One Wee Spark

My sister-in-law commented that I was far from being just one wee I thought perhaps I would explain my choice of that title, and the quote, and what they mean to me.

Recently, I finished reading "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge (John is the author of the highly recommended "Wild at Heart" book for men, and this is their companion book written for women--I recommend both!). I began reading the book almost a year ago, and read all but the last two chapters. That was back in the summer. And every single time I tried to pick up the book and read those last two chapters, I just couldn't.

I should add here that I am an avid reader. I "eat" books for snacks and can generally finish fiction books in a day or two max. But these non-fiction, look inside your heart, mind and soul books always take me much longer to read. And once I'm done, I generally go back and re-read them, underlining and highlighting sections like crazy!

Just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, my son went into the hospital for surgery and an overnight stay. Having been down this path many, many times, I geared up for long hours in a hospital room with nothing constructive to do with my time. I packed up a bag of "tricks" to keep me entertained and to diffuse my anxiety while waiting--my Bible, "Captivating", several pens and pencils, and a journal. I left the laptop at home (something that in hindsight seems odd to me, I am always packing that huge thing when I go off somewhere like this).

After they took my son back for surgery, I sat in the waiting room and picked up "Captivating" again, hoping to be able to distract myself from the unknown happening down the hall, and hoping to get something positive from the book. And it became clear immediately to me why I had not been able to finish the last two chapters until now--the time was not right before that moment for me to really "hear" what the authors and God were trying to say.

The last two chapters are titled, "Warrior Princesses" and "An Irreplaceable Role." Since many of you have not read the book, I will not spoil it for you, but I do want to wrap up quickly what they meant to me, and especially what they revealed to me about my life.

"Warrior Princesses"
In the next to last chapter, Stasi shares her desire to fight! Stasi discusses her passion for WWII films from childhood, her desire to be part of a great fight--not just to fight, but to fight for something good and noble. Any of us who have been around young boys know that this is a part of the nature of boys--no game is good if it doesn't involve fighting for something!--but we may have missed that as women we have a similar role and desire.

But as women, we fight differently than men. Because we are different, yet still an image of God, our creator. Stasi puts it so perfectly:

Redeemed women of God have tender, merciful hearts, backbones of steel, and hands that have been trained for battle. There is something incredibly fierce in the heart of a woman that is to be contended with--not dismissed, not disdained, but recognized, honored, welcomed, and trained.


But we don't embrace and understand this, at least, I didn't until recently.

"An Irreplaceable Role"
The final chapter of the book begins, as all the chapters do with a quote. This one will look familiar:

"If there is a real woman--even the trace of one--still there inside the grumbling, it can be brought to life again. If there's one wee spark under all those ashes, we'll blow it till the whole pile is red and clear." --C.S. Lewis

The chapter is a wrap up of everything John and Stasi have shared in the book, all the tools to equip women to be beautiful, strong women of God, plus the challenge: Find your irreplaceable role in the world (as sure as you're reading this and breathing, you have one), and live it!

The last six months of my life have been very difficult--physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I have faced sleep deprivation. I have encountered anxiety at every turn. I have been angry, hurt, and filled with joy and anticipation. I have seen blessings and dried up bank accounts. I have been pushed to the limits of what I believed I could and would be able to bear.

And I have grumbled. "God, I know you let us face things for your glory and to develop character, but really...don't you think I'm due for a break?"

"It's not fair. I deserved a healthy family, a normal childhood, a happy memory."

"I can't do this anymore. It's too much."

One thing we can be sure of, as long as we live in this world, we will face trouble, trial, and pain. Jesus himself recognized this, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

I am that woman, little more than one wee spark, grumbling about the things that I face. I have had my spirit's fire blown out until all that remains is the smallest glimpse of what could be a great fire. I am a wee spark, a tiny ember. But I know the Master, my Daddy, is waiting and watching and longing for me to simply let Him blow upon my wee spark until it is a great fire, blazing with passion for others, and most especially for God!

Many women have spoken over my life in the last couple of months, and the prophesy began years ago--long before I recognized it as such. "You are being called to public women's ministry."

"You should be writing and doing women's retreats."

"God has something big for you, and I don't mean like God has something big for all of us. I mean BIG."

Not a single one of these women who have spoken these things over my life know each other. And yet, they are all joined in the fellowship by God and by me.

Public ministry is scary to me. Writing a book and publishing it from the safety of my home, much as I write this blog safely in my bathrobe while my baby girl plays, is more along the lines of what I can accept for my life. Because I know that public ministry involves being real, sharing deep hurts with people who don't know me really, and it puts you out there for public scrutiny and criticism. (Have I mentioned how little I enjoyed that part of doing the show? How I disliked having people judge me and draw conclusions about my motives based off 30 minutes of dialogue from two days of my life?)

And I am reminded again of Mary and her visit from the angel Gabriel. "You're going to have a baby, fathered not by your betrothed, and you're going to raise the earthly king. You're going to be subject to disdain and judgment, because there has never been a virgin birth. Even your fiance is going to want to leave you. But this is God's plan for your life. This is your irreplaceable role. And someday, long after your life on this earth is done, women will look at you and marvel--what if I were that open to God?"

Truly, what if?

I am but one wee spark. I grumble. I complain. I have endured many hardships in life. But what if? What if I allowed God to use me for His glory? What if I stopped listing why He can't or won't use me and instead let Him grow me into the role He has ordained for me and only me? What if all those women really know something that I am at best afraid of and at least believe could be the undoing of me?

And the secret is: God wants to undo each of us, from our chains, from the things that keep us from being our best--beautiful images of a loving God who fight as women, who play an irreplaceable role in the lives of those around us, and to be deeply loved by the Creator, our Bridegroom! God wants to undo us from the chains that bind us so that we can say victoriously, I'm NOT BOUND!

Yes, I am but one wee spark, but the greatest fire that warms those around it begins with the small spark that lights the fire!


Cheri said…
I loved that book as well. Totally touched my soul.

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