Choose Surrender

This week our family recognized a significant milestone – 40 years since the death of Inka van Seventer McDowell. Though I never knew her, I look forward to meeting this sister in heaven one day. I know she both suffered and surrendered for all the people that we both love.

Three decades ago, I sat on the floor in our Seattle attic after uncovering a little ceramic plaque. I wept in realizing how letting go must be one of the hardest choices a person ever has to make.

      The plaque displayed a Dutch prayer, the English translation carefully handwritten on the back by a young Dutch mother who had made her home in the United States.

  • Father, I lay the names of my children in Your hands.
  • Engrave their names therein with permanent script.
  • Allow nothing and no one ever to burn them out.
  • Though Satan may seek to sift them as wheat.
  • Hold fast to them when I must let go.
  • And always let your power stand above their weakness.
  • You know how merciless the world will hate them
  • If they do not walk or follow in its way.
  • I do not ask You to spare my children every sorrow,
  • But be their comfort when they are lonely and afraid.
  • For your name’s sake keep them in your covenant.
  • Let them never stray from You, never as long as life shall last!
  • I lay the names of my children in Your hands. Amen.

True surrender is freely choosing to let go—laying all in God’s capable hands.

Can you live today with that sort of abandoned trust in God?

      I’m grateful that Dutch mama opened her hands and laid her children in God’s larger ones. The symbolic act became a literal one when she died all too young from cancer. But God was faithful. One day he placed those same children into the hands of another young woman who had surrendered her long desire to be a mother. Me.

One of the greatest grace gifts I have ever received is the privilege of adopting Inka and Mike’s children and raising them to adulthood where they continue to know God’s great care and enjoy full lives of service and surrender.

Lord, opening my clenched fists is such a challenge—I want to hold tightly to what I have. And yet I know it is only through surrender—letting go—that I can receive all You desire to give me. Please help me learn how to both relinquish and receive. Amen.

         May the grace of Christ, the love of God, and the friendship of the Holy Spirit  bring you comfort and strength, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2021 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words at

Want to read all of the “One Daily Choice” Blogs? Click HERE to read as each one goes live. These 12 weeks of blogs — adapted from Lucinda’s award-winning book “Life-Giving Choices” — come out each Wednesday morning through December 22. Thanks for reading. Click HERE to add your email to get blogs weekly in your in box.


  1. Elaine W. Miller on October 27, 2021 at 11:14 am

    Powerful! As a mom with cancer, I appreciate your sharing this intimate view of Inka’s heart.

  2. Ava Archie on October 27, 2021 at 11:39 am

    How precious a tribute 💗 Every time. Each, & every time I read your tributes to this forerunner of Faith -I am shook to the core. This testimony is rich, and explains instantly, the depth of character I sensed when I met you. Why I was drawn to your “writer mentoring” leadership. YOUR well-lived community. Your influence. I’m grateful to have met you. I too look forward to meeting Inka so that I may tell her of the impact you have had on a once stranger to the world she had to relinquish. Even I have relished in the “rub-off” of my [Given] #LiteratiHamlet -Where the quality of our Lord’s ministering investments have warmed, encouraged, and inspired me. I pray, one day to complete a worthy written work. I love 💞 you & your love for others! (pls tell your mom I said hello -She’s in my thoughts upon most remembrances of you.

  3. Maggie Wallem Rowe on October 28, 2021 at 1:15 am

    I hope your 3 oldest children read this beautiful tribute to their birth mother, Cindy. You have honored her well while raising the children that became yours as well. You are the answer to the prayer Inka lifted up for someone who would love her children as she did.

  4. Barbara Latta on October 28, 2021 at 5:42 am

    What a touching story. Thanks for sharing that beautiful prayer–a prayer that never ended because it was answered with you.

  5. sarah on October 28, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    oh, how beautiful, Cindy. How wonderful God answered her prayers, through you and Mike. I love your expressions of appreciation and honor. And I hope I remember Inka’s example, and learn to surrender my children and accept our life on different continents.

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