What Are You Holding On To?
When I made the decision to say “Yes!” to the Lord’s tug on my heart and come to Cambodia, the anticipation of leaving the comfort of home and my support system was very difficult. Since I am very close with my family and friends, it felt like I was laying EVERYTHING down to come, even though it was for just a few months (at that point, I did not know that I would be returning later this year longer-term).
In the weeks leading up to my departure and amidst my preparations, my dear friend reminded me of a paralleling precious story that has meant so much to me in different seasons of my life. I don’t know if you’ve heard the story or not, but here is my paraphrased version: It is of a little girl who saved up all of her money and bought a string of pearls. Although fake, to her the pearls were the most precious and beautiful possession that she owned. She would hold the pearls and twirl them between her fingers, and she would wear them proudly and feel like a princess. Her daddy would occasionally approach her and say to her, “Honey, do you love me?” “Yes, Daddy…. You know that I love you.” “If you love me, then please give me your pearls.” She would reply, “Oh no, Daddy. I can’t give you my pearls. But you can have my baby doll or you can have this toy or that toy… just not my pearls.” Her daddy would say, “No, that’s okay, Honey,” and let her be. After some time would go on, he would ask her again, and they would have the same conversation. He never pressured her to give him her pearls; he just waited.
One day, the little girl approached her daddy with her lip quivering and she was about to cry. She was holding something behind her back. “I have something for you, Daddy.” Bringing forth her fake pearls necklace, she handed it to her daddy, lip still quivering from the emotion of handing over something so precious and priceless.
Her daddy smiled and reached into his pocket, taking out a string of REAL pearls. He exchanged the fake for the genuine. In fact, he had had them the whole time, but he was just waiting for her to give him what was so precious to her so that he could give her the real thing in exchange.
This truly represented my heart. Layer by layer, God would ask me if I was willing to lay down ‘this,’ and to surrender ‘that.’ At times it was easy, and at other times, I felt like my “yes” came along with prying my fingers open with my own hands. When it came time to leave, my friend encouraged me to do a prophetic act of giving Daddy my pearls: when it was time to board the plane for Cambodia, as I handed the ticket to the agent, to imagine and envision that I was handing my fake pearl necklace to my Daddy God.
So that’s what I did! In my heart I was laying down those things that were so precious to me and handing Him my fake pearls.
Fast forward two months: I am in Cambodia at a dinner with a beautiful team from Burma, and David, the leader of the team and also a friend of mine, presented me and another leader with red boxes with bows. David spoke to me (paraphrased), “Cathy, when I was buying these gifts, I felt that I was to buy an extra one, but I wasn’t sure why. And, I felt that I was to bring this extra gift with me tonight, even though I did not know that you were going to be here or that you were in Cambodia.” With that, he handed me the red box.
What was inside but a beautiful, authentic REAL pearl necklace!
I was in such awe and wonder that across all of these miles, while in Cambodia, that Daddy saw every detail of my heart and thought it would be fun to actually give me the REAL thing… REAL pearls.
The pearls story continues to unfold in my life, as surrender is a daily choice. He offers each one of us an invitation to give Him those things that are so precious to us, and to trust Him with every detail. When we surrender to Him, the exchange is always so much richer than what we could ever imagine.
So, with that, I ask myself along with all of you… what are you holding on to?
Written by: Cathy Cupp