Surrendering to God’s Plan

November 5, 2016 Update – this is a throwback to six years ago when I first shared news about accepting an opportunity to serve as paid staff at Elevation Church. I still can’t believe I get to do this work. Thank you, Jesus, thank you Pastor Steven and Holly, thank you, church. You are so good to us.

MATTHEWS, NC (2:47am) – I can’t sleep.  I’ve been thinking for days about how to share this news with you, about how what’s happening to me might help you… and in the middle of the night, it hit me.

Some decisions in life take courage, others take sacrifice – and some are all about surrender.

In September, I ended my 10-year-long career at WBTV News 3.  I’ve got two beautiful little boys at home, age 6 and 3 – and I was missing too much time with them.  Their amazing father had the blessing of reading to them, and tucking them into bed each night.  For years, I told myself it was more than enough.  But I missed too many “firsts” at home – and I knew I was sacrificing my children on the altar of success.

And that was only the beginning of my idol-worship.  Success, ambition, pride, independence – I clung to these ideals and believed these were the things that would bring me the joy, happiness, and security I was longing for.  Pastor Steven Furtick’s message in October, “Scarecrow in a Melon Patch” broke down for me and so many others how we can take something good, and put it in the place of God.

Today, my goals look much different than they did when I started my career in television news.  Success now is being joyful no matter how messy my house is – Ambition now is about teaching kindness to my boys – I’m working to kick my pride to the curb entirely, choosing humility instead – and independence I’m realizing was such an illusion anyway.  Every breath I take is a blessing given to me by my creator.  I am a totally dependent creature.  We all are.

For the past two months, I’ve been enjoying more time with my boys.  I’m preparing for a trip to Haiti with my daughter and a newly-formed non-profit called “Bless Back Worldwide.” And we’ve been trying to “be still” and open to all the possibilities that life may have to offer in this new season.

Sean and I have been volunteers at Elevation Church since its early days at the Levine Senior Center with fewer than 200 people in attendance.  This Sunday at Elevation Church’s Providence Campus, nearly five years later, Pastor Steven Furtick will announce my new role there as Campus Coordinator of the new Elevation Blakeney Campus.  Our family has been so deeply impacted by Pastor Steven’s teaching, and by the relationships we’ve been blessed with there.  I’m so thankful for his heart for giving back to this community through incredible outreach efforts.  I am so thrilled by the opportunity to jump into what God is doing through Elevation Church.

I’ll also be working on other projects, like the launch of Lysa TerKeurst’s upcoming book “Made to Crave.” As a former health reporter, I am so excited about this book because I believe it has the potential to set so many people free of their addiction to food.

So what does all this have to do with surrender?  I believe this is exactly where God has been leading me all these years – giving me the opportunity to grow as a writer and speaker, giving me the confidence and strength to give up my career and all its financial benefits – to support my husband in our family business, to spend more time teaching and loving on our boys, and to love on and lead people to know to know the gospel.  And it’s not a passive thing – I think we tend to think of surrender as “giving up.”  For me, it’s the most courageous, audacious thing I can do – to surrender to God’s will, in the ultimate hope that he will use my life for his glory.

I’m praying Ephesians 3:16-21 for you – so that if you’re at a crossroads in your life, that you have the courage to surrender today and know Christ’s love for you.

13 Comments on “Surrendering to God’s Plan

  1. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us – I look forward to seeing where God will take you! Blessings to you as you take this leap!

    Leslie Nease

  2. Thank you so much for your post this morning……I think it helps even those of us who may not think we are in the crossroads of life…..even though I think we always are to an extent. Scarecrow in a Melon Patch has challenged me greatly in shifting my priorities and not allowing the “idols of life” to supercede. THRILLED that you are going to be the CC for Blakeney. We have been going to Providence for over 2 years, and are moving on to Blakeney. Looking forward to it! Have a wonderful day!

  3. Congratulations, Tonia! Elevation Church is blessed to have you. Can’t wait to see how God will continue to use you help lead the Blakeney Campus and God’s church (with a BIG C – universally). You are a faithful and obedient servant!

  4. I think this was from Him to me..thank you for this message, so intricately timed for me! God Bless you on this new adventure!

  5. T it’s such a joy and a BLESSING to see what GOD is doing in your life as well as your families. I pray GOD continue to BLESS you and to continue to use you to spread the gospel for HIS glory.

  6. Thank you Tonia for this post! You are such an inspiration to me. I am thrilled to hear you will be the cc for our new Blakeney Campus. I drove by ^ Blakeney early this morning and it was all lite up! I sat in the parking lot looking at the awesome signage with the orange accents and was so moved. To think how many lives will be changed forever in that building. How Jesus will speak through Pastor Steven and all of us to impact that area. While gazing at our amazing new campus this morning I was in tears thanking God that found all of you at Elevation. My life has been changed forever. “God, you lifted me out and I’ll tell the whole world” Love you Tonia! The best is yet to come!

  7. Tonia, we’re so PROUD of you! You’re an inspiration to all of us @ Elevation! What you’ve done took faith, courage and obedience to God’s calling, and serves as a real life illustration of Pastor Furtick’s message! Can’t wait to see you @ Blakeney!

  8. Wow, Tonia! Fabulous post! So excited for you and this new success of finding your true successes. 🙂 You are awesome. Go get ’em, girl.

  9. Thanks for sharing Tonia, and that scripture hits things right on the head. I feel renewed just reading it and motivated to be a better example to my son and his friends. Keep in touch and let us know how things are going. Hug the kids tight!

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