The earth is full of things God-designed to teach us about our relationship with our Creator. From planting and harvesting, the rivers and streams that wash us clean, to the bird singing their song from the highest highs to the lowest lows, muddy mountain paths, the faithfulness of sunrise and sunset, . . . . tree limbs, lilies, clematis – reaching toward the heavens. . . I bet you are adding your own thoughts to this list right now.
Yet, I think that it has been my children, my grandchildren that have taught me most about selfless, sacrificing, surrendering love – about His kind of love, His kind of waiting and trusting, His kind of Hope and Shepherding. His kind of Forgiveness and Pursuit. . . . how to gracefully surrender to Him.
There is no more complete gesture of surrendering to our Savior, our Father, our Creator, than the lifting of our hands in prayer, in thanksgiving, in worship. For me, there have been two stages to the surrendering of the hands. The first surrendering was in the late 1990’s.
“I’m not lifting my hands,” I’d told my friends. “Unless God flings them up.”
This hand-raising in worship seemed an exhibitionist thing. Too big, too ostentatious for this girl who’d learned to become invisible behind books on school buses, invisible in the classroom where I struggled with everything but reading, invisible to bullies – and probably to friendship-making, too.
I’d been raised to clasp my hands in prayer. . . I’d not heard of hands lifted up. Yet, I started researching, studying this thing, this hands-raised-in-worship thing. Because if it was true. . . if God did want this of me, I wanted to be obedient. The more I read, the more something heartward within yearned to have the confidence. . . to have that kind of trust and relationship with God – to come out from behind the book but the grade-school-girl hiding couldn’t do it. I struggled – and, finally prayed, hands-clasped, asking God if this raising of the hands was really something He wanted me to do. I would. . . for Him.
One Sunday, during praise and worship, my palms started burning. There I stood within the congregation, terrified but so wanting to give all I was capable of giving to my King, my Creator, who I heard loved me more than I could comprehend. . . and I surrendered to Him my hands.
And in the giving up of my hands, they became holy.
In the giving up of my hands, I learned to give Him
~the challenges, like the ones that dropped me to my knees on the floor of my closet.
“Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” ~ Psalm 28:2
In the giving up of my hands, I learned to find Him
~~in places like blueberry patches, grocery-store aisles,
the sidelines of soccer fields, in corn mazes
and pumpkin patches, in transplanted
hydrangeas struggling to survive,
in outside places looking in and inside places looking out.
“Arise, cry aloud in the night
At the beginning of the night watches;
Pour out your heart like water
Before the presence of the Lord;
Lift up your hands to Him
For the life of your little ones
Who are faint because of hunger
At the head of every street.” ~ Lamentations 2:19
In the giving up of my hands, He freed me a self-imposed bondage of isolation.
~He walked with me under the autumn grey skies and laughed with me.
~He stood with me under the portico as I watched the rain pour and thunder rumble in unwelcome places.
~He sat beside with me in hospital waiting rooms and recovery rooms, telling me, “All is well,” ~ 2 Kings 4:26
“When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the Lord,
he arose from before the altar of the Lord,
from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven.” ~ 1 Kings 8:5
In the giving up of my hands I learned to do something beautiful for God
~ and became more beautiful for doing it.
“. . .raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.” (1 Timothy 2: 8-10)
“Worship: Adoring; paying divine honors to; treating with supreme reverence; treating with extreme submission.“~Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary
Submission is a tough word in 21st Century living – yet the Father’s submission says, “Give it to me. Let me take care of it. I can help you. Trust me. Surrendering to me liberates you.”
In the giving up, in the trusting, I gave all I knew to give to Him. My life changed the day I surrendered my my hands in worship.
Then came the second lesson in the surrendering of the hands: In the first lesson/stage, I had surrendered to God, the Creator, the King. The second surrender was a surrendering to the Father.
Scripture talks about moving from Glory to Glory as we draw closer to God, that things we don’t quite understand are revealed to us as we seek Him and His ways. For God to become Father , I had to understand who I was to Him: A daughter – and what that meant – it had to move beyond logos understanding (words) to rhema (alive) knowledge – meaning what the words in scripture said had to come alive within me (You can read about that journey here in “A broken Girl Made Whole in a Broken World.”)
. . . watching my grandchildren with their Papaw drove home the visual of the second lesson in the surrendering of the hands.
Little arms stretched out, hands reaching – wanting to be lifted up – whether for comfort, for security, the feeling of belonging, even the pride of being there – so many reasons. . . to be in Papaw’s arms or on his shoulders! Open-Handed instead of hands clasped together, trusting, knowing Papaw will reach down and lift him up.
. . . and the palm-tingling hands raised in obedience became hands raised, stretched out, reaching like a child to his or her father or grandfather, to be picked up, held, raised high, loved and belonging.
“We lift up our heart and hands
Toward God in heaven;” ~ Lamentations 3:41
. . . and these little grands opened my eyes to sometimes how simple it is. . . by how they love those who love them. . . and I surrender more of the territory to my Father that I hoard within myself. . .
The lifting of the hands is an act of surrendering to our Savior, our Father, our Creator, in Thanksgiving, in Worship, Reaching out to Him in Faith, Trust and Adoration.
The more I draw close to God, the more I realize how small is my love, how short-sighted is my hope, how forgiveness wrestles with me, or maybe it’s that I wrestle with forgiveness – letting it go and pulling it back, that there is more to this faith living than I know. . . so much more growing needing to be done in my spirit.
I lift up the good and the bad of the inside and outside of me and surrender it to The One who knows what to do with it all – and loves me fiercely still. I reach my hands out to Him knowing, trusting He will lift me up like a beloved child.
Hands Up! I surrender!
“So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.” ~ Psalm 63:4
Remember Me Monday: #78 & Link-up
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
. love extravagant.”
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Instaencouragements,
Legacy Link-Up, Recharge Wednesday
Faith on Fire, Tell His Story, Grace&Truth
Let’s Have Coffee Wednesday Celebrate Your Story
Scripture&Snapshot, Sunday Scripture Blessings
Sweet Tea & Friends Monthly Link-up