Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

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I Surrender All

  • blogspot for Dena Johnson of Dena's Devos
  • Published Jul 12, 2021

In the midst of the sweltering summer heat, I reflect on my days of sitting at The Creek in the open-air tabernacle singing these words:

All to Jesus, I surrender
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all.

Falls Creek (now known affectionately as The Creek) is a Christian youth camp nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains. If you can imagine over 5000 teenagers lifting their voices in unison singing about giving everything to the Savior. Honestly, it has to be about as close to heaven as we can get on the earth!

When I think of the song I Surrender All, I think of those amazing memories at The Creek. But the song has been ringing through my mind all week. I haven’t been to Falls Creek. I don’t plan to visit at all this year.

But those words.

I surrender all…

Surrender has been on my mind a lot lately. Roy and I have had multiple conversations about surrender, about how we feel God is calling us to a deeper walk with Him.

I surrender all…

All. Everything. Holding back nothing. Releasing my every passion. My every desire. Every secret corner of my heart.

All to Thee my blessed Savior…

You, Lord, are my Savior. My God. My friend. My Provider. My Comfort. My Guide. My Life. My Everything.

I surrender all!

I want you to take my eating and drinking and sleeping and working. I want you to take my life as a wife and a mom and a daughter and an employee. I want you to take every single inch of my heart and make it pure, vulnerable, fully trusting in you.


Over the years, I have seen that surrender seems to precede immense blessings. I have several key memories of true surrender.

The first was when I first kicked my husband out. I was so angry with God, uncertain I would ever follow Him again. Until one day something inside me just broke. I realized that I was His at the core of my being, and no matter how hard I tried to leave Him, He would not let me. He pursued me relentlessly, fought for my affections, came after me the one lost sheep.

I fell to my knees on the bathroom floor and just cried out to God, “Lord, I don’t want this journey, but if this is what you have for me, I will take it. Just don’t let my pain be in vain!” It was a moment of surrender that completely changed the trajectory of my life. A moment of surrender that set me on a path to finding purpose in my pain.

The second significant moment of surrender came several years later. I had been piddling with my blog, not really having a purpose or a goal. My audience was small—mostly family and friends curious about what I was doing. I think I had high hopes like we all do, but I was just going through my life and simply surviving.

One night I went to a Saturday night service. My kids weren’t home, so I was alone which is a difficult and humbling experience. I remember driving home after church that night…and I was so broken. I don’t remember what caused it. I don’t remember what my thoughts were. But I do remember crying uncontrollably, collapsing before God, recognizing the condition of my heart.

I begged God to make me pure, right, holy, like Him. I became a new person in that moment, a person fully surrendered to my Savior. The coming days were unbelievable in how my Savior spoke to me, guided my steps, cared for my tender needs. But the interesting part was how within two weeks, God took my simple offering of a blog and elevated it to a place where my words were used to help others.

He took a second moment of surrender which gave purpose to my pain—a direct answer to the prayer I prayed in my first distinct moment of surrender. I love how God weaves our moments together to create a beautiful mosaic of seemingly unconnected events! He is so creative and amazing that way!

So where am I today? Honestly, life has beaten me down the last few years. Oh, I am incredibly blessed! My life is amazing today, but I am so exhausted. Tired of fighting. Tired of missing out on so much of my kids’ lives. Tired of fighting for the next breakthrough. Always wondering when God is going to open the storerooms of heaven and pour out His blessings so there is not room enough to receive them (Malachi 3). I have been striving for more, wondering what the next step is, asking God to reveal His greater plan.

And Roy and I sense God calling us to the next step—a step of total and complete surrender. A step of living with abandon and going all in with Him. No matter the cost. No matter the fear. Because we know His way is always best. Because we know He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). Because we know the safest place is always as close to my Father as I can get.

I surrender all.
I surrender all

Do you hear Him calling? Is He calling you to surrender like He’s calling us? What are you afraid of losing? What stops you from going all in?

I know it’s scary, but He’s calling us to step out of the boat, onto the crashing waves. But He won’t let us sink. He’s holding out His hand, waiting to take us and lift us above the waves.

What are you afraid of losing?

Whatever it is, it doesn’t even start to compare to what you have to gain. Will you join us?