical Surrender: One Foot in Front of the Other - Encouragement for Today - July 31, 2019

Amy E. Ford

July 31, 2019

Radical Surrender: One Foot in Front of the Other

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“LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 (NIV)

She stood in front of the church, holding on to her two babies for dear life. It was supposed to be one of the most beautiful moments of her life. But it was the most beautifully terrible moment she could ever imagine.

My friend Rachel ached to be a mother. Having suffered two devastating, later-term miscarriages, she walked this world heavy with grief. When the state caseworker asked to place infant siblings with her, she believed God was replacing her load with joy. God had seen her, and He had redeemed her pain with these two precious children.

She completely reorganized her life to parent them. She quit her job. She decorated their nurseries. She battled fatigue and met the needs of two babies that had experienced more trauma in their short little lives than Rachel ever had.

For two years, it looked like she would get to be their mother permanently, as it seemed unlikely their birth mother would regain custody. Rachel and her husband were the first choice as an adoptive family. They were so close to having the family they had dreamed of, until the caseworker called and said they were returning to court.

“The birth mother has sustained sobriety and wants her kids back. Her attorney is fighting for it, and the judge is favorable. You should prepare yourselves that the children will be returned home.”

Home? Weren’t these children already home? Wasn’t she the one who had snuggled them, fed them … a stable, nurturing woman who would raise them in the ways of Jesus?

Wasn’t she their mother?

And so she stood in front of the congregation that day, holding her babies. A day so bright, so hopeful, but so awful. Because it was Mother’s Day, and Rachel and her husband were dedicating these children to God as their parents — knowing that within the week, the caseworker would come to take them away.

Rachel knew it wasn’t for her to determine the steps of her children. But she also knew it wasn’t the caseworker’s path either.

As Jeremiah 10:23 says, “LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.” It was for God to direct her children’s path.

Rachel and her husband became forever parents to their children the minute they accepted the assignment from the Lord to parent them. But they also knew their children weren’t theirs but rather God’s. So they dedicated them back to God, even though their hearts were breaking. Even though they couldn’t see the end of their family’s journey.

What an incredible act of faith.

What an incredible act of surrender.

Have you ever had to radically surrender your children to the Lord? Perhaps there was a scary diagnosis. You could be a frustrated stepparent, or perhaps there’s been a long season of miscommunication with a child. As Christian parents, sometimes we’re afraid to be completely vulnerable about our fear and pain when it comes to our children.

Sometimes it’s even harder to acknowledge that it’s really up to God to direct our child’s next steps.

As parents, we all experience times of frustration, confusion and loss. But if we can trust that there is Something Bigger guiding the way, we can do amazingly tough things. Because then it isn’t up to us.

It’s up to Him.

And what incredible hope we have in that surrender. What incredible hope we have for the journey ahead. We can trust that He is leading us somewhere good, even in our moments of deepest ache and loss.

Lord, I’m so thankful that You are the Something Bigger who gives me the grace and strength to face hard times as a parent. I trust in Your overwhelming love for me and my children. I trust in You to direct our next steps. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (NLT)

Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV)

How do you help your child get through pain and sorrow, especially when you might be dealing with your own grief? God sees your family's pain and longs to ease it. For practical help on the healing journey, you’ll appreciate Dr. Amy E. Ford’s new book, When Your Child is Grieving: God’s Hope for the Journey Toward Healing, available at Amazon.com and all other major book retailers.

Dr. Amy E. Ford is a licensed professional counselor (specializing in trauma and grief), university professor and a pastor’s wife. She and her husband have parented six children together. Find Amy online at authoramyford.com

Enter to WIN your very own copy of When Your Child is Grieving by Dr. Amy E. Ford. To celebrate this book, Harvest House is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and notify each one in the comments section by Monday, August 5.}

How can you practically surrender your child to God? What’s one way you have noticed God directing the steps of your child this week?

© 2019 by Amy E. Ford. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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Originally published Wednesday, 31 July 2019.