I can pinpoint a number of times in my life that I've designated as "New Beginnings", sometimes brought on whether I wanted them or not. Usually, they follow a heart-wrenching and difficult decision to surrender something important in my life: the hope of a boy's love held onto for many years; starting a new school year without some of my dearest friends who had just graduated; the longing and expectation to marry Matt only to find out he was unsure and unready (this was at our six month dating mark...he's most definitely sure about me now!). Each of these events marked a time in my life that I had to surrender, to relinquish the power and control of each of these situations, knowing that I couldn't make anything happen on my own, facing the sometimes harsh reality that even God didn't want them for me the way I expected either. Even though each of these were difficult, albeit excruciating at times, ultimately (and after some major heart wrestling), I didn't want things to happen my way. I wanted to trust the Lord and His plans.
According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, one definition of "surrender" means "to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another". I must say, how kind it is of God that when there are times in our lives when He asks us to surrender to His will and give something up, that He has our best interest in mind and will have "another" (be it plan, way, person, timing), and that He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). It is amazing that He gives us hope of "New Beginnings", fresh starts! How true this has been in my life as I continually have to surrender things I hold onto so dearly; He ends up giving me "another" that is beyond what I could hope for. I also want to be ok when that "other" is solely Himself, in the fullness of who He is.
I am staring straight in the face of another "New Beginning". In October, Matt and I made the difficult decision that after five and a half wonderful years of working on staff at First Evangelical Free Church, I will resign effective January 15th. And I do not know what I will be doing afterward--I really don't even know what this "New Beginning" will hold. I have no plans except to seek the Lord about what is next (and to get back to the gym!). It's scary, it's exciting, it's sad to leave. Because of Mackie's wedding and leaving for South Asia, I didn't give the leaving process much thought. However, I am now in the throes of emotion and the difficulty of surrendering a lot: the identity I've grown to have through my job; the relinquishing of "my" job to another; the vision I always had of when I hoped to leave; even the thought of who would replace me; and my fears of the unknown "next steps". It's been an emotional roller-coaster this week, turbulent like the "Texas Giant" roller-coaster at Six Flags, as we started interviewing this week for my replacement and the reality of the end is creeping nearer.
To those of us in the process of surrendering: there is hope that God has a new beginning, "another" something more favorable beyond our imagination in store for us. To those of us who are waiting for the "other", let's remember the Lord's faithfulness and all-sufficiency. And I write this mostly as a reminder to myself but also as an encouragement to us all: He really is enough! If the next step for me is to solely bare my soul to God, to draw to Him that He may reveal Himself to me in the fullness of Himself, then the act of surrender and sadness of leaving my job and facing unknowns is totally worth it!