Thursday, January 29, 2015

dear Lord, make me brave // a post where I share all my big giant scary dreams

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I got in the shower after a long and exhausting week. I closed my eyes and began to pray, "Dear Lord, make me brave." That's it. That was my prayer. That is what came out without even thinking. That is what had been buried in my heart and needed to be said.

Because that is precisely what I need right now.

I need the Lord to make me brave. Because on my own, let's face it, I'm a coward. I'm scared. I'm afraid.

But in Christ, I am brave. He makes me brave.

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Me? I'm a dreamer. A big dreamer. I can dream big and I can scheme big. Give me 10 minutes in the shower and I come out with 15 new ideas (just ask Ben who, every time I text him with a new idea he asks, "did you just take a shower?"). But that's just how I am. Sometimes my ideas and dreams are just fleeting thoughts and nothing will come of them. They aren't from the Lord and so they aren't worth the time and energy.

But some of my dreams, they are the ones that I know without a doubt that God has placed on my heart and continues to whisper into my life, "I made you to do this." Those are the dreams that no matter what I do, no matter what corner I turn, no matter how much I put on top of them, they always resurface. Little things (or big things) happen that serve to confirm that He is truly calling me to pursue these things.

And yet, I'm still so easily frozen. The ideas are there. The dreams are vivid and alive. I know what needs to be done. I can even make really precise lists of the next steps. But it's actually taking those steps where I fall flat. I know nothing is going to happen unless I step out, step by step, little by little, and pursue the things He has called me to. But I need the courage to take those steps.

Besides, I don't want my children to grow up seeing a mother who is too afraid to actually trust the sovereign God she teaches them about day in and day out. I want them to watch me and see my life as a living example of what it means to actually believe God, to actually trust that He is in control, to put aside fear and live instead in His strength. I want to be an example of what it means to be brave.

Not because I have it within myself to be brave. We addressed that already and I assure you, it's not in there. I've looked.

But because I serve a God, we serve a God who makes us brave; Who has given us a Spirit of power (2 Tim 1:7), a Spirit who allows us to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:7). A Spirit who enables us to take heart (or as the ESV puts it, we can let our hearts take courage).

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24

Ultimately it's not about me or anything I do. The last thing I want is for my children to see me do scary things and say, "My mommy is great. My mommy does great things." No, instead I want them to see me do scary things and say, "My mommy does great things for God because she trusts Him. She believes in Him. And we have seen His power through her and through the things that she has done for Him."

Now, I want to be brave (obviously, I just wrote a whole post about it) but I also don't think that means I have to do everything right here, right now. Do I want to? Sure do! Is that reasonable? Sure ain't. I have small children in my home to attend to. I have a husband to care for. I have a home to keep. There are a lot of people who depend on me for a lot of things right now. That is the season God has placed me in. Which means, some of my dreams are going to take some time. Some of my dreams are going to have to wait for another season altogether. Some of my dreams may have to be sacrificed so that I can focus on what is important right now.

And that kinda, sorta hurts. Because besides being scared, I'm also selfish.

But I think waiting is another aspect of being brave. It's a part of obedience. It means trusting God that He's placed me in a specific season right now even though He's also placed other things on my heart. It means trusting that He, not I, knows the full, finished, complete plan.

{I think back to that time when God had etched into my heart "mother" and yet year after year, miscarriage after miscarriage, I would wonder how it was all going to fit together. I didn't know. But He certainly did.}

God knows. I don't. But I'm going to be brave and obedient and trust Him to lead me.

Because you know what, sometimes God says "do this" and then He says, "but it's going to take some time" or "first I need to prepare you." And it's o.k. I bring this up because I think it's easy to look around and see others doing really big things and we start to wonder why something isn't happening right now for us too. Or we wonder if maybe we're pursuing the wrong things. And maybe that's true. But also, maybe it's not. Maybe the timing isn't right now for that thing. Maybe the timing is when God says. Maybe the timing is later, next month, next year, or in the next season of life.

Wait for the Lordbe strongand let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 (emphasis mine)

So this is where the coward in me says I should just end this post. But instead of listening to that, I'm going to share my big giant scary dreams right here and right now. I'm going to say my dreams out loud (or write them on a blog which is basically the equivalent, right?). Do I think that is the magic key to seeing them happen? Nope. I'm just hoping that maybe this will encourage even one person to step out and pursue the scary things that God is calling him or her to. (I was recently encouraged by something a friend said to be more vocal about my dreams and so here it goes!)

*start a monthly/weekly/regular podcast that features brave moms who are doing hard things to make a big difference (specifically in the areas of injustice and serving other people)

*launch a crafting event held in different parts of the country, hosted by different bloggers that will raise money to benefit local pregnancy resource centers and in turn save the lives of babies and serve hurting mothers

*open a pregnancy resource center here in Las Vegas that would also offer birth support and services (midwives, doulas) and maybe even a birth center, adoption services, prenatal care, lactation assistance, material assistance, education and a myriad of other services. Basically this facility would serve the whole woman and her family

*write a book for Christian mothers-in-waiting about childbirth in light of the gospel. It's basically the book I searched for during 3 of my pregnancies but could never find. It is meant to encourage mothers to leave all of their sin and the burdens holding them down at the feet of Jesus and rely solely on the Spirit for the power and courage to labor obediently in bringing their precious children into the world

*connect churches and specifically the Evangelical community to pro-life ministry in the Las Vegas valley. I desire with my whole heart to see the church speak up about the injustice of abortion and then to actually do something about it, whether that means sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic, opening up their home to a young pregnant mom with no place to go, saying yes to adoption and fostering or simply committing to fasting multiple times a year and pleading with God to end the slaughter of innocent babes. If the church would stand up and say "no more" with their prayers, their words and their actions, it will end.

And so there you have it. Some big dreams, some semi-big dreams. I pray often that God would make it plain to me the things that He is building and is calling me to join in on. And these are the things that continue to show. I said before that my word for the year is obedience. He's not calling me to do all the work. He is doing the work (and I've seen it time and time again). He's simply calling me to obey Him and follow Him; do the things He says to do. He'll do the heavy lifting, put the right people in the right place, prepare hearts, lay the foundations. My job is to listen, hear, obey, repeat. And be brave.

Lord, make me brave.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1