Surrendered - For the Display of His Splendor
Renee Swope

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

My dearest friend, women's ministry director and mentor was moving - hours away! This was the woman who had believed in me, invested in me and encouraged me. She'd also prayed for me and stood beside me as I overcame fears and doubts, following God's call into ministry.
How was I going to make it without her?

Trying to find a distraction for my despair, I decided to tackle long overdo yard work. As I headed out to our shed, I noticed a rose bush the previous homeowner had planted. It was in full bloom, displaying her splendor through gorgeous pink blossoms across the center of our split rail fence.

How did that happen? I wondered.

Although I'd never used it, I remembered seeing rose fertilizer in our shed so I decided to use it. I pulled the weeds away from the bush's base so the plant food could sink into the soil and noticed the root ball had four sections.

Should I leave the sections all together or divide and place them at different posts on the fence?

If I planted them at separate posts, their vines would eventually connect and create a blanket of pink draped across the whole fence. With that image in mind, I knelt before the blossoming beauty and pressed my hands into the dirt to find the right places to separate the root ball.

At that moment, I sensed God whisper to my heart that the rose bush was a picture of what He was doing with the women's ministry I loved. Each of us serving on the ministry team had been carefully planted in our giftedness, nurtured and encouraged through prayer, equipped through training and fertilized by opportunities to serve. We had become a display of God's splendor.

But, like this plant, we had reached the fullness of His glory in our current soil. I sensed Him telling me that we were ready to be divided into separate plants so that His glory would be more fully displayed, as He planted each of us uniquely and individually in new places of ministry.

I couldn't bear the thought of it. Would there be more pruning? More breaking up of what had taken years to establish? This was nowhere in my plans and dreams!

It is so painful when God allows our dreams to be shattered, our hearts to be broken, our relationships to be separated and our fears to be realized. I really doubted what God was doing. I doubted any good could come from such loss. I doubted that I could make it through the pain. Yet, as I imagined God's glory being more fully displayed, my heart settled into a place of surrender. It wasn't my plan, but if it was for His glory, wasn't that what I wanted? Wasn't that what Jesus did? Would I also trust Him to ease my sorrow and bring something good from it?

That day I knelt on holy ground in front of my rose bush and surrendered the broken dreams in my heart. Even if it meant letting go of what I loved so deeply, it would be worth it if others would see HIM more fully in my life and eventually in my ministry.

Are you in a season of being uprooted? Has God re-arranged your plans and your future? Are you struggling to trust His ways?

Jesus' life and death displays God's promise to turn our despair into divine joy and our loss into a legacy as we depend on and trust in Him. I didn't think I could make it. But five years later, I see how God took my doubts and sorrow and used them to draw me into absolute dependence and sweet surrender to Him – for the display of His splendor.

Lord, I want to reflect Your glory through the display of my dependence on You. As painful as it is, I realize Your splendor is revealed in my brokenness as I rely on Your love and strength. I put my trust in Your plans and not my own today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Renee’s blog for more thoughts on surrendering to God’s promises and plans.

Beyond the Shadow of Doubt: Becoming The Woman You Already Are in Christ, a message on DVD by Renee Swope

Click here to know more about Jesus

Click here for more of Renee’s Resources.

Application Steps:
Reflect on today's power verse, Isaiah 61:1-3. List ways that God has, or ways you want Him to fulfill these promises in your life.

Am I going through a season of surrender? Am I struggling to trust God's ways?

If you want more encouragement or prayer, click here to let Renee know how she can pray for you.

Power Verses:
Isaiah 61:1-3, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion — to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." (NIV)

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Elaine said...

Thanks for reminding me that life doesn't have to stay the same to be good. I too experienced a wrenching apart from a ministry I loved. But God had a good plan -- it was just a new and different plan. I can see that now, but it was still hard and my heart hurt for awhile. Thanks Renee.

Anonymous Larae Weaver said...

I was talking with the Lord about this, this morning, before I got on here to check the devotional for today, I love it when He does that, and thank you so much for the way you let Him use you. I want display His splendor all the days of my life.

Blogger Carrie Turansky said...

Thanks, Renee, for this timely post. I have gone through a similar dividing and transplanting time. I can relate to the painful time of processing it too. Thank you for this wonderful illustration. I am a gardener too, and the Lord often speaks to me as I work outside. This is s sweet lesson I want to take to heart.

Anonymous Kate said...

Keep it up! I love reading your devotions, it's a good way to start out my day.

Blogger LauraLee Shaw said...

Amen. I'm so thankful that His splendor can be seen on the mountain, in the valley and on every groove of the path in between. What a beautiful devotion to keep my day going!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks so much for i feel i am in the middle of the up root and i know when he is finished it will be greater than i could ever imagine. please pray for me in decisions that lay ahead. thanks again.

Blogger Ana Gilleylen said...

THANKS Renee! I received a revelation from your post.

Thursday, August 20, 2009
A Season or a lifestyle of Surrendering?
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)

It wasn't my plan, but if it was for His glory, wasn't that what I wanted ?:

I truly reflected upon this question as I read the following devotion at Proverbs 31 Ministries: Suddenly, I realized that I not only had a moment of surrender, but a season of surrendering. The Webster dictionary defines surrender as a way to give up or yield possesion or power and in our case unto God. The act of surrendering to God is to relinquish, resign, yield, abandon, sacrifice, submit, cede. So when we surrender to God - subsequently we overcome, rout, or conquer the trials we face in our lives for his greater purpose to prevail in us and unto Him.

As I gazed upon my personal moments of surrender during the past two years my mind quickly reflected back nearly 10 years ago. Wow! The light bulb is now shining through my brain cells. I finally realize that surrendering unto God has been a journey for me that began when I released myself to Him wholeheartedly. At that moment, I felt God's glory so heavily that I could not remain standing. An overwhelming peace and cleanliness rested upon me. I clearly remembered that I subconsciously understood the removal of all my sins by God. There is no word that exsist in my vocabulary which expresses the true feeling created in me from this experience with God. Let's just say that it was so AWESOME that I never wanted to sin again, but I'm human, so I eventually sinned. But, God forgives when we ask with a pure heart and turn from our sin. I didn't allow my imperfections to prevent me from immediately sharing my personal experience with God and His Great power to others around me. Well, not everyone was willing to listen, accept or believe the supernatural experience between me and God.

I surrendered to Him by striving to live a life that honors and glorifies Him...
I continued to share all that I had learned about Him, the cross, His word, His power, the Holy Spirit...
I prayed, fasted and sought the face of God...
I submitted to God to submit to my mate in marriage...
I relinquised my personal career goals unto God to teach...
I yielded my peronal plans unto God to honor my role as a stay at home mom...
I resigned the reports of many doctors to honor God's report for the complete miracle healing of my daughters.
I ceded my personal choice in place of worship unto God to worship at my current church
I abandoned my life goals to pursue God's goals for my life.

A season or a lifestyle of surrendering to God? The answer to this question for me is now very simple. Everyday, I must remember that my life is not all about me, but a lifestyle of surrendering to God.

Giving God the Glory,

Posted by Giving God The Glory

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are...but a guy friend forward this devotion...Confirmation for me personally as a small women's group I belong to touched on this scripture last night. Thank you from Miami.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you were talking about splitting from a ministry. It still spoke to me abou tsplitting from the familiar and now that I stand physically alone elsewhere I can surrender my fears to the Lord. I listed what He has done and the Lord our God has been faithful. Amen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When God changes things, it is good, sometimes hard as in this case but I love how she considered it for His glory and that was her real desire which helped her get through the pain.

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