I was so excited When Pastors Ric and Naomi started talking about the vision for this year. I love change and every change they spoke of excited my spirit! Then Pastor Ric said, “Our theme for this year is ‘a BIG year”’. My eyes said “great” as I smiled and nodded for him to tell me more, but my heart sank. I was super excited for a big year for our church and what that could mean for the kingdom of God.But I was freaking out at what that might mean for our family. Last year was hard for us. Long and hard. We had a sick baby, waking every 2 hours screaming in pain for over 12 months. It was torturous and every little challenge we faced was exhausting (and we faced some big challenges). I was tired physically and emotionally. “God, I’m out. I can’t do it, where am I supposed to find energy for any more hard, I’m struggling to find energy for normal!” Then God whispered, “My big is different to your hard, my darling. Let me show you how to live big and live rest”. My thoughts froze. His BIG requires His strength, not mine. My weakness, my deficiency and my exhaustion are opportunities for His grace and His strength to shine. Choosing to embrace His big doesn’t mean stress, strain and exhaustion. His big is different to my hard, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Embracing His big means submitting my will to His, embracing His strength and His rest, allowing His grace to be sufficient. “But He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you; for My power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in your weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP) I want you to know how amazingly sufficient His grace for big is, so you might be brave enough to step into it. I have been given lots of big God opportunities and I want you to see how much of that is God and how little of that is me. So, may I boast in my weakness for a moment? We currently don’t use our sock drawers, I just throw individual socks in a nappy box. Resting in God’s presence is more important than making sure socks have a buddy. We have a bank account I can only access online because they sent me new cards 5 months ago and I can’t remember where I put them. My husband set our second fridge to arctic freeze without telling me because I kept putting things in there, forgetting about them and then, having to throw it out. So now everything in there gets frozen, reducing waste. I tell the time by what is playing on ABC kids. Yes, we watch enough TV that I know what is on at most times of the day. Yes. I wish it was on less, but I really like being able to use the toilet for a few moments without an audience, so the TV stays! Every winter I put off buying good, warm winter clothes because they cost more, so I want to make sure I invest in the correct item. By the time I find something that might be right, it’s usually late August and I talk myself out of it because winter will be over in a few weeks. I’m often cold. “Mrs Ottaway, are you taking your prenatal vitamins?” … “umm, no. But, I have a cupboard full them of them and want to remember to take them” Just moments ago, I was talking with my husband, he said to me “I really want to understand what you mean, but I’m struggling to” and my only possible reply was “thank you, but don’t bother. I’m struggling to understand it myself, let’s move on”. Twice this week I have gone out without putting on deodorant. I only realised it after blaming the smell on my kids for a good hour. They were getting very cranky at me looking for “surprises” in their nappies despite them telling me they were clean. And yet God somehow manages to use me in His Big plans! I don’t need to make my life hard by trying to maintain a perfect facade! Actually, the opposite is true. When I allow people to see my weakness, alongside the big God enables me to do, they would have no option but to give God the glory! “How does SHE manage to do THAT?”“I know, isn’t God amazing!! His strength is perfect! He has big plans for you too, if you will let Him” And when He is our strength, our rest and our source then big doesn’t have to mean hard. I’m not suggesting His big is easy. It is challenging, stretching and audacious. It is exciting, fulfilling and rewarding beyond measure.Most importantly it is more about what God can do with a willing heart, than what we are capable of doing by ourselves. My prayer is that as you embrace His big you to will know His strength and operate from His rest.