Freedom in Surrender

Lyndsye Felsman


I was so humbled when Kacie asked me to share my story of surrender. What a privilege. My first thought was “YES!!! I’d LOVE to!!!!” I know crazy right!? Who wants to tell of their most ugly time!?  Most sane people say “NO FREAKING WAY!! Someone else please, their story is better, bless your heart, and I’m just going to go on my merry way…”

But God has done some amazing things in my life, and I’ve honestly felt a nudge to share more, but kept making a million excuses. There was a time, 6 years ago when I was still desperately trying to keep all my suffering and striving of a ‘perfect life’ a horribly kept secret. Heaven forbid I be real and ask for help. To those around me I was hunky dory… To those close to me, well honestly, that’s a laugh… I kept anyone remotely close at arms’ length. I used my charm and sarcasm to cover any situation that was uncomfortable to me in the least… you know, for defensive purposes. That’s the embarrassing part to me now. Ugh, what a dummy.

Let's go back to that time for clarity’s sake. It’s the spring of 2010. Hi. I’m Lyndsye, about to turn 28, married to my best friend Kurt {Let’s liken him to being my lobster if you’re a “Friends” fan like me}, and we have 3 small sons. Hudson 5, Everett 3, and Jude 1. We are living the typical dream. Cozy, comfortable, safe, lacking nothing in north central Ontario, Canada, on Georgian Bay. Beauty abounds around us. It’s like living in a postcard of rocky cliffs, tall windswept trees, and tranquil waters. Both of our entire families are all within 20 minutes of us.

Kurt and I together had dreamed, designed, and built an amazing custom home, on land that was his inheritance. This land is dearly loved, and 5 generations before us brought their babies home to it too. We had plans to raise our boys and grow old together there. He was a home contractor by day, so in the evenings and weekends, whenever he had time, he, my father-in-law, my dad, and many friends would show up to help on this house. Kurt and his dad tirelessly built our forever home.

We were doing just fine. Especially by the worlds standards.

Kurt, also has a gift of music. He can sing well… REALLY well, write music, and more importantly, lead worship. He’s been completely gifted with that. He led worship at our local church every Sunday and also served on the board of elders.

That spring, Kurt was restless, and struggled with an unfulfilled desire nagging at his heart. It was becoming more apparent that something had to change in our lives. We were miserable, building our kingdom of stuff, fitting into what culture said success was. We were open to music ministry, kind of… as long as it fit into our plans. He would record and such during any downtime in his own little home studio set up. It just wasn’t what we knew God had for him and our family though. One weekend, he led worship for a youth retreat and boy, did God meet him there. He came home and told me that if we really wanted to serve God wholeheartedly, then we would have to surrender our geography.

Not going to lie…I laughed, then cried. Then UGLY CRIED. You have to know my wise, stable, quiet, God honoring husband, to know that if he shared that with me, then LOOK OUT! The next week, {THE NEXT WEEK people!!!!!} we get a call from a growing church in Northwest Indiana, looking for a full time worship leader. Long story short, after much praying and seeking wisdom from respected people in our lives, it was an easy “yes God, send us."  But we had to surrender a lot… our country, families, hobbies, our nostalgia for our kids childhood that they wouldn’t have, financial stability, our beautiful home, our friends, the dairy products, and chocolate. {seriously you guys, Canada kills the dairy and chocolate. You should get some. You’re welcome.}

After the agonizing goodbyes and move to northwest Indiana, not to mention the immigration hurdles, the major depression that I’d been hiding for MANY years had gotten worse. I was struggling baaad. The eating disorder I didn’t want to acknowledge I struggled with, it reared it’s ugly head again, the hidden abuses I had suffered as a child at a “friends house” that I had never spoke to anyone, NO ONE, not even Kurt about… well, I started having nightmares of that time again.  So let’s say it’s safe to say moving 1000 miles away from all our family, with 3 small kids, to a new country… all for the name of Jesus? Not a huge fan…

I couldn’t control anything, I was completely overwhelmed by expectations that only I had put on myself, and I couldn’t keep up. My perfect looking world was spiraling out of control. I struggled to get out of bed, I was completely disconnected from my kids and husband. I didn’t know how to do this. I was going to need some help, but where to start. I was proud and selfish. I was such a mess.

Then, after a couple of years of poorly maintaining this facade, I finally broke. One morning I got lost taking my boys to school just 2 blocks away. My brain was so fuzzy and numb, I couldn’t/didn’t “feel” any feelings, or care about anyone or anything. I struggled reading anything and had a hard time putting coherent thoughts together. I withdrew from family and friends. I cried a lot and just felt like such a burden to everyone. Because of me trying to gain some semblance of control during this time, I skipped meals, made excuses to control my food intake. I lost weight and couldn’t sleep at night. I went to a dark place where I started to believe the lie that my family would be better without me.  My skewed thoughts and choices were not what a mature christian wife and mother should be having.  “What a big fat fake” is what I would tell myself. My everything was so wrapped up in the identity that I wanted for myself, to impress, to juggle it all, to be the perfect wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend… you name it. It was all about me me me. It was sinful and ugly.

Matthew 16:24 says, “IF any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways and follow me.” NLT

It seemed so easy when I read that passage for this chronic ‘good girl’… Follow Christ? Of course! I always had… but truly turning from my selfish ways and follow him? To surrender? To choose to open up my hands to all He has for me? That was scary!! That’s for other people, and honestly, I couldn’t control that! I had to repent of my pride, of my selfishness and ask for help. It was the most freeing thing I had ever done!!

I went to counseling then, and my sweet counselor told me to go to the book of Ephesians and read it out loud to myself. Every night. I lived there, in Ephesians… driving truth in to drive out the lies.  I had to change my thoughts and theology and believe that I was chosen, adopted into His family, loved, and here for a purpose. I also have some pretty sweet friends, despite my arms length stature of keeping them away from truly knowing me, they loved me, helped me, prayed for me, brought my family food. They were the gospel that I could see.

When I surrendered my pride, my control, my striving, my selfishness… God gently replaced it with His grace, His mercy, His unconditional love. I was overcome with gratitude. With His peace… peace that truly passed all my understanding. I started a long road of healing and somedays, I still feel raw, but I’m ok with that. I’ve let myself off the hook that I’ve put myself on, and choose to keep my hands open for whatever and whoever crosses my path.

I’ve learned to choose a life of surrender. Surrender being a verb, an action word, it needs an action, a turning on our parts to be fulfilled. His ways are higher, and being surrendered to Him has made the hard parts easier to deal with. Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me through the hard days, asking Him and the community around me for help and prayer when needed. To stop hiding my sin, to repent and submit to HIS authority, His promises, His truths. The freedom is there.  It’s wildly wonderful!!  So now, I choose surrender to Him and His ways. I want this life of surrender desperately more than my old life of selfishness.

Now, because of Gods great mercy to me, I’m able to have opportunities sharing my story to encourage and walk alongside other beautiful women that struggle with some of the same struggles I have. It’s such a beautiful, life giving thing! Only God can do this stuff!!  We’re still here, in Northwest Indiana, serving our church and community. Our boys have grown, and I don’t want our old life for them either…

I often think of something Jennie Allen said in her book Restless“Great people do not do great things; God does great things through surrendered people.”

That’s my prayer for you and me. Whatever you’re facing, whatever you’re holding on to… Our God sees you, right where you are, and loves you despite it. You are delighted in, and He can use and fill the broken places in us to shine His love through.

LYNDSYE FELSMAN is a wife to an incredible man and a mama to three wonderful sons. Lover of Jesus, her family, friends, books, design, coffee, and of course....chocolate. She blogs at Lyndsye Felsman, and you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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