I present you with my first guest post. And who better to christen the welcome mat than my most faithful commenter Lynn D. Morrissey. If you’ve been around here long, you know the depth of wisdom and insight she adds to the conversations. That’s why I’m excited to give her book away to one lucky person. Just leave a comment here on the blog and I’ll draw a name from the collection on Friday.

“The fruit of letting go is birth.” —Meister Eckhart

I had been married for seventeen years when, for my fortieth birthday, God delivered a surprise  present wrapped in pink: a precious baby daughter named Sheridan. She is a treasure I absolutely cherish, but one I initially struggled to receive.

I had never wanted to be a mother; the prospect frightened me to death. I was intimidated by the enormous responsibility of raising a child and by my many personal inadequacies. I knew nothing about children, and couldn’t relate to them. I had a morbid fear of dying in childbirth, which having a child at forty only exacerbated. I was petrified! Numerous things could go wrong with the baby or with me. The big picture overwhelmed me, and I felt trapped.

A well-meaning Christian friend suggested abortion, but her advice only increased my anguish. I knew that this child was God’s creation. I didn’t doubt His will, but wrestled intensely against accepting it.

But finally … I let go, acquiescing to God, as I penned this prayer:

“My body contains a secret seed, immortally conceived, mortally sown. Momentarily, I enfold creation. A fragment of eternity forms concentrically like a pearl. Oh God! Can I bear weight of priceless cargo? Can my broken vessel store treasure of such worth? Can my earthen jar contain a soul outlasting every star? Can I refuse? Can I uproot the hidden seed? Can I coerce the Potter to remold the brittle clay—remake my fragile vessel for some other use?”

“I can consent. I can surrender to Your engendering Spirit. I can open myself fully to Your infilling glory. I am willing to unveil the pearl at any price. I will become a chalice for my Maker’s grace.”

Then it happened: From the moment I first held Sheridan, God miraculously replaced my callous heart of stone with a mother’s heart of tenderness.  “Father!” I cried. “Now that I see, touch, and talk to her, everything—absolutely everything is different! Oh, God, thank You, thank You for my beautiful baby.”

Yet despite  how much I loved Sheridan, I didn’t gracefully surrender to motherhood. I rebelliously complained, questioning God’s wisdom and timing, especially about leaving my career. Though I adored my daughter and felt great responsibility in my new identity as her mother, I feared losing the only identity I had ever known, and sinking into deep depression in the isolation of my home. I couldn’t comprehend A. W. Tozer’s wisdom that “in the kingdom of God the surest way to lose something is to try to protect it, and the best way to keep it is to let it go”—that the fruit of letting go is birth and new life.

But the Lord was about to teach me this lesson by patiently prying loose my grip, as He guided me through the image of gently-falling autumn leaves. I watched as colorful leaves clung tenaciously to branches, struggling to hold on. Then, as if by some knowledge of God’s command, with each gust of wind, they simply let go. When they did, they began a graceful waltz, pirouetting with abandon in the breeze. At that moment God whispered,  Lynn, let go! I immediately gave my employer notice, committing to whatever dance God was choreographing.

Times of depression, doubt, and loneliness ensued, but I knew that trees don’t sin by complaining. In seasons of barrenness, their leafless limbs raise in praise to their Maker. Freed of foliage, they have an unparalleled opportunity to hold stars, shining like jewels, in their branches. Stripped of  my career, I chose to grasp life stars I’d been too blind to see, discovering a host of  luminaries lighting my darkness like coruscating constellations of joy.

When God brought me home to raise Sheridan, He fulfilled my dream of becoming an author,  which full-time work didn’t permit. He also unexpectedly transformed me through the influence of my little girl. She was my “midlife replacement therapy”—replacing my lethargy with her energy, my depression with her joy, my cynicism with her optimism, my jadedness with her innocence, my workaholism with her play.

When, like the autumn leaf, I let go—I entered the beauty of God’s dance, finally free to follow Him only—free to grasp my Partner’s hand and trust Him to lovingly lead me.

Lynn D. Morrissey possesses the rare ability to probe beneath the surface, striking the heart of a subject, while sharing transparently from her own heart. She is passionate about journaling, through which God healed her of suicidal depression, alcoholism, and guilt from an abortion. She empathizes greatly with those who endure pain. A poetic word stylist, Lynn sculpts beautiful language with her pen, and is the author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF) for her ministry, Heartsight Journaling, AWSA speaker, and professional soloist. She lives with her husband Michael and college-age daughter Sheridan in St. Louis, Missouri. Contact: words@brick.net

Linking with Jen and Eileen.

**Janice @ ClayGirlSings.wordpress.com won Lynn’s wonderful book. Contact me Janice at shelly@redemptionsbeauty.com with your mailing address. Congratulations!**

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Lynn’s book. This is the ninth post in the series 31 Days of Letting Go. You can read the collective here. If you are a writer, I invite you to link up any post you’ve written on the theme of letting go in the comments here on Friday. Subscribe to receive the series in your inbox or feed by adding your address in the side bar under Follow Redemptions Beauty.