In the beginning of August 2014 we settled on our move to a new city, a new community and a new adventure. My husband Mark and I were unafraid and eagerly expectant of good things. We only had God’s word to hold on to and that seemed like enough (more than enough). We quickly settled into our new and foreign environment but with that came the shocking blow of discouragement and disappointment. We entered into the exact opposite of what we were expecting. We desperately tried to find relationships and connection. We were intentional about getting a new record started but plans kept falling through. We had a dream and a word, but nothing happened.
At times we felt so abandoned that we forgot to band together. So we turned on each other and old issues in our marriage returned with a vengeance.
I ended up back at the same job I’ve always worked as, a childcare worker, and the days were long and immensely lonely. Mark had trouble even getting a simple part-time job. So the anxiety was at an all time high for me. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks and not being able to shake the claws of fear. We lived in a little one bedroom apartment and spent most of our time alone with God and our broken songs. But then, in the midst of all the back-to-back disappointment, a breath of life and promise. I was pregnant! (Literally pregnant.)
It was the sweetest gift to receive in one of our hardest seasons. We held on fiercely to the burst of hope that this baby brought us. Then another break of light came when we wrote our baby’s anthem (not the name of the song) and it kept us clinging to the Holy Spirit as we sung it daily. It’s a song infused with hope and all it’s lyrics were the opposite to all the opposition we were facing. We knew from that moment on that we came to the lowest valley to meet God in a whole new way. Our mindsets shifted and slowly our hearts surrendered the disappointment, in exchange for the divine appointment of his heart. We had come for entirely different reasons than what God had in mind.
We arrived excepting dreams to thrive without our hearts being truly alive in him. And to come alive in him you truly have to die with him. In other words, we moved into a valley to die and go as low as we could go. Our marriage had to die on another level, our music dreams had to die even deeper, our pride definitely had to die and our need to control our destiny had to be put to death. Once our minds grappled with this truth and we caved to its transformative power, we began to come alive in ways we never imagined. Our marriage was restored in ways so miraculous and unexpected. We became each other’s lovers again and held to each other as best friends. Our ministry was re-set and re-focused on our oneness with the Holy Spirit and NOTHING and NO ONE else. We realized with so much depth the reality that our worship was NOT about us and we really began giving those “self-seeking” idols up. We couldn’t wait to raise up a community and family of worshipper sons and daughters. We stopped dreaming into us and became infinitely more excited to dream into others. We embraced the heart of being mothers and fathers spiritually and artistically. We began to realize the dream, the destiny and the desire of the Father wasn’t about us but it was about family.
This 5-month season was painfully necessary. It drew out so much unimaginable beauty. We came to die and truly left alive. Mark and I learned to die to our dreams and sweetly give into His dreams. We realized that his dreams weren’t exactly always our dreams. There was a distinct difference. His dreams were for family, humility, surrender, intimacy, dependency, rediscovery of his passions and his heartbeat and really learning to seek the fullness of His presence and nothing else.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
The father kept whispering this verse into my spirit and I really didn’t get it until one day it hit. His personal translation was this, “Die in me and give way to the life of intimacy in me and I will resurrect every dream to so much more and cause desires aligned with my heart and passions to come alive again. To dream apart from me is hopeless but to dream in me is healing. I will give you the desires of your heart (your God breathed DNA dreams) and they will set you free from the disappointing dreaming of the world and set you up for the divine appointed dreaming of heaven. To dream with heaven is to watch these dreams not only happen to just you but everything and everyone around you. To dream with me is to dream into others again and to partner together in pulling potential out of nothing. To dream with me is a true miraculous and creative expression of being my son and daughter. Dreaming with me is to fall head over heels in love with my heart and to fall fast into who you really are. The valley is actually a hidden mountaintop. The lower you go the higher you are with me.”
Now as we return to our first love we are excited for this journey of parenting (which will bring new and deeper ways of dying). God is constantly inviting us to the place of death. Not because he wants to hurt us, but because he is excited for our resurrection. This is Why Dying Is The Most Beautiful Thing. Just be willing to surrender, because he’s always willing to father you into love, joy and greatness.
And don’t forget to sing.
Enjoy our melodies of surrender:
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