As the reality of Monday hits, and as we’re all thinking about a new year and what may or may not happen this year, I keep coming back to this same verse:
A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. Proverbs 16:9 AMP
Mark and I celebrated our anniversary on Friday night, and my parents decided to just have the kids spend the night at their house. That allowed for us to sleep all night, sleep in, and have a quiet morning together. So as Mark and I cooked eggs and bacon, we chatted over coffee and talked about all that we’re “planning” for this year. We both mentioned how nothing in life goes as planned, so we’re holding onto our plans loosely. Basically, we’re just walking in faith and not trying to look too forward ahead as we are just following Him.
Yet our kids are trying to get a grasp on time, on the fact that we’ll be moving at some point this year, and they have lots of questions. Our firstborn has to have a plan; he has to know what we’re doing everyday. He has not learned the benefits of flexibility. So after Mark dropped Ryder off at school this morning, Mark texted me and told me that Ryder really wants to go to the beach. He has been asking repeatedly. Yet the beach doesn’t fit into any plans of ours. Although, Edinburgh is located next to the sea, I don’t think it’s the beach that Ryder is dreaming of.
Anyway, so after a texting conversation with Mark, I sat down to get my work done for the morning, and instead, I decided to do my devotional reading. Lo and behold, here is how it began:
The death of a dream is often a subtle form of idolatry. We lose faith in the God who gave us the big dream and settle for a small dream that we can accomplish without his help. We go after dreams that don’t require prayer. And the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all our right brain can imagine is supplanted by a god – lowercase g – who fits within the logical constraints of our left brain.
Nothing honors God more than a big dream that is way beyond our ability to accomplish. Why? Because there is no way we can take credit for it. And nothing is better for our spiritual development than a big dream because it keeps us on our knees in raw dependence on God. -Mark Batterson
I’m always someone who asks for less than what I’d really like as I don’t want to bother, don’t want to be a burden, don’t want to presume, and don’t want any attitude of feeling like I deserve or am entitled to something. And I’m like this even in my prayers. Mark and I have been looking at the cost of housing in Edinburgh, and on paper, we can really only afford a one bedroom flat (possibly a small two bedroom). Yet my heart has been screaming, “NO! I want at least a 3 bedroom, but really a 4 bedroom that has room for us to invite friends over, to allow for our parents to stay with us, and to allow room for homeschooling and for my children to play.” I don’t need anything big or fancy, nor do I want it filled with stuff. But I want people to have room to enjoy fellowship at our house. Yet I have avoided praying about this, because it feels impossible. It seems like I’m asking way too much. How can we fundraise and live in a four bedroom house in an expensive city? We don’t even know what kind of a job Mark will have or what the pay will be, so how do we plan accordingly? My brain doesn’t compute it all. When I do a very simple budget of what our cost of living could be (without any extras), it’s too much. And to top it off, I also want my son to get a beach vacation. We haven’t gone on vacation in 2.5 years, and there is not a vacation planned for our future. But I know my husband needs one, and we, as in just our little family, will need one this year. But am I asking too much?
And interestingly enough, yesterday my dad preached a message on multiplication. At the end of the service, he asked the church to pray for all of our missionaries, and he followed that with asking everyone to pray for our Scotland team. The prayers that people prayed were so right on, and one even encouraged us to believe for more than the bottom line. Believe that God would do more than just meet our bottom line budget. In other words, ask for more and dream big.
So this morning, as I ponder these questions that keep coming up – how do we plan to sell our house when we will be working on a timeline with the British immigration office as they process my visa? How do we plan for finances when we don’t know what our income will be? How do we plan a move overseas with so many unknowns? – I’m realizing that I need to stop thinking and pray more. Instead of trying to figure it all out on paper, I need to get on my knees and seek Him. The move to Edinburgh is all about Him anyway, so I think He can figure all the details out. I just need to return to the fact that God is directing our steps, God is leading us, and He knows the timeframe. It’s a matter of constantly surrendering our desires and our plans and saying yes to His. YET it’s also a time to present our dreams, and to not be afraid to ask for them. He’s a good God, a wonderful Father, and He knows best. I can trust Him. I can trust the desires of my heart to Him. I can set my eyes on Him and what He is doing and trust Him to care for us.
So maybe we’ll get a beach vacation or maybe Edinburgh will have its warmest summer in several years and the beach there will satisfy my son? Maybe we’ll live in a small flat for a while or maybe God has the perfect house ready and waiting just for us? Either way, as long as we stay on our knees, stay in faith, and keep saying yes, it will all be good. Where He is leading us is good. It will work out, and even more than that, I do think that He would like to dream with us; I think He would like to share His ideas of what He is doing and what His heart desires. I think my Father God would really love to share His dreams with us. 2015 is a year of dreaming with God, spending time with Him, and going where He is going. So even though I don’t have a clue what the details of this year will look like, I do know that it’s going to a fabulous year!