Every year I choose a word of the year, it is one of things that helps me define my year. It is how I focus growing and evolving and becoming the person I want to be. The past five years of words have had SUCH a huge impact on me, that I knew I needed to find the perfect one as 2019 was coming to a close and 2020 was waiting in the wings. 

The word I chose ended up finding ME instead last November. “Surrender” came to me, it just appeared right in my face, like a flash of inspiration, a series of signs. It was PERFECT. In this idea of surrender, I was sure I saw the perfect answer to all of my problems!

 So, of course, I jumped right on board…

Surrender by Shawna ClingermanI felt so confident that if I chose to surrender this year, the letting go would just happen. The hard things would be easier, and everything would fall into place, right away, exactly as I thought it should…

…flash forward to only 3 days into the new year, when I found myself sitting in the hospital at 3 am with my son. He was was sick for no reason we could figure out, every test they ran gave us no answers, they had no real diagnosis, nothing.

Perhaps this was the big surrender moment???

I thought: I’ll surrender and trust that things will get better and THEN I will have made it, I can ride my precious word into victory… Everything will be okay.

But it turns out, surrender doesn’t actually promise victory… Come just two weeks later we were back in the hospital, then 3, 4, 5, 6 weeks later, and we were still no closer to an answer or wellness than we had been before.

It is not just my kiddo either, one thing after another has shown up and said, “This is not just a one-time thing, can you take this additional surrender step as well?”

Day by day, challenge by challenge, one step at a time I’m learning that Surrender asks me not to let go just this one time, but to keep on releasing, to keep on trusting. To keep opening my clenched fists time and time again.

Surrender by Shawna ClingermanSo, friends, I’m telling you the truth that this is the collection I’ve been losing sleep over… 

This is the word is at the center of my soul right now, it’s right at the heart of my current struggle… and I will tell you honestly right now that I don’t have it all figured out.

But maybe “Figuring it all out” is kinda the opposite of surrender… which means that in my struggle I am exactly where I’m supposed to be…

Instead of knowing and being sure about everything, I’m leaning in to what I know I can trust. Leaning into a god and a big giant universe that I KNOW has my back.

Instead of grasping for something to cling to, I’m just letting myself be carried. Supported by friends that love me, a family that shows up again and again, and a god with a plan that is beyond what I could possibly understand.

I will keep returning to the hope that even in my imperfect humanity, in my sleepless stressed out nights of clinging to “what ifs” and “if onlys” and “should should shoulds” – there is grace for me in all of my mess. The hope that there is certainty in one thing:

Through it all, I am not alone.

Surrender by Shawna Clingerman

You can purchase this printable pdf collection in the Illustrated Faith Print and Pray shop. It includes three parts: Ephemera, Patterned Papers, and Cards. Each perfect for journaling about your own relationship with trust, transformation, and surrender.

Click here to pick up the Surrender Collection in the shop!

As a small update, I wanted to also share, that we have had some glimmers of hope with my son: there are signs pointing towards recovery (we are praying, praying, praying that this continues!)

Through it all, I can see how letting go is making me stronger… Strength in surrender, it’s a beautiful thing!

I am wishing you all love, support, and the courage to let go of what is not serving you today, and every day. Again and again and again. ❤❤❤

heart shawna