God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable

–Romans 11:29
What? Three new posts in the last week? Yeah, I hope you’re excited, because I am. Anyway, I wanted to share a post I wrote a few weeks ago for Kingdom Dreams. They’ve been changing up their blog a bit, so I don’t think they’ll actually end up posting it, but it’s something that was on my heart to share, so I thought I’d share it here instead. Enjoy.

I know it’s been a while since my last post for Kingdom Dreams. I’ve taken a bit of a break while I’m here in Scotland to figure out other parts of my life and to think more on how best to chronicle this journey of dreaming… But I’m starting to realize that I can’t just set dreaming aside, compartmentalize it, and go on with the rest of my life – God won’t let me.

It’s funny, I haven’t really been focused on writing this dream blog, but God keeps bringing up the idea of dreaming. For example, I had coffee the other day with a friend of a friend, and he started talking to me randomly about the importance of dreaming and tells me that he works for City of Dreams, an organization much like Kingdom Dreams based here in the UK.

And another thing – I don’t know if it’s just been the time away or the conversations with other Christians or what, but God has really been molding and forming a specific dream inside me that somehow got pushed to the wayside whenever I thought about Kingdom Dreaming in the past.

I’ve had this dream pretty much since I was eighteen-years-old, when I saw the poverty in Cameroon and knew my friends back home needed to be made aware of what was truly happening in the world. Since then, the dream has blossomed into telling the stories of aid workers, missionaries, and the people they encounter and work with on a daily basis. I want to record the marvelous things God is doing around the world; I want to raise awareness and proclaim His glory through writing and photography.

But so far, my dream has been just that, a dream. A thing I mused with God about in my spare time, but I was never really sure if it were even possible, or how I would even go about making it happen.

I’ve already mentioned this dream casually to five different people here in Scotland. I don’t know why, God just keeps bringing it to the forefront of my mind. And do you know what each and every one of these people’s responses have been? An outpouring of encouragement, telling me I’m headed in the right direction: “That’s a great dream,” they said. “There’s definitely a need for that. We need story-tellers like you,” and even, “I know some people involved in things like that, do you want to meet them?”

God must be grinning up there, saying, She thinks this is just an idea, something that might never work out… Let me show her how real and possible it is for her to do this.

God won’t let me let this dream go. And even while I may have forgotten about it, He was already working out the details and connections necessary to make it a reality. Because it’s not my dream, it’s the dream He has given me, and He will see it through to the end.

I knew I needed to post this tonight because I’ve already started to push this out of my mind again and forget about it… But tonight at Crossroads we talked about the call God’s placed on each of our lives and the unique assignment He’s given to us as individuals, so I’m thankful that He will gladly keep reminding me of what I can (and will) do (or am already doing) for Him. I pray that He would remind you too. <3

Advertisements

Ice Cream Dreams

 

This post has now been published on the blog over at Kingdom Dreams! I’ll be chronicling my dream process there every Wednesday, so feel free to check it out!

At the Kingdom Dreams workshop that I mentioned in my last post, we did an exercise where we were split into groups. Each group was asked to come up with an amazing, out-of-the-ordinary ice cream shop and to present our ideas to a judge to see which group had the best one. We were told nothing was off-limits and that we could basically do whatever we wanted.

And leave it to God to place me in a group full of crazy dreamers.

The first idea? Everything’s free.
“Hey, I mean, they said anything goes, right?”
Okay, so free ice cream.

And an actual cow out front — no, wait, different colored cows for different flavors. Oh! Maybe the ice cream comes directly out of the utters! Mmm, now that’s fresh.

Don’t forget that it’s calorie-free, but full flavor!

And here I am, as the designated secretary, scribbling all this down and keeping my mouth shut. Because all I want to say is, “Well, how does that actually work? And how do we make a profit if it’s all free? Where are we getting this ice cream that we can’t pay for? And where in the world do we get multicolored, ice-cream-producing cows?!” But I kept my mouth shut.

“You’re quiet,” My new friend Tonya says to me. “You got any ideas?”

But I tell her I’m just trying to wrap my mind around it all as I keep on writing down the others’ ideas. Because I can’t think of anything wild, I can’t not be practical. I can play off the others’ ideas a little, but I can’t come up with my own, and I can’t accept the craziness of it all, except to just write it down because it’s only a game and what the heck, this workshop’s about dreaming, anyway, isn’t it?

But why was it so hard for me to dream?
(I’m a writer, for pete’s sake! Dreaming’s what I do on a daily basis. But that’s fiction. That’s stories.)
This was just a silly game, though, and I couldn’t even dream big.

What happens to my real-life dreams, then?
Thank God His dreams and imagination are much bigger than mine.

And sure, the world needs the practical ones, the ones who can help shape and focus a dream. And maybe that’s part of my purpose. But I don’t want my need for analyzing and control to hinder me from dreaming far bigger than what’s comfortable, far bigger than I can contain.

Because God’s dreams are uncontainable.

And my life is supposed to be God-sized and God-inspired —  not me-sized and me-inspired, limited by what only I can dream possible, hindered by the worries of not having enough money, time, resources, or influence… When all God is saying is, “Dream big, baby girl. It’s all in My control anyway, remember?

So go ahead, lay in bed at night and dream with Me about that crazy ice cream parlor that’s going to change the world.

And then, build it.”

If money were no object, if there were absolutely nothing in your way, what would you do for the Kingdom? What crazy, earth-shaking dreams has God placed on your heart? Do you believe He has the power to make them happen through you?

Chains be Broken, Lives be Healed

Our God is a God who restores.
I love that.

A year and so ago, I wrote about Counting up my Demons when I came face-to-face with a choice to confront my own brokenness. A month or so after that, I wrote more about the process of being broken and our inherent desire to bring restoration, to say I Will Try to Fix You.

Today, on a God-driven whim, I attended the Adventures in Missions Kingdom Dreams workshop. I learned many great things and connected with some awesome people. We also talked a bit about brokenness. For me, though, in trying to figure out my heart and listening to God, I talked about how I want to loose the chains of those held in bondage, whatever that bondage may look like (bondage to religious law, to the lies of this world, to an addiction or sinful practice, to anything, really — let’s bring freedom!).

But right now, all I can think about is how great our God is, that He seeks not only to offer us freedom, but to restore us to new heights we never thought we’d reach.

He will break our chains, He will lift us to our feet,
But He will also heal the cuts and scars from where the bonds dug into our skin.
He will restore.

Through some connections I made today, I started reading Make it Mad, and fell in love with one of Max’s posts on brokenness. He writes:

Listen up, folks.  No one is too contagious to be loved, too broken to be rebuilt, or too sick to be healed.  But just because you’ve been rebuilt does not mean you will never break, again.

This was so encouraging to me. I love that God is in the business of restoring, but I have been struggling lately with the fact that I’m not living up to my restored potential — that even though I’ve been working through this for more than a year, I’m not fully rebuilt, and it feels like I’ll never get there, because I keep falling and shattering over and over again.

But Max says, All that can be asked of us is that we remain authentic.  That we live the lives God created us to live to the best of our abilities.  And if we fall along the way? Grace, baby! We’ve got grace! … “And just in case you mess up tomorrow, your sins are forgiven, again.  And again.  And Again.  Forever and ever and ever and ever because My love for you is relentless.”

Amen. Our God is in the business of restoration, of reconciliation, of fixing and rebuilding. And He is such a wise and patient Builder. Though the creation is clumsy, and slips often, He knows exactly what He is doing, and He’s in it for the long haul. He will not give up on us.

My God is a God who restores. And restoration starts with the freedom to step out of your chains and stand broken before the Lord, knowing that He loves you so deeply and will build you into something you could never have imagined.

Chains be broken. Lives be healed. The Kingdom of God is at hand.