Just like the gradual turning of the leaves as summer draws near an end and the air turns cool and crisp, the season of my life is also changing. Three, I repeat THREE, of my four children will be in school next year, my BABY practically a WWF wrestler who I can't keep full or clothed or...young. There are no more bottles, no more diapers in my home. The crib is gone. And so are the babies. My beloved identity of child bearer, nursing mother, toddler wrangler is no more. And in effort to combat the many, many emotions that accompany this realization I'm choosing to look forward to this next chapter. Life is just getting started! It's just getting good. NOW the Lord can use me. But will He...?
Thursday night I stood on a chair and hung blown glass votives from the rustic wooden beams as I let a fraction of this secret passion I've been harboring spill out a little to a couple of women's leaders in my church. Sometimes it's just too hard to contain. Too big to stuff. They smiled, listening politely to this "young" mother of 4 share her desires for the future. Friday night the conviction came like a tidal wave, hammering me so hard my cheeks burned with shame as God whispered 3 little words.
smaller. deeper. quieter.
Oh Lord. But I not only WANT big, loud and flashy, I AM big, loud and flashy.
"It's not about the big, Chelsea. It's about the small. It's all about the small. Stop building platforms. Start building disciples. And your mission field? It's the space between your two feet."
The whole weekend, this theme of small, not big, of discipling right where I am swallowed me like a sinking ship in the deep blue. Rather than slip under the surface of conviction and drown in the shame of selfish ambition I will repent of my desires and repeat something not only difficult to hear and swallow but very, very unpopular in today's culture.
Die to your hopes.
Die to your dreams.
Die to your ambitions.
Cause guess what. It's not about me. Did you hear that America? Shocking, yes, to hear someone say that this blink, this blip, this cluster of seconds in this world we love so much is not about how many goals we reach, how many dreams we make come true, how many people know our name. It's over so fast. The world will forget you as soon as your gone. Time will march on and all that will matter is the neighbor girl you invited over to bake cookies. The college student you asked to coffee. The new mother you told to nap while you held her newborn. And most importantly, the mini disciples who keep spilling their milk at the dinner table and bickering with their siblings and leaving their stinky socks on the living room floor. All that will matter is if you taught the people right in front of you, right next door, the ones hanging on your legs, to love Jesus or to love Him better. How could I think that what's "out there" is more impactful or more important than this? Forgive me, Father. Please don't misunderstand me, feeding the hungry, reaching the lost, rescuing the slaves, encouraging the broken - its all such important work. But it can't be done at the expense or in place of those nearest to me.
After the Friday night conference I had a dream about my 5 year old daughter. She stepped off a ledge into a body of water and dropped like a rock. I dove in after her and once I was under the surface I saw her staring up a me, eyes as big as saucers, as she sunk towards the bottom. Before I could reach her she was whisked away by the current, terror written on her face. I swam so hard to get to her but her little hand was always just out of reach. I finally got within inches of it and, knowing I was quickly running out of time, I WILLED it into mine. As soon as her hand was in mine the nightmare ended. The dream lingered the next day as I returned to the conference and the depth of its meaning was not lost on me. I have been given four children to disciple but only one daughter. And I have been charged with the weighty and significant task of teaching her how to love in the name of Jesus. And she will look to me to see what that looks like. So what am I going to show her?
As for me and my big dreams, it sounds like God is saying "no". And I need to trust Him in that and ask for contentment, even joy, in the simple and mundane and hidden. For the Master sees things we cannot and really, the Kingdom is made up of ordinary "nobodies" like me who work hard and love Jesus, day in, day out. In fact, I think He might be especially fond of us. But. Maybe, just maybe He's actually saying "not right now."
Here's what I'll leave you with. Jesus didn't write a book. He didn't write a blog. He didn't start a nonprofit. He made disciples. And changed the world. And He's asking us to do the same.
"If you want to change the world,
go home and love your family."