Lisa-Jo Baker’s FOREWORD to my book, Dragons and Dirt

So in just ten short days I’ll be launching Dragons and Dirt. Yikes. Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Dragons and Dirt FINAL COVER

I’m so excited to bring you this book. I want to make it as accessible and affordable as possible (I’ll let you in on the launch special prices as soon as I’ve finalised those with the Powers That Be, like Amazon), because I know you keep thinking of someone who should totally unwrap it on Christmas morning.

You’ll be able to get copies of the book:

Half the proceeds of every book sale will go towards Botshabelo’s Preschool Teacher Training Programme in Olievenhoutbosch and other under-resourced communities in Gauteng. Because really, we can change the world.

Today I’m sharing the foreword of Dragons and Dirt, written by my lovely friend Lisa-Jo Baker. Lisa-Jo and I grew up in the same neighbourhood, wore the same school uniform and possibly had crushes on some of the same boys. She’s now living stateside and is mom to three very loud kids, social media manager to DaySpring, community manager for the millions of women who gather each year at www.incourage.me, and author of Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom. I am so very grateful for her ministry in my life.

. . .

I have a sticker that clings to the window above my kitchen sink. I can see it even when the dishes are piled high and gritty with last night’s dried-on pasta sauce that I really should have remembered to rinse before we went to bed. And when I stand in front of the sink, when I’m unloading the dishwasher, when I’m cleaning out yet another bottle of old milk, when I’m pouring water or fetching a clean fork, it’s right there – the reminder:

‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down’ (Nehemiah 6:3, New American Standard Bible).

And now Dalene has written a book that shouts the message of that small sticker loud enough to drown out the days filled with doubt and confusion and last night’s dishes.

However, it is not a safe book.

And it shouldn’t be.

Because if we want to make a difference in this broken world of ours, we should expect opposition. Especially when it comes in disguise. Sometimes it looks like our own pride, our list of people who’ve hurt us, who owe us, our long records of old wrongs and brand new fears.

But for me, often it looks like that mountain of dirty dishes or unsorted socks piled high on the couch or the temper tantrums (sometimes my own) right before we’re trying to get out the door. All these things can add up to me feeling small and incapable of changing anything in the world, let alone myself, my kids or the laundry that’s been sitting in the washer for well over two days.

It’s easier to believe that courage and calling look bigger, fancier than our Monday afternoon to-do lists. And that world changing looks like preachers and teachers, prophets and rock stars, bloggers, poets and politicians, all more qualified than those of us who come behind all bent over with our ordinary and embarrassed by our messy minivans.

We want heroes with grand lives to sweep us up into their stories and let us live vicariously through them as they change the world while we stay home and fold the boring laundry.

But what if we are the heroes we are waiting for?

What if we are called for such a time as this? Right here in the midst of carpooling and devastating diagnoses and planning toddler birthday parties?

What if we can change and mold and challenge and fight back the darkness from our own corner of the Kingdom?

What if ordinary is heroic?

What if we each stand firm on our portion of the wall and refuse to come down because we know that we are, in fact, doing a great work right where God has assigned us?

Dalene knows this. And her book reminds us all that most world changers wear jeans and t-shirts most days and fight fevers more than they make headlines. Most world changers don’t have or care about blog platforms or their readership. They are too busy figuring out how to love their kids through a meltdown.

Most world changers are sitting right there in the pew behind us with their broken-down daughters, their aging parents, their newborns who won’t sleep through the night, their prodigal teens, their singing off-key.

Most world changers are so ordinary we wouldn’t give them a second glance in the checkout line. They reek of homework and figuring out the taxes and how to squeeze a date night into another crazy week of carpool and sports and getting one more stain out of the carpet.

Most world changers are brave because they keep going in the face of their overwhelming fears, their worries, the voices in their heads that tell them they aren’t good enough, diligent enough, calm enough, prepared enough, or any other enough that can spit up out of the ‘perfect-o-meter’.

Eight women I know spent a morning cooking food for the friend whose house was trashed by a hurricane, for the single parent who doesn’t have enough, for the family who will likely knock on the church door tomorrow.

I have a friend who shared a photo of her toilet bowl and brush after a long weekend caring for sick kids and that photo is more powerful than any I’ve seen of her up on stage.

There is no showmanship in heroism. There is just the next thing. Sometimes that thing might feel small – like helping your kid with his Math homework. And sometimes it might feel big – like standing on a stage, or writing a book, or surviving couples counselling, or helping to build a school, or raising a million dollars to fight HIV/Aids . But my guess is, heaven uses a very different measuring stick than we do.

So Dalene calls us to keep on at it – all of us who are up to our elbows in what feels like ordinary.

Her book and that tiny sticker above my kitchen sink remind me that all this – the kids and the chores and the grass that needs mowing and the friend who has hurt your feelings – all this is part of the great work that God has called us to do.

And while the great work I’m called to won’t look the same as what you’re called to, they will both likely require leaning into the small, daily acts of obedience and courage that – brick by brick – build a story of world change.

Lisa-Jo Baker

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7 comments

  1. CANNOT WAIT. So great that you have this foreword and endorsement and love the ‘not a safe book’ness of it all. Really super stoked and looking forward to the launch and expecting great things. Maybe when i get mine out we can do a tag team tour event sometime…

    Keep on forging ahead – it is almost real real
    love brett fish

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  2. Congratulations!! So thrilled for you! And I absolutely love this foreword .. well done, Lisa-Jo! Dalene, you and I both wrote for Radiant Magazine back in the day, and your articles were always my favorite. 🙂 I’ve since become online friends with Lisa-Jo, and I’m so excited for you and the launch of your book! All of the best!

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    • Ah Kate, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! I’ve followed your journey too and just so thrilled and amazed at God’s goodness to you and how he is using you.. Thank you for your encouragement and excitement! Much love

      Like

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