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A Conversation of “Yes”
An Interview on surrendered trust with Rebekah Lyons
By Sarah Komisky
Ever known someone who has “been there?” Rebekah Lyons has. The best-selling author of “Rhythms of Renewal,” renowned speaker, podcaster, and mom of four, two of whom have Down-Syndrome, is quick to remember the days when she felt the gripping terror of a panic attack, the devastation of doubt, and the darkness of depression. And in the process, learning to offer her “yes” to God has been a game-changer. Featured on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, CNN, FOX News, Publisher’s Weekly, and more, Rebekah’s newest devotional release, “ With a new devotional release entitled, “A Surrendered Yes,” is something readers are lending an ear to as the writer shares her own, honest struggles of trust. Today, Founder and Editor in Chief, Sarah Komisky had the honor of sitting down with Rebekah about the new book. Here are her thoughts on pain, purpose, and the value of three simple letters, “Yes.”
Marked Ministry: So, getting started, I know that you have your new devotion coming out. And, this month at our magazine, our theme is all about grace and when thinking of someone that I could interview on the topic, you were one of the first people that popped into my mind. So, I’m glad it worked out today! Talking about this new devotion, I was reading something on Instagram where you talked about letting go of your agenda, and how that disrupts peace. So, talk about how you experience grace in that saying “yes” to God.
Rebekah Lyons: I wish I was one of those personalities that could just be like, ‘yeah that sounds great.’ It would probably make my life a lot easier if I wasn’t trying to challenge myself or have a bunch of objections. Or think through all the worst-case scenarios before I say yes, but God in his grace still knows that about me and invites us all into things knowing that sometimes we really want all the questions answered. And we want to know how it’s going to work. We want to avoid failure at all costs. And I feel like, in everyday yeses, I can be nimble. I would say trajectory shifting yeses, are very, very difficult for me. And yet God doesn’t shrink back from inviting me into those things. He’s still going, “those everyday yeses have prepared you for this bigger yes. So I’m gonna go ahead and put it out there knowing that it is in alignment with what you long for and desire, it’s just going to require a greater measure of trust.
So I would say, whether it was, you know, welcoming our firstborn son. It’s so exciting, but just welcoming the diagnosis of Down Syndrome, was a surprise that we didn’t get until six hours after he was born in our 20s. My first day as a mom. That was still a surrendered yes because I was like, ‘wait, I didn’t see this coming. I don’t know what to do. I feel very ill-equipped.’ I had no choice but to say yes, but it was still hard. It was just so much inadequacy and fear attached to that. And I believe God uses that to show His faithfulness. And I think each bigger “yes” begets bigger yeses. So, like a decade later, we sold everything we had, and we moved to New York City with the kids who were at that point who were, five, seven, and nine. And that was a new adventure of yes. And I had a real hard time initially, but over time, I just surrendered to it. And then, this big yes would be saying yes to adopting Joy [my daughter]. Three years ago, just going back to kindergarten after we were close to being empty nesters was huge! And I think part of it is, adoption had always been in my heart, but I just never thought it was the right time or was willing to risk and move across the country because being in the city was in my heart. So I think in general, He starts to make a way of momentum for it to happen, and then when we realize that, like, ‘no, no, no, no, no, wait a minute, I don’t know about this.’ And every single time when I have wrestled with the Lord over a couple of weeks about something big [or maybe longer], when I finally like let go, I am always flooded with peace. I will deliberate back forth all day long, but when I finally release in surrender, it’s like, wow, something lifts.
Marked Ministry: I think what is key in your story is trusting God. And I think, as we’re talking to our readers who are going to be reading this interview, practically, what are some steps that you took in imparting wisdom to those that are trying to make the “yes” but are still in that place of struggle in figuring out how to even move to that next step?
Rebekah Lyons: Well, I think all those desires are given by Him, for Him. So maybe those desires are around vocation, family, or maybe they around the home, relationships, or ministry, whatever that looks like, those desires are real and they’re God-given. So sometimes, it’s just putting those desires back in His feet and saying [whether it’s our kids, whatever it is], I think it’s just getting honest with God about it. Get very honest with God. Don’t hold back on maybe the chasm between what you long for, and what you’re living in. Just be honest about like, ‘I need you to show up. I feel helpless without your guidance, your direction, you’re leading. Give me the wisdom. Bring people into my life. Get in a daily cadence of just real trust. And I’ve shot straight with God for a long time and He hasn’t given up on me. I really think He wants our whole heart and he’s not asking us to withhold and just pray pretty prayers. He’s asking us to just get to the bottom of the things that we’re trying to control so that we can invite Him to take over so that we can experience healing.
Marked Ministry: I think you touched on such a good point about honesty and transparency with God. That we don’t have to hide. And I like how you mentioned that the “yes” involved risk. So speak into that and how we can build our confidence knowing that there is sustaining grace in the risk involved in the yes.
Rebekah Lyons: That’s a big one. What I have experienced and have seen in other people’s lives as well as the lord invites us into something because He knows that it’s connected to what He put in us already. So we long for it already. We feel like a burning desire, hunger, and thirst for whatever opportunity that he’s presented. He’ll make room for that and He’ll bring people around and clear the way. And, then right as we are first stepping into something, even though it requires risk, we’re kind of up for it and then The Enemy will inevitably come in eliciting doubt. That’s the nature of The Enemy that while he can’t create what He can do, he will come in and try to destroy, disrupt, or distort what God is creating through and with you. So we hear that nagging doubt in our heads. Sometimes it’s in the middle of the night when our defenses are down and we’re just trying to get a good night’s sleep. During the day, we are full of passion then we question everything at 3 AM. And we’re like, ‘this was a mistake, what was I thinking? and I think we just got to get honest about that moment of doubt and we have to come back to what is true. What did God call us to in the first place? Why did you call us to that? Why are we interested? Why are we pursuing it? Because we believe in it and what is right about it? I just come back God and go, ‘remind me what is true. Bring me back to my first love. I trust you.’ So sometimes we have to declare those things out loud to overcome the nagging doubt. And so sometimes for me, I’ll just say out loud, “I reject and renounce the spirit of doubt or spirit of fear over the things God has very clearly invited me into you. And God, I choose to trust you and I give you that doubt, and I give you that fear and I lay it down at your feet Jesus for you to deal with. Because I’m just going keep my eyes fixed on you.”
And a verse that I say often is, “I will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on me because she trusts in me.” The doubt is only coming because I have taken my eyes off the Lord and I’ve started to think too much about what needs to be done. Isn’t that interesting? Like, we need the strategy to execute, but sometimes the strategies get more of our attention than God getting our faith that He will do it, right? It’s like that dance between what God’s appointed to do and what He can do in a blink, and then what we’re entrusted to do that takes a whole lot of hard work and strategy. And then our eyes and our minds are off the source and then doubt enters in inevitably. So, I have to not only reject that doubt and say that’s not true, I’m not going to give way to that. But then I also have to repent that I’ve taken my mind in my eyes off Him as the author and finisher of my faith.
In certain seasons, I start strong, and then by three o’clock, I am acting all levels of insecurity and trying to control every little action to help to a goal for us [me and God]. And, that’s not what God prepared for me and I know that. So it’s just slowing down to watch our reactions to things. And holding things loosely knowing that He goes before us and He brings people around.
Marked Ministry: What a powerful equipping tool I think for us to feel empowered. That we can say out loud those things to be able to help us move forward in the “yes.” I think that’s great advice for people that are looking to do that. And going back to your story, if you could look back with me when you first adopted or were thinking about adopting your daughter. You said she’s from a different country. Special needs. And, it was just this new experience. So looking back and then looking at the place you are right now, how have you personally seen God’s grace today?
Rebekah Lyons: Well, for starters, it’s just the living out of the reality of His faithfulness. Because even on days I’m not as faithful, you know, I mean, I’m still human. I’m quicker to course correct. There is maturity that’s happening, praise God! [laughs]. But also, even in those failures, or those small losses, He still shows up. He still thankfully reminds me through our family, with my husband and older kids that all of us make up a household of faith for this daughter. There are just little gleaming details of her story where just different people who have shown up and been a blessing in her life that she would have never experienced has she had not been home, here. And so I keep going back to that, ‘God you’re so much bigger. and how you fulfill your promises.’ It’s not just like, ‘OK I’m gonna put all my eggs in Rebekah’s basket.’ Like it’s all on her to fulfill what I’ve entrusted for her and Gabe to steward. But, it’s actually like, ‘I’m going to bring together all the community of people who are investing in Joy and helping her thrive.’
To me, it’s just a reminder of His faithfulness. And I truly believe that that’s what God does in anything He calls us to. So if He calls us to risk in an area, He’s not saying, it’s just you and me forever, He’s saying, ‘I need you to practice that type of trust, knowing that when you surrender the outcome to me and not you, I will put the people on the bus, in place. I will put the circumstances in place. You’ll be surprised at my provision daily.’ And I think the only danger is when we stop recognizing His provision that far exceeds anything we could have imagined when we initially had to say yes. We can get out a couple of years and then we take it for granted. But if we were to go back to that moment where we’re finally like, ‘yes Lord, I will do this. I’m scared, but I will do this.’ If we go back to that girl or guy, and she or he could see a glimpse of what God’s continuing to provide in His faithfulness today, we will realize even in that decision-making that the anticipation is always greater than reality. Our fear is always greater than reality. God’s going, ‘I’m going to show up in a daily, faithful way and I’m going to equip you to do the same.’ And it’s my job to recognize it and give thanks for it.
Marked Ministry Magazine: I agree with you that there is power when we look back with purpose and say how can we see God’s hand in it. And I love the bus illustration that you gave of a picture of people getting on the bus and partnering with you. And, I think that is a beautiful thing in your story. And when talking about this new devotion, you’ve talked a lot about rhythms, and when it comes to readers that are going to be utilizing this devotion, what would you say would be a way that readers could incorporate this as a daily rhythm.
Rebekah Lyons: It’s 52 devotions on letting go and living free because freedom is a slow and steady process of handing things over. And so, it’s broken into three sections of saying yes to God first, saying yes to yourself and others. And sometimes saying yes to ourselves is the hardest thing to do. We are way more comfortable just saying yes to God and others, but we kind of ignore ourselves in that. And then we wonder why we’re burning out. And burning out is nothing more than giving what you haven’t received.
And so, it’s going back to going in this rhythm of 52 devotions to have on your bedside before bed or in the morning on your coffee table as you’re starting your day. It always begins with a prayer, a Scripture, a reflection, or a journal prompt. And then, just kind of a meaningful nugget of how to do I say yes to God? What are some examples of that? Maybe it’s beginning again or stepping into adventure or being home, experiencing His rescue, etc.
And I think it happens in big ways and small ways, it just depends on the day. Sometimes they are exactly what I need right now because I’m wrestling with some decisions and I’m not sure what’s right. So, like letting God speak to us on a daily cadence through his Word and the power of testimony. Revelation 12:11 says that The Enemy is bound by Christ’s blood in our testimony and, a part of us telling stories to one another is of His faithfulness. We find our story in someone else’s story.
And then when you think about saying yes, I’m just prayerful that as people go through this devotion that they really would waken to kind of passion in a dream that God has planted. Maybe subconsciously we’ve pushed that back to the recesses of our heart, or we haven’t had permission to dream or to imagine or reestablish some things in community or family. Maybe we’ve walked through the hardening of our hearts and we just shut that part of ourselves down, and my prayer is that saying yes to ourselves would allow us to go there with Lord with honest desire and hunger. And, that we would feel the freedom to do that and as a beloved daughter or son, finally say yes to others. That it wouldn’t be in our own strength, but it would be out of the overflow that comes from that time with God.
Every day having that quiet reflection, inner wisdom, and direction from God, and then being surprised how God brings people in your path that you minister to just from various ways of experiencing it yourself, that’s where most authority really comes. When we give someone else encouragement that we’ve needed ourselves, that packs a punch because you’re not just telling a story, you’re talking about how it changed you. And God always uses that to change other people as well.
Find out more about Rebekah by visiting rebekahlyons.com