“Are you sure you want to surrender your child?”
Those words are seared deeply into the very fabric of my heart.
I remember his firm hand upon my shoulder, squeezing as if forcing me to say, “Yes.” The relationship I was in at that time offered no room for a child, especially since the child was not his. As I signed the paperwork, four women sat around me quietly with their eyes locked in on me. Somehow I sensed they knew it was not my heart’s desire to let this child go.
I felt trapped. ‘Help! I can’t do this.’
But in a matter of seconds, the ink began spilling from the pen I was holding. I was signing my name—signing, and signing, so many papers affirming my “willingness to surrender” a very piece of my own heart. I felt as if I was lying on paper. This was not my decision, but the decision of a very angry, bitter man with no compassion. With the stroke of a pen, my child was no longer mine. It was done.
I think about God and consider the gift of His Son; surrendering Him not only to this life’s inevitable sufferings, but also to the horrors of torture, abandonment, and a criminal’s cross. And Mary, His mother, when her fullness of time had come, knew this Child was not her own. She knew this from the time Jesus was conceived in her through the Holy Spirit. Yet, she imitated the Father’s will. Jesus was in the Father’s hands, not hers.
So often through the years, after surrendering my child, I would revisit that pit of despair. I was stuck; always wondering, always contemplating: Will she understand why I had to make that decision? How will I ever explain that it was better for her to be with a family that could give her the life I could not at the time? Will she understand it was about her and not about me?
Mary, the mother of Jesus, willingly set aside her own feelings to let her Son be who He was intended to be. It was only by opening herself up completely to God’s perfect will that she was able to give her Son back to Him.
I felt so alone.
I was so weak. I couldn’t fight. I had no strength left. I was so beaten up emotionally I had become a hollow shell. It was easier to concede than to stand and defend.
Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling fully within me, surrender no longer meant pain. The pain was gone. I was healed. Jesus took all those years of heartache and loneliness for my child away and filled it with Himself. When we surrender our lives to the One who is Life, our sufferings and joys are transfigured into opportunities of praise. Years later, I found myself in the midst of infertility. The choice of another birthmother surrendering her child became my joy. And, the God of grace also brought my first born back into my life.
As a birthmother and an adoptive mother, I understand the heart of my son’s birthmother and the great sacrifice she made so another couple could have a family. I can love her without ever knowing her because we’ve both made a sacrifice; we’ve both surrendered something of ourselves that has forever changed us.
Prayer changes things. It draws us closer to God and allows us to give Him our every heartache—past and present. Through Him placing His healing hand on our hurts, He calms our anxious hearts. God transformed my painful surrender into a sweet surrender. Now, as I raise my hands in a sacrifice of praise, He gently reminds me of how He brought me out of bondage and set me free.
What about you, sweet friend? What’s holding you back from surrendering it all at the feet of Jesus? Is He asking you to surrender something today? Why not pray and give it all to the One who gave His all for you? It’s always worth it.
Myra Ingargiola is wife to Don, mother to two adult children, has three grands, and two great-grands. She is a speaker and a writer who, through being transparent with her own life experiences, proclaims God’s Truth of forgiveness, redemption, and healing.
Photo by Janko Sperlic on Unsplash