Our sweet (and difficult and hilarious and fearsome) Christian has developed a few special loves in his short life. They are the following, ranked in order of importance:
1.) Grandpas (his in particular, but any older, graying fellow will suffice.)
2.) Hammers, screwdrivers and any other sharp or heavy life-threatening man-tools.
Personally, I can understand the love of grandpas and tools. He is a boy, after all. But the batteries?
He has discovered the junk drawer. (You have one too, right?) At any given time you can reach inside and find paper clips, a broken flashlight, a couple stray Legos and a dozen batteries, most of which are dead but cannot be thrown out because we couldn’t risk tossing one that might still have a little juice in it. We are cheapskates. And possibly hoarders.
Last week, he was especially attached to three “C” batteries that he had pilfered from the drawer’s abyss. I found him coming down the stairs with them. He had cleverly slipped all three into one of Edy’s kitty-cat house slippers, so he wouldn’t have to navigate the steps with both hands full.
They couldn’t be parted, he and his batteries. Even at naptime.
I tried everything I could to convince him that it wasn’t a good idea to sleep with batteries. It just won’t work, darling. Let mommy hold on to those for now. You’ll be much more comfortable. It will be better for you, I promise.
But negotiations with a 2-year-old are generally fruitless, I have learned. And I am brilliant and choose to pick my battles.
He slept with the batteries, and he woke up a lot. Kept rolling over on them until I finally fished them out of the covers.
Poor kid just couldn’t give it up.
And all for three silly batteries.
“Surrender” is my word for the year, it seems. Or at least it’s starting out that way.
Two weeks into January and it’s on my mind so much that I am forced to look it in the face. And I don’t like its face.
Surrender means you’ve lost or you’re giving up or you’re admitting that you’re defeated. However it comes about, it’s like a little death. And I don’t like dying either.
I have long held-on-to hopes that God may be asking me to give up for now, for this year, or possibly forever. I have short-term plans that seem to be falling through. I have timetables that God and I are apparently not in agreement on, and I have small children. Who, while are growing up fast, are also constant reminders that God’s will for me is to stay home right now and sometimes those years ahead look long and uneventful.
But God seems to say, “Surrender.”
And I ask, “Why?”
These dreams are not bad dreams. My hopes for my family don’t seem to be contrary to what he would want. My plans aren’t all selfish (although some definitely are.)
“So what’s the problem, God? Why should I have to surrender? What do you have against me being happy and all my dreams coming true? What kind of God are you?”
But when God and I wrestle he takes me to Psalm 90. The pages are crinkly and the verses familiar, but I keep managing to forget.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Ps 90:14).
Satisfaction in the Lord = joy and gladness.
And isn’t that what I really want at the root of it all? Joy and gladness? Isn’t that what all my dreams for the future and plans for happiness are based upon? The idea that, once achieved, I will be joyful and glad for the rest of my life? Finally completely happy? Finally satisfied?
Isn’t that what I’m after?
So why do I keep going to bed with my batteries?
I want to get comfy here on earth. I want to be happy and have happy kids and a successful husband and for all of you to look at me and think how cool I am.
But I am also an idiot. And I want these things on my own terms.
I want God to let me have them even when he knows they’re not in my best interest. I want God to leave me alone so I can just do things my own way. I want to sleep with my stupid batteries, even when God lovingly says, “It just won’t work, darling. Let me hold on to those for now. You’ll be much more comfortable.”
But I rarely listen, and I keep waking up. Restless and uncomfortable in my own decisions. Unhappy and unsatisfied.
But God is unfailingly patient. He fishes out my bad so he can show me what is truly good. He acts in love. Always. And he knows best. Always.
Surrender, he says.
It will be much better for you.
Is God asking you to surrender too? How? I need to know that I’m not alone in this.
You’re such an engaging writer Hannah.
Your youngest and mine share a similar love. When Scarlett was young, she had a “thing” for papas. To the point where she’d crawl into strangers laps & cuddle, if they had grey or white hair. At one point, as a toddler, she rolled down her window as we pulled into a parking place and hollered to an older man, “Hey, you look like a papa and I LIKE PAPAS!”
As for surrender, I had to give up the dream of being super woman and accomplishing it all in my 20’s so people would think I was particularly awesome. I know the struggle. But if God chooses to have me do some of the things I want to do later in life, at least by that point, I might actually have accumulated some experience & wisdom so that I won’t ruin a bunch of people in the process! Blessings as you wait and be faithful in the little things…
Thank you, Janet.
And I think our kids need to meet. Can’t you schedule some speaking events in Arkansas or something?!?
I love how you put this all together, can I just say your
Son is so cute.
On surrender, your not alone there are so many things in my life God has called me to surrender. Iust say that word id not my favorite. I don’t do well with even, thought God reminds me a lot that he knows what is best for me. His time table and mine are not the same. Dear friend just wanted you to know that you are not alone.
Sorry about the spelling above: I meant to say: I must say that surrender is not my favorite word. I don’t do well at surrender. Even though I face it daily. God reminds me, that he knows what is best for me. His time table and mine are not the same. This year, I too am working on learning to surrender and trust. Only two weeks into January not doing so well. Thankful that each day is a new day.
I am too, Andrea. Isn’t that verse wonderful: “His mercies are new every morning?” Where would I be without the Truth behind that verse??
Today in BSF, the leader asked what I was doing for God – my way. So convicting!!! We even have to surrender our work for him to him.
So true, Jennifer. And it’s SO easy to do it our way and think we’re doing it his. Goodness. I am beginning to understand the importance of the whole “remaining in the vine” passage in John. It would be really, really easy to get off track and lose sight of God in all my “working for God.” It’s a daily thing–making sure that I’m still attached to my source.
Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂
Your post is perfectly poignant for me and you must know you are NOT alone. I have had a really rocky start to 2015 with one stumble right after the other, particularly with my health. It has been hard to maintain perspective and, in my eyes, it feels like my timeline for important things, so delicately placed, has been snatched from my control. So, yes, I relate. Because I realize, just like you, that it’s about trusting God at his Word all the while my 2-yr-old tendencies tell me I know better. It’s the daily Christian fight—the fight to let go.
Thanks for sharing, friend.
Thank you too, Jessica. Though I know it means you’ve faced tough stuff too and I don’t want that for you, it’s always good to know that people can understand where I’m coming from. I’ll be praying for you whenever I think of it.
Being in control is such an easy lie to believe. And letting go is harder than it sounds. If only it were all easier…but then we wouldn’t have to trust God. Yikes. I can’t imagine what I would be if I didn’t have to trust God. It would be UGLY.
Ah, one of the dreaded “s” words. Sacrifice, service, submission, and, yes, surrender.
May I just say, as the resident oldster, you are right to think you won’t regret surrendering to God. And I hope you learn faster than I do. I have spent a lifetime arguing with God. Finally I open my grubby paws and give up one batch of C batteries and such joy floods my heart. But two seconds later I am grabbing the shiny 9-volts I find.
I’m so thankful that God is patient and long-suffering.
Ha! Absolutely true. We might let go of the batteries today, but tomorrow will present it’s only pretty little temptations.
And you’re not the “oldster.” Rather, I would consider you the “Wiser.” And Wiser is better than young and idiotic any day, wouldn’t you agree??