At the beginning of 2023, during 21 days of prayer and fasting at our church, I committed to fully seeking the Lord on leading me towards a theme for the Ordinary Women National Connect. For 21 days, I prayed, fasted, read my Bible daily seeking His guidance. Towards the end of those 3 weeks, a word began to emerge in my mind during prayer or stand out in songs during worship, but I found myself questioning whether or not it was the Holy Spirit’s guiding or just my own conjuring. By day 20, I shared with a few friends what I felt like God was leading us to dig deeper in for our retreat, and I received confirmation that He was indeed taking me on a journey of trusting Him completely. During Night of Worship on day 21, He spoke again during a song to confirm that the word He had planted in my heart was exactly what He had planned for all of us Ordinary Women.
I grew up in a conservative Baptist church that sang all of the old hymns. “I Surrender All” was a song we sang almost every Sunday during the invitation. As a child, I sang the words without ever stopping to consider the weight that they carried.
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.
As a teenager who began to live in secret sin, I started to feel convicted about singing something I knew I was not willing to do. I remember a sermon where our pastor shared Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.’” Ouch! That was me, and I knew it! Instead of changing my ways, and surrendering all to Him, I decided to stop singing the word “all” everytime we sung that song! Looking back, I realize how ridiculous that was and how my stubborn pride had inhibited me from a deeper more intimate relationship with my Father. Flash forward to my adulthood and many years matured into my faith, I can now sing those words loudly and proudly (and mostly in tune;-). But like with most things in our Christian faith, surrender is not a “one and done” comittment. Surrending to God is a daily letting go of control and choosing to trust God with our lives, with our families’ lives, our jobs, our futures, our everything. Even now, He is still teaching me to unfurl my fists one finger at a time to let go of the things that I hold onto so tightly and allow Him to lead.
In a few weeks, we will all be coming together around a fire pit in a teepee (yes, you read that right!) to learn what it means to surrender everything to God. Before the OWNC, I encourage you to start praying now and asking God to reveal to you what you may be clinging to ever so tightly and how you can start to lay it down. I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do through our humble obedience!