Fall smells fill the house. Spiced cider simmers on the
stove. I taste it and feel deliciously warmed. On the counter next to
the mulling cider sits an apple. The apple makes me think.
I have a mental list of things I want to change about me. I
want to be more loving. I want to be less self-focused and more generous and caring
of others. I want healed relationships. And joy. I want my life to count, my words to matter.
But I sit here with these wants—like an apple longing to be
warm, sweet cider. Powerless to effect change.
Not that I don’t try. I read verses on
loving. I try to be nice. I attempt “fake it ’til you make it.” But nothing seems to last.
that apple, I need to surrender to an outside force. I need to admit my
inability to change myself or others, and let God do the work. Let him press me into his “wants” for my situation.
It never ceases to amaze me what God can do with a
surrendered heart. I think back on two relationships on the verge of ruin—people
who irritated me because they were too something. Too controlling, too critical, too self-centered. I tried the fake smile, I
tried avoidance, I tried whining to my husband or a friend. I thought of simply
walking away. And then I thought of surrender.
I told God I couldn’t fix it. I admitted
I’d walled off my heart and confessed my critical spirit. (Funny how the things
that bug us about other people are often our own eye-logs.)
And then I waited.
And he acted.
Once, he changed my heart. He helped me see where that
person had come from and what she had gone through. And he gave me a tiny glimpse of what he sees, a small dose
of his compassion. This human vessel couldn’t have handled too much of his
white-hot holiness and unfathomable mercy. But it was enough to
change a friendship.
Once, he changed the other person’s heart toward me. I had
surrendered—just that morning—and by mid-afternoon she stood at my door. We
hugged. We cried. We said we were sorry. Not long after that, God took her. It’s
made me wonder, over and over since then, why I wait. Why I try to do it on my
own. And fail. And maybe miss a chance at reconciliation.
I want to be an apple in the hands of God. I want to let Him
squish me into cider, sweeten and spice me into something that warms and
The process can be painful. And we avoid pain. But it’s
So here I am again, admitting I can’t do it. Tomorrow morning at 3 a.m. my husband and I leave for a nine-day mission trip to Belize. I've never been to a third world country. Never seen poverty up close. Never come face-to-face with things that crawl out of the jungle. Never had to speak before fifty or more women whose culture I don't yet understand.
Nevous? Yes. Excited? Absolutely. Totally inadequate? For sure.
So I surrender.
And I wait . . . for God to bring
something sweet out of this pressing time.
Is God squishing you right now, or has he in the past? I'd love to hear about it. If I don't reply right away, it's because I'm on my way to Belize--and probably being squished.