Expect Something Beautiful with Laura Booz Podcast

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The Double Stroller at a Tech Conference

When you are following God's call on your life, day after day, it's so easy to lose perspective. You need encouragement to help keep your focus. That's what the podcast Revive Our Hearts provides every weekday. When you subscribe you'll hear teaching from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She'll help you dig in to the Bible and help you remind you to build your life on the truth. And she also talks with some guests about how to live that truth out day by day. To learn more, visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Laura Booz: Imagine that you’re at a conference—a big tech conference in a big fancy facility. It’s early morning and people are showing up for their first session of the day. 

Professional women are sipping their jade leaf matcha latte drinks at the complimentary tea and coffee bar, while they select a couple of strawberries and a cream cheese filled danish. They’re greeting one another and making plans to meet up for lunch. And everyone looks great. 

They’re tailored and well rested and focused as they casually check their phones for the conference schedule and find the location of their first session. They are heading into a week of professional development and networking, good food, stimulating ideas, and getting paid for it all. And the only thing that stands in their way is . . . me. 

Yup, I’m standing there in the middle of the conference center with my double stroller flanked by my kids and snacks and water bottles. My hair is in a messy bun. I’m wearing sweatpants and the world’s largest diaper bag backpack. I’ve got baby drool on my shoulder, and I’m just standing there, lost in thought. Watching these fabulous women sling their computer bags over their shoulders and head off to work, there are tears in my eyes, and I kind of want to run away. 

It’s me Laura Booz. You’re listening to Expect Something Beautiful, and believe it or not, today’s episode you can. Today’s story illustrates that you can expect God to stick by you, even when it’s difficult for you to stick by Him.

I hope by the end of this ten-minute episode, you feel encouraged to keep on going and not give up in your great walk of faith; to not give up in whatever work the Lord is calling you to do today. 

For several winters in a row our whole family trekked out to Ohio for a week-long technology conference. It was just one of those rare occasions where our whole family could participate. So while my husband connected with people and ideas that helped him grow professionally, our older kids could attend classes on robotics and 3-D printing and electronics. As if that wasn’t cool enough, the conference was also held at an indoor waterpark. 

So in-between classes we bobbed in the wave pool and slid down the waterslides. Now, my role in the whole experience was to support the troops. During the day my husband attended the conference while I took care of the kids. Every year I wholeheartedly agreed to the arrangement, but I’ll tell you what, it was not easy. 

It was not easy to feed a family of seven out of a mini-microwave for a week or to keep track of five spunky kiddos in a waterpark as a ginormous water bucket dumped water from the sky every three minutes.

It wasn’t easy to dry bathing suits and help with showers and keep the peace, usher big kids to classes, and guide the little kids from snacks to meltdowns to naps and back around again—all while making sure that none of them pulled the fire alarm. Was it privileged, yes. Full of happy memories, maybe. But was it easy, no. 

Maybe that’s why as I was hauling an overstuffed diaper bag and careening through the conference center I just stopped in my tracks. I watched the women fill their coffee mugs and head off to their next session, and I wished God had called me to do the work they were doing. 

To be honest, there was a time when I dreamed of making it big professionally. When I was in college, I thought I could really go far. But instead, here I was doling out snacks and folding pool towels. But in that moment, God made my calling very clear. I could almost hear Him saying, keep your hands on the stroller and stay the course.

The question was, Would I obey? Well, one thing was certain. If I was going to persist in this career-compromising, dream-altering, counter-cultural work, I needed help beyond myself. I needed God’s gift of self-control.

We tend to define self-control as the determination to do the ab workout or to not eat the cookie. Most of us hear the word “self-control” and immediately cringe with guilt about body image. Well sure, self-control helps us to make wise choices about how we care for our bodies, but it is so much more than the secret to weight loss. 

I mean, self-control is the game changer in our walk of faith. Without self-control, Christ-like virtues are only good ideas that never actually happen. But with self-control, every other aspect of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness—they come to life. 

We see the makings of self-control when Jesus took His disciples to Gethsemane to pray. He needed time and space to surrender His personal desires to His heavenly Father and affirm that He would do His Father’s will, no matter what the cost. But it took some time to wrestle it out. 

The Bible says that He prayed three times, “My Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” (Matt. 26:29).The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak. 

And finally, Jesus got up. He turned His face towards His betrayer. He could have appealed to His Father, who would have at once sent more than twelve legions of angels to rescue Him, but He didn’t. Instead, He chose to be crucified, to fulfill the Scriptures and to save His people from their sin. 

Although soldiers nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross, the nails didn’t hold Him there; He held Himself there. He could have indulged His flesh and abandoned us, but He did not. After centuries of heart stirring promises, epic foreshadowing, show-stopping miracles, and wondrous prophecies, Jesus completed our redemption through one humble act of self-control. 

Even on our worst day, God looks at us and sees Jesus’ gritty self-determined self-control. He hears Jesus resolve, “Not as I will but as You will.” He sees Jesus weep and sweat and set His face towards the cross and stay there in love. And because of that, the Holy Spirit moves in you and in me so that we too may die to sin and live for Him. We too may set our faces toward His will . . . and do it. Self-control may feel limiting, but it actually takes us farther than we would go without it. 

One time when Jesus was talking about the cost of following Him. He said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). This always makes me think of the farmer who plows the nearby fields. I would love to know how many miles that man puts on his tractor as he drives back and forth to plow, and then to fertilize, and plant, and finally harvest the same few acres of ground year after year. 

I sometimes wonder if he ever wants to leave the dirt and sweat and limitations of farm life and drive across the country instead, heading to the beach for a well-earned vacation. I mean, can you imagine how far he could travel if he logged those miles straight down the highway and not back and forth over the same spot of land?

But when a farmer commits to feeding his family, livestock, and community, he keeps his hand to the plow—mile after mile and season after season. At harvest time when the silos, wagons, wheelbarrows, freezers, and canning jars are stocked with good wholesome food, and when a plot of God’s good earth has been lovingly tended for yet another year, the farmer sees how far he has traveled, and he’s glad he stayed the course.

Listen, if you’ve put your hand to the plow of faith, don’t look back. Don’t let anything distract you from your walk with Christ, or the work He’s called you to do. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Keep at the work God has called you to do. What you’re doing matters. You will reap a harvest—a full satisfying, beautiful, God-glorifying harvest—if you don’t give up. 

These were some of my thoughts as I stood in the middle of the conference center, torn between God’s calling to support my husband and kids for the week and my momentary desire for a different path. By God’s grace, I gripped the handle bar, leaned my weight into the stroller, and wheeled it towards the room where Ryan was actually preparing to teach one of the kids’ track sessions.

If I hadn’t stayed, if I hadn’t surrendered to the will of God for me, I wouldn’t have been standing in the back of the room with a squirmy toddler to hear my husband teach a room full of enthusiastic future techies about digital sound. I wouldn’t have encouraged our children to help their daddy with his class. I wouldn’t have seen our tween daughters eyes light up about 3-D printing, or high fived our four-year-old when she slid down her first water slide, or walked hand in hand with our toddler as he explored the baby pool. My relationship with my family grew. 

God entered in when I least expected it. It was in those moments when I wrapped warm towels around my kids shivering shoulders and served them countless bags of microwavable popcorn. To be with them, to help them to thrive was wonderful. As always, a glimpse of how God must feel about being with us. 

And surprisingly, even though I wasn’t attending any thought-provoking sessions or networking or having stimulating conversations over lunch, I grew that week. I grew in character, maturity, and commitment. Mostly, I grew in awe of Jesus, who given the choice between laying His life down for us or doing something less costly, picks us every time.

So here’s the thing, whether God calls us to build a career, a ministry, a home, or all of the above; whether He asks us to carry a diaper bag, a computer bag, or a tool bag; whether He asks us to keep our hand to the stroller or the microphone or the plow; whether He calls us to say the right thing, do the right thing, or think the right thing; we’ll all wrestle with obedience from time to time. We won’t always see the benefit of doing things His way. We’ll need His help to pray, “Not my will but Thine be done.” And we will need to remember that no matter what, He will never leave us or forsake us. 

For the record, any woman who’s committed to loving God and people is never going to go as far as she thought she could go in life. None of us will achieve self-actualization or maximize our potential, not the way we define it anyway. I say, let the tears fall, because the truth of the matter is that when we say “yes” to God, we may go half the distance but we’ll go twice as far. 

As I lean on God's strength to follow His will in this season of life, I am chronicling the journey on my blog, LauraBooz.com. If you enjoy this podcast I hope you'll check it out. Again, that's Laura Booz.com. We will be back in a couple weeks, continuing to explore some of the stories unfolding in day to day life. I hope you'll be on the lookout for how biblical truth is intersecting with your story. When you are, you can expect something beautiful!

Expect Something Beautiful is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. 

This episode contains an excerpt from Laura's book, Expect Something Beautiful: Finding God's Good Gifts in Motherhood. Look for it in October, 2021 from Moody Publishers.

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About the Teachers

Laura Booz

Laura Booz

Laura Booz is a writer, teacher, and podcaster who encourages women to love God, think biblically, and live vibrantly. She'll cheer you on, share practical ideas, and point out the beautiful ways God is working in your life. She’s delighted to host the Expect Something Beautiful podcast with Revive Our Hearts and to be writing her first book. She and her husband, Ryan, and their six children make their home in Pennsylvania. Meet her at LauraBooz.com.