Friday, July 27, 2012

for when God ups the ante

{Up (or raise) the ante: 
increase what is at stake or under discussion.}
Just when I think I’m graduating from faith school, God ups the ante.  
I’ve never recorded any of my songs in a real studio.  The closest I’ve gotten was my first year overseas, when a group of extremely talented and dedicated friends put together an amateur collection of my songs.  That collection has traveled around the world and back, and many more copies have been made than the 1000 we originally ordered, which I thought I would never be able to get rid of.  (That was the minimum number the bulk printing company who donated the copies would make… I thought surely I’d have stacks left over.  Instead, people called asking if it was ok to make more copies!)  
Now, more than 8 years later, I still get an email out of the blue every so often from someone with a copy of that album, who happened to be listening to a song of mine that morning and wanted to let me know they were blessed.  I cry every time I get one of those emails.  The miracles God did to bring that simple little recording into existence…
So, I’m still writing songs.  And this upcoming home leave, I have the chance to record in a real studio… 
And I’m gonna take it.  
Whew.  Just typing those words leaves me breathless.  
So what's at stake here?  Well, I'll be a bursting - I mean, blooming - 9 months pregnant by the time I get into the studio.  I'm not sure I'll have lung space to sing!  And even though my incredibly supportive husband (who also keeps track of our finances) assures me God's already provided what it will take to do this, it still took me a while to hear clearly from Jesus: I want you to invest in blessing.  Don't hold back.  Do this for me.  
Obviously, I’m not done with faith school yet.  {Are we ever really done til we get to heaven and see His face?}  Just when I think I’ve limboed under His lowest bar, and I’m celebrating because my back didn’t even ache this time, He drops it down one more notch.  Focuses on the next too-precious thing, the next deeper level.
Holley Gerth wrote a note this week that felt meant for me (you can read the whole thing here)… My favorite bit was this: 
On the edge of the Promised Land, [the Israelites] came to the Jordan river. When the priests stepped into the water then it parted. It always takes a step of faith to get to the Promised Land. Always. And if you wait until you’re unafraid, you’ll never cross.
Perhaps you’re in the middle of that kind of moment too, right where you are, taking your own step.  If so, we’re cheering for you. You may not be able to hear, you may not be able to see, but you are not doing this alone.
And what’s ahead of you is more than you can even imagine.
Go for your Promised Land, friend. Let nothing hold you back. Put your feet into that water and feel the dry ground of God’s goodness.
You can do this with Him–one step at a time.
So let me encourage you… when God ups the ante?  He always comes through with the faith we need to take the next step.  And the next.  And the next.  
After all, if this faith thing came naturally, it wouldn’t need to be a gift, right?  
And when we need more?  We just have to ask. 
What next faith step is God asking you to take?  What's holding you back?


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