A Heart of Surrender

A Heart of Surrender

Updated: April 14, 2017.

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“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”
Luke 9:23-25 (NKJV)

Hello, dear friends.

I say “friends” because I truly believe if you continue to read post after post that you are, in many respects, my friends. Perhaps even sisters in Christ.

I entrust you with bits of my heart each time I publish, and those of you who share in the comments or emails bless me in return with yours.

It is a relationship.
Built on a trust.
Founded on a promise.
And I’m so thankful for it.

Not too long ago, I reached a point where I believed there was little reason to write if I chose not to be transparent.

Which means each time I hit the publish button, I willingly put myself in a vulnerable place — a place where you can reject me or my words and wound my heart.

And I choose to do that.

Because as much as I want to write just what you want to hear, I still have to be true to what I believe I’m called to do — and that is, faithsize my life.

“Faithsizing your life means obediently and faithfully aligning your position and purpose before the Lord.”

I cannot do that if I am unwilling to surrender.

Surrender my pride.
Surrender my desire to be liked.
Surrender my hope for success.
Surrender my fear.

November 26th I began a short Bible study on surrender using Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Surrender: The Heart God Controls.

I opened the study in my prayer journal with this entry:

“Lord, I know there are areas of my life I need to surrender fully. I ask You to open my eyes to them. Let me see them so that I can name/identify every last one. I do not want to live in disobedience or denial, nor do I want to be ignorant.

I love You.

I want to obey.

I want to enjoy the blessings of true peace.”

And that is where the battle for control began.

Why do I battle?

  • Because I am human and cursed with a finite understanding.
  • Because I fall into the foolish practice of thinking too highly of myself and my wisdom.
  • Because I do not want to suffer rejection or appear foolish.
  • Because it’s easier to overly generalize rather than offend.
  • Because I have found comfort in things that were never meant to bring me (or anyone else) comfort.
  • Because (Oh my goodness, do we ever grow up?) everyone else is doing it.

Predicated on fear, all of the above trappings will ultimately steal God’s blessings from my life. I become my worse enemy.

What might I miss by not aligning with His plan?

What might the world have missed if others chose not to step through the fear into surrender?

What of Mary, mother of Jesus?

Gabriel, who was sent by God to Mary, tells her:

“‘You are honored very much. You are a favored woman. The Lord is with you. You are chosen from among many women.’

When she saw the angel, she was troubled at his words. She thought about what had been said.

The angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. See! You are to become a mother and have a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus.

He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the place where His early father David sat.

He will be King over the family of Jacob forever and His nation will have no end.'”
Luke 1:28-33 (NLV)

Mary feared.
And Gabriel comforted her with promises.

And then, there was Joseph, the man Mary was pledged to marry. An Angel of the Lord was sent to him as well:

“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.'”
Matthew 1:18-21 (NASB)

Joseph feared.
And he too was comforted with God’s promises.

Stepping through fear into surrender they married.
And Jesus was born.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:11 (KJV)

A Heart of SurrenderWonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace.

Mary was somewhere between the age of 13 and 16.
I am 43.

Surely I can muster the maturity of a teenager and trust a Sovereign God with every.single.aspect.of.my.life.

My word for 2016?

To my blessed Savior.
I surrender all.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

May your week be filled with thankfulness for the birth of Jesus Christ. May you love and be loved. May you give forgiveness where needed and may others forgive you. May you rejoice in all truth and bear one another’s burdens. May you trust in, hope for, and surrender all to the One who came to save.


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Heather Sanders

37 thoughts on “A Heart of Surrender”

  1. Holly says:

    A beautiful post Heather, from your heart. You are so willing to post what I think but cannot say. Have a blessed Christmas with your beloved family celebrating the birth of the One we love.

    1. Diana says:

      I agree! Heather puts to words my thoughts. The things I am feeling in my own heart.

    2. Heather Sanders says:

      Holly and Diana – I am thankful I’m able to “post what [you] think but cannot say” and put “words to [your] thoughts.” There are days that a post is like a burden of love. I’m striving to gather and focus my thoughts from the whirlwind of words fighting to get out of my head. I cannot tell you how many edits I put to this post before it said what I wanted it to say. So, thank you for your comments. They mean a lot to me.

  2. CIndyK says:

    Control is an illusion anyways. I was driving one day and I saw a woman running down the street who was probably exercising. What struck me was as she ran she had the biggest smile on her face and her arms straight in the air as if she was praising God. I do not know if that was what she was doing but is sure looked like it. When I think of surrender, I picture her. Smile on my face with arms lifted high and moving forward, not stagnant.
    “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
    Thank you for your sweet smelling fragrance you share.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      CindyK – What a strong visual. I have a visual too, but I must say it is as heartbreaking as worshipful. It is of my close friend after her son died of SIDs at 10 weeks. I sang at the memorial service. She fell down on her knees before the Lord, hands lifted high, worshipping the Almighty Father, who gave and took away. I will never forget that grief. I will never forget that full surrender.

      Thank you for sharing the 2 Corinthians passage.

      It reminded me of an old hymn we often sang on Sundays when I was growing up:

      There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place
      And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord
      There are sweet expressions on each face
      And I know they feel the presence of the Lord

      Sweet Holy Spirit… sweet heavenly dove…
      Stay right here with us
      Filling us with Your love

      And for these blessings
      We lift our hearts in praise
      Without a doubt we know
      That we’ll have been revived
      When we shall leave this place

      Blessings, Cindy!

  3. Kristi says:

    I surrender! This week I was called to walk away from social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) because of the still, small voice in my heart that pointed out my natural human instinct to covet. I was afraid (“what if he/she thinks I’m not his/her friend?!”) But even two days in, I realize that God’s laws are for blessings, always. What if we all surrendered to God? Let’s start a movement! Be blessed, Heather!! 🙂

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Kristi – What a wise woman you are to listen to the “still, small voice in [your] heart.” It’s so easy to ignore it – to pretend it isn’t there.

      I can relate to making changes of this nature to protect your heart and your mind. When Jeff and I first married, I realized I didn’t marry a man “given to romance.” I would watch romantic dramas or comedies and beat him up in my mind. Each show I’d watch would draw me further and further into anger against him until we were constantly fighting.

      Mind you, we BOTH had work to do in our marriage in those early years, but my first “work” was giving up any romantic movies, comedies, books, tv shows, etc…

      And it worked.
      The less I saw of the fake stuff, the more I could see what was real – the man standing before me who loved me with acts of service and not gifts or long love letters. 🙂

      1. Kristi says:

        I think that’s your next blog post! “The Fake Stuff” – we are to be IN the world (where we are surrounded, poked, prodded, dare I say molested, at times with the fake stuff) but not OF the world. Thanks for another sweet testimony that speaks to my heart!

      2. Lynne R says:

        Thanks for sharing Kristi. You remind me I’m not alone. Years ago, I caught myself putting my baby (my Kristi) down for a nap at the specific time during the day that the daytime shows I wanted to watch started. Whether she needed a nap or not. And then that voice… Oh, I realized for ME it was female pornography–painting a picture of life that is not real and I was becoming dissatisfied with mine…dissatisfied with my baby and my husband and all the mundane chores of real life not depicted in the serial stories I was watching. And I was so blessed–I had a comfortable house that needed cleaning, a healthy baby and a husband who loved me. I had to turn it off. Surrender. And it hurt for a time. Then it didn’t.

        Several years later that voice talked to me again, telling me I once again had to fight the comparing battle for my family and my contentedness. I realized that the romance novels I was reading was more of that female porno. What man can live up to the writer’s imagination in either the physical or emotional? Even the Christian romances I’d been reading. They aren’t physically graphic, but they did paint an unrealistic picture of relationships. I once again found myself dissatisfied with my life and my wonderful husband. Why couldn’t he be like the guys in the books? He couldn’t be because he is a real man–who is growing in the Lord along beside me. Surrender. And it took the surrender to realize once again that the man I married was EXACTLY the man God gave to me to be the partner I need. I found once again that surrender gives contentedness.

        FOR ME (please hear me here) it is a “can’t eat meat sacrificed to idols” issue. For others, unless that still quiet voice tells them otherwise, it is “ok to eat the meat”. Am I making sense?

        Anyway, I’ve also learned that sometimes what that voice told me to stay away from becomes permissible. When Top Gun became available on VHS, I had to quit watching. What housewife/mom of preschoolers can be content when there is a possible other life where you can fly a fighter jet at great speed and save the world from the bad guys? (not me) But now, I’m good. I no longer feel as though I’ve lost something by not being an aviator.

        Thanks again for sharing your wisdom–all of you posters here.

      3. Heather Sanders says:

        Lynne You asked, “Am I making sense?” – I’m here to say that you make all the sense in the world. I just sat back and nodded my head all the way through. Such a blessing to listen to women talk about how they protect their hearts and families. Blessings!

  4. Laura Brown says:

    Heather, I just finished Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss – what a coincidence! No, God planned that. He knew I needed something else, and I think that may be my next book. I need to completely surrender as well. I always try to make it my own way, and not listen to God’s voice. I constantly try to figure out His next steps instead of letting him lead. I am a horrible dance partner! I expect my partner to lead, but wind up leading instead. I am also so happy to see the I Heart Children’s Books website – my hubby and I have talked about him writing some children’s books, but we are trying to surrender to God. This is probably the hardest lesson to learn. Thanks for the encouragement.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      “No, God planned that.” – You bet he planned that, Laura. Amen and amen! Letting the Lord lead seems as though it should be the easiest thing in the world, but my oh my, it does require constant attention to get it right!

  5. Laura in Little Rock says:

    Always thought provoking. I know I battle surrender on many things… And give in to the ones I shouldn’t. So maybe I need this book for Christmas.
    Envious of your little cabin these days. My 11y son has discovered the “joy” of slamming doors. There aren’t many doors in that cabin of yours, nor could he hide and sulk.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Laura – We have a bathroom door. That’s it. Oh, and a front and back door. Not a lot of slamming going on; however, I can see a sulk from anywhere in the house. 😉

  6. tcmullinax says:

    I’m so glad to have a friend like you who fills my Grinchy doubting heart with…fullness. That is the only way to describe it.

    My mom used to tell me to “throw all your worries to the Lord. He’s a great catcher!” 😉

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      tcmullinax – I absolutely LOVE your Mom’s saying. That’s absolutely perfect! And thank you for being such a sweet encouragement. Really. I’m happy my post can touch your heart after all these years. 🙂

  7. Dianne Bell in Michigan says:

    Thank you Heather, for your beautiful post from your heart and soul. It touched my heart and lifts up my soul. I hope you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Blessings and joy!

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      You are welcome, Dianne. Many blessings and much joy to you as well. Merry Christmas!

  8. Poppa Ken says:

    This is the sermon I should have preached yesterday. Thanks Heather!

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Daddy – Absolutely not. Your sermon was divinely inspired. I loved it – as did the kids and your congregation. I love you!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Loved this, Heather! The transparency and rawness helped me see I am not alone in this journey. Hope you and yours have a very blessed Christmas!

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Jennifer – That feeling of not being alone in this journey of life is one of the greatest gifts I believe God gives us (especially women) on this earth (outside of the obvious ones like salvation, of course).

      To know that others struggle in the same way we do–to hear our hearts and brokenness in the words of another…it’s priceless. It happens to me over and over.

      Thank you for tenderly holding my vulnerabilities and for being a source of encouragement with your comment.

  10. Kathleen W says:

    Thank you for your loving sentiments. I also look forward to your posts adding something extra to my day and my life. You make me think, and pray, and remember to thank God for all that I am. Have a blessed Christmas, and a happy and holy New Year!

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Blessings and Merry Christmas to you too, Kathleen! My prayer is God will continue to guide my writing in 2016 so that my words are relevant and needed for those He wants to speak to through them. For if that wasn’t the case, I see no reason to write.

  11. Debbie says:

    My word for last year was Surrender. The first step to obedience is hearing what God has to say and sometimes He calls us to lay down the dreams and plans and just surrender our lives to his ways and his plans. Not always easy!

    This year my word is TANGIBLE. This year I want to be hands on, face-to-face, heart to heart – living real life with my people and not just behind this computer!

    You and I have so many similarities, which I find comforting. The Lord works in each person individually, yet he loves us enough to allow us to see that we are not walking this road alone.

    Merry Christmas my friend 🙂

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Debbie – It doesn’t surprise me that your word was Surrender last year. It makes as much sense as your word for this upcoming year. I know it is the desire of your heart to be face-to-face and heart-to-heart. It is a difficult task for those of us who work online for a living and also blog independently of that work.

      Yes, the Lord does work in each of us one-on-one and face-to-face. He has the very character you hope to see in yourself this year.

      Imagine that.

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  12. Janelle says:

    So beautiful, my friend. Surrender. I’m clinging to your coat tails to do just that. Surrender. Merry, Merry Christmas to an amazing woman.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Janelle – You aren’t clinging to my coat tails, friend. You are standing in faith and He’s writing your story. I cannot wait to see what He shows you. Love ya, lady. Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  13. Alojzia says:

    The more we surrender to God the freer we become. It is a paradox. Yet, we don’t lose our identity. We don’t become God’s robot. We are more alive and we are released as we get more in tune with God’s will and way.
    I like to recall Deuteronomy 31:8 ” It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed. ” It’s comforting to remember these words and think on them when times are confusing and life seems all a jumble.
    Merry Christmas Heather to you and your family. And a happy, blessed New Year.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Alojzia – That passage from Deuteronomy is AMAZING. I have it underlined in my Bible. Reminds me of one of my favorite praise and worship songs, Whom Shall I Fear. Most specifically, the chorus:

      I know Who goes before me
      I know Who stands behind
      The God of angel armies
      Is always by my side

      The one Who reigns forever
      He is a friend of mine
      The God of angel armies
      Is always by my side

      Merry Christmas to you too!

  14. Lanelle Fry says:

    Thank you for your love of Christ and your faithfulness. You have brought inspiration and a voice of wisdom to help guide me back to the path I thought I had lost.

    I am working through my lost path and am slowly coming back around.

    I pray blessings and prayers for you and your family. Merry Christmas.

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Lanelle – Can I just say that I love your name. It’s my name too – slightly different spelling. I am Heather Lennelle Sanders. 😉

      And I’m so thankful that my words have inspired you. I too am working through my lost paths; hence my need to surrender.

      Thank you for your prayers. Oh, thank you. Much love and a Merry Christmas to you!

    2. CIndyK says:

      Lanelle – My heart rejoiced at your words. Our God allows U-turns. Now abide in Him and never leave. John 15~ The time is so short until our Lord returns. My prayer for you (and me) is that we be about His business with passion and ferocity.

  15. Trina says:

    Thank you, Heather! I’ve been missing you lately and here you are again with a beautiful, real post. What amazing closeness we can achieve with our loving saviour when we humble ourselves in a way such as this. I pray abundant blessing and grace on you and your beautiful family. XO

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Thank you, Trina. It touches my heart to know I’m missed when I’m gone, and I hope when I’m here I can bring posts worthy of being read. I appreciate your prayers of abundance on me and my family. And to you…Blessings!

  16. Carolyn says:

    Oh, what a beautiful song. I think my tears started during the first refrain.

    You are definitely missed and your posts are a delightful surprise in my inbox!

    1. Heather Sanders says:

      Thank you, Carolyn. I’ve been working on the first couple of reviews on the new children’s picture book blog, so I’ve been delayed here. However, that will not always be the case. I just coupled that with a family wedding, funeral and my anniversary. Those things sort of ate up my weekend! I REALLY appreciate you chiming in though. You made my heart smile this evening. BLESSINGS!

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