Something you should know about me: I dream big. Like, really big. Even as a little kid I was absolutely sure I was going to be a famous singer. Or author. Or fashion designer. Absolutely positive.
But somewhere along the way, God challenged me to dream smaller. Like really small. He challenged me to serve Him in a way that might never impact the world. Or go viral on social media. He asked me, "Do you love me enough to do something small for me?" And although I didn't know for sure if I could love Him like that, I was up for the challenge. And the last few years, through the tiniest expressions of obedience, service, and worship, I have grown to know the Lord in an entirely new way.
It was literally 2 weeks after the Lord challenged me to do small things for Him--wash the dishes, read a story to my baby, take dinner to a neighbor--that our pastor issued a challenge to our congregation. We were each given a card with the words "Four Most Wanted" on the front, and four blank lines on the back. He challenged us to think of four people in our lives that did not know the Lord, who we would dedicate to prayer, befriend in an intentional way, and share the gospel with.
I love stuff like this. The last few years I have gone from a complete scared-of-strangers introvert, to someone who strikes up conversations with anyone and everyone. I'm on hugging terms with Ms G at Home Depot. I asked the guy at the gas station to our Easter dinner! I'm still an introvert--I don't think that changes--but God has pressed into me His love for His people, and it changed how I interact with the world in general. I got ready to fill my card with "Xavier from the gas station" "Rita at Walmart" etc, when I remembered God's challenge to me. "Smaller" I couldn't help by feel a little bit tested. I couldn't write the names down, because I felt like the Lord was telling me that taking my "ministry" out of my home or my neighborhood was allowing me to get distracted from my main objective.
So, feeling a little bit martyred, I said out loud to God, "OK, Lord. I'll wait. I won't fill out this card and dedicate my energy to anyone, even for the purpose of evangelism (this was killing me!) until the kids are out of the house. I will wait to have a 4-most-wanted until Emma, Ethan, Esther, and Eli have graduated from high school and are on their way to adulthood."
I wish I could have seen the face of Jesus as I bravely chose to follow Him that day. As I put aside my rule-follower nature and put His will for me above the will of even my pastor! I'm sure there were tears in His eyes. Tears of laughter.
As soon as I had made my bold statement of faith, I felt what could only be described as a "nudge by the Holy Spirit". He spoke to my heart, "I gave you 4 children. Write their names down. They are my four most wanted. I could not have made this easier for you!"
Y'all. I cannot tell this story without laughing (and crying!) at myself for missing the obvious. He told me to keep my focus on the home. He told me to take care of my kids, as my ultimate act of service to Him. But somehow when faced with the opportunity to share Christ with the lost, it never occurred to me that my children were who He meant! It could not be easier or more organic in my life. Why do we make it so hard?
That day changed the way I looked at my kids. I wrote their names on the card. I prayed for them--for their understanding of Scripture, for God to be real to them, for opportunities to share MY FAITH with them. Emma had already accepted the Lord, but I broke the rules and put her name down there anyway. Within a year, Ethan made a decision for Christ, and I got to witness him asking, in his own words, for Jesus to save him from his sin. His name is still on my card. It will be there until he's grown up and out of my sphere of continual daily influence. My kids grew in my heart that day from someone who I need to raise, and train-up, to an actual human soul who needed the Lord. And who needed me to point the way.
I don't know why, but this is so profound to me. Who on this planet do I have greater influence over than my own children? Who's life could I possibly impact more with the sacrificial love of Jesus, than my own kids who I see every day? Why did I think that evangelism or ministry had to reach outside of this?
I know there are some of you that are thinking, now that Emma and Ethan know the Lord, I should replace their names with others who haven't met Him yet. But that's where the amazing part happens. My card will always have the same four names on it. But now, Emma and Ethan have their own four most wanted! My ministry, even while focused on my kids and my home, is reaching outside of my sphere through my kids. My four most wanted just became OUR TWELVE MOST WANTED. Multiplication is happening. Not through me, but through God's work in my kids' lives. This is profound, and when I think of it I can hardly speak.
Three years ago in my blog post, Do Something Small, I was begging God to explain this to me. I wrote this:
"Let me tell you, the idea of "do something small" is not in my nature....I ask Him, how is this good? How is this better? How is less more? He doesn't answer me. And I realize, there is a lot of me in those big things. There is a lot of me in the use of my natural talents, even if I give God the glory. And I realize, there is a lot more Him in those little things. If I choose to commit my life to something that does not come naturally to me, because He asked me to, and I succeed--that is only Jesus."
And that is exactly what is being displayed right now in my family. What is happening in my home, through a tiny act of obedience, is ONLY JESUS. God doesn't need me to save the world. He did that. He needs me to be obedient and responsible for the tiny little corner of the planet He assigned to me. And if I keep my eyes open and my head in the game, He's going to show me what He can do through that.
Moms, while I have your attention, go grab a note card, a post-it, a receipt, whatever! And write at the top, "My Most Wanted". And under that, list the names of the children that He has entrusted to your care. Hang this where you will see it, and pray your heart out over them. Write their names on your hand and keep writing them until they are etched into His. They are your most wanted. He has taken the guess-work out of it. They are His most-wanted, and no love in this world can influence them they way yours will.
Happy Mother's Day, friend! You're about to see your world change.