Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I was very familiar with the altar in our church. The altar is a place of surrender and a place of reconciling. I have seen lives, including my own, changed at the altar.
Sometimes though, an altar may not be in a church.
Sometimes, an altar may just be the side of a busy road.
Long ago, at a church altar, I surrendered my life to God. I decided that my life and plans were no longer mine, but His. For many years, this surrender was never a problem or a struggle. Life was easy because God’s plans always seemed to be similar to my own plans.
Then one day, life changed when God’s plans differed from my own. His plans seemed difficult and uncomfortable compared to my own plans. I struggled for months holding tightly to my plans thinking they were better than God’s.
Finally, on the side of a busy road, at my makeshift altar, I surrendered. Weeping, I pulled my car over on that road, threw my plans out of the window, and surrendered to God’s plans.
Three years later, I still have moments when I wonder what God is doing with me. On those days, I remember my makeshift altar, my place of surrender, and I am reminded that God’s plans are not always the easiest plans, but the best plans. He is able to do “exceedingly and abundantly” above my plans.
By Stephanie, Calculating BlessingsLeave a Comment
Jami Kastner says
His ways are SO much better than our ways. Thank you for the reminder today.
Thank you for these words and this reminder.. 🙂
“God’s plans are not always the easiest plans, but the best plans. He is able to do “exceedingly and abundantly” above my plans.”
Congrats on your post. 🙂
Beth Williams says
Life has its ups and downs and many many changed plans. Surrendering to His will is much better than trying to fight it.
My life plans c hanged after marriage. That’s when my mother was in hospital and rehab for 1.5 months, I’m job hunting and going crazy all at the same time. I thought marriage would be a bed of roses with a few minor complications. With the grace of God we got through all that!
I’m so glad you made it through all that! Have you ever read the book Plan B, by Pete Wilson? That’s really encouraging for those of us who have had our plans changed. Thanks for the comment.
Holley Gerth says
It seems surrender is something I do over and over again. I heard someone say once that the trouble with a “living sacrifice” is that we can crawl off the altar! 🙂 Thanks for the reminder to place myself in His loving hands again today.
I loved what you said about a living sacrifice can crawl off the altar! That’s where I find myself so many times. That’s when I’m reminded of my makeshift altar, and I surrender all over again. (I will use the living sacrifice quote sometime!)
Sweet Steph…I love those makeshift altars. I can look back on my life-even places in my house and it’s like I see a stone of remembrance-marking holy ground where I’ve laid it all down. Again.
Kristen, when I have rough days, my “stone remembrance” helps me to surrender anew. (by the way. I really loved your post today about how to really pray for your kids. It challenged and encourage me!)
It’s so wierd that I read this today. This is exactly what I did this morning, in the slushy snow and all. I’m tired of trying to make everything work out all right. I’m weary of finding ways to bring happiness out of a sad situation. In short, I guess, I’m done with trying to be God. The path He’s led me down is one I never would have chosen for myself, but this morning, I agreed to do it His way.
You don’t know how much this comment means to me. I have been praying for a few days now, that this post would help someone who is in the same boat I was. I’m so glad that this morning you chose the path God has for you. Thank you so much for leaving a comment about it.
Angela Mackey says
WOW Stephanie. What a great picture of surrender. I have written twice this week about dreams God’s ways and not mine, then Elizabeth wrote her eyes wide open post on (in)courage and now your post. Is God telling us something or what?
His plans and directions are so different from ours, but so perfect. You can check out my posts about this topic if you are interested here:
Rebecca Stinson says
So true yet so hard to do. A few weeks ago my makeshift altar was at my desk. I’ve been going through some pretty deep, internal stuff. I was listening to worship music mix a friend made that I heard a million times before but that day every single lyric spoke to me louder than any concert I’ve been to combined! God was telling me, “LET ME!” And boy I did! This time I was glad to oblige because what He was telling me was what I wanted to do for awhile. BUT the hard part was trusting Him. I was scared to death to do what He was telling me to do. But I’ve prayed hard about it every single day for Him to get me through it and boy has He delivered. In the words of Chris Tomlin, “How great is our God!”
Rebecca, I was listening to a radio program when God spoke to my heart. The guest was saying just how I felt. I love how Gos uses many things to speak to our hearts.
Hi. I am Steph’s husband ( shad ). I am so proud of her. I have watched her surrender her will for His many times. Following God and watching her I have come to believe that ” surrender” is the golden key on lifes ring. So plain and simple, yet it has the ability fit through the keyhole of the largest and most daunting doors we face. Lord help us learn to trust You and realize that the blessings behind the door is immeasurable. Thank you God for such an incredible girl that you gave to me.
Great post, Stephanie! It’s so true! Thank you for the reminder!
Renee Swope says
Beautifully written. I have an altar, too. But I’ve never called it that until you showed me this today. It’s a place and a time I remember so clearly. I was turning 22 that weekend and I was overwhelmed with disappointment and almost in despair. That night I pulled my car onto the side of the road in the mountains of NC and surrendered to Jesus. Thank you for bringing me back to that memory today. And reminding me that surrender is the same today as it was 22 years ago…it’s about giving up our plans and trusting His again and again.
Terry Manus says
Hi, I am Stephanie’s mother & I am so very proud of the young woman that she has become. I surrendered my children to the Lord many years ago & asked him to use them & He has. Many times things have not went the way that I want them to go (like when Stephanie & family moved 12 hrs away) but I still have to trust Him that they are in His care. Thanks Stephanie for your post & the blog you write that keeps me up on you, Shad & the babies. I love you all. Mom or MiMi
Thanks to my #1 fan!
Katie @ Imperfect People says
I love this! It is so true. I almost forget sometimes I have to DAILY surrender. I think well I”m a christain so I’m done surrendering but that is sooooo untrue. I have to lay it down everyday! Even on the side of the road LOL great post