By Leanne Swift
Surrender. Submit. Sacrifice. I repeated these three words over and over and over. Not recently, but during a season of singleness that was particularly rich. I was one of those girls who struggled a lot with discontentment. But eventually something did begin to change in me. I was 28, which you understand, was pushing 30, and it felt like all my hopes and dreams were just not going to be a reality. I began to think that it was time for me to be okay with what God had for me, even if that meant I was going to remain single – and not just okay, but joyful. So I surrendered my desire for a husband. My heart of discontentment was replaced with a heart of submission to God’s will for my life. In my heart, I even sacrificed the idea of being married altogether. I was living Philippians 4:4-7 in the midst of pain, for probably the first time in my life.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
During that time in my life, the Lord graciously brought me to a place where I did rejoice. My spirit was gentle. The Lord was indeed near. I wasn’t anxious. I was praying & supplicating all things to the Lord with thanksgiving. And the peace of God did surpass my comprehension, and it did guard my heart and my mind.
That was three years ago. It was a season I won’t soon forget – a season that I hope every single girl struggling with discontentment will experience in her lifetime.
But what about now? God heard my cry, He answered my plea, I am a married woman. I am living something I’ve wanted for many years.
And guess what? I am again learning to surrender, submit, and sacrifice.
I once again feel the way I did before God slowly and surely brought me to a sweet season of contentment during the latter part of my single days. I have sunken in to a depression, my spirit has been anything but gentle, and the Lord hasn’t felt all that near at times. I have struggled with anxiety in a way that I never have before. I’ve had almost no peace. My heart and my mind have been less than guarded; in fact they have felt more unstable than ever in my life.
Whoa, I didn’t think that was supposed to happen after finally receiving the desire of my heart – the husband that God has prepared for me, a very dear husband who is learning to be godly (what more could I ask for?). Yes, he is dealing with his own set of struggles, just as I have been wading through the mire of mine, but God has been so good to us in and through all of it. And this is my response?
How did I get here?
I stopped surrendering, submitting, and sacrificing. Just completely stopped.
Even as I write, I’m tempted to excuse my sin in various ways. But that would do no good. I want to walk through this new season of life, truly repentant, and not holding anything back. I want to once again surrender, submit, and sacrifice – to my God first, and to my husband. I have come through our (almost two years already!) of marriage, with my head barely above the mire. At times I have felt so exhausted that I thought I would drown in it. My struggle was due to my wanting things my way, standing firm in my way, and not being willing to let go of my way. I have put heavy burdens on my husband to align himself to my way in my timing, or experience my wrath. My only hope for change is applying the gospel to my own heart, and learning to extend the grace to others that I so dearly treasure for myself, but rarely give.
Perhaps this has struck a chord with you, as a woman seeking to walk with God. We can all think of areas we can be surrendering, submitting, and sacrificing; something we’re going to be called to do throughout our whole lives. I must have thought it sort of ended with the long-awaited fulfillment of marriage, but now I know (through learning the hard way) that it doesn’t. This posture – these three S’s – will bring much joy to our own hearts, to our husbands, and most important of all, to God who already delights in us because of his Son.
Leanne Swift (BA Christian Ministries, The Master’s College) lives in Cleveland, OH with her husband Brian and two bunnies Zoey & Sophia. She is pursuing biblical counseling certification while writing her first book on delighting in the Lord. She has contributed to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Gender Blog, has written for Modern Reformation Magazine, and blogs at hiswillmyhome.com.
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