Sweet Surrender

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“Don’t ever stop,” he said. “Don’t ever lose your passion for this ministry.”

Those were the words spoken to me in the newborn stages of our in-person SGM Perinatal Hospice Birth and Bereavement Services support program, while requesting funding from a hospital committee a couple years ago.

“I won’t,” were my firm words. Words filled with resolve…promise…confidence…and enough passion to topple strongholds and move mountains.

Serving is weary work though. And, people leave often. People leave, and God sends someone else to stand in their place…and you keep serving. It’s not an aspect of ministry I was prepared for…the leaving. I’ve shared before that I am not very good at being left…you know…abandonment issues and all that nonsense. Also, I deeply love those I serve beside in ministry. They have become my family…my sisters. Fellow servants on a mission field…bearing grief and offering hope…together. Together is better than alone. When one moves on due to life circumstances or changes of heart or just the inevitable weariness of the soul, a very real brokeness occurs.

There is much laying down in ministry…much dying to self. Much that must be sacrificed and surrendered to the Lord. I find what He is speaking to my heart most recently to be both freeing and mysterious. His ways are so not our ways…His thoughts not our thoughts. His plans at times leave me gloriously perplexed and yet…they seem…right.

For instance…

When I received word that my book would be published, I was in the hallway of SGM preparing to go on a hospital call to serve a family whose baby died.

When I had an interview with perhaps the most prominent name in Christian circles….and then… months later when I received word that they chose not to pursue a broadcast sharing our sacred work, I was on the road to train more volunteers to serve families facing the loss of their babies.

Yesterday, when I read that another beautiful warrior mama and author was chosen to win The Butterfly Award…created to honor those who serve bereaved parents…I had just returned home from our annual remembrance ceremony celebrating our sweet babies with brief lives, sharing their stories.

We’ve been awarded grants and turned down for grants. People have written articles about our work…and people have ignored opportunities to tell others of this resource.

It matters not.

He has shone me the more sacred work. It happens in the place where heaven meets earth. In moments of triumph or the pits of despair…we are unmoved and our resolve remains firm…keep serving. Keep seeking to be His poured out vessels of love. Keep comforting others with the comfort He has given.

Press on.

Love on.

Serve on.

And, surrender…all of it…to Him.

People come and go…and there have been a few moments here and there…when discouragement and weariness shakes my focus…when I have wondered for a blink if there will ever be enough people or resources. And, He always answers my not enough with plenty. Always.

People will leave. He will send more.

Resources will seem scarce. He will fill to the brim of overflowing.

I will be the broken mess that I am…unworthy, inadequate. And, His grace will cover me…and it will never run out.
And, it will always be enough.

Yesterday at the SGM Day of Remembrance and Hope, we did a special activity with Feeling Hearts. I have done this activity many times with bereaved families and birth professionals. Each time, the heart speaks to me, wherever I am on this life journey.

Yesterday the heart I pulled from the bag seemed to have vines and flowering leaves growing off the vine. I thought of the obvious picture that God is the vine and we are the branches. We must abide in Him in order to bear fruit. I must abide in Him…cling ever close…not even look at circumstances, accolades, rejection, mounting needs, or anything else. I must look at my Jesus, and what He has called me to do…to love Him and to love the person in front of me. Period. And beyond that…I saw the other families on this path…families we touch…being grafted in to my heart. And, the leaves…the growth..the birth of something new and beautiful. Growth and life. He will give the growth…He will breathe life and healing into the broken places…if we cling to Him.

In moments of discouragement this week, I reflected again on my promise to never give up the passion God has laid on my heart for this sacred calling. It is different now…bloodied from the battle of serving alongside my fellow SGM sisters on the mission field of companioning families through the wilderness of grief.

A fiery resolve rises from the embers of my weary heart…and I remember…that passion lives on. Because the passion that God breathes through us…with the love that He pours through us is relentlessly unending.

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