When a small yes, is the Best Surrender.



I didn’t want to disturb the crowd around me, but I couldn’t wait, so I did what any polite wife does during a notable sermon. I rubbed my right elbow right along his right rib and with my pointy finger guided his eyes to these words in the bulletin – looking for summer host families.

After a few bites into lunch, (because ladies we never talk to men on empty stomachs), I asked if he had any thoughts. He cracked a grin and my heart knew he was in. I kicked my heels or maybe I kicked them off. I can’t remember. We were going to have an exchange student, I squealed!

A few weeks later, I was told the summer program was canceled. However, we were offered an opportunity for a year long commitment.

This must be God, I nodded. One door closes, another opens! It makes sense – to my understanding. We have love to offer, room to grow and we don’t want a mediocre, middle of the lane, kind of life. We want to make a difference – Blessed to be Blessing has become our hymn, to Him.

Maybe just maybe, welcoming a student was a small peek into the God designed desire we share to adopt – one day.

Maybe? So I checked down the list . . .

Enough space? Yes.
Financially work? Yes.
Spiritually fit? Yes.

But I felt something was missing, something I couldn’t place my finger on, but felt it’s tug in my heart. Yet how could I withdraw? A solid yes already left my lips and perhaps too quick, because the yes, came rushed. And the rush can often make us rebellious, says Lysa in – The Best Yes.

So I bowed my heart to this nudge and pull, to pause and evaluate, pursuing what possible fourth question, needed consideration. And with just enough evening light, I landed on page fifty-three. And there it was, listed, number four – emotionally. I hadn’t evaluated this in the equation of our decision. Immediately, the unsettling knot untied and I knew. . .

It’s not about sacrifice, it’s about surrender. 

We were willing to stretch out our stakes and hearts, by sharing our home with an exchange student. But instead, a different directive from God –  I’m not asking you to embrace inconvenience, right now, I’m asking you to say yes – yes to investing your very best, to influencing one heart – her heart. 


tul1 It was a seemingly small yes and for a moment, I wrestled with my will. Our God is a great God, deserving of a great big yes! To what’s big, costly, out of our comfort, out the ordinary. But He assured me, sometimes, the smallest yes, becomes the best surrender.


Because what if radical obedience, is giving God a small yes, to what’s right in front of me?

I’m known and prone to forget the eternal value of what He’s entrusted me with, when I’m searching for more. And the more can be anything – even good things, like hosting a student here. But good ideas, with good intentions, aren’t always God-inspired directives. What may be great and glorious one day, could be a distraction or diversion today.

God reminds me of Kate Battistelli story and how having a house full of kids was her heart’s desire. But as it turned out, her life’s mission was spent raising one heart – one heart named Francesca, whose gifts and music continually bless me, reaching so many hearts, far and wide.

And what if rising up and getting radical for God’s Kingdom, requires kneeling down, ducking beneath ideals, surrendering dreams, and spending your life’s best strength, to shaping one heart? 



Now I had to face my phone and dial, without a notion how the news would be received. But the direction was clear, I needed to withdraw my yes and give a no, in order to give God – my best yes, my best surrender.

Thankfully the student coordinator is about the most gracious person I’ve met. I think we might become good friends.

I’ve resolved in this season, right now, my radical obedience, requires surrender to ordinary routine – raising, shaping and serving the hearts right in front of me. 

Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering.(1 Samuel 15:22) NLT

Heart’s Reflection:

Is there something you want to pursue, but perhaps God is asking you to pause and evaluate?
Is there something you need to decline, in order to keep your heart aligned and in accord with His?
Is your radical assignment, right in front of you?


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  1. When we surrender all to Jesus, He always guides us in the right direction. Thank you for sharing, Jessica.

  2. Oh, this is a good word today. It can be easy to rush a decision, particularly when our emotions are excited. Your thoughts on this process and the power of a small yes has been a blessing today.

  3. Mmmm 🙂 amen. When I was first saved I wanted to go tell it on the mountains that Jesus Christ is Lord!! Instead He wanted me to raise disciples. And not ten disciples but just a few. At first I was bummed. But, but God, I can do the big! But He said raise these children up to know Me. My husband had to tell me over and over, God may want the children to win many over for the Kingdom of God. Thy will be done right 🙂

    • Your husband is so right! The greatest Kingdom investment I can give as a Mom is to raise the hearts He’s entrusted me with. Like you, I have big ideas for reaching out and bringing in! And we certainly can trust Him to lead us, when those ideas are inspired by Him! Your words are a blessing, thank-u for being here.

  4. Agreed! Sometimes the still and quiet part is the hardest to do… or even recognize. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Jessica.

    • Isn’t it Sarah – the struggle to just be still and hear those small nudges directing us or redirecting us! So thankful for His faithful guidance! Summer blessings to you!

  5. Thank you for this, Jess…and just the right time too!💗

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