It's such a tiny space in the rafters of our patio roof--barely enough room to hide the smart plug and extension cord that light up my Mood Swing.
It was a boring stucco wall where I have my quiet time outside, so I grabbed a cheap canvas and painted my vision of what following Jesus looks like--and my favorite quote from Jill Brisco: "All the Way Home."
I've written more about the painting here, but basically, it's a reminder to carry our cross all the way home, even when we're tired, even when we want a break, even when we struggle with whatever life throws. I look up at this painting and remember to persevere. I look at this painting, readjust my attitude, and get excited about my purpose: making disciples.
I shared it in my Instagram stories, but a persistent bird has been hanging out and seeking shelter in this tiny space above my painting. I think it's precious. Brad thinks it's annoying--probably because he usually sits on that side of the couch, right in the line of bird poop…
I came home one day, and he had hung a shiny twirly thing he read would deter birds. Except it doesn't phase THIS bird, but when the sun is shining, it blinds whoever is sitting on the not poop-covered side of the couch (me).
Basically, the whole bird situation has wrecked our happy place.
I can't help it; I love this bird. I think it's hilarious that she is so attached to our patio. We built this space to make all feel cozy and welcome. Apparently, I'm extending that invitation to God's creatures as well. I became especially protective and excited when I saw her bring hay and dried grass. That little thing is building the messiest nest I've ever seen.
There is poop everywhere, hay everywhere….But she and her man--I'm calling them Jill and Bill are working so diligently to build a home for their coming babies. I am distracted by their song and constantly looking at their progress; I love them so much. I am here for every second of it.
Here is a truth God gave me that is too profound not to share:
New life is always messy.
Could Jill and Bill be first-time parents? Who knows. Their nest isn't in a great spot and is not a tightly built structure. But they know they are birthing something special, so they're creating it the best they know how.
Right now, something significant is being birthed at Asbury and multiplied by eager hearts at college campuses worldwide. God alone creates new life, and then much like my birds, he entrusted the least of these to build the nest and nurture it.
Guess what, mature believers, the ripple effects will be messy. They won't get everything right; they will miss some things and maybe get off track.
How will we, the generations before them, stand in that gap?
As I ponder the analogy between the new life revival is birthing at Asbury and the new life being birthed on my patio, I realized that I have a choice: I can be irritated by the chaos that inconveniences my safe space and preferences. I can complain as I look at the mess my birds, Jill and Bill are making. I can even tear their little nest down.
Or, I can sense the blessing of new life and choose to love. I can anticipate their needs and leave out the lint from my dryer. I can humbly clean poop off my art. I can sweep away the dried grasses and discarded waste that would clutter the space they're building to hold God's entrusted lives. I can use discernment to either take down the shiny, twirly thing or leave it up to ward off any predators that may try and harm their fragile baby dream.
I get to stand guard in the unseen and use the benefit of my experiences and journey with Jesus to anticipate needs and clear a path for this generation so they won't stumble or grow weary doing good. I get to pray over them and hold their arms up when the battle rages and they are overwhelmed or tired.
All the Way Home, covered in the mess of new life. I can't think of a more powerful reminder that my purpose in life WILL be messy if I do it right. I don't want an immaculate path Home. I want to disciple the next generation in the trenches and empower them to go farther and do more than I could dream. It's going to be messy as they figure this out. But God has trusted them with His Power and Spirit in a mightier way than I've seen in my lifetime. I want to dive in and be part of the river flowing from God's throne through these college kids.
Gen Z, I'm praying for you. I'm here to help when it gets messy and when you need wisdom. I'm preparing my heart each morning on this messy couch to be wise counsel. I'm committing not to complain or not criticize. I am spending time with the Lord daily, so I'll be prepared for battle and available to disciple you. I'm here to help and serve and learn from you. This entrusted generation. The presence of God falling like fire from Heaven. What a miracle!
To the rest of us who have gone our whole lives following Jesus and have never been part of something like this, it's our time to stand in the gap. We've walked laps in the desert to see a generation taste the Promise Land. This is our victory, too! This is the fruit of our prayers and faithfulness. We have dug wells they are drinking from to sustain them on this wild ride. We can learn from this revival that people worldwide are THIRSTY for Jesus: not religion, but the POWER of a LIVING GOD. Even from a distance, humble ourselves, beg for a revival of our faith--beg for Him to empower us to cheer this generation on as they lap us spiritually. Bring water, bring food, cover them in prayer, and cover them in grace. Encourage hearts; speak life! Praise you, Jesus! Let your fire fall. Do it in me.