The following article was written by Catie Lumpkin, author of the This High Calling blog, for our “May”keover Month series:
The following is taken from Zechariah 10:7-8 and Zechariah 10:12:
“The people of Israel will become like mighty warriors and their hearts will be happy as if by wine. Their children, too, will see it all and be glad; their hearts will rejoice in the LORD. When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them. From the few that are left, their population will again grow to its former size. I will make my people strong in my power, and they will go wherever they wish by my authority. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
In 2006 my husband, Jamie, and I took the youth group we were helping lead at the time to see the William Wilberforce biographical drama Amazing Grace.
At the time we were discovering the joys and struggles of parenting our first son, who was 18 months, while unknowingly expecting our second.
Throughout the tale of Wilberforce’s devout commitment to end the slave trade through his efforts in parliament during the 18th century British Empire, one become entranced with this man’s confidence in Christ and unwavering hope, in light of the looming mountains before him.
Yet, throughout the entire film, the questions that continuously ran through my mind were, What kind of mother did William Wilberforce have to instill in him that he could go and conquer the giants of evil and become all God had designed him to be?
And, Am I brave enough to dream that for my own children, as a mother?
To be candid, I was in a position where most days I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant. In my finite eyes, I was surviving as a woman of God, my marriage was afloat to say it optimistically, and on the motherhood front, I felt a giant red F written across my unshowered self from the watching world.
How could I instill in my son and the children to come that they could dream big in God, if I had never dreamt it for myself?
That night I hit my knees, literally, and prayed that first, I would feel the pursuit of Jesus and His love in my life, and second, that God’s grace would allow me to grow into all He had designed and crafted me to become for His glory.
And then I prayed it for my husband.
And then for my son, and for all the children that God would grace us with, and for their spouses.
This prayer became the cry of my soul to the One who called me His masterpiece; my husband His masterpiece; my children His masterpiece.
I was unprepared for His answer.
If I was drinking from a fire hydrant in those early days of our family, I’m gulping from a waterfall now. Three biological and 30 foster children later, this is still the cadence of our family, possibly more so now than ever before.
On any given day you can find between seven to fifteen children playing Home Run derby, doing homework together, picking up our eternal game of Monopoly, or banging on instruments, somewhere within this walls of our home.
From the outside looking in, very little is what one might call together, except that we, as individuals from different places, cultures and backgrounds have come together to become known as a family.
You might ask, What changed?
Somewhere along the way, as I hit my knees by God’s mercy with that bold prayer of faith that I prayed in 2006, the vision of our family shifted. Slowly but steadily, the Father brought us to a place of discovery that family, marriage, and children are not about us, or our happiness; it’s about being shaped into the image of our Savior. We began to learn together that we were made for ourselves; we were made for Jesus.
And, that’s beautiful.
And now, I have the honor of praying that same prayer I begged God to answer for myself, for children who often have not have been able to think beyond how they will survive the day and for biological parents who have bought the lie that their mistakes have defined them and written the end of their story, while I watch my sons growing into men whose hearts break for the things for which God’s heart breaks: the widow, the orphan, the wanderer…
Last week, my oldest son was rumbling around in our garage. I noticed a growing pile of his favorite baseball belongings. When I asked what he was doing, he explained that he had been praying about giving his prized possessions to a young boy we have begun taking to church, a boy who has never witnessed the definition of family.
When I asked if he was sad to surrender his things, he responded, “Mom, you’ve always challenged me to go and do and dream anything I believe God is calling me to do. You told me that He would give me the courage when the time came. I may be a little sad, but God is so much stronger than my sadness.
Melt my Mama heart.
In conclusion, I wanted to share some practical application to ways we can embolden our children to become Warriors of Faith. We crazy Lumpkins by no means have it down, but God’s grace is merciful.
- Realign your expectations. Unmet expectations can be the ticking bombs in our marriages, our parenting, our friendships and our walks with the Lord. We often combat this by attempting to lower our expectations, which is also failing to hope for the fullness of Christ within one another. Don’t have low expectations, or high expectations. Search the scriptures and all God to establish His Biblical expectations for you and the relationships into which He has called you.
- Hit your knees. And, I don’t mean this figuratively. Throughout scripture we see the power of humbling ourselves before the throne of God. There is something about making the physical statement that we are subject to our King. A close friend recently was sharing with me that her grandmother’s journey on this earth had closed. She described that when they found her grandmother, she was lying beside her prayer quilt where she knelt to pray each day, suggesting the Father called her to him as she was on her knees before Him. What a beautiful heritage and testimony to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Do this together as a family.
- Enter into uncomfortable situations as a family, so that you may be dependent on Christ. Plan a family missions trip, rather than a typical summer vacation. Spend time with a neighbor who is difficult to love. Serve at a homeless shelter together. Or, consider inviting children or friends into your home who have been unable to experience the roots of a stable family, better yet, invite their parents too. It’s been said that our families are our greatest sermons before the watching world. Be willing to share yours for the glory of the Father.
- Dwell on the deep love of Christ for you. All our parenting, marital, missional, and relational efforts will fall flat and reek of flames if we obey from the starting point of duty. But when we as wives and mothers love because we have been greatly loved and serve because the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for us, we delight in the honor of being part of the story He is writing in bringing His kingdom to earth. He doesn’t need us for any of this, but He invites us in to be part of His glory. (Matthew 20:28).
- Share your ebenezers. Your tales of God’s faithfulness in your life will weave the heritage and tapestry of God’s sovereignty for your children. When they face those places that seem impossible, they will recall the stories of when God did the impossible in your life. Faith is contagious. Give space for it to spread into the lives of your children.
Because of the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine….
Thank you, Catie, for your wise insight and suggestions to help us “may”keover our current shepherding routines and seek to raise children who are warriors of faith! We appreciate your participation in our “May”keover Month series!
Readers – please check out Catie’s blog at www.thishighcalling.blogspot.com. You can also “like” it on Facebook to be made aware of all the latest blog updates: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Our-High-Calling/387748311314530. Catie and her family are doing mighty things for “the least of these” and I really encourage you to follow their journey – it is so encouraging, humbling, and beautiful to see the gospel unfold in their lives. Periodically, Catie provides updates on “needs” of the foster care community and ways all of us can help and participate in the journey of these little ones as well – I really encourage you to follow their journey, particularly if you have a heart for foster children.
This concludes our guest posts for “May”keover Month – a huge thank you again to all of our guest bloggers – Krista Guerrero, Lisa Dorough, Jamie Harper, Dianna Wiebe, and Catie Lumpkin! I have learned so much from each of your posts and hope the other SMC readers have as well!