First United Presbyterian Church

Giving Up


Lent is the season to remember the sacrifice of Christ. For forty days, we purposely consider what distracts from our worship of His sacrifice. We consider what is important in our daily lives and chose to sacrifice that thing, whether it be food, drink, or entertainment, and every time we crave that thing, we think of Christ’s sacrifice for us. But what happens when that thing that distracts us from God is ourselves?

I truly believe that if everyone did as I said, when I say it, things in my life would go much easier and if they went wrong it would land on my shoulders to accept the blame. However, this means removing everyone else’s agency and no doubt there are those that would ask me to simply do as they wished. Fortunately, there came a time in my life when my ability to control anything was stripped away from me. My youngest son lay in the hospital and I was forced to accept that I could not influence whether he lived or died. To be honest, I was confident that God was not listening to my prayers anyway.

As I lay in the floor, silently screaming, as I received the news that he was on life support, I prayed. I prayed an acceptance of having no favor with God. I prayed that God would listen to any number of the people who had my child in their hearts. If there was but one person who had favor with God who was praying for my child, that their prayers be answered. I accepted that when it comes to God, I had no agency. Not if what I truly wanted was to live a life for God. I had to give up myself. Give up the future I had dreamed of. Give up the things that I wanted. Give up my demands of everyone else’s perfection and obedience. Give up my own selfishness. I accepted that I might have to give up my son.

It was in this moment of giving up that my fear for my son’s life left me. It was in this moment that God began to change me. He did not ask for everything at once, it is a slow and continuous process. A sacrifice that I am joyously willing to obey because of the sacrifice of Christ.


Scripture: Psalm 130

130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!
130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?
130:4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.
130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
130:6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem


Heavenly Father, you are the creator of everything that is, has been, and will be. You, who in your knowledge of your creation, knew that we would fail in every way. It is because of your knowledge that you sacrificed in order to save. And because of your sacrifice, I give you my spirit, my will, my body, and my life. May everything I do and say be for the glory of your name. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray.

Elizabeth Schierschmidt

© 2024 First United Presbyterian Church – Revs. Jan and Phil Butin, Head of Staff. All rights reserved. Web Design by Haden Interactive.