Surrender and RELEASE

We received this letter from Crystal about her journey with her one word this year.

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Dear Mike, Rachel & the My One Word Team,

Sometimes we make decisions which affect our lives in ways we could never have predicted.

In January of this year, I  accepted a challenge. Being one who refuses to make New Year’s resolutions, a tweet challenge came over my twitter page: to choose one word for this year. I decided to accept.

To be honest, I really didn’t put much stock in the challenge, and I certainly didn’t enter into the journey with any amount of conviction. Still, I did one simple thing. I chose one meaningful word which would “center on my character and create a vision for my future,” as stated in the guidelines.

Entering into the year, I was experiencing intense grief over the sudden death of my brother, regret over neglected opportunities, and the pain of a broken relationship. My faith was compromised by these circumstances.

Only one word came to my mind. So with thousands of other people around the world, I logged on to and registered my one word: RELEASE.

Participants were encouraged to journal through their word for the year, and although I have not done so in the typical manner, the struggle with my one word has screamed through the entries on my blog as I watched my life turn upside down.

I have wrestled intensely with the action of releasing as I have watched a long and vibrant ministry sold and dissolved of its original intent, experienced the loss of jobs for both me and my husband, and joined many others who wonder how they are ever going to provide for their children’s college expenses and pay a mortgage while trying to gracefully embrace a new chapter in life.

Never could I have imagined how relevant this one word would become to my faith.

I have doubted God’s love….

wrestled with His sovereignty….

questioned His goodness….

challenged His promises.

In my weakest moments, I have cried out for answers, groaned, complained, bargained and begged. But eventually, when all of my human emotions were exhausted, I acted on my one word.

I released my need to know the future. I released my need to understand my present situation. I released my need be in control. And I released my will, over and over again, sometimes daily.

And in all of this releasing, my life is being changed. Not by my circumstances, but in the midst of my circumstances.

For example:

  • I have more sincere compassion for others and their difficulties as I have faced my own brokenness.
  • I have learned to appreciate the value of a moment and the joy each one can hold as I fill my list of 1000 Gifts, opening my hands to the gifts God has for me each day.
  • I have learned to treasure my friendships and offer a listening ear over a long walk or a cup of coffee. To offer unwavering support and prayer.
  • I am learning to recognize how fear has strangled my heart and my faith as I choose to release its hold and receive peace in its place.
  • I have realized it is not all about me.
  • I’ve dug into scripture, searching and memorizing, planting God’s truths into a heart which now only desires to be found faithful instead of to be found in control.
  • I have experienced a God who is going before me and providing for the needs of my children when I cannot, and in ways greater than I could have imagined.
  • I am experiencing the peace and contentment found in surrendering to God during tough times, instead of fighting to find my own way out of them.


My circumstances are nowhere near resolved, and my year of releasing is far from over. But one thing I am sure of is the power of this continual and voluntary act of releasing my need to know, understand and control it all.

This profound act of obedience – even in the continual wrestling – is inviting God to be God, with no boundaries and no limitations.

It is inviting Him to to change me.

But I will be the first to admit that I cannot wait to choose a different word for the new year!

Thanks for this – Crystal

3 Responses to “Surrender and RELEASE”

  1. Kathie Morris says:

    My Daddy was a Baptist Minister. He always said the biggest problem for people who “wanted to give their buden to God” was to leave it there. They always wanted to pick it back up and continue to carry it around, worrying about it. If you “Turn it over to God” leave it alone and quit fighting Him for it.

  2. Kathie Morris says:

    My word is “Gratitude”, as I try to live in joy with optimistic gratitude for all I have been given each day. It doesn’t matter what you have if you don’t appreciate it.