by  Mary Robinson     

She walked with purpose out into the frothy foam. No one could stop her. No one would try - not the glistening beach bum reading his trashy novella for the second time through; nor the little girl plopping wet sand on her knees. Shea butter hung under the sun, stagnating without a breeze. But she couldn’t smell it out there; and with the same determination with which she walked into the waves, she sat down, and let the water flow over her as though she were a rock.

This is an excerpt from a story I haven’t written yet - from the novel that might never be born. However, the moment captured here reminds me of a recent conversation with my mom. She was challenging me to embrace every circumstance that comes my way; to embrace difficult moments with gratitude, rather than try to run away from them or to change them. Clearly this is easier said than done, but when one considers the truth of who we are in Christ, maybe it's not so difficult after all. John Kellogg, who was the closest thing to a pastor my home church had, wrote a book called The Goal and the Prize. There is an excerpt from it that my brother emailed me, which fit perfectly with my mom's challenge: 

When they were children, many Christians learned to say, ‘Jesus lives in my heart,’ which was certainly a good confession; but as adults, very few Christians have a clear understanding of this indwelling Christ whom they professed as a child. Jesus did come to ‘seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19.10), but not just so they wouldn’t go to hell. Rather, He saved them in order that He might have a place wherein He could live to express Himself. The wonderful first profession of a child saying, ‘Jesus lives in my heart’ is intended to be replaced by an adult proclamation, “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” It is not a matter of you, an independent being, living for Him; rather, it is a matter of HIM living out HIS life as you…Then Jesus tells His disciples that He is going away and the world will see Him no more, but that they will see Him and ‘because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in Me, and I in you.’ (John 14: 19,20)…For He says that the level of relationship that He has with the Father (“I am in the father and the Father in Me”) is the same level of relationship that HE has with you, (“you in Me and I in you”). It was because of this level of relationship that the indwelling Father was able to do His works as Jesus, and it is because of this same level of relationship that the indwelling Christ is able to do His works as you.

There is a consistent theme of radical surrender of oneself in the Bible - from Moses to Jesus. This type of surrender does not forsake the essence of who we are, but actually allows us to express our true selves through the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus' love and grace. The "simple" act of surrendering frees us to embrace a peace that surpasses our circumstances or even our immediate feelings. 

And so...

It is with determination that I, like the girl above, walk into the waves, knowing that I am able to withstand much as I rely on Him who is the rock of my salvation. And because I have been made like Him, I may trust that the waves will smooth out my jagged edges, and reveal the strength that has been given to me. For “as it is written, ‘what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him…” (1 Cor. 2:9, ESV)