Trusting & Surrendering to God’s Will – Healing 2022


In this talk, Kitty shares the beautiful story of her father trusting God in his plans and will. She reminds us of the importance of surrendering to the Lord especially during times of trouble.

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Reflective Study Guide Questions

“… One day, together, it dawned on us. God granted us the grace to see the solution to our dilemma, the answer to our temptation. It was the grace quite simply to look at our situation from his viewpoint rather than from ours. It was the grace not to judge our efforts by human standards, or by what we ourselves wanted or expected to happen, but rather according to God’s design.” 

He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J.

1. Kitty shared the experience of her dad when he surrendered himself to God when he was in prison and, in turn, received a great comforting peace from God. Have you ever surrendered yourself to God’s will? If so, did you experience the sense of peace that Kitty described?

2. Have you ever thought that you misinterpreted God’s will for your life? If so, how did you go about discerning God’s path for you?

3. Join Kitty for her daily rosary on her Youtube Channel As Kitty suggested, pray for the grace of wisdom to discern God’s will in your life and to follow it.

4. Have you ever experienced the phrase, “When I’m weak, God is strong”? If so, what happened? What did you learn?

Text: Trusting and Surrendering to God’s Will

Hi, friends, welcome back. I’m Kitty Cleveland and today, we are going to covering our third topic, which is trusting in the Lord’s providence and surrendering to His will with peace, and with joy.

Opening Prayer

Let’s start with a prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Lord Jesus, we praise you. We love you, we give you all the glory. Lord, we thank you for all of the ways that you have provided for us each day of our lives. How your will has unfolded in the circumstances of each day. Lord, sometimes we have cooperated with that and sometimes we have fought it with everything we have. Lord, we pray for the grace of wisdom to discern your will and to be at peace no matter our circumstances. We ask all of this through Christ, our Lord. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Finding Your Greatest Peace

So last week I mentioned a little bit about my dad’s ordeal being sent to prison for 10 years for something he didn’t do. And one of the things I didn’t mention was that after we lost the appeal, my dad actually found his greatest peace at that point. Up till then, he had just been begging God every day to let him come home. And then when we lost the appeal, and he knew that he probably had at least another seven years to spend in prison, instead of begging God to let him come home, he just said, “Please, Lord Jesus, just give me peace.”

And it was on that particular day, the day he got the news that the appeal was denied that he said it was like a grace bubble descended from heaven and wrapped him in this warm embrace. Even though he was living in hell, but in that surrender, and that moment of trust as he let go, and of what he thought his life was supposed to be, of what it was supposed to look like that when he let go and surrendered and trusted that somehow mysteriously this was God’s will for him, if not His perfect will, at least His passive will. That He had allowed this suffering to continue, both for my dad and for our entire family. That then that peace enveloped him but first came the surrender, the trust, the abandonment if you will of a child into the arms of a good father. When you can’t see how you’re going to get through the next minute and all you can do is trust God. I learned so much from my dad at that moment. Again, 2 Corinthians 12, especially verse 9. “When I am weak, then I am strong.”

Father Walter Ciszek in Russia

There’s a book I’m reading right now that I highly recommend, it’s been recommended for decades, called “He Leadeth Me” by Father Walter Ciszek. I believe it’s how you pronounce. C-I-Z-E-K. He was Polish and a Jesuit, and his whole dream was to go to Russia. The first time he heard about the missions in Russia, his heart was set on fire and so he went to Rome and he studied there, studied Russian, studied everything he could learn so that he could serve the people of Russia. And then there were delays and delays and delays, and then finally during World War II, he was able to go. And his thought with one of his priest best friends, they called him the Three Musketeers, the other priest, one of the two, went with him to Russia. And their hope and their dream was to minister to the people in the prison camps, and to do it secretly and if possible, openly. But to bring the Lord Jesus to them and the sacraments, and to accompany them in their great suffering.

Well, when he got there, he discovered was that the people were terrified of expressing their faith, and many of them, their hearts had just become hardened. They didn’t want to talk about God, they didn’t want to hear about God. And if they did, they were afraid to even express that for fear of being killed. And so, a deep depression set in both for him and for the priest who was with him because this was not what they thought God’s will was for them. Had they gotten it wrong? How could this have possibly happened? Here they are, two priests, and they can barely celebrate the sacraments in private just for the two of them, much less minister to other people in the prison camp. Or it was a labor camp I believe. And they were paid so little that they barely had enough to eat.

Ultimately, he was there for 23 years, and I’m really in the beginning stages of the book. But I just wanted to read this one section to you. So, they’re Jesuits, right? Founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. And he said, “One day it dawned on us together, God granted us the grace to see the solution to our dilemma. The answer to our temptation, which was to despair or to flee. It was the grace quite simply to look at our situation from God’s viewpoint, rather than from ours. It was the grace not to judge our efforts by human standards or by what we ourselves wanted or expected to happen but rather according to God’s design. It was the grace to understand that our dilemma, our temptation was of our own making and existed only in our minds. It did not and could not coincide with the real world ordained by God and governed ultimately by His will.”

So, the real-life circumstances that we find ourselves in right now. I know we have people all over the world who pray with these videos. And so who knows what you’re going through right now in your part of the world. But God knows and in His mysterious will, He is allowing whatever it is. So, he says, “St. Ignatius puts it starkly and forthrightly in his first principle and foundation. Man is created to praise, reverence and serve God, our Lord. And by this means, to save his soul. The other things on the face of the Earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created. Hence man is to make use of them insofar as they help him in the attainment of his end and he must rid himself of them insofar as they prove a hindrance to him. Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things. This is the principle and foundation of the spiritual exercises but also the most fundamental truth of man’s existence and God’s providence.”

God Makes All Things Work for the Good

So, I find that certainly in my own life, most of my suffering comes because I don’t like the things that happen to me every day. And the key to peace and to joy, and to surrender is that trust that God is making all things work for the good, and that His will is revealed to us in the circumstances that come to us every day, especially the people that come to us every day. Now, there might be a temptation just to hide in your house. I feel like I have that temptation every morning. Because I know my call is to go to mass every morning and to keep a daily holy hour and to pray the rosary online, which by the way, you’re all invited to do with me. I’ll give you more information, if not at the end of the video, at least in the show notes where you can find me online every morning, every weekday morning. So, the temptation is to run but have I ever, every regretted going to mass? Never. Will I regret it in heaven? Absolutely not. Our souls are made more glorious for all eternity with every mass we attend. And Jesus is there, and He feeds me with His very self. His body, blood, soul and divinity to strengthen me for whatever the day brings because who knows what the day will bring.

Learning to Surrender

My spiritual director told me that he struggles with anger and impatience when things don’t work the way he’s expecting them to. And he flies a whole lot and so delayed flights and all of this. And retreats that he was supposed to give for hundreds of priests, and he can’t get there. That, for example, and just like this priest, Father Walter Ciszek, he went to Russia to minister to the Russian people and now he’s stuck in a labor camp and can’t even talk about God. How could that possibly be God’s will he thinks? Well, Father Philip told me that he takes his rosary when he loses his temper, That’s a lot of thunder. Got it, boss. When he loses his tempter. He takes his rosary beads, and he just says, “Jesus, Mary, Jesus, Mary, Jesus, Mary.” And the more he prays it, he just brings himself right back to being little Philip between a big Jesus and a big Mary, and he’s little again and he just entrusts it to them. They have to work it out. It’s God’s will. He’s allowed it to happen. So, he must be making this work for the good, even if it’s just my growing in virtue, the virtue of humility, of patience, of surrender.

So, my dad definitely learned that lesson when he was in prison. And when he lost the appeal, he just started every day with the Lord. Surrendering. I wrote the song “Surrender” for him. I’ll include that again in the show notes. Maybe it’ll speak to you as well in whatever circumstances you’re going through. But surrender, trust, abandonment to our good God who alone knows the course that our life will take to lead us to heaven. He alone knows the virtues that he wants to cultivate in our souls through the circumstances of our daily lives, and through the duties of our particular state in life. It’s not very complicated but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

A Hearing from the Supreme Court

By the way, my dad, after he had been in prison for over two years, we got the incredible word that the United States Supreme Court wanted to hear his case. Statistically impossible. Something we never imagined could happen. And now hope returned. It’s a tiny, for a less than 1% of cases are heard or appeals submitted to the US Supreme Court are actually granted a hearing. And then the whole story is really amazing. I’ll include a link to that too on YouTube where you can listen to the long version of the story because it really is amazing. I love to give God all the praise for what he did for my dad and for our family.

But after the hearing with the trial judge, she ordered him released from prison because while we waited for the hearing with the Supreme Court, his lawyers asked if he could come home while we waited. And she granted it. She never had done a single thing in our favor during the trial. And so my dad was home with us. After two years and three months in prison on a 10-year sentence, he was home. And then the US Supreme Court six months later unanimously reversed his convictions. Wow. Wow. Incredible. There’s so much more to that story as well about my dad ultimately being diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 60. He was only given three months to live but he was still with us three years later. He got to meet my daughter. I’ll tell you about her in our next talk. She’s pretty remarkable. Adopted from China. And anyway, it’s an amazing story of God’s providence. And my dad’s final surrender came on July 21st, 2016 when he was 63 years old. And the day that he came home to die in hospice care, the reading at mass was 2 Corinthians 12. “When I am weak, then I am strong.” His grace is sufficient for us.

He Leadeth Me by Father Walter Ciszek.

Friends, no matter what circumstances you’re going through, the grace of God is sufficient for you. Ultimately, He alone is all we need. I want to close by reading to you a couple of more passages from this book, “He Leadeth Me” by Father Walter Ciszek. He also wrote “With God in Russia,” another beautiful book. So he says,

“Our dilemma,” this wanting to flee this terrible situation in Russia, “came from our frustration and not being able to do what we thought the will of God should be in this situation. And that our inability to work as we thought God would surely want us to work. Instead of accepting the situation itself as His will. The simple soul who each day makes a morning offering of all the prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, and who then acts upon it by accepting unquestioningly, and responding lovingly to all the situations of the day, as truly sent by God has perceived with an almost child-like faith the profound truth about the will of God. The temptation is to overlook these things as God’s will, to look beyond these things, precisely because they’re so constant, so petty, so humdrum and routine, and to seek instead some other and nobler will of God in the abstract that better fits our notion of what His will should be. It seems too simple. Like every divine truth moreover, it is far from simple of execution. Its very simplicity renders it at once almost impossible not just of credibility but of human achievement for our poor human nature is too easily distracted.

And so to grasp this divine truth, simple as it sounds, and to work at it, that is accepting each moment as it comes as the will of God for us, no matter the circumstances. To face each moment of every day in the light of its inspiration, to attempt in so far as we can to recall it in every situation and circumstance of our daily lives, to labor day in and day out to make it the sole principle by which our every action is guided and toward which we aim is to come to know at last true joy and peace of heart. Secure in the knowledge that we are attempting always and in everything to do God’s will the only purpose ultimately for which we exist. The end for which we alone were created to do God’s will in the moment. Trusting that He makes it all work for the good. There is no greater security a man could ask, no greater serenity a man can know.”

And finally, I just want to remind you, I mentioned this last year but I want to mention it again, “Searching for and Maintaining Peace” by Father Jacques Philippe. It’s so good. I think I’ve showed you all this before. Like every page is underlined and starred. It’s so good. Look what I wrote at the bottom. God will provide. Deus proverá. It’s so good. And what he says at the very beginning is all reasons for losing our peace are bad reasons.

So, we have so much to learn from him. I was given permission by Scepter Publishers to read this entire book live on YouTube and so I posted all of those videos there. You can watch them for free. I do encourage you though to purchase the book to support Scepter Publishers wherever you are, and Father Jacques Philippe’s wonderful work. He’s so wise. I recommend all of his books. So I believe it is. They’re or .org. So good. And I’ll post a link to those videos down below as well.

Closing Prayer

Let’s close with a prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lord Jesus, you are good. Thank you, Lord for all of the ways that you have provided for us moment by moment since the moment of our conception, Lord. That moment gave you great joy. All of heaven anticipated our conception, our birth, our walk with you here on Earth, and ultimately, our return to you in heaven. Jesus, we trust in you. We trust that you are giving us the grace day by day, one day at a time. Lord, help us to stay with you in the present moment, the fullness and poverty of the present moment. Trusting in you and doing our best to discern and to follow your will for us in the particular circumstances and duties of our state in life. You’re so good, Lord and we want to be saints. Help us to get there. Amen. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

So great to be with you again, friends, and I’ll see you next time.

About Kitty Cleveland

Kitty Cleveland is a singer/songwriter and inspirational speaker from New Orleans, began her professional career as a lawyer and then as a college professor.  But in an adoration chapel one day in 1998, as she searched for God during a devastating family crisis, she clearly heard the Lord Jesus call her to become a “music missionary.”

Kitty heeded the call and has since released 12 CDs of music and prayer, including two CDs with Lighthouse Catholic Media. Her latest CD, Hail, Holy Queen, was the first of her CD’s to climb the secular Billboard chart. She has appeared numerous times on television, on the radio, in concert, and as a keynote speaker both at home and abroad.

Kitty lives in the New Orleans area with her musician husband and teen daughter, whom they adopted from China in 2005.

In addition to praying with people for healing and encouragement, she enjoys cooking, gardening, oil painting, and is currently working on her first book about her father’s unjust imprisonment and dramatic release by the U.S. Supreme Court. You can learn more here.

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