Many of you will know that in a couple of weeks Mike and I become parents for the first time. Although parenthood is a life-long dream for many people, for a time the thought of it filled me with fear. Perhaps it comes from being fiercely committed to the people and ministry I’m already invested in or maybe it’s a much more simple selfishness, but somewhere I’d picked up the naïve belief that motherhood would reduce me as a person. Either way, this new journey has already been an exercise in letting go, trusting God and taking new steps of faith. With that said, if I’ve learnt one thing in the last nine months, it is that fear reduces us but faith enlarges us.
I don’t think there ever comes a time in our discipleship where Jesus stops inviting us to lie more of ourselves down, to let go and to trust Him. Fear may hold us back from responding but in the upside down kingdom of God, it’s as we lie our hopes, dreams and most importantly lives down for His service that we find ourselves.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
After I stopped giving into a fear of letting go and chose instead of put a few dreams back at Jesus’ feet, God began lavishing new gifts, new opportunities and new blessings on Mike and I.
Some of these blessings relate to parenting (for example, our close friends living in Rickmansworth are also expecting a baby just a few months after us) and others relate to the people and ministries that already have my heart (including relationships with young people at Christ Church and new ministry opportunities beyond Christ Church). All of them ‘enlarge’ Mike and I as people.
As I go on maternity leave for the year and hand over leadership of the youth ministry to Simon, I wanted to encourage each of us not to let fear hold us back from following and trusting Jesus in the year ahead. It’s fear that reduces us; faith enlarges us.