Something Growing Inside

Tiny hand of son and big hand of dad

There is something magical about a newborn baby. Unconditional love for something beyond yourself. Possibility and hope and uncompromising promise all wrapped up in a fragile miracle. But let’s be honest, giving birth is another story. Painful and intense. Laborious and exhausting. Beautifully messy.

You don’t have to have given birth from your body to know this is true. Just like physical birth, giving life to a God-sized dream is messy and hard in all the same ways.

It grows inside of your heart for a while, sometimes years, before you ever even acknowledge it or speak of it aloud. And even then there is a sense of apprehension. What if things don’t work out? What if I’m wrong and this is  your dream, not the plan He has for you?

If you have a longing inside your heart to pursue a purpose bigger than yourself using the strengths and skills God has given you. Something that is seemingly impossible, definitely risky, and causes rational people to look at you like you’ve officially lost your mind when you tell them. Well, Congratulations! You are carrying a beautiful bundle of a God-sized dream.

The timeline for giving birth to this dream and how it will look when it comes to fruition is unknown to any of us here on earth. Only the One who created it knows the answers. But, just as physical birth has traits that are present regardless of race, location and even species – so does birthing a dream…

You will mess up. You will fail. Probably more than once.

You’ll say the wrong thing in an important moment.

You’re emotions will get the best of you at an inconvenient time.

And in all of His stubbornness & obstinacy, God will carry on.

You will doubt yourself.

You will cry out that you can’t do this and think you are incapable. You’re right.

And with a brazen audacity, God will use you anyway.

Because, you see, that is the point.

If you could carry out this thing on your own, then you don’t need Him.

He is glorified when you screw everything up, give it over to Him through faith, and succeed in spite of it all.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! ~Ephesians 3:20 {The Message}

A Threatening Storm

Calm before the storm

Summers on Alabama’s Gulf Coast are a perfect metaphor for life. One thing you can count on with a high degree of certainty is that the storms will find you. Pop-up showers that last 5 minutes that come and go without notice or mighty hurricanes whose winds and rain leave a mark on the landscape for generations to come. We see these storms and everything in between here on the coast – and in our lives.

I watched the local weather report on the news this weekend and there was close attention being paid to a tropical disturbance that threatened to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico. Would it come in or not? If so, which course of direction would it take? Would it stall over the warm waters and gain strength or just fizzle out? So much unknown that we would have to just wait and see.

The next segment was a shot of our local beaches. Sun, sand, beautiful waters and people happily living life. You would never know there was a threatening storm lurking out there. But really, isn’t there always a threatening storm out there somewhere? Something that threatens to disrupt your happiness – hard financial times, a strained relationship, workplace drama, etc.

I’ve come to realize recently that all too often my happiness is conditional, ready to disappear with every storm that comes into my life. I’m not the one soaking up the sun on the beach… I’ve hidden inside for when the storm comes. Not at all who I’m meant to be or how God wants me to live.

Maybe you’ve been there, too?

There will always be storms in our lives.
And, yes, some of them will devastate and rock your foundation.
But you do not face them alone or unprepared.
Those storms, those hardships shape you.
The struggles and obstacles define you.
In many ways, they prepare you for the tomorrow God is planning for you.

“I will swim in the deep because You’ll be next to me.
You’re in the eye of the storm and the calm of the sea.
You’re never out of reach.” ~MikesChair, “Let the Waters Rise”