When We Give Jesus Control

The most painful part of my life, was the time I gave everything to Jesus. It wasn’t painful because I gave everything to Jesus, it was painful because a whole lot of pain is what it took for me to finally give Him my all. Seriously, you guys. I am nothing if not a stubborn person.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I went through a serious illness. It took many years to diagnose and then a few more years to treat. And those years were hard beyond words. But they were also the best years of my life in ways I couldn’t see until that phase was way back in my rear view mirror. I call them blessed years now, because that’s when I really started walking with our Lord.

Can I confess to you guys that I miss that period of time in a lot of ways?

I don’t miss the physical pain or the fear or the thousands and thousands of dollars it took to keep this body going even with some of the best health insurance money can buy. That stuff still scares me to death. What I do miss though is that closeness I had with Jesus. Give me a bunch of scary stuff, and you can be sure I’m going to be reaching out to grab hold of God’s hand for dear life.

(Jesus) I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. – John 15:9 (NLT)

Those two years that I’m talking about also involved a whole lot of change. Because we can’t grab God’s hand and stay in His love and not be changed by the process. A lot of that meant letting go of my ways, my thoughts, my dreams, and my ideas of what my life should and shouldn’t look like and learning more about God’s ways and thoughts, the dreams He has planned for me, and His ideas of what my life should and shouldn’t look like.

Surrender is always harder than it sounds. But I can also say from experience that it is the most rewarding thing that we can do.

(Jesus) I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. – John 15:1-4 (NLT)

It sure does feel a lot like pruning. It involves cutting lots of things off so that we can bloom even bigger and brighter than before.

Here’s the thing. I’m only two and a half years into this life post-pruning. I had lots of things cut off, and honestly – I don’t miss those things at all. Someday I really will get around to sharing with you guys all the super hard letting go that I willingly and not so willingly went through in those years. Promise. But even the best pruned plant needs a touch up after a period of time or they’ll once again be overgrown and out of control. Old blooms will take up the energy needed for new buds to form.

Friends, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m in need of a good pruning. My life is cluttered. My time is stretched thin. I’m still learning how to be a wife, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, a writer, and an employee all at the same time. I know it takes lots and lots of love and lots and lots of patience. And I also know I can’t do it alone.

This Lent, instead of giving up anything in particular, I’m trying to give Jesus my all again and go back to where it started.

For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

This is really a continuation of being still (which is my word of 2013), but it helps to have Lent to keep me on track for the next 5 weeks. In the past two years, I realized how easy it is for me to slip away from Jesus when I’m feeling good. It’s easy to get caught up in the tide of things I need to do, responsibilities I have, and even the things I’m doing because I love Him. It’s easy to live a life of service for Him, without actually spending any time with Him.

It’s absolutely crazy how easy it is to slip back into doing certain things on your own strength when you actually have the strength to do it. And can I just say this is way harder than I thought it would be? Have you ever noticed how when you commit to doing something like reading the Bible every day, your brain will come up with one million excuses as to why you should be doing something else in that moment of time?

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you guys encouraging me along the way. I’m loving the way my real life friends and blog-friends and blog-friends who are real life friends point me back to Jesus time and time again. If I’m a little slow on email, Facebook, or in stopping by to say hi these days, it’s because I’m slowing down and trying to spend more alone time with our Savior, soaking in His love, exploring His Word, and laying all sorts of prayers at His feet for myself, the people I love, and for you. I absolutely love being reminded that I’m not in control, but the One who is loves us more than we could ever know. And that is the reason for living.

I’m joining Bonnie Gray and all of the amazing Faith Jammers at Faith Barista!

P.S. Did you read about the changes coming to the blog? Things will look different very soon! I’m trying to play it cool, but I can’t wait to show you around the new place in the near future.

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15 comments

  1. Hi Steph
    I relate so much to your experience with your illness. I suffer from a chronic, debilitating disease, Fm/CFS and there is no cure available! But, our Pappa God has used this to draw me close into the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus and I can honestly say that I would rather live with this illness, than be cured. I have learned to draw each moment of my life from His goodness, mercy and grace. Actually from His eternal life. I have learned like Paul to boast in my weakness for then His power and presence is the fountain of my life! Over via Bonnie’s. It is nice to meet someone who knows the joy of suffering!
    Much love
    Mia

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    1. Renee, your post this week in the Faith Jam is just beautiful. And it’s a kick in the booty for me to really put my actions where my talk is and spend more and more quiet time with Jesus. If you ever write a devotional, I’m buying it!

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  2. Kim, thanks for commenting on my post. Yours resonated with me so much! My husband went through some serious health issues back in 2011, lost his job because he had missed so much work, suffers from depression/anxiety, and was recently diagnosed with diabetes last year. So, I can identify with the struggle (mental, physical, financial) of which you speak. But somehow, Jesus has gotten us through all of it. This passage you wrote really stood out: “A lot of that meant letting go of my ways, my thoughts, my dreams, and my ideas of what my life should and shouldn’t look like and learning more about God’s ways and thoughts, the dreams He has planned for me, and His ideas of what my life should and shouldn’t look like.” This is what I have lived for the past two years and am currently living. Learning to let go of what I thought I wanted and letting God work through me. It’s been a hard road to understanding that what God has in store for me is 100 times (infinity) better than what I could plan for myself. I am so ungrateful sometimes but I know that someday, I will look back on this time and just thank him for what he has taught me and what he has done for us.

    Thanks for sharing!
    *I’ve had some trouble posting from my computer so I hope this doesn’t duplicate!*

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  3. Oh the pruning…I love this road you’re choosing for Lent this year, Kim. I took a similar path last year and my, did it ever change me from the inside out! Such a refining time…
    Thrilled you stopped by my place via Mandy’s beautiful site so I knew to visit and get to know your heart! Thank you!
    All for Him with hugs to you,
    Nikki

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  4. It’s hard, right here in the middle of the hurting days, to confess that there are things here that I *don’t* want to leave behind. But I know it’s true. I know how quickly we drift away from our First Love when we are not walking the suffering road. Because I’ve been there. And maybe I’m not ready to say that I want these days to last, but I’m ready to say that there is beauty and blessing and grace right here, when everything’s falling apart and I’m struggling to breath and hope and wait. Yes. Jesus is near, and His tender care and passionate love are big and bold and beautiful here. And I am grateful for the road that’s letting me walk with Him like this.

    May you find much grace and clarity as you seek to live a life more in line with the one He’s always envisioned for you–and may the pruning lead you deeper into love with Him, no matter whether there’s suffering or blessing.

    And I’m liking your new blog name :o).

    Grace, grace, grace to you today, Friend!

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  5. {I tried to comment yesterday but I don’t think it went through…or maybe it did and this will just be a repeat, and if that’s the case, I’m sorry!!}

    Right here, in the midst of the hurting days, it’s hard for me to admit that there are things about this that I don’t want to leave behind. But I know it’s true. I know how easy it is to drift away from God when things are going well. I know because I’ve been there. Too many times. Maybe I’m not ready to say that I want these days to last, but I’m ready to say that there is beauty and grace and gift here on this hard road. And if this is the road I have to walk to feel Him near like this? It’s worth it.

    May you find rest and clarity as you let God prune away the clutter, find the life He’s always meant for you to live. And may you fall ever more deeply in love with our Jesus, in the good days and the hard.

    Grace to you today, Friend!

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    1. Hi Courtney! I didn’t get it, so thanks for trying again. 🙂 I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been doing not as well as I’d like myself, but if this is what it takes to remind me to stay close and to get me back on the path He laid out for me lifestyle-wise, then I know it’s a blessing. Praying for grace to you, too, and I’m so glad we connected!

      Sent from my iPhone

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