The Road to Surrender

The Road to Surrender - Wellspring Group


I will never forget my first Battle for the Heart retreat…

The one where I was a participant, wide-eyed and in denial that I needed anything the Battle could offer. I was aware I had control issues, but I liked them; they worked well for me. I viewed surrender as failure, waving a white flag, giving up control. I remember being unruffled by the Four Realities, particularly that I have a part to play that is mine and mine alone… if I don’t find a way, no one will. Well, if you will just tell me what my part is, I’ll do it...

I remember on a staff call following the Battle being frustrated still by this idea that I have a part to play. Serving on staff with Wellspring gives me unlimited access to Larry and on this particular day I was venting my frustration about not knowing what it is I am supposed to be doing. He said, all you’re called to do is live out of your essence, the rest will come from there. What do you mean? “Engaging with courage, beauty and love, inviting your domain into life and rest.” That’s too easy! I quickly said. He laughed a little and asked if I was doing that. Well of course I’m not!

My story is one of true transformation. A recovering control freak, driven by fear, I slowly began to hear God’s invitation into life and rest. From that place I began to experience his deep love for me that unraveled the years of fear that consumed me on a daily basis. As his perfect love cast out my fear I was able to see and understand the deep desires he had placed in me, but were hidden under so many self-protective strategies. For the first time in my life I was able to step out in courage, believing that he had a part in His Larger Love Story that was mine, and with the support of my fellowship I have what it takes to play this part.

In the summer of 2014 we said yes to bringing three girls into our home through foster care. At the time they were 2-year-old twins and their 9-month-old sister. There were many days where I questioned what made God think I could play this part.  

I remember points of significant frustration where I wanted to just say, “Can’t you see, I am offering you life and rest! Trust me, it’s good!” I was sleep deprived and exhausted. I have never considered myself as someone having courage; it was the part of the “essence” that I thought was missing in me. However, as the days were long I was able to see that courage in this season was simply staying in the Battle, the battle for their future.

Mandella-Portrait.jpgIn June we finalized adoption for these three girls, who will now be our forever family.  This has been a true-life picture of the Father’s heart and pursuit for his children and has given me a much greater understanding of his love for me.

There are so many things I could share between my first Battle retreat and where I stand today. Through it all I am so thankful for the way the Battle has framed life for me, giving me the tools to recognize what is at stake and fight for what really matters. For all the years I struggled to understand my part in God’s Larger Story, I am now able to understand my part is simply to live in my essence, engaging with courage in a Story that is so much bigger than me. As I stay engaged, motivated by love, I am offering life and rest. And as I tuck my girls in at night, I know without a doubt that I am privileged to play this part. If someone had told me 5 years ago I would be here, I would have never stepped foot on the Battlefield. Today, I thank God I didn’t have a clue.

For more on our story, visit Abby’s blog at

Abby Mandella - Wellspring Group-51.jpg
Abby joined Wellspring Group in 2010 and currently serves as the Operations Director. The past 6 years have been a journey in understanding her whole heart and surrendering to the part God has invited her to play in his larger story. She is excited about the work God is up to in transforming lives in and through the Battle and shares her own story in hopes that it brings courage to others. She shares honestly of her family’s adventure in Foster Care and Adoption through her blog at Abby and her family live on the beautiful Emerald Coast and enjoy fun in the sun!.



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