Courage Guests

Do you remember Nehemiah? He’s the wine-taster turned wall-builder in the Old Testament. He heard that the walls of Jerusalem were torn down and decided to not sit idly by but to get off his cushy palace job and do something about it.

Building a wall turned out to be a lot more than he bargained for. He and his fellow wall-builders were abused and even attacked. They had to work with one hand grasping their swords!

Soon, a group of people were scheming to harm Nehemiah and they told him to come down off the wall. He responded, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?“. (Nehemiah 6:3) They persisted and sent him 4 more requests to leave the wall. Nehemiah refused.

His enemies got even more crafty and were fake prophesying against him–and Nehemiah’s friends told him to run away and hide in the temple. Finally, Nehemiah says, “Should a man like me run away?…I will not go!” (Nehemiah 6:11)

My mom has been a pastor and teacher to children in our local church for over 25 years. She has sat in mini-chairs, done puppet shows, poured over curriculum and taught the 10 Commandments more than anyone can imagine. But she’s also planted seeds that have developed deep roots and flowering bushes. Ministry to children is the same as being a mom–you put in lots of time, lots of love but you don’t see results right away. Sometimes it takes generations for the seed to bloom.

Now my mom has taken Nehemiah’s cry as her own, “I am carrying on this great project and cannot go down…I will not go!” She’s 55 years old but still works as hard as she did when I was a student in her first Bible Club.

My sister-in-law is a missionary to Mexico. She has four children under 7 years old. Two of them were born in Mexico. She comes to the States about once a year. She misses birthday parties, Christmas get-togethers and Target. Her kids sleep under mosquito tents. Their church does battle with an actual witch doctor in their town.

But she does not come down. She knows the good work she is doing. And she will not go!

Ahhh, but they are missionaries! Pastors! I’m just a mom. A teacher. A desk jockey. A student. I don’t have a Great Project.

Don’t you? God said he has a plan for your life. He said He prepared good works for you to do–planned them even before the world was formed.

It might seem little to stay at home and wipe noses all day. It might seem insignificant to go to the same job week after week. It might feel trivial to do the same paperwork day in and day out.

God sees your whole life as His Great Project! He wants you to stay up on that wall and not go down! He wants you to see your job, your life, your family as a place to do His good works, to lead others to Him and to shine the light He’s placed inside of you.

After all, isn’t that what Jesus did for us?

He was on the cross for hours.

He was beaten, bloodied and bruised.

But He did not go down.

He was mocked and betrayed.

He had a legion of angels at his beck and call.

But his Great Project was YOU.

And He did not go down.

What is your Great Project? How can you stand on the wall this New Year?

By Amanda White, ohAmanda & Impress Your Kids
photo source: kanel strand

  • Diana Trautwein

    OH, amen! And AMEN. Thanks so much for these good, strong words. Preach it!

    • oh amanda {impress your kids}

      He was strong for us! Thank you!


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  • Charina @ Pondered Thoughts

    Amanda, what a beautiful post with such good strong words. I am in a situation right now where giving up or going down is probably the easiest thing to do….but because I have faith in Him and trust Him, I am not going down. I know He have great plans fos us and that He loves us. His Great Project in my life is not finished yet, I still have to shine His light he placed inside of me and lead others to Him.

    Thank you for the blessing of this post!

    • oh amanda {impress your kids}

      You’re so right–many times the easiest thing to do is go down. But I love how you said it–HE is NOT finished yet! Praying for your situation!


  • jody mcnatt

    but sometimes we want to go down., don’t we? sometimes we want to run — at least a little. at least to target or starbucks or the backyard. i am confident God has given me a Great Project — raising five kids, loving my man, advocating adoption, surviving cancer, wiping faces and washing dishes…oh yes! and i wouldn’t trade it in for all the tea in china. but whew! there are some days when i do want to climb right on off the horse and head for the border. and then i remember: HE sustains me, holds me, keeps me and meets me right where i am in the middle of my mission and even in the middle of my mess.

    • oh amanda {impress your kids}

      Ha! Yes, running to Target (or for me, social media!) is easier. Praise the Lord he does sustain and hold us!

      Beautiful words, Jody!

  • Shandra

    Thank you so much for this pep talk! I felt like I was reading Hebrews about the faith warriors! This is a VERY difficult season in my life and at times I wonder if someone could do a better job. Then I wake up, on a day I am starting back up a big commitment the Lord is asking of me, and He brings me a cheerleader! I’m gonna pull out my Bible and renew my mind about Nehemiah and His testimony in Christ. Blessings to you and (in)courage!

    • Amanda White

      Isn’t God good? Praying for you in this season. :)


  • David Taylor

    Wonderfully encouraging post Amanda. I”m glad Jesus made me His project and I’m glad He didn’t come down!

    • Amanda White

      Thank you, David. :)

  • Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

    You know I LOVE this piece. It is going to be my mental snapshot heading into 2012. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom with us. We will not go down.

    • Amanda White

      Thank YOU for letting me share, Lisa-Jo! You are up on your wall, girlfriend.


  • Diane N

    POWERFUL message!

  • karen

    I have struggled greatly the past few months with being a stay at home mom. I started off strong in August believing this is what I was supposed to do. By November I was defeated and e hausted. My two toddlerz had fried my brain and I was done. I am just finishing my first trimester with baby three. I have spent the last couple of weeks searching for a way to renew myself and praying for help. This post is a great reminder. I needed to hear it today as daddy has gone back to work and I’m back in the fulltime mommy role all day.

    • Amanda White

      Oh, Karen. It’s so hard. But be encouraged–God gave you your children. He made you their mother. Lean into Him. He’ll lead you. One of my fave scriptures is Psalm 25:14, “God confides in those who fear him…” I love the idea of God confiding in me. And I need him to confide in me about parenting! Praying for you today–that God will give you strength to stay on the wall and to confide His plans for you!


  • Lyn

    This is such a great message and so resonates with me. 2011 was a time of painful transistions for my family. My husband and I are lead pastors at a church and have not had your typical transistion, we are now almost two years in, and the wall has been slow building, but we will not come down. This past six months God has reminded us constantly about two great bible stories – Joshua and the walk around Jericho and Nehemiah building the wall. I, too, will keep this as a mental snapshot – thank you for sharing!

    • Amanda White

      Pastoring is tough stuff. So glad God is continuing to remind you of His Great Project for you!


  • Torrie

    A wonderful word of encouragement!

  • Mozi Esmes Mom

    A great message to start the year!

  • Happy Home Fairy

    Wonderful words. Thank you for that inspiration!

  • Amy

    This is so encouraging! Last year was a big year of transition for us, and some days I’ve needed that reminder to remain resolved and to not go down. What a good way to start the year!

  • Miranda

    I can see you’ve learned a lot from your mom. You are always so quick to encourage your readers through your blogs with a bible verse and a devotional post. I see she has taught you well :). God bless you, Amanda.

    • Amanda White

      Thank you, Miranda! I *did* learn a lot from my mom! ;)


  • Beth Williams

    I’m just a desk jockey. I don’t have a Great Project. Don’t you? God said he has a plan for your life. He said He prepared good works for you to do–planned them even before the world was formed.

    It might seem insignificant to go to the same job week after week. It might feel trivial to do the same paperwork day in and day out. Oh Amanda–Preach on girl! I’m in a transitional season in my work life. My job description has completely changed in the last few months. I’m considering a new type career/job.

    Thank you for the encouragement and reminder that yes He does have plans for us!

    God bless you!

    • Amanda White

      Yes, Beth! And his plans are to prosper you and not to harm you! (Jeremiah 29:11)


  • Kat

    Love. this. {fist pump}

  • Debbie Billingsley

    I love this post. It is something that I am FINALLY coming to understand at 55, We belong to God and he DOES have plans for us! Sometimes we see other people doing things and helping in places we long to be…….. but God has plans for us! Sometimes in places we don’t suspect at all.
    I recently had to put my mother in a memory care facility. I was so gulit ridden and truely over the past year I have been competely consumed with caring for mother, I was also very excitied about becoming a grandmother myself for the first time in the last few months.
    I have had some really great days visiting my mom and some of the other residents at the care center. It is actually very relaxing to talk with and “play” with the women that my mother gravitates to.
    My granddaughter is now 3 months old and she is thriving and cooing and smiling. Her parents are amazing, and so good with her. Why should I be suprised at that? God put them all in my life and they are caring on the “good work he started” in me 25 years ago. Then, the “Great Project” was Youth Group( with my husband). Now the Great project seems to be the care center ladies.
    I am a “stuck in the middle” person. I know I am not alone but your post really made me see that some times the “GREAT PROJECT” is sometimes the tasks at hand that need tending to. If I can bring some happiness and fun into the end of these people’s lives, through HIM who loves us all , then, This is, perhaps, a worthy “project ” in his eyes.
    Bless all of you who write on (in)courage! Happy New Year!

    • Amanda White

      LOVE what you said—“Sometimes we see other people doing things and helping in places we long to be…….. but God has plans for us!”

      Some of our great projects don’t seem that GREAT, but they are b/c He gave them to us. Love hearing about the good stuff God is doing w/your mom. :)


  • Amanda

    This was wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

  • Jennifer

    Wow! This is so powerful — so beautiful. My Great Project is letting the Father’s love pour into me as I seek to love my siblings well, for the first time in my life. There is much wounding that has happend in our relationships, due to silence and the consequential lacking of trust. Thank you, Amanda! I am standing on the wall, not coming down, this New Year, as I do my part in reaching out, despite whether or not they do.

    • Amanda White

      That’s hard stuff. But so worth it! Praying for you as you stay on that wall!


  • Anonymous

    I love this post! Years ago Andy Stanley talked about Sandra Stanley saying this about raising her kids. Those words have been in my heart since then. But I never really, really thought about the determination it takes to not go down. It was part of it- but I see now that it takes real effort and intention and purposeful direction. This post really brought that home. Thank you so much for writing!

  • Julie Sunne

    This past year, I wanted to get down and run several times. I wanted to say no, to ask Him to find someone else. But God has given me and each one of us a Great Project–and He doesn’t make mistakes. This year will be a continuation of my Great Project, to continue to say “yes” to God and follow Him to the cross. Thanks for the wonderful words in this post, Amanda.

  • Jennifer M

    Wonderful message. A great thought for the new year! Thank you!

  • Becca

    Bless you for these words! I have been battling a feeling of insignificance for some time now, and your message was so eye-opening. I forget that all the things I do don’t have to be big, because they serve a bigger purpose. Thank you!

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