The name for this blog, With Open Hands, deserves a little explaining. Let me start off with these verses:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it.'”
“The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The plans of the Lord stand forever, the purposes of His heart from generation to generation.” (Psalm 33:10-11)
I taught a devotional some time ago on the topic of joy. We went through the entire Psalm 33, because I think it goes through all the phases of joy, but I hadn’t remembered it until my dad read it aloud to us several months ago after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. I have applied this section of Scripture to small things (my everyday stuff) and big things (the way our country will be from now on), and no matter what I apply it to, it doesn’t change the surrendering attitude I have to have.
To admit that I am His and not my own is so hard, because not only does He thwart the plans and the kingdoms of others, but He thwarts the plans and the kingdom of me. He tears down my walls, my expectations, my comfort zone, my heart’s desires, and my will, all so that I might be more like Christ. It is hard.
In my journey as a Christ-follower, this has been really hard for me, because it means trusting Jesus and surrendering my own desires. A visual of this for me is keeping my hands open to what God is giving – and taking. The Lord is saying, keep your hands open, Aliyah, because right now is when you need to be surrendering to Me most. But sometimes, on hard days, my response is, by having my hands open, I’ve been given nothing but disappointment and messed-up plans. The sinful nature in me and the Spirit in me are in conflict. I can’t see the beauty in my life that the Lord sees with His all-knowing perspective.
However, every time my plans have ever been messed with, glory has been given to God. It’s hard, but I will trust Him.
When I named this blog With Open Hands, I knew this blog would become a journal of sorts, even though it’s online for the world to see. I knew I wouldn’t always have the happy days where all I wanted to make was a printable and write music reviews. I knew I would have bad days, even inexplicably horrible days, and I would need a reminder to look at life and open my hands once more because He always has me, always is the God of grace.
My story is “a dare”, as Ann Voskamp put it in her book, One Thousand Gifts. It’s a dare to surrender, to live life in a yes manner: yes, Lord. I will follow. Post by post. I’m not perfect, and I’m convinced every post only exposes that truth more. But the Lord has been so gracious and loving to me, and I am so humbled yet honored to be able to write here, about this surrender-journey all followers of Christ are on.
So yes, Lord. These hands are open.