Isaiah 61:3b“and provide for those who grieve in Zion…a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”

I’m a control freak. There, I said it. It’s part of who I am and it doesn’t work well in my relationship with Christ.

When I first gave my heart to Christ, God had a conversation with me about my grip on my life.

He asked me to open my hands and give over all the things I was trying to control. I wish that was the end of my control issues. But with each new season, new hurts, new sin and new offences, I needed Christ to exchange my brokenness for His promises.

Jesus is all about exchange. He came to this earth to make a trade, our sin for His promises.  When I read “a garment of praise INSTEAD of a spirit of despair” that’s what I see, the exchange.

I remember the day of my deepest despair. Pregnant, pain shooting from my recently broken shoulder, my three year old burning with fever beside me in the bed, and my brain swimming in shock from the knowledge that my dad had been killed in an accident. Stumbling to the bathroom, I stared at the woman looking back at me in the mirror. I was furious. In my mind, I remember yelling at God, “I will not be a victim!” His gentle voice replied “Then give it to me. I’ll make you a victor.”

When I open my hands and give over my offences, He makes me an overcomer. My broken heart, He makes whole. For my weariness, He gives me rest. For my barren womb, He gives  life. For my spirit of despair, He gives a garment of praise.

Whatever you are clinging to right now, He has an exchange for you.

Julie is the wife of CityHope Foley’s Campus Pastor, Ben Ragsdale, and the mother of two! She loves spending time with her family and vintage and historic renovations are her absolute favorite!