The Little Engine That Will
Updated: Feb 24, 2019
"I think I can I think I can” how many of us remember this old adage that is still used today from the story of the little engine that could?
Recently while all the 11-year olds were riding go-carts at my younger child's 11th birthday party, my other man-child, whose 13-years old and almost six foot tall (yes, we grow them big around these parts) said “Mom I want to go climb the rock wall, do you think I can make it to the top?” Being the supportive mom I am, I replied, “Of course, you can.”
Ya’ll. I'm not going to lie, that wall exhibit was at least 2-3 stories high. I love him, but I doubted he could make it to the top. I know, mom of the year. Harnessing my doubt face to be encouraging, I felt the wind blow gently on my face, and I just gazed all the way up the high wall. Why don't you go try climbing to the top. Clearly, I must have gas from all the pizza I just consumed because I knew there was no way I could climb that wall, heck I doubted my 13-year-old strong, boy could.
I told the Lord, "I can try" and He said “turn your "can" into a will” Ok. Sure. If we’re going to get all spiritual at the putt-putt place?
"I think I can climb this wall," I told my son. And, after he and his friends quit laughing, I said, "No wait. I will climb this wall in my cheetah tennis shoes." Listen, if you have not tried to climb a rock wall, you have not lived. I lapped another 13 year old boy, and didn’t even break a nail. It was exhilarating. Now, let’s not kid ourselves, I only got a little more than halfway up until I had to release. I mean, like, if I didn’t release, I would have plummeted to my death. Now, I know that’s dramatic, but I did surprise myself on how far I willed myself to go, because 7 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed in my heart that I could even try. Why? Because my heart was not yet cultivated in faith.
In this season, I just want to be a woman of cultivated, unshakable faith. That picture can only be formed by using the example of Mary. Have you ever thought about Mary? Listen, this woman and the profound courage she presented, make me want to light my hair on fire. Let’s just think about how much she was misunderstood by her parents, how much she was troubled with her fiancé, and how judged she must have felt by her community after she became pregnant with Jesus.
When you really break it all down no one believed Mary but Joseph. I mean, the whole an angel came to me, and told me I would have the son of the most high? Sure. That could happen. So, why did Mary believe? Because her heart had been cultivated in faith. She did not laugh like Sarah did when she heard she would bear a son. No. When she was told the miracle would happen to her; Mary asked one question.
Luke 1:34 says she asked with expectancy "how will this be, since I am a virgin?" She did not say how can this be. It shows the posture of her heart when God spoke something to her she didn't respond with a doubt of how can this be; she simply said how will? Because she knew because of where her faith stood when God says something we can believe Him.
Goodness knows I have heard God speak so many things and said “Wait, how can this be God? You know me- I can't do that, or I can't do this?” Revealing that, I’m just a normal wife, and mom who sometimes doubts what God says, only because, I really doubt me.
Not Mary. She literally went on to say in the passage "Let it happen to me according to your word." Why, oh why, can’t I be better at this? Well. This year, I’m not going down like this.
I’m trying to climb higher.
Mary knew something that it's taken me years to ease into; she knew instinctively-she belonged to Him. When you know where you belong your identity starts to be solidified, and your trust is built more.
So. After the testosterone building shindig was over and I was laying on my couch drinking tea, I felt the Lord leading me to look up the difference between the words can and will. The word will is defined as-expressing the future tense; expressing inevitable events. (kinda sounds like faith, huh?) The word can is defined as- to be able to; to be permitted to. (And this sounds like we have the opportunity to do it, but it’s up to us) Yes, wait for it, because we are about to change the face of one of the most famous children’s book ever published. It should have been, “I think I will, I think I will.” Expressing the inevitable event of the engine making it up the track, not just being permitted to make the journey.
Listen, forget the engine, I am trying hard to follow in Mary’s footsteps will you join me? We're going to miss it, we're going to fall but this year, but let's not look at how high the wall is, and say, I don't think I can do that, but instead I will go attempt that.
I don't know where your walk of faith is right now in your life, it may be uncertain, but, I hope you'll find encouragement in knowing that you can expect good; because He is good. God is simply blowing the doors off of what He's doing in this ministry and He's teaching me daily it's not a question of if He's going to move on our behalf; but how He will do it.
I can’t presume to know where you are today, cause, life is just hard; I get it. You may be praying for a child that’s been wayward for years. You may be praying for a marriage that needs restoring after decades, or you may be praying for pregnancy that hasn't happened. Hang on with me, as we climb in our cheetah tennis shoes to bigger heights with Him- miracles still happen they are not absurd to God miracles are His normal.
He's a God who rescues his people, in fact, He longs to come through for us in dramatic ways. Read a story in scripture that encourages you, or simply look outside at something beautiful He's created and don’t ask how can He come into the place of your troubles, but just- expect that He will.