Surrendering in Order to Overcome
by Tracy Gordon
“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” –2 Corinthians 12:10
Well, it’s that time of year again and the kiddos are headed back to school. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like we work so hard to instill good values, morals, and the fruit of the Spirit into our children, only to have them come home at the end of the day needing a bandage on everything—ugh! My daughter Holly’s 7th grade year was much like this, only we needed heavy-duty gauze wrap instead of bandages.
This was the year that Holly experienced a pretty bad bullying situation. Things were being said to her that simply stole some of her innocence and we were beside ourselves trying to get a handle on it and resolve the problem. This was a child who loved going to school and learning, adored her friends and teachers, and was always willing to do anything to help. Suddenly, there was no joy for her in going to school and she became timid and more withdrawn. My girl who was high on life for school, now dreaded it and was actually afraid. My husband and I were determined to do whatever it took to fix this. I just wanted her beautiful enthusiastic spirit to return. We knew we could not do this alone, and our entire family was praying for God to lead us through this difficult time and bring a solution. I would cry myself to sleep praying for the Lord’s guidance and direction.
God soon revealed that we were to homeschool Holly for 8th grade and jump through all the hurdles to pave the way for her to attend a high school that was out of our zone. That year ended up being an amazing year of homeschooling through the Classical Academy as well as the homeschool co-op of Christian Family Schools. The Lord put so many wonderful homeschool mentors in my path. One in particular gave me abundant encouragement, squashing all of my fears and uncertainty, and became one of my best friends. Through it all, Holly continued to pray for the girl who had made her feel miserable and less than she was. She made incredible friendships that would continue through high school and became a leader in church youth group. We saw Holly transform back into her loving, beautifully-spirited self, but with a new kind of independence about her and a faith that was on fire.
As Christians, we believe that God works for the good of all things (Rom. 8:28). However, we all know that when we are in trials, sometimes we lose sight of that because we are so focused in the moment and can’t imagine anything good coming from it. The fact is, things change when you allow yourself to completely surrender. I finally did and I am convinced that God used this experience to help Holly become the person He created her to be. She grew in ways we could have never imagined and we feel she is the strong, independent, loving, on-fire-for-Jesus young woman she is today, in part because of what she endured, and how she saw God at work through it all. In John 16:33, Jesus tells us that, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” Friends, I pray you will cling to Jesus’ promise and be encouraged.
At the beginning of 9th grade when Holly had to pick her life verse for Confirmation, she chose 2 Corinthians 12:10: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I would like to leave you with the final paragraph in the devotion Holly wrote for her Confirmation. It reads: “Seventh grade felt like an eternity even though it was such a little amount of time. I think God had me travel through that dark tunnel so that I would be looking for His light. It was during my search to find it that I grew so much in my relationship with God and began to rely on Him more and more. I wouldn’t say I was a victim to a bully, because how could I be a victim when Jesus paid the ultimate price and won our victory? What I will say, is that through all the hardships and weaknesses I may face, I will find my strength in God to carry on.”
Lord Jesus, thank You for being by our side every day, in everything we face and do. Help us to rely and put full trust and faith in You, knowing You work all things for the good of those who love You. Thank You for carrying us through our hardships and weaknesses. May we always find our strength in You. In Your precious name we pray, Amen.