In this special month of love, I want to remind myself and you of one of the most powerful yet simple gestures we can use to show love: show up. And not the kind of showing up that checks a box, makes an appearance, or just goes on record as having been there. I mean being with another person so the other person knows you are with her.

But before I go any further with you here, let me step back since you may be new to us at A Mother of Thousands! By all means, let me welcome you! Thank you for showing up! Let me tell you why we show up here too.

While I certainly didn’t plan on this, it is especially fitting to share our vision with you on this day, the same day the beloved Reverend Billy Graham met his Lord face-to-face. {May every soul who stumbles upon words in this space find this same Home someday!}

When I first started down the path of unexplained infertility, one of the many unhelpful and destructive messages I fought against was that I couldn’t bear life. Other women could, but not me. While it is true I am not bearing babies in my womb, the real Truth is I bear life in many ways every day, at least I have this potential!

Like the succulent, a mother of thousands, I do not bear seed of my own. By the world’s standards we are considered barren, even cursed, and at the least to be pitied. But this is not the end of our story! What is true for this beautiful plant is true for me and true for all women who feel incapable of reproducing beautiful soul-filling goodness in their lives. We can reproduce new life in the hearts of others, image bearers of God who find hope in His son Jesus. This is not because we arrive to perfection {hardly!}, or are amazing role models of how to be good people. Often I find blooms in my day in spite of myself, in my weakest places where God is making room for His mysterious good work. We reproduce new life by taking the Gospel we have been given and planting small hope in our communities as we root deep in our own faith journey with God.

Our power is not in our seed, but in the Seed of Christ within us!

This is what Billy Graham did his entire life: plant small, root deep, bear life. One day after another. Imperfectly. With pain and heartache at times. Keeping his eyes on his real Home, he persevered and his life has brought revolution in countless hearts for generations.

 

 

If I really pushed in on your soul’s soft belly, wouldn’t you love to have this be true of your life? Little ‘ole you – a revolutionary for hope and goodness and freedom and peace in your generation?

Well friend, I have good news for you. The Gospel is the most fruitful Seed you could ever plant! And you can plant small in your own way each day, even as my friend Emily P. Freeman says it: in A Million Little Ways!

This whole journey of planting and rooting and bearing, uniquely as women, is why we show up here every week. Scripture calls it discipleship and you can too, it is all good. We call it planting small, rooting deep and bearing life because, well, it sounds pretty. That and I can get stuck with “church words” that I have associations with that may not be helpful or even true. Maybe the same is true for you?

But why talk about it and not just do it and keep quiet about it?

Well, we are humans doing this thing called “discipleship”, not super theologians with trouble-free lives. We have snags, jagged edges, hold grudges, take things personally. We have questions, insecurities and hit road blocks. We will get tired, doubt it’s worth it, feel inadequate (all the time), and may think this is for others but not us. Yet this is what Scripture says about who you are:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [s]he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

If you have put your trust in Christ for your sins then you will join our friend Billy some day at Home. Until then my friend, you are a new creation planted on this soil for a purpose: you are now A Mother of Thousands. You have Seed in you that wants to grow and keep growing! Like our big brother Billy, you could leave a legacy that outlives you for generations!

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8 (ESV)

We make God famous and delight our own soul when we show up and meet with one another for intentional and redemptive conversation. But it is risky! Relationships are not easy. When we show up to live life with others, we see ourselves more clearly and we may not like what we see sometimes. And rarely do we know what in the world we are doing. So let’s go together, let’s grow together.

I’m excited to share a wonderful resource with you this week that will offer so much grace and practical wisdom for you as you explore what discipleship looks like in your life! My local church is my primary source for spiritual growth, but there are many reputable resources that support our growth journey, so if you are not yet connected to a local church or are just wondering how to grow from your little spot, read on! I’ve joined this community myself and will be sharing an email once a month about how it’s going for me with a couple younger women I’m planting small alongside. You can hear more about that journey as well as read the “back story” on these blog posts by choosing to Grow With Us! Now, the discipleship resource! The fine folks of IF:Gathering have created a beautiful thing called Discipleship Collective. The vision statement for this new initiative is to become a “global community of women who are reclaiming the priority of discipleship as God’s means to change the world.” Billy Graham would have said, “Amen!” There is a fee to join the community and access these excellent resources and support, it is crazy expensive for them to produce this opportunity globally, but what better investment can we make in our legacies than in learning better how to plant small and root deep? Consider the investment you are making in your family, your neighborhood, your local church and who knows who else!

Our world will miss Billy Graham, we are changed because of his life lived well. But this world will miss you too, especially if you do not choose to show up to your life! May we keep our eyes on our Home. May we see ourselves as traveling through this world, but choose to travel it together intentionally. May we show up and keep showing up, with hearts grounded in the hope of Jesus – bearing much fruit!