Surrendering the tender places

I invite you to read a message from Belinda that will challenge you to surrender those tender places.

Woman walking cross country and trail in autumn forestBy Belinda Bullard

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 with twist out march 2013Belinda 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


11 Responses to Surrendering the tender places

  1. Powerful post Belinda!! You said it all here:

    “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.”

    Amen and Amen!!!
    Thanks for sharing your heart!

  2. Powerful message my friend and much needed for me. Sometimes, we think we’ve surrendered it all to Christ and yet we find ourselves hurt when those tender places are “bumped into” so to speak by others…sometimes on purpose….sometimes accidentally.I will spending some time today and in the coming days re-examining my heart and making sure I’ve fully surrendered all those “tender places” to my Jesus who heals all wounds.
    Blessings and prayers,

    • He is able, Andrea! The funny thing is that, with new levels, come new devils, and new places of surrender, you know?!! God bless you, and thanks for your kindness.

  3. This post certainly causes me to think about my own life. I was just reading about this encounter earlier this morning as I read the One Year Bible. Hmm …the same one in the same day. Is there a message for me here? 🙂

    I pray that all of my life will be surrendered to Jesus. It’s amazing how I think I’ve given it ALL to Him only to be convicted of another area I may have been holding on to. When I open myself up to all those tender places and give them to my Savior, He takes it all on Himself. I love how He loves me, warts and all.

    A beautiful thoughtful post today Belinda. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    Blessings and love,

  4. This post brought out some things that I have not though about before. Such as what your pastor/friend said to you…. ‘people don’t hurt your feelings; they touch sensitive areas that you’ve not surrendered to Christ yet.’ Makes me feel that I need to do some soul-searching in my own life.
    Thanks Belinda!

    • As I said, Marilyn, this word was liberating for me. It freed me of several places where my relationships were stymied because of someone who “hurt my feelings.” After this settled in my spirit, I was able, through prayer, to heal from some of my own issues and to have a way of understanding why some comments bothered me so. Praise God for delivering me from that level of sensitivity.

  5. It amazes me still that I hold onto to anything. I’ve known & walked with Jesus a long, long time. Even so, I still hold onto things at times. It’s not so much that I fear surrendering them as it is a blind spot in my thinking. Sometimes I think I’m running my own show. So I really appreciate your thoughts here, Belinda. Like that worn & weary woman at the well, my tender places are safe with Him. What’s more, the life-giving water He offers in exchange for them is beyond sufficient and satisfying. Great post!

  6. I have been a Christian for several years and I still hold all on to things at times. I need to surrender all things better than I do. I am going to work on that more

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