I surrender my will. I declare my dependence. | Of cakes, bikes, vomit, and vulnerability

Cameron is anxious – tearful – insecure, this week. Keeps saying I don’t know what’s going to happen today and what if I can’t spell all the words? His world is expanding quickly and constantly and he feels less and less in control of it. He self-heaps the pressure to memorise the detail – to give him a grip as he gropes, hand over hand, across each day’s tightrope. Truth is, I tell him, none of us is ever in any kind of control. Some of us just kid ourselves that we are because at least we can see the chaos. Take things five minutes at a time, I tell him, just five minutes at a time. Hand. Over hand. Over hand. Lean into the safe steady truth that God holds the rope. And you’ve got power, I tell him, always on the tip of your tongue because you’ve always got your voice and you can always Ask For Help. Tell your Heavenly Father –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.*

Isla's 1st bday-dee-3Photo: Heather Jenkins

Scott watches all this. Decodes. And delivers his first morning words when he finds me in the kitchen: ‘Mom, next time we go to Pick ‘n Pay, can you also buy me some glasses?’ When he isn’t clinging – begging me to carry his almost-five-year-old self – he’s furious and fighting. Later when the day’s dust settles I ask if he feels left out? Angry? Because of the attention Cam’s low vision earns? Yes, he says, and do you love Cam more? I tell him how much-much-much I love-love-love them both and I decide that when he clings, I will cling back. Love him tight. Often. I explain again the aching wonder of sight – how one day he will be able to turn back – find faces – wave from a boarding gate and his big brother never will and how it is what it is, and not a reason to be mad at each other.

Isla's 1st bday-dee-16Isla's 1st bday-dee-9Isla's 1st bday-dee-12Photos: Heather Jenkins

Cam’s teacher – way wiser than her years – reminds me that I can’t do all this for them. I can’t make them make sense of things. I can’t process their personal journeys the way I fold their clothes. I can’t straighten and separate and shelve their thoughts, fears and bewilderment. They’re going to have to work it out on their ownfind space for their realities within their own hearts – and this week is about them, doing just that. All I can do is show-and-tell everyday: show God’s love; tell God’s truth. And pray that they would pray –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

At 3:30 on Friday morning, my sister Coralie, our men and some mates head down to Willowmore for the Trans Baviaans 24 hour mountain bike racereputably the toughest single stage mountain bike event in the world – and Murray’s swan song. Four kid cousins wave goodbye on the driveway then decide that sleep is overrated, because, cousins! Four days of raucous sleep-over ahead of them! Four days, four kids, one busy weekend, and me. Jesus –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

2015-08-21 06.03.35IMG-20150822-WA0001

Photo: Coralie van Reenen

I bake a cake for our niece’s dedication and first birthday. I’m not (At. All.) the artsy-craftsy cake-decorating type. In fact I’d rather have my fingernails slowly removed with pliers than talk about fondant icing and party themes. So I’m in this vulnerable space but it’s an idiot (=me) proof idea – and astonishingly, kind of fun – and I’m hoping the chocolate doesn’t collapse off the sides on the trip to the picnic Saturday morning. My hoping is really more about my pride than about the chocolate so –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

2015-08-21 19.58.53Isla's 1st bday-dee-17 Isla's 1st bday-dee-21 Isla's 1st bday-dee-22

Photos: Heather Jenkins

The cake doesn’t collapse, but on Saturday afternoon I sorta do. I have a tough speaking engagement – tough message, tough crowd. My confidence quietly, devastatingly implodes as my words seem to ricochet like random bullets, hitting walls and ceilings but not hearts. I’m thinking there’s a whole blogpost in the concept that humility and humiliation are very close friends. Oh God.

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

Saturday night the kids want to include another two cousins in the midnight feast they’re planning (for 20:30) so they all sleep over at my sister Melanie. I’m stoked! I’m spending the evening with Hugh Grant and a lot of cake. Alas. Mel phones at 20:00. Scott’s throwing up. I fetch him, and so begins an epic vomathon. All night I’m taking out more bedding and wiping puke out of Scott’s hair and all night my man and his friends are pedalling, pedalling, pedalling through dark mountains. Coral messages to say she’s waiting for them at Check Point 5 but the GPS says they aren’t through Check Point 4 yet and things are steep and slippery and it’s going to be a long night. I panic ever so slightly – push aside the what-if worries –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

Needless to say I’m wide awake when her message comes through just after 2:30 to say they made it – 223 km in 16 hours and 34 minutes. Jesus. *sigh*

IMG-20150822-WA0009 IMG-20150823-WA0000Photos: Coralie van Reenen

It’s Sunday morning and Scott lies heavy and quiet on my chest as I type this. Cam and the cousins are home again. Grey hornbills whistle and swoop. The washing machine is doing its sixth pukey load of the day. I’ve just spoken to Murray – his voice thick with adventure and happy exhaustion.

All is as it should be and I breathe it –

I surrender my will. I declare my dependence.

. . .

I’m praying very much today for each person reading. God knows your name. You can surrender your will, and declare your dependence. He knows best, and he’s got this thing.

Feel free to comment, get in touch here, or on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up to get these posts via email.

More on some books and free stuff over here.

*I heard it explained in a sermon once that this is the essence of how Jesus taught us to pray: I surrender my will (your kingdom come, your will be done… because it’s not about me); I declare my dependence (give us this day our daily bread, deliver us from evil… because we desperately need your help).


  1. Don’t think you will ever quite know how I needed this repeated mantra today. Even though we are at very different places on our journey ,we actually overlap in so many amazing ways. I need to surrender the fear of the next step which this wonderful piece has helped me to do. Am going to repeat those lines until Wednesday s and beyond. I depend entirely on Him. If it were up to me to control this all I shudder to imagine. Lord I lift Cam and Scott into the light of your blessed assurance.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s