A few years back someone shared a prophetic word with me that was so bitter sweet that I felt broken for quite some time, after hearing it. The word may not even have been for me, yet I felt the Lord used it in the most profound way. When I first heard the word, I found myself receiving it and taking it on. It was a prophetic word sent by email and one of my spiritual kids at the time shared it with me because she had been so blessed by it. The word spoke of a generation of mums and dads that were being released to mother and father the next generation. These ‘mums’ and ‘dads’ had lived a life of obscurity - incubating in agape love, hidden in the secret place - and were now being unveiled as spiritual parents to the next generation. They had sought no glory of their own and had been faithful to the process - and now their high places of calling were being unveiled - they were mothers and fathers raised up to nurture and establish the next generation, of which my spiritual daughter was one. Suddenly I found myself being “officially” slotted into the position of mother to her and her generation - by virtue of a proph bomb casually dropped into my world.
Initially I was all ‘praise the Lord’ about it - I guess it was because it made me sound super spiritual and holy if indeed I was one of these mama jamaas but also because I love to champion, edify and raise people up in every sphere of influence God’s given me and so as a by-product of this tendency in me, I was spiritual mum to loads of young’ns (and even older ones) at the time anyway. It resonated with me to a certain degree. Also though, I think it was because back then I didn’t quite clock that I didn’t have to full wack receive every word that came my way and I could take time to test every spirit.
So, over the next day or so, the weight of the word slowly began to seep into my soul and I found myself wrestling with God, with a heaviness in my heart. Why did that word make me feel so miserable Lord? I mean, was it even for me, Father? Am I really just called to be a mother to the next generation and nothing more? As I delved further into the chambers of my soul, I very soon realised that I was in fact, feeling like I’d been shortchanged by God. I was feeling deceived. It was very very quietly breaking my heart to think that I had spent the last ten years hidden in obscurity, in obedience, under God’s shadow, trusting that in His perfect timing He would bring me into the fullness of everything He had prepared for me - and now suddenly I felt like I was being slapped in the face with the stark reality that I wasn’t even going to have the opportunity to enjoy the fruit of my labour before it would somehow bypass my own nourishment and instead would be given to another generation to feed them instead. And not just for a season, but as a calling. Wow.
‘Lord’, I asked “is that it? Is that all my life will be?” I mean to think that all along, through the years of obedience, sacrifice, discipline, breaking and pruning, that I was being prepared by God, it wasn’t for my own calling - it was for others. And now, I was finally being taken out of hiding - only to pour my life out upon the next generation. WHAAAAT??? Whaaaat? Seriously, whaaaat??? I mean Father, there’s a slight glitch in the matrix here. Lord Jesus, what about me???? What about my calling? What about someone pouring into my life??? I’m still just a kid in the kingdom, Lord. Do I simply bypass my own calling, to become a mother to the next generation? I don’t get it. Honestly Father, I just don’t get it. I’ve been patiently waiting for the fullness of my destiny for so long Lord. Waiting for the more, Lord. Only to discover that my more is infact for someone else. Ache ache. Lament lament.
In hindsight, yes it sounds diva-esqe. But that’s genuinely how I felt. I think what magnified this ache so much more was that I was going through a season of such tender disappointment anyway. Of feeling silenced. Invisible. Unqualified. Unappreciated. Unfruitful. Insignificant. Feeling like I had achieved diddly squat in my life. I was most certainly going through an identity crisis at the time, unsure of who I was, or who I was becoming. And then suddenly I hear this word and now I’m wrestling with an added level of identity confusion, because now I’m thinking not only am I struggling to be who I think I am meant to be deep down on the inside, but now I’m apparently none of those things - because I’m actually called to be a mother instead. Hmmmn. What a bummer, Lord. Like seriously.
In my crisis, my disappointment, confusion and brokenness, I crawled into the only place that I know where I have full permission to be me, on the journey to become who I really am. That glorious place where I find true identity, safety, peace, rest, hope and love. That place where I find respite even when the poo is hitting the fan all around me. The place that I am continuously stripped of my grave clothes and mercifully find myself clothed afresh in resurrection power. The secret place. My place, inside of Christ.
And it was here in the Secret Place that my heart was slowly revived. My mind was renewed. My hope was awakened. It was here that I began to SEE once again through the lens of God’s goodness - beyond the confusion I was experiencing in my circumstances and in my inners, beyond the disappointment, beyond the pain. It was here that my tormented soul was finally quietened and the comfort of His kind voice began to soothe.
And slowly but surely it was okay. It was okay that what I thought He had potentially created and prepared me for wasn't apparently it. It was okay that my calling was seemingly to live a life of mothering others. It was okay that He had other plans than what I thought He had been saying to me all these years. It was ALL totally totally okay. BECAUSE the truth is that God has full permission to flip the script whenever He likes, however He wants - whether we get it or not, whether we like to or not. Because ultimately, He is the Potter and we are the clay. And you see, He is the BEST POTTER EVER. The Master Potter. The kindest Potter. Filled with love and goodness. Trustworthy and true. Faithful and sure. With only His best for us. And ultimately whether we understand it or not, whether we see it or not, all of us I am so surely convinced, deep in our heart of hearts, only ever want to be who HE has designed us to be anyway.
And so I found myself stepping into a word that I don’t really even know was meant for me smiles...yet it birthed within me a fresh yielding...that said not my will but Yours Lord. Not my way but Yours Lord. It stirred up a fresh place of surrender that cried out...I’ll do whatever you ask Father. I’ll totally be a mum to the next generation. I’ll give myself to it fully. I’ll take those that you have already given me as spiritual kids and I will sow into them in a greater way. I’ll find more children to raise up. All that I am I will teach them. I will mentor them. I will give them my time, I will pray for them and love them deeply, I will encourage them to love You with all that they are and to be everything You have designed them to be. I will nurture them and champion them and the places I may have wanted to occupy I will give to them. What I would have poured into myself I will pour out on them.
And in the surrender I found fresh zeal. I found fresh freedom. I found a fulfilment that I hadn’t encountered before. As I began to give myself away, I saw sides of God that I hadn’t been exposed to before. I experienced a sweet sense of liberation that I hadn’t known before. And suddenly being mum to many, with intentionality and purpose, became a beautiful thing. A pursued thing. Building legacy became a personal thing. To let my - yet very incomplete and very much obscure ceiling, become the floor for the next generation, became a holy thing. Ironically yet not surprisingly, this pursuit of releasing others totally became a God thing.
And then to my delight, over time - this heightened desire in me to release the next generation into their destinies somehow end up releasing me. Ha. Typical Kingdom shenanigans right? The very thing you are willing to give away for the Lord, is what you will end up gaining in the end. Happy days. You see, as I laid down my own calling to establish someone else’s I ultimately found myself stepping into a greater revelation of who I had been designed to me - and without choosing to sacrificially nurture my spiritual children I could never have stepped into this crazy mothering anointing which ended up enlarging my heart and my borders in the most delicious way:
“Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women.” GOD says so! “Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities. Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short. You’ll forget all about the humiliations of your youth, and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory. For your Maker is your bridegroom, his name, GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies! Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth.” Isaiah 54:1-5 MSG
As this process unfolded, with a surrendered heart and with joy afresh, I found myself singing a new song. Though barren and childless in the physical, I released a spiritual mother’s melody of nurture. As the number of my spiritual babes grew, I cleared more ground for new tents. I made them large. I spread out my arms with a sweet abandon. I began to think big, on behalf of the children that were mine, not by birth, but by spirit. I began to use plenty of rope and I drove the tent pegs deep. I delightfully made lots of elbow room for my growing spiritual family. And as I pondered the beauty of my beautiful, breathtaking brood of spiritual children - coming to know their Maker in a deeper way - and their children’s children coming to know God in an intimate relationship, because of something that my life could pour into them, to help shape them and nurture them into purpose, I found comfort and a sense of rest and fulfilment, that was beyond me.
And as I considered the awesome privilege of building a legacy, where generation upon generation could perhaps enjoy the fruit of my simple, little life, I found myself seeing John 12:24-25 in a new light:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25 ESV
And as I quietly pondered the exploits they would do because they “knew” their God, the nations they would overtake; and the abandoned cities they would resettle, I came to the sweet realisation that I never have to hold back or fear in giving myself away to them - for anything I could seemingly lose out on in my own calling for the sake of anyone elses’s would never EVER be in vain. You see with God, I could simply never come up short - for my Maker is my bridegroom, His name, GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies! My Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth.
And so in true kingdom style, in that place of yielding, of relinquishing and in giving away the little that I had, I suddenly found doors that had been closed in my own journey began to open...I found places within myself became freer. I held on to my tomorrow’s far less. Somehow I found myself being shaped by the process just like the widow of Zarephath that we have all read about in 1 Kings, where the Prophet Elijah came to her and told her to feed him with her very last meal. Though that was all she had and though she would still have her own son to try and feed after she would feed Elijah, still she trusted and she used the last of her flour and the last of her oil to feed this prophet to the detriment of her own gain. When the prophet ordered her to gather all the jars she had, she did as he asked. Yet as she obeyed him, the most extraordinary thing occurred. In place of giving her last meal away, she gained an unending supply of flour and oil according to the Word of God.
This is literally how I feel. Seriously. An unending supply of fulfilment has been mine since I said yes to pouring into the next generation with purpose and intentionally, esteeming their calling far more precious than mine. Yet it was this very process, journey and YES I guess that allowed God to shape me into who He had called me to be. And what I had deemed as a destination actually was simply a thoroughfare. I needed to say YES to giving what I had away so that I could have impurities removed from my heart. So that I could be developed into more of the vessel that God wants me to be.
Not surprisingly then, I actually discovered that Zarephath means refining. A refinery being a facility where raw materials are converted into some valuable substance by having impurities removed. Smiles. You see, whenever a material needs to have unwanted parts removed in order to be made into a useable product, it must be refined. Refinery comes from refine, which is rooted in the now-obsolete verb fine, "make fine." It is often in giving it all away that we are refined. Living a life of sacrifice – being another’s breakthrough though you need one yourself…letting another shine their light though yours seems hidden…denying your own apparent growth or fulfilment so that Jesus’ purposes could prevail. And somehow it’s in this painful place of yielding and laying everything down that we ultimately end up gaining everything we need and actually the things that we desire.
More than ever before I am convinced that one of the greatest measures of success is raising up successors. I believe building legacy is one of the most significant things we can sow into, during our time on earth. Since this process began the mother is me is truly growing. I am finding the deepest joy, satisfaction and personal breakthrough as I pour into others in an intentional way. I’m seeing the fruit in my family, of course in my spiritual kids and most delightfully I’m seeing the fruit in my inners, conforming me more into the likeness of Christ. I’m so grateful. I’m so so grateful that the Lord has somehow heightened this bent in me. I am so so blessed, so honoured and truly so full.
“Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby. Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children than all those childbearing women.”