Monday, August 15, 2016

Surrendering Your Loved Ones to God

1 Samuel 1:11, "And she vowed a vow and said, 'O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.'"

In 1 Samuel 1, we find the story of Hannah. Hannah was married. Her husband had two wives: she and a woman named Peninnah. Verses 4-5 share with us that Hannah's husband would give  portions to Peninnah and to her sons and daughters but to Hannah he would give a double portion because he loved her. Peninnah had children, but Hannah was barren. In verses 6-7 we read, "And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat."

Here begins the story of Hannah.

Hannah longed to have a child. Her longing was so great that, "She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly." verse 10.

Have you ever longed for something so deeply?

Throughout the course of my life, I've had various things that I've longed for. The most recent longing has been my desire for  a baby. I've shared in some of my recent devotionals about that desire, and I've shared that it isn't something that has happened right away. I've only been married for six months, yet I had begun looking up infertility information because I wasn't getting pregnant as fast as I thought I should have.

Today as I write this devotional, I have some very exciting news to share. Nathan and I have our first baby on the way. I am 6 weeks 5 days pregnant! I had an ultrasound done last week, and I got to see the baby's heartbeat. It was the most precious sight ever to see that little beating heart and to know our baby is growing at the exact rate he/she should be.

I thought once I got pregnant and saw the positive sign on test that all my worries would fade away. I had been so worried about infertility that I never really thought that once I got pregnant there would be anything to worry about. However, instead of pure joy enveloping my heart, I had a myriad of emotions sweep over me. I had the pure joy of knowing there is a baby growing inside of me, but I also had the heart-wrenching fear of something horrible happening and taking that little life from me.

Don't ask me where that fear came from. Perhaps it was from hearing other people's stories. Perhaps it was from learning about "hard cases" in the pregnancy center training. Perhaps it was from sitting in on ultrasounds where the nurses didn't find what they would expect to see. Wherever the fear came from, I knew it wasn't from God and that it wasn't the reaction I should be having to such a precious blessing.

This is why I find such comfort in the story of Hannah. Verse 11 nails on the head the exact prayer of my heart when it says, "...then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life..."

Hannah prayed for a son, but her heart reveals more than that. She was willing to give her son back to the Lord recognizing that he belongs to God first.

Something that God has been impressing upon my heart is this: If I cannot surrender my baby to God and rest in knowing God is taking care of his or her sweet little life in the womb, I will be worried about them for the rest of their life even after they're born. God has been challenging me to trust Him when it comes to our baby... to surrender this baby to God.

When I hold tightly to this little one, I worry about every little thing I feel happening in my body. I feel a tinge of pain, and I panic. I don't feel anything, and I panic. It's a miserable way to live.

However, when I hold tightly to God and praise Him for this little life and surrender to Him this child's every heartbeat, I find peace. It is in surrender that I can find the joy to smile and celebrate and praise God for this miraculous blessing... this answer to prayer.

What are you gripping tightly today? If it's anything other than God, I encourage you to surrender to the Sustainer of Life Himself. Give back to God the blessings He has given to you so that you can enjoy those blessings instead of worrying about them.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I don't want to be a worrier. I want to trust You with everything that I hold dear. Help me to let go of my desire to control and surrender to the One Who holds my future in His hands. Thank You for the incredible blessings You've given me. Thank You for this sweet baby You've entrusted to me and Nathan. Help us raise him/her to be godly and to have a personal relationship with You. In Jesus' Name.

Amen.