So here we are, friends. 2017--and almost to the end of it. Wow. 11 months ago, I sat down with Jennie Allen's "Dream Guide" and wrote out goals and dreams for 2017 and here we are ticking down the days to a new year. In the 2012 post from today, I shared what a special season of life the boys and I had for 4 years in Pensacola. We have now been in Fairhope for 5 years. Dylan isn't the little elementary boy I wrote about and Brayden isn't in Preschool anymore. The days are long but the years sure do seem short... Dylan is in his first year of high school. HIGH SCHOOL. What in the world?? And Brayden is in 5th grade. I'm reminded with each passing day that the years with them inside the walls of our home, are limited and I need to make the most of every opportunity. I'm so thankful that I don't look back at the last 15 years with a terrible amount of regret. Early on, the Lord really impressed upon my heart, the desire to be connected and present as a family unit. I'm forever grateful for all of the laughter, joy, meals, memories, conversations and love that has been woven into who we are as a family. We are a culture more distracted than ever and it robs us of sweet time with those who matter most. I have to remember this daily. The enemy doesn't have to come in and destroy our families with huge tragedy. He can do it by slowly chipping away at it- stealing bits of time here and there, missed opportunities, missed conversations, misplaced priorities, over-commitments, over-reactions, etc.
"Lord, keep me focused heaven-ward on things of eternal value!"
Recently, I felt the Lord going from a gentle nudge to an undeniable command to step away from my role as Children's Director at my church. It's something I have done since living in Fairhope and it served a divine purpose for this season, both in my family and the church family, but over the last year I've felt Him whisper
"Your greatest ministry is inside of your home."
And that is Truth. We can do many good things. But even good things can distract us from the greatest thing we have been called to do within our families.
Last year, the Lord began to do another sweet work within my heart. After spending 7 years remaining single, my heart began to desire companionship again--in the way He originally designed it. I have much to say about the benefits and necessities of singleness and how we really rob ourselves of growth and perspective by rushing into relationships but now isn't the time for that... :)
One day, as my heart and mind were doing this strange, new transformation, I was writing down some things in my journal. The Lord spoke to me through the words forming from my pen. "Beginning at 18, You spent 7 years in battle. The next 7 were spent healing- resting and renewing. But Lindsey, I'm ready to take you into a new season, one of restoration." It was a beautiful and humbling picture that we are never meant to park in one, comfortable season of life. We are meant to GROW. I'm a homebody. I like my little family and my little home and my little routine. But I can't expect to GROW that way. I cherish the season that God allowed my heart to heal. I cherish having almost 15 years with Dylan and 10 years with Brayden. The letters connected on this blog could never capture the joy and gratitude inside of my heart, for these years. I'm so deeply and eternally grateful.
But faith, without obedience, is really not faith at all so I began to release the grip of my heart. I had to re-learn what it meant to date. I hated the idea of it, honestly. I never liked it- not in high school and especially not as a 33 year old but I was learning something through it. Gosh, the things we can learn when we are willing to just LET GO!
Through the process of dating, the Lord was showing me that I was, in fact, worthy of love again. That not only was I worthy of it, but I was CAPABLE of it.
He made me brave.
And I am so thankful for that.
A beautiful song came out at this time, called "You Make Me Brave" by Bethel Music:
"You make me brave.
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves.
You make me brave.
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way."
"This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Well, are you wondering what came of that dating journey? That's up next...