Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Twenty Twelve and the Promise to Come

I look back on this year in awe of His faithfulness and I don't really know how to articulate it all. God has allowed me to go back and reflect on some simple moments over the year, moments that I believe He has used to bring me to here and now. Little by little moments which I believe will change everything about the future He has called me to.

In Exodus when God is promising the conquest of Canaan, he says he will drive out all of their enemies but not in a single year lest the land becomes desolate and the wild beasts too numerous. He promises that little by little he will drive them out until they have increased enough to possess the land.

God used this chunk of scripture to cast vision and hope in my life several years ago and today I see Him actually doing it and His grace is overwhelming. Little by little that we might be equipped to walk in the victory rather then be overcome by it. 

Here are some glimpses into my 'little by little' of the year...and with them all compiled here I see Him driving out beasts and equipping me to possess the land promised. 

Moment One
It was a little's birthday and it was just a week or so after I moved in. I dressed differently and I wore shame like a scarf wrapped tight through those cold winter months. He'd gotten a soccer goal and we decided to go out and play as a family. There was a chill in the air and the clouds were close enough to reach. After the game ended, K got out a four-wheeler. He urged me to jump on the back of it.

I remember panicking because I'd never ridden one of those. I remember being scared of riding on it with him too. I think the kids might always tell tale of the thrill ride that was to follow. Let's just say it ended with mamma pointing her finger at dad—he was in trouble. So, we might have gone a little too fast. I knew that I might fall off on one of those bumps and yet I don't think I will forget that moment. I got off that four-wheeler and I knew that God was just beginning something. I remember thinking maybe there was something different about K, like I just really wanted to trust him. It's funny to think the Lord could use a four-wheeler ride to cast vision for the future and yet looking back, He did just that. 

Moment Two
I was stressed and overwhelmed by life. Something had to give if I wanted to walk free but everything seemed to have a place. My life was measured by the world and looking back it was suffocating. She told me pull out of a class or two and it all made sense. I knew it did and yet all I heard was failure—you can't even be a good student. You are such a mess. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life—what I felt God was calling me to. What is your vision for the future? I remember her asking. 

I don't really know what I said but I remember fighting for an answer. I really didn't care—all I could see was the misery of my reality here and now. I knew I wanted to be wife and mom—I knew I wanted to be free. She helped me align my time with things that would lead to both—freedom and future homemaker. She held me tight when many close thought I went off the deep end when I pulled out of college and moved in with her family of eleven. She equipped me to follow through though—she has challenged and strengthened my biblical convictions. Praise Jesus, she is not perfect and those moments she has shared have set me free from myself. She has given me vision for being a helper to my husband and disciple-maker of my children and this has eternal weight that will seep down for generations to come. And I think someday I will convince her to let me write a book. 

This conversation started it all and she opened up a whole world of hope. She paved a path lit bright enough for me to see the future in the first place. Then she walked with me. 

Moment Three
We were sitting at the dinner table one night and I was struggling. I didn't want to eat what was on my plate and voicemails from my dad in the other room were playing like a resounding chorus of failure in my head. I just wanted to be alone. I wanted to cry and sleep and hole up behind my door. I wanted to figure it all out—how I could save the world and my dad. I wanted to pay for not being able to. But instead I was sitting at a dinner table with nine bustling kiddos and a plate of food and eyes all around. I forced bites down and I didn't look up much. Then I heard him say my name and it might as well have been the very voice of God himself. 

Courtney, stop thinking. It's like you're not even here. And that was the day I learned that sometimes the most holy thing you can do is go play a board-game with an eight year old. 

The way this spiritual dad has challenged me to avoid holing up and getting lost in myself when life gets tough has been one of the most freeing lessons of this year. And God has been faithful to provide my outs through the process of retraining my mind—all things from a board-game with lil guys to a walk in the woods to scrubbing dishes for an hour. I have learned ultimately my own worst enemy is often me. God has used this family to train me to guard against myself. 

Moment Four
We were driving in the car, headed to the airport where K would board a plane headed to India for the next 2 weeks. With him gone M would bear a lot of weight over the weeks to come and there was a difficult decision to make. K opted for one choice while M was hesitant to agree. She knew it was for her own good and yet felt guilty if she followed through with it. The battle inside of her was building as the miles to the airport grew fewer.

She was quiet and he turned to glance at her. Eyes back on the road, he stuck out his hand. 
Do you trust me? he whispered across the seat.
There was a moment and I still think that time might have stood still. The car was loud and bustling with nine littles and a movie blaring in the back but those four simple words seemed to suck up all the noise and air in that van because I still get chill-bumps remembering. 

A few seconds had passed but it could have been hours. She reached out and grabbed his hand. Sometimes the words unsaid speak louder then anything the voice could ever make sense of. 

Sitting just a row back watching this moment unfold God spoke to me and I don't think I will ever forget it. Trust me. Submit to me. I am for you. This is how it is suppossed to be. Do not fear. I am not your earthly dad. Not all men are bad. Here is your hope and your future—now take my hand. Remember the vision because this is what I have for you. So start learning to trust me because one day I will ask you to trust the man I have for you too.

Moment Five
It had been a hard month or so and the ultimatum was laid out. I had a choice and I was stubborn. I didn't fully trust and I had a plan that sounded better. I thought they were overreacting and I wanted them to know it. We went back and forth late into the night and eventually I quieted, my pride puddling at my feet. I hurt so much and I was angry with them, angry at myself. I didn't like where sin had landed me and yet I wanted to choose life under all those layers. 

I turned to leave the room after agreeing to their plan because it was better then the alternative. I was mad and broken. He stopped me in the next room and she came up close too. He hugged me and just lingered a minute, with mom there too. I cry just remembering because I felt the desperation of a dad figure that loved me so deeply in that moment. And something in that moment restored a cord long tattered inside. This was when I trusted K as an earthly representation of my Heavenly father. This was the moment the fear lifted fully and I remember feeling so exposed and vulnerable yet so completely safe in their protection. I think this hug was the moment that changed a whole lot of things.

In the beginning of the year, my hope was shackled in failure and my future was drowning in my past. 

This year, God changed all of that. He used this dad and mamma to teach me to have vision—for the hope and the future Christ gives. They've taught me to submit & trust to the little by little while walking onward through the depths of the sea boldly proclaiming the promised Canaan.

This year I would say God has wounded but also bound up. He has restored me to Himself through an earthly dad and mom who have shown me much grace. He has taught me what it means to submit and trust. He has healed so many of my daddy issues. He is preparing me for marriage and motherhood. He has allowed me to catch vision for the future. He has provided a hedge of protection and much-needed discipline. He has given me time to rest and retreat and flip the calendar. He has restored so much childhood that was stolen. He has provided a solid foundation and wise counsel. He has given me a tangible picture of His own love for me daily. 

I see this year a road towards Canaan and I choose my word for twenty thirteen—promise. 

Because He who promised is faithful.

What's your one word?

See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us-even eternal life. -1 John 2:24-25


  1. Wow - so many powerful moments! Praying that your life would be flooded with His Light as His promises are fulfilled in your life.

    1. Jen, thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate your encouragement.