We know that the center of God's will is the best place to be, but surrender is easier said than done. A host of hurdles, from busyness and bitterness to complacency and control, can prevent us from moving where He directs. In this challenging yet warmhearted book, Vivian Mabuni provides an authentic look at what it means to willingly risk saying yes to whatever God asks--and highlights a practical path to the deeper joy of a yielded life.
FOREWORD FROM JENNIE ALLEN
The subject of surrender is familiar to me. Sometimes I think it may be the only thing that I’ve gotten right in life. I’ve committed myself to say yes to God’s leading, and He’s moved in incredible ways. So many times I’ve said yes when it didn’t make sense, and only years later did His plan become clear to me. Over and over He’s used my yes to build amazing stories like IF:Gathering, which is where I got to meet Vivian.
Vivian is a yes kind of girl too, which is why her life is full of miracles, both in her family and in the lives of the many who count her as a spiritual mother. She even walked with open hands through the intense suffering of cancer. She says yes when she can’t see the path ahead, and God shows up, every time.
In college I was discipled by a ministry called CRU, and in many ways I can thank the leaders of that organization for my yes kind of faith. I’m grateful for how they taught me to love discipleship and live it as the primary goal of my life.
CRU is also where Vivian has spent her life saying yes. Every time I see her vibrant smile, I also see a string of younger women whose lives she’s pouring herself into. And isn’t that one of the best reasons to say yes? To invest ourselves in the lives of a few people who will love God more because we were here? That’s something Vivian has mastered and cares about deeply.
Our choice to say yes is rarely easy, but it’s our sacrifice that gives meaning to our surrender. Most of my yeses have cost me in different ways, but all of them have been worth it. From adoption, to casseroles carried across the street for the neighbor who just moved in, to teaching the Bible to one or a thousand, to having the hard conversation, to each unseen yes of everyday life. It’s worth it. All of it is worth it. When we get to heaven, we’ll celebrate every yes that we said and the ways God moved to use our short lives for His eternal purposes.
We have much to learn from Vivian through the pages of this book. And one day when we all get to heaven, I’ll be right there to hug and thank this beautiful woman for her willingness to say yes to running this race beside me and to giving God away in ways that have shaped eternity.
“It’s easy to fall into a rhythm of control, clutching tightly to the desire to blaze our own trails. Vivian Mabuni brilliantly calls us to break the rhythm, relinquish control, and live in a relationship with God above all else, allowing Him to lead, guide, and provide.”
Rebekah Lyons, author of you are free
“Open Hands, Willing Heart calls us to let go of our fear in the midst of uncertain or difficult times and instead take hold of God’s glorious plan for our lives. Vivian’s relational, thoughtful, compassionate voice gently walks us further down the path of deepening trust in God, who always works His will for our good.”
Jamie Ivey, host of the podcast The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and author of the best-selling book If You Only Knew
“In this tender yet compelling book, Vivian recognizes that our hearts are often beset by distractions and agendas, clinging to faith on our terms. Through Scripture and personal story, she invites us to discover the freedom of another way: hearts fully surrendered to a God who carries us through the highs and lows of life. Open Hands, Willing Heart brings a powerful message for a busy, overwhelmed world. Take it in slowly; take it in fully. Take it to heart.”
Jo Saxton, speaker, author, founder of the Ezer Collective, and cohost of the podcast Lead Stories
“Vivian Mabuni’s writing style perfectly captures her beautiful self—warm, encouraging, honest, and wise. From the first page of Open Hands, Willing Heart, you’ll feel challenged but never judged as she walks through the many reasons we hold back instead of trusting God completely. Combining her poignant personal stories with those of other women and with biblical characters, Vivian helps us understand why saying yes to God is not only the right thing to do but also the best thing to do.”
Liz Curtis Higgs, best-selling author of Bad Girls of the Bible
“Letting go of the desire to determine our own path in life can be challenging. But surrendering to God’s will is well worth the risk because it leads us to a more purposeful and fulfilling life. With honesty, wisdom, and contagious enthusiasm, Vivian Mabuni encourages us from the very beginning of this book to open our hearts to God, trusting in His plan and His love in the midst of all circumstances.”
Tasha Morrison, speaker, author, and founder of Be the Bridge
“Through story and the study of Scripture, Vivian Mabuni reminds us of the power in trusting God and the peace that comes with surrender. Open Hands, Willing Heart helps us confront the barriers we encounter on our journey to trusting God fully and reminds us that God can indeed be trusted with everything that concerns us. Vivian’s voice is at once bold and gentle, vulnerable and full of grace. Reading this book left my heart ringing with a powerful question: What beautiful things will happen when we open our hands?”
Amena Brown, spoken word poet and author
“Vivian Mabuni is a kind and trustworthy guide through one of adulthood’s secrets: life doesn’t go like you thought it would. Open Hands, Willing Heart helps us lay down what we expected and pick up what God is actually doing, because even when we face uncertainty and fear, He is good, He is near, and He will lead us.”
Jen Hatmaker, New York Times best-selling author of For the Love and Of Mess and Moxie
“When my wife said yes to my marriage proposal, little did she know that the man she was marrying would disappoint her. I love her dearly, but on my worst days I can be cranky, selfish, fickle, and definitely not a knight in shining armor. But the yes Vivian points us toward in this book is different because it’s a yes to a God who will never disappoint us and will always allow us to flourish—even when He replaces our plan A with His plan B. I pray Vivian’s words will bring as much grace to you as they did to me.”
Scott Sauls, pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church and author of Irresistible Faith
“While it’s true that Jesus spoke occasionally to large crowds of people, He spent much of His time with individuals and small groups—praying, teaching, walking, talking, eating, and simply modeling the ways of the kingdom. I’ve seen Vivian Mabuni speak in front of thousands of people, but I’ve been most moved by her commitment to disciple individuals through mountaintops, valleys, and life in between. This is the essence and power of Open Hands, Willing Heart. Readers will be encouraged and challenged as Mabuni shepherds and disciples them not just to a solitary decision but to a life of surrender to God.”
Rev. Eugene Cho, pastor, humanitarian, and author of Overrated
“Vivian Mabuni has written a beautiful piece of work—a series of inspiring stories combined with deeply insightful questions for reflection. Read this book and feel yourself truly say yes—to God, to the open doors that scare you, to your truest self.”