I invite you to read a message from Belinda that will challenge you to surrender those tender places.
On last month, I wrote a blog post for Women Walking with Jesus entitled, “The Grow-Up Plan.” In this post, I talked about the tougher areas that, if truth be told, we all have our struggles— faith and submission, to name a couple. I have had several chances over the month to think about how I “grew up” in Christ, and how I continue to grow up in Christ. Perhaps no other life lesson was as liberating for me as my surrender to Christ of my most tender places.
Jesus shows us in Luke 4 the power of surrendering the tender places, and as providence would have it, He uses a woman. We find Jesus resting at a well when a woman came to fetch water for her household. Jesus could have miraculously drawn His own water, but this was not about Him; it was about her chance to grow up and be changed.
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (John 4: 7-9, NKJV)
I imagine that this woman’s self-esteem was at an all-time low. Jesus never talked “down” to her; she created her own back door. She immediately questioned the Jewish man’s request for water, stating that she was a Samaritan—a low-life, a nobody, and/or from the “wrong side of the tracks,” if you will. She did what many of us do all the time: she disqualified herself as unworthy. Think about it: “Why, I could never _______” or “I wish I wasn’t so ________” might be how her speech would flow from our lips. Additionally, though the story of the men in her life is not revealed to us until later, I can imagine her disappointment and pain. Five marriages that did not work? In modern times, she would be the famed star of her own reality show. Yet, money does not wipe away all the tears of the would-be celebrity (remember Evelyn Lozada, anyone?) No, I imagine that this was a dejected, desperate woman who met Jesus at the well. She had tender places that she was trying to work through on her own (hence her live-in lover?)
I can remember in my own life any number of times that my tender places were exposed. Someone said what I thought was the wrong thing, or did something that I found emotionally painful. After years of trying to work it out myself, I did not meet Jesus at a well, but I was blessed to hear a life-changing word, i.e., living water, from a pastor/ friend who challenged me with ‘people don’t hurt your feelings; they touch sensitive areas that you’ve not surrendered to Christ yet.’ As that word began to register in my spirit, it freed me. I began to realize how holding on to those tender places kept me from reconciling certain relationships (and clinging to unhealthy relationships instead). Not surrendering those places kept me bound, afraid to go to some places for fear or impending anger with someone else who might be there. And when I surrendered those places, I could accept myself—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and still be in love with me. I could laugh at words that once surfaced tears. I could acknowledge that I am a work-in-process, and as God dealt with those places, I could grow up. I could change. I could be used by God.
This was the reality of the woman at the well. An encounter with God changed her; we do not know what happened to the lifestyle that she lived after she received the “living water,” but we know that she was used:
The woman then left her water pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” Then they went out of the city and came to Him… And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His own word. (John 4: 28-30, 39-41, NKJV)
Your story, your tender places, and your point of surrender might be very different than this woman’s story. Your tender places might be different than mine. But I pray that, whatever is/ are our place(s) of hurt and pain, we give it to Christ. Time is short, the harvest is ripe, and we want to be effective laborers. Our effectiveness is limited when we are wounded. As we surrender to Jesus, may we bless others as the changed Samaritan woman did:
Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42, NKJV)
Belinda Bullard is a wife to her best friend and a home educating mother of three. Belinda is an author and the owner of A Blessed Heritage Educational Resources, a literature-based history curriculum featuring African-American presence in history, as well as the contributions of other races to American history. A chemical engineer by formal education, she also serves as adjunct faculty for college programs specializing in adult learning. She is a regular contributor to Heart of the Matter Online and Home Educating Family. Belinda blogs at Simply Belinda and Chronicles of a Blessed Heritage