There's something inside me I feel the Spirit stirring. Something that cannot be contained in these little bones. Something that wants to burst out of me and spill not just on the pages I write but also on the nations, bringing justice, love, redemption, and mercy. Bringing water to the drylands. Being a gardener of the desert valleys. Being a well of grace and healing.
This stirring went to a whole new level the other day. The gym I go to has a chalkboard that the coaches write the Bi-Weekly Challenge on. This challenge involves a series of high repetition exercises in which you must perform as fast as you can. There is a "hard" and a "harder" version of the challenge. I kept staring at the long list of exercises on the chalkboard when finally one of the coaches said, "You know you can try that any day now?" It caught me off guard that someone (especially a man) would except me to try something like that let alone think I would be able to do that. But as I kept staring at the board I looked at the side titled "Men" where a few men's names were written who had done the challenge as well as their times. I then looked at the side titled "Women" to see no names written. So I decided it was time to try it. At first, I only did the "hard" version, but to my shock, after that last sprint as I looked at the time clock found that I had the fastest time. The next week another girl finally tried the challenge... but she did the "harder" version and did absolutely amazing! I was so proud. Her willingness to try the harder challenge then pushed me to do it. A domino effect. What if we did that for one another, friends?
What made me think I couldn't do that challenge? Sometimes all it takes is one person to nudge us... to catch you staring at the challenge before you and say, "Hey! When are you finally gonna do it? I've been watching you stare that challenge down like that's gonna change anything... when are you gonna finally do it? You can do that any day now!"
I hope to be that person to lovingly nudge you today, sister.
So many times I've found myself thinking I can't do something because it's too dangerous for me as a woman. Or that I'm not capable or strong enough. That I'm too small, too fragile, too... woman. And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should intentionally put ourselves in harm's way. But perhaps we've forgotten what it means to be a Daughter of the King? Perhaps we've forgotten Who our Father is-- Almighty, Protective, All-Powerful, Mighty Abba God? It's time we rise to the stirring up inside, Sisters...
I knew the moment I rededicated my life to a relationship with Christ that He was stirring up something inside of me. I knew the pattern of my life was going to look different from others. I knew He was telling me I was going to take not just the path less traveled, but that He was going to lead me places where there was no path marked out and I would simply have to take His hand and follow His voice every single unknown step of the way. He said, "You're going to take the Jesus way."
He set a passion in me that doesn't match my small physical state. A calling that is not anywhere near safe to the human sight. I want to rob hell of its' graves. I want to intrude on the underground black markets that sell children and pull them into the light of freedom and healing. I want to rescue the fallen and wounded from war zones. I want to walk through rehabilitation with the addict. I want to see bondage dissolve and set free those who are captives of their own minds, bodies, and culture. I want to rebuild nations on the Rock of Life. I want to restore ancient ruins and places long devasted, to give hope in the most hopeless of places and peace to the most chaotic of settings. I want my bones and flesh to be the compost for the soil that churches, rescue houses, and homes of hope are built upon. I want more than just writing in a frenzy of passion-- I want to live out every day the bold yet humbling calling of my Heavenly Father.
Oh God, I want more... help me not settle just because I am woman. Just because I am small. Just because I am not married.
But to be honest, sometimes I just crave for my life to go in the order it's "suppose to go", for things to go more smoothly and easily. To receive the promises I desire without the struggle that actually makes the promise beautiful. Sometimes I still find myself so lonely. Especially at night. I'll wrap my arms so tightly around myself aching for the man God has for me to be holding me, sometimes to the point of tears.
But you know what? I'm not the only one aching to be held. There are sweet, innocent children in orphanages all over the world, abandoned babies in the hospitals of Romania, child sex-trafficking survivors in India, the addict you always see downtown who wants freedom but has no one to walk alongside them through healing, a hurting mother who has lost her child or cannot conceive the child she longs for, that elderly woman at church who can no longer hear and whose children live hundreds of miles away, or the young woman living in the apartment next door you hear sobbing after fighting with her boyfriend every night...
All these people and so many more who long to be held, to be loved without condition, without measure... and God has given me the opportunity to have empty hands and a heart full of Him so that I could open up my arms to the hurt and broken...
What an invitation.
And it doesn't change the fact that I still want what I mentioned before... Marriage. A family of my own. That strong man of God with his arms around me, that physical feeling of protection, trust, and being treasured and my own sweet little babies calling me mama... but it does show me that I have an opportunity unlike any other in this season and for however many seasons God keeps me here. I can be the one to go. I can be the one, with no obligation or commitments at the moment and I can go, risking my life for the gospel, spending my time and devotion to wherever God leads me to bring lost souls back to life. I can be the one. Or I can continue to sit here and wonder "why me?"
Why not me? Why not you?
My single friends... why do we title ourselves single? As if our relationship status defines us? As if our whole life revolves around just being with that one person? Not saying that marriage isn't beautiful or noble, but what I am saying is that getting so focused on this Earthly detail gets our attention off of Eternal matters... Like bringing lost souls to Christ. So maybe there's a reason. Maybe my vision of my own family and marriage isn't the beautiful picture of what God has for me. Maybe His vision is for me to give my life to those in violent lands, to bring them hope and truth and life, maybe His plan is for me to adopt, to be a mother to the motherless, to go on the mission field, to do all the things I've believed for so long that I need a husband in order to do... maybe those are the exact things God is asking me to do right now... Under HIS protection, guidance, provision, unfailing love, the things that will always be there before I ever get a husband and long after.
Daughters, Sisters, Friends...
If you are waiting to do the things God has called you to do because it doesn't look "safe" or possible or it doesn't fit the worldly standards for you as a woman, I'm here to tell you it's time to go. This is for me just as much as it is for anyone else. I'm tired of holding back the reigns of the calling God placed on me, on the things He's asked me to do... I'm tired of waiting for a man to take me to the darkest parts of my city, community, of the world, I'm tired of trying to date Christian men who don't see me as anything more than a pretty face and expect me to be an accessory to their callings and nothing more, I'm tired of feeling incapable as a single young woman when I have the God of all existence leading me and His Spirit inside me... and I'm ready to surrender... to surrender what I expect my life to look like and to jump head first into what He has told me to do now, in this very season of my life.
Any sisters care to join me?
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:6-7
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations." Isaiah 61:1-4