08 August 2012

Stepping Up

At the beginning of the summer I think I was having an early-life crisis (I’m not yet mid-life, right?) For six years we’ve called this African country our home. We’ve gone from a young couple married for only two years venturing out into the unknown together to now being a family of four living in this unusual place but feeling somehow normal about that (at least most of the time).

Our first year I was content to focus on learning Arabic (which went just okay, lets be honest) and doing other important things like learning to crazy-drive (gotta drive like the locals!), cook more than a boiled potato for a meal and walk more than 100 meters outside without collapsing from heat exhaustion. Worthy endeavors, I believe. After a year of language study, etc we brought our newborn son back to this land and I spent awhile learning to be his Mama and getting on with daily life, which is a full time job here, even if you HAVE no job. Then two years later we added a daughter and her first year spent in Africa was my best year ever. I felt called to focus on my family and my home and I thrived in my roles as a wife, mother and a friend to many outside my house. I volunteered a bit and stayed plugged into many things… just the amount that I felt was right for me at the time and God blessed it. He blessed me.

Then we were unexpectedly gone for a year. And we returned in April. And we’ve weathered a challenging summer and that bring us to the present.

I have learned SO much in the past six years. I am a different woman. But this summer I found myself hungry to know more. To learn more. To stretch more!

I felt a little antsy about my life at home. My heart is in my home and I love caring for my family so much. But along with that I feel like God has made me capable of much and that He’s made me a leader. My children aren’t babies anymore (although I may call them my babies forever…) and I felt God gently urging me forward to step into something new. Something bigger. Something seemingly risky, outside my comfort zone, challenging and hard.

Part of me loves a challenge. I want to grow in my walk with Jesus. I want to grow more into the gifts and talents He has given me. I know in my heart that growth comes from being challenged. Growth comes when you step out. Good things often come through blood, sweat and tears. Growth does NOT come from doing nothing hard. Duh. Do I want to be one who shrinks back from something just because it is scary and hard? Because I feel inadequate? Because it seems like a mountain in front of me that I’ll have to climb and I’m not certain if anyone will climb it with me? Because it’s just plain easier to say “No” than it is to say “Yes” and the easy way looks oh-so-good?

No. I don’t suppose God really made me a shrink-back take-the-easy-way kinda gal.

So this new idea came my way. It’s come my way before and has fallen off my shoulder before I even had time to reach up and brush it off. But this time I could NOT get the idea out of my head. Hard as I tried. But I was scared. I wanted to know from God that it was His idea and not mine. That it’s His will. That He thinks me capable. That He created me for this. I want something I can stand on when times are tough. I had a very clear and personal word from God like that when we decided to move to this country in the first place and I’ve picked up my tired, discouraged, uncertain, lonely, hot and sweaty self and stood (or maybe just laid in the fetal position, which I think is good enough) on that clear word many times in the past six years. It has helped me in my weakness. God’s word to me has gotten me through the toughest times.

I wanted a similar word for this venture. To me, it was almost as big of a decision as it was when we decided to build our lives here in the first place. Maybe even bigger, because now I’m not just risking myself, but I’ve got two wee ones who can be dramatically affected by their Mama’s attention and disposition. The hours in my day are much more precious to me now that they used to be because I am loving and teaching and training my sweet treasures that God has entrusted to me.  They are growing quickly. I get one shot at this Mama thing and I can’t mess it up. They need me. What happens when I start something new? Is there less of me for them? I can’t stand the thought of that.

So in the midst of all these swirling thoughts and questions and fears my heart was continually asking (begging?) God to make this clear. And fast. I’m a planner and if I was supposed to do this then I’ve got to get goin’!!

And so after only one  maddening day of wrestling with this idea and million-mile-an-hour thoughts and struggling with the question of this being right or not the kids went to bed and I sat down with my devotional. God already knew that I couldn’t handle another maddening day of questions butI told Him so anyway. I needed answers. And then I read…

“You and I will never move to the next level with God if we’re scared half to death of what awaits us. On this mysterious pilgrimage we will find that when we do meet difficulties and sorrows, they were not meant to stop us but to form the character required for our great harvest in the coming season. Step into your future. Precious One. Something wonderful awaits you.”             -Beth Moore, from ‘Stepping Up’

The next level? That is what I want I had been wanting deep in my heart.

Scared half to death? Those are the perfect words to describe how I was feeling.

Difficulties and sorrows? Those are most certainly in my future if this dream becomes a reality… but it doesn’t have to stop God from molding my character. It’s doesn’t have to stop the harvest inside and outside of me.

Step into your future. Whoa. Could He be more clear?! Was this paragraph written just for me? For just this time?

Something wonderful awaits you. Oh my, I do hope so. I do hope so!!

Wow! Did I hear God speaking that very evening?!  Oh I heard Him loud and clea.! Praise Him!! I immediately felt like I said “Yes” in my heart. How could I ever say “No” after reading that and having all my fears and hopes addressed and then dealt with immediately after asking for an answer?! And incidentally, if I had said “No” or “I’m not sure” that evening,  God brought a half dozen more glaringly obvious “Yeses” across my path during the next week. Like a message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled “He’s With You in the Battle” on Revive our Hearts where she said:

“I’ve been reminded that it’s the fear of trouble, the love of ease, and an inordinate affection for my worldly business that will keep me out of the battle.”

Ouch. Do I want to stay out of the battle for those reasons? The ‘love of ease’ sounds so terrible when you put it like that. Oh please no. Don’t let that be me.

I’m glad I said “Yes” right away and didn’t have to sheepishly say it a week later after it was even less deniable and God had to pound it into my thick skull. Ha!

Anyway… all this to say that.  I’m going for it. I am going to start a preschool!!! It’s really happening.

God is with me. And really… it’s God’s preschool and I’d have it no other way. May He give me the wisdom and grace and love to walk out His will and make Him proud. I think a good stretch will be good for me. It always hurts. A lot. But in the end I’ll be so thankful. Always have been in the past…

2 comments:

  1. so excited! :) you can maybe fulfill my dream too, this way, because our preschool plans were blocked.
    Love you!
    Go for it!
    Laurie

    ReplyDelete
  2. So excited for you! You encourage me so much with your writings--thank you!

    ReplyDelete

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