I said I would never drive a minivan, homeschool, or live in Florida. And now I do all three. As we rode down the road on the golf cart listening to Walker Hayes and Flo-rida, I recalled a conversation that Wade and I had long ago in our tiny Statesville, North Carolina bungalow that once belonged to my great-grandmother. It was mocking the name Flo-rida. Basically saying that a rapper from Florida who couldn’t come up with a more creative name would never make it. And yet here we sat. 14 years later singing his lyrics with our fave country singer while driving a golf cart down the sunny streets of Florida. God has such a sense of humor.
Yesterday afternoon, we went to watch Jesus Revolution as a family. I watched and cried and recognized the amount of “nevers” in the movie that documented one of the largest spiritual movements in America. I recognized the flaws in our human selves. While also being in awe of how God used us to bring revival despite our pride, insecurities, and even the “nevers” we like to give God.
But back to the golf cart ride. We sang to the singer that we would never support in a city that we would never live in. This reminded me…
Most often what we are fearful of is a direct line to what we are made for.
Right now, our oldest daughter is serving with a mission team in Guatemala. The kid with sensory processing disorders and speech issues. Who was and is a germaphobe and who will often complain about her large family disrupting her dream of ever having her space. The kid who shied away from conversations in which, I would often make excuses for when she would strangely do or say something all those many youthful years of homeschooling.
When she gave her life to Jesus, she strapped up in her goggles and high pony to hit the beaches for her baptism so that she could be made new. And of course, change her name to Love Child. Because why not. This now teenage kid is literally a thousand miles away living out her list of “nevers.” Suddenly, the pushbacks she received and the winding paths she has taken are now making sense as I look upon her life.
This brings me to my biggest fear. What if I am never a good mother? I know some see our big family and hear me talk about how all I wanted was to be a momma. You see our kids and the things we do and assume that we’ve never doubted ourselves. But this dream didn’t come dressed in a bow. It started with infertility appointments, a colicky baby, and post-partum depression. It was wrapped in disappointments, job loss, lack, insecurity, moving, 13 houses, unplanned surprises, lots of uncertainty, and plenty of moments asking God are we doing ok? Are we enough for these girls that you’ve called us to raise? In moments of instability of circumstance was our stability in Christ enough? I mean, I never saw myself having 5 kids. But yet, here I am living in my “never.”
Which leads me to ask myself (and you)… what if our greatest fears are a direct arrow to our greatest calling?
When I read about the story of David being left in the field when the next king was being chosen, I often assumed there was some bad parenting involved. Or that maybe David wasn’t seen as king therefore he wasn’t chosen by his father to join the application line. But what if, David didn’t want to go? What if he preferred to be in the field? What if David’s “never” was royalty, a position of power, or even a life beyond his comfort of the fields?
And what if his “never” was a direct sign to his greatest calling?
Turning 40 has been an amazing perspective shift of seeing prayers we thought were long unanswered being resurrected in our kids. This has been one of the most beautiful parts of my adult life. It’s been a sweet surprise from God. But as much as I love seeing this evolve, I also see some of my greatest fears being passed on to our children. And that grieves my heart.
I want to teach them to investigate their fears and insecurities as if they are gateways into what God may be calling them to do in their future. In other words, I want them to look fear in the face and call it a liar as they move forward in whatever it is that God is calling them to. And more importantly, I want them to see each step as an opportunity. An opportunity to succeed and to fail. Because what I’ve learned is success is only beautiful when you’ve walked through enough failure to appreciate it. Otherwise, pride sets in and suddenly we are building a self-made kingdom for the glory of ourselves.
So I’ll ask myself (and you) again…
What if our greatest fears and insecurities are pointing us to our greatest calling?
The next time I hear myself say never, I hope I chuckle deep inside knowing that God may also be having Himself a good laugh. You never know, you may find yourself doing your greatest never. And it may forever change you.