But you are
a chosen people,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
God’s special possession,
That you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness
into His wonderful light.
I Peter 2v9
I am just now emerging from that fog called jet lag. We arrived home from Albania in the wee hours of last Tuesday filled to the brim with thanksgiving for what God did in our midst.
Phil and I had been invited to come to Albania to teach the Intentional Parents: raising passionate Jesus followers conference to a group of leaders who would determine if our material would effectively cross the barriers of culture, making it applicable to the Church in Albania.
On the last night of the conference, one of the leaders who invited us asked people to come to the front and tell us how our teaching had impacted their lives.
We listened in awe, humbled and energized by their words. What we heard made all the work of preparation and study and speaking through translators and jet lag and fatigue… worth it.
Over and over we saw mothers and fathers who caught the vision of intentionally passing on their faith to the next generation.
Parents who now see their children as the hope for Albania- and as bearers of the Gospel to a side of the world that needs Jesus desperately.
Albania is a nominally Muslim country with open doors and friendly relations with nations that are closed to most westerners. Turkey loves Albanians, Syria welcomes them with open arms. They have the support and sympathy of nearly every Muslim country in the world— countries closed to Americans and most Europeans.
Because of that, we realized together that-
If this generation of Jesus following Albanian parents
make disciples of their own children,
they can quite possibly change our world!
Which is why I am already looking forward to going back next year. Their plan is to have us come back with a team (more about that later) and put on the Intentional Parents conference in the capital, Tirana, and then for a gathering of churches in southern in Albania.
On the long flight home, all I could think about was this idea of God giving us dreams that are too big for us.
He takes our barely there dreams—
the ones we hardly dare voice out loud,
the dreams we know we don’t have what it takes to do—
and He infuses us with more than we are, and does more than we dare dream.
Why aren’t we talking about this every day of our lives?
This great thing, this magnificent work of God… in us and thru us and for us and to us.
I have absolutely loved hearing about your dreams. Not one of them has sounded outlandishly impossible to me… and yet so many of you are just like me… sort of apologetic about the dreams you harbor.
Why is that?
I think it’s because we are afraid: of failure, of mediocrity, of standing out from the crowd, of looking foolish, of our not-enoughness.
We are afraid because we think these God-inspired sparks of compelling desire are our own responsibility… and we know we are not up for the task.
Look at me: A shy introvert who quakes at the very thought of people turning to look at me. A back row kind of girl. Super serious and introverted, born without a funny bone, who rarely grasps the punch line of a joke. Who doesn’t actually like to travel. And on top of all that? Deaf.
That woman— the me that I am in real life— went to Albania, spoke in front of a room full of leaders… who laughed at my unplanned jokes… and learned from my raw stories.
If I can dream, just think what God might do with you?
From a heart still tired but immensely satisfied,
P.S. Okay, please, I am craving a few more honest, hope-filled possibilities of how you dare dream God may use you and your story.
Your courage just might light a fire of desire in those of us who are held back by fears.