Prior to having children, I was a different person. I feel like most people are able to say that but for me, this has been the biggest transformation of my life, so far. Before kids, I was oh so selfish, judgmental, and so insecure. Now to be clear, at times I am still all of those things but I’m very aware of it now as before I would have had no idea. I judged everyone and thought how much better I would do this or handle that situation (as if I had any idea-laughable now).
I was so insecure that I wasn’t even able to be the true me. I had created this facade that “Ashley always has it together and is on top of everything! Never misses a beat, organized and put together in all areas!” People bought it. Believed it! I was proud of it! Crazy proud!
Then enter Hayden… well I was able to keep up with some of this act. It was killing me but I was going to make people believe I was super mom/wife/woman. I held onto every comment and always strived for their approval.
Then Enter Shane… complete and utter failure. I tried but I no longer could do it or had the energy. One silly example of this. On Stephen’s side of our family, we celebrate birthdays, give gifts, and do cake for everyone. Ashley before kids would have had a gift bought, wrapped, sitting by the door ready to go, a week early. After Shane, I remember telling people, “I’m sorry. I will get it to you” or “I left it at home” when I had nothing. I was heartbroken. As silly as it was, it was a tough hit to my act. Things like this were happening all the time and it was difficult to put it lightly.
I remember driving alone in the car one day, just so overwhelmed with life. I cried out to God and told Him exactly where I was, what I was feeling, and didn’t hold anything back. He sweetly whispered to my heart the word “Surrender”. As I began to lean into Jesus, he showed me things about myself. He showed me that who I am in Him is beyond anything I could have created on my own. But still there was more He wanted to show me.
I had this thought to look up the word Surrender. I felt like it is one of those words I know what it means, but I wanted to know what it really meant. Surrender- cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. Synonyms- give in, give up, back, cave in. In sports contest-lose.
That definition didn’t sit well at all. That couldn’t be what God was saying, right? I decided to look up Sur and Render. The prefix Sur means super and Render means provide or help. Even now, I get teary eyed thinking about this. Sur-super and render-provide.
In our own human logic, surrendering means giving up and waving the white flag. BUT God’s way it means Super-Help and Super-Provision. He is able to do above what we can think, dream or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) When we allow Him to come in and we surrender to Him, things that we never thought possible become just that. How cool is that?!?!
I had a family member recently say to me, “I just don’t know what happened to you. You used to be so put together.” They didn’t mean anything and the statement from their perspective seems true. But my response was, “well that perfect girl you think you used to know, she never existed… she is gone and thankfully because she was killing me and I didn’t even know it.”
When I finally stopped believing the lie that my identity/worth/value is found in that façade I had created, and started surrendering to who He says I am, wow! Things were possible! Now, is my house still a wreck? Yes, so please call first 😉 Do I still forget presents and feel tired from a teething baby? Absolutely! But the burden of feeling like “I have to have it ALL together” is not something I carry. I’m no longer consumed by feeling like I have to be super-wife, mom, friend, or woman. I can REST in who He says I am.
I am: strong (18 and 12 hours of labor, whew!), passionate, creative, fighter, warrior (that mama bear tho), gentle, prophetic, a worshipper, and able to love like never before. I’m learning to be bold, calm, patient with myself, okay with progress and not perfection.
The good news it is a process for all of us. I’m learning that surrendered to Jesus I can walk these things out without condemnation, shame, or fear. His love is big enough and patient enough to gently walk with me and you. He doesn’t push or ask why I haven’t figured all of this out yet (Thank you Jesus!). I can feel him whispering and cheering me on as I continue to tear down walls. I feel Him get excited as I learn a new truths about myself that He already knows.
I encourage you today to surrender to Him your burden, season, or pain that you are carrying. He is faithful and so able to Super Provide exactly what you need.