I Surrender!

In the small church where I grew up we often sang the old hymn I Surrender All written by Judson W. vanDeventer back in 1896. Back then I didn’t have a clue to what this hymn really meant, the song seemed so slow and out-dated. Now I know the depth of courage it takes to completely surrender everything in your life to God. So often we are completely broken before we reach out and speak these words and mean it from the depths of our soul.

I used to be terrified to pray the prayer of surrender. What if I didn’t like what happened? What if things couldn’t go back to the way they were? What if people left me? What if I left them? What if I failed–again? Full surrender is a quiet place of deep power but path to this quiet place is rocky and filled with the struggle to maintain control. Often we are literally brought to our knees. Sadness, grief, loss, pain, rage, fear, and betrayal all sit heavy upon our hearts, awaiting our submission. But, in my belief that I can handle it all myself, I struggle a little longer. I try to see if I can work it out myself, if I can master this crisis of heart and spirit on my own. My mind wants to triumph, to win, to beat my troubles into submission–to DO SOMETHING!

Often only when I have completely exhausted myself and I am faced with the evidence that all my efforts are futile, do I surrender all. It’s generally in our best interest to surrender or, as author and speaker Marianne Williamson puts it, “Often our last resort is often our best resort.”

Today I pray the prayer of surrender more regularly. I still don’t come to it easily. It’s difficult for me to give up my will and sense of control to The Divine. Often, I’m still brought to my knees in need before I can submit to the vulnerability of asking for help, a state of willingness to release the thing with which I struggle. Sometimes I recognize I’m not so willing to let go, so I pray to become willing. Sometimes the best I can to is to surrender my unwillingness to God. Sometimes the best I can do is pray, ‘I’m willing to be willing.’ But, amazingly this prayer always, always works, usually within 24 hours. The world may not magically tilt on it’s axis for my personal benefit, but something transpires within my soul. It may be only the slightest glimmer of light, a flash so brief that my mind cannot even formulate a meaning, but it’s enough to remind me that all is not lost.

In this season of late fall, Nature reminds me of the wisdom of surrendering all to God. Trees surrender to the coming season of winter by withdrawing sap from it’s leaves, allowing them to fall to the earth where they become the rich compost that feeds the soil. A good portion of the sap is directed back down into the roots, far below the surface and the harsh elements. If a tree refused to heed the approaching winter, Nature’s call to let go, to surrender, the sap retained in its limbs and branches would split the tree from stem to stern during the frozen months.

Like the tree in fall, it’s not in my best interest to hold onto anything, even what I might think is the “good stuff.” In the past few years it seems I am letting go at an astonishing rate. Dreams. Relationships. Possessions. Thoughts. Beliefs. Ideas and ideals. I’m called to surrender my disappointment in things not turning out the way I’d hoped. To surrender my grief and rage over the desecration of the earth and the injustices in Ferguson and Staten Island and countless other tragedies throughout the world. All are tossed onto my soul’s ever-growing compost heap. I wonder what might be left of me. Will I even recognize myself? I don’t know. Many times my mind is too tired to parse it out. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my spirit, I have an inclination that knows that it will all be OK. And, this is enough to sustain me for today.

Blessings,

Melody Harris

Soul of the Seasons by Melody Harris (c) 2014

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender;

All to Him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust Him,

In His presence daily live.

Refrain: I surrender all,

I surrender all;

All to Thee, my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Humbly at His feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken;

Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;

Let me feel the Holy Spirit,

Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Lord, I give myself to Thee;

Fill me with Thy love and power;

Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Now I feel the sacred flame.

Oh, the joy of full salvation!

Glory, glory, to His Name!

With Love and Grace,

Melody

Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

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Why I Write

Recently, a friend interested in putting down some of their stories asked me to tell her about the writing process. What follows is some guidance I offered on what a writer (or artist) encounters during the process of making their art.
So, you want to be a writer? Easy Peasy.
Writing is easy.jpg     First, Getting started:  Though you’re jazzed about your subject you probably won’t know where to start, and once you get started you won’t know where to end. (I once had a tee shirt that said, “Help! I’m writing and I can’t shut up!”) You might hem and haw for weeks, or a few years, before you actually put down a single sentence.
     If you’re writing non-fiction you can look forward to hours of research and a lot of what you find will be conflicting or misleading or just plain goofy. 
     If you’re writing fiction your characters will amuse, befuddle, infuriate, scare, fascinate, sadden, and delight you. They will keep you up at night, whispering their stories into your ear. You might even start talking about them to others as if they’re troubled friends you can’t puzzle out. You might start to ask random questions of friends and family that will give them pause like, “If you hid a body in a manure pile would anyone notice the stink?” or “How many people do you think you could have affairs with at the same time without getting caught?”
When you finish your story you will likely be both sad and relieved to see your characters go.
Unless you’re committed to a life of clean living, you will likely consume lots of coffee and adult beverages and take up cussing. If you don’t already, you might consider starting. While writing you might forget to eat or shave or get dressed–sometimes for days. Those unfamiliar with the creative process might tell you to get a job or a date or a therapist.
     During the revision process you will probably chuck whole paragraphs or pages or chapters. (I’ve completely rewritten the beginning of my book four times and I once abandoned an entire 350 page novel.) You will face periods wondering if you have anything new or unique to say. If you’re lucky enough to have an good editor he/she will make you want to simultaneously praise, weep, hug, and slap them. 
    Friends or family to whom you have eagerly given your work for feedback might frown or stammer or shrug. They might tell you that you have a nice hobby but not to quit your day job. They might shake their heads and tell you they don’t get it, or worse yet, they might refuse to read it at all. Agents and publishers alike may repeatedly (and sometime cruelly) reject you and/or your work. 
     Frustrated and disillusioned and filled with self-doubt you might throw your manuscript into a drawer (or bury it in the bowels of your computer) for months, maybe even years. Your fears will have you wondering if you have anything of value to offer anyone, ever.
     If you keep at it, however, with the help and support of writer’s groups and trusted friends, you just might discover that you have fallen in love with your craft. You’ll love the magic and the mystery of creating a story that takes you to places you’ve always dreamed of going, and to dark passages you swore you’d never enter. You’ll come to love the uncertainty and the excitement and the grief and the joy. You will find deep satisfaction in telling your own story, in your own words. You might even feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before.
     And, you will know that you’re really, really committed to your craft when you gladly subject yourself to all of this and more, and couldn’t imagine yourself doing anything else. You do it because finding your voice through writing allows (sometimes forces) you to look at the world through different eyes, that it has matured and softened you in the best possible way. 
     
     When you have finally completed your work and released it out into the world, you will likely to never have worked so hard on anything in your life. And, you would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
This is why I write.