It was hard finding a title for this post. Dreaming is very important in the kingdom of God. He gives us the capacity to dream and imagine. But dreaming our own dreams and letting God give us dreams.. these are two different things. The reason I am writing about this today is because the Lord is dealing with some big issues in me that have to do with dreaming. For most of my life, I have let dreams be a way of escaping pain and suffering. It started in childhood. I was very unhappy with my family and there were many reasons why. I am not going to go into it here, but I needed a way out.. so I dreamed of this perfect life.. a perfect family. One very different from my own.
Unfortunately the path I took to get that perfect life failed. I had relationships with men that were unhealthy and eventually ended up marrying an abusive addict.. but when he passed away.. the dream of a better life was still alive and I married Steve. He was a wonderful man and I had many of the things in my life that I thought were lost forever. If you have been following my blog, then you know that Steve also passed away.. last summer. I lost everything when he got sick and I no longer had that wonderful life that I cherished. It was not a perfect life and for most of our marriage we had financial problems .. there was no real stability.. so I filled my head with dreams of the day when I would get that last piece and live happily every after. Instead Steve became ill with dementia and things became more and more difficult.
Now that he is gone, I am alone and sure enough.. the old dreams came back.. dreaming of another chance to have that life that would be close to perfect.. funny how that could sneak in even at my age! This time, the Lord has stopped me from dreaming.. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t get another chance.. it just means that He is teaching me to be in the pain and suffering without trying to escape through dreaming. He is helping me to live in the present and be content with not knowing what the future holds. I believe that this is how He is teaching me to rely more deeply on Him. My old dreams are gone but He can give me new ones when it is time and more importantly He is enabling me to believe that everything He has prepared for me is going to be better than my dreams.. It is actually very freeing not to be dreaming and to realize that this season is teaching me so much about our Great God.
I have always loved this scripture.. but finally I feel as though I truly understand it
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
We are celebrating this weekend. My husband and I have our anniversary on March 30th and this year it is the day before Easter. We met on the day before Easter 12 years ago and we got married a year later on the day before Easter..that year the date was March 30th. We actually picked our wedding date because we wanted it to be on the day before Easter. I love this time of year and I feel like we must be deeply connected to it. Even our last name, Feaster, has Easter in it:) God does have a great sense of humor!
We will celebrate our marriage tomorrow and then on Sunday we will celebrate the event that enables us to have this wonderful life that God has given us. We have so much to be grateful for. My life was in shambles 14 years ago and now it is overflowing with blessings that I could never have anticipated. This great God has given me abundant life, not a perfect life, but one overflowing … filled with new things that He is doing in me and around me. He is my source and my companion, my comforter and my friend.
Take time to appreciate God and His good gifts this Easter. Remember His goodness and His faithfulness. Easter is just the beginning of a brand new season.. embrace it . Watch for what God is doing and join in.. you will not be disappointed!
“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19
Have you ever just fallen apart? For no reason? It happened to me today. Suddenly I found myself upset and on the verge of tears without knowing why. Emotions that I had been keeping in check..came to the surface and there was nothing I could do. I just had to go with it..trusting that there would be understanding coming from those around me.. there was. The source of the emotions is the grief that I feel every time I see my mom. She is very elderly and helpless now..my dad is gone and she lives in a board and care. They do a great job and she does not complain about the care..but it is a far cry from the life she once shared with my father.
Sometimes I think her aging is harder on me than her. She seems to accept her situation and shows courage. It makes me wonder if I could do as well as she is doing. So here I am comparing myself with her and coming up short. We are so different and yet maybe in some ways so much the same. I survived many things that were incredibly difficult.. without complaining or giving in to self-pity. So here I am in my sixties just beginning to realize that my mother and I are not so different after all.
My challenging season came early in life..hers is at the end. Just as I grew into who I am by going through the trials and struggles.. she is growing..finding herself.. learning to survive in the hard times. We all have these opportunities in life. Some of us have childhood trials that are unbearable. Others survive terrible marriages or overcome addiction. We all face loss..of our loved ones..our dreams..eventually life here on earth. No one gets out of here without enduring pain and suffering.
As I watch my mom in her trial..God meets me bringing reassurance that He is with her. He comforts me as I wait for the inevitable phone call. He is teaching me about her and about myself in this very important season. It is His perfect plan unfolding..day by day.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. “
How much do they matter? They make all the difference. How do you feel when someone knows about something that really matters to you..without you telling them? Personally I absolutely love it. God is so good at that very thing. Lately I have been noticing the way I will have a small desire and the next thing I know..I realize that God does something to show me that He knew all about it.
We were going out for dessert in nearby town..one that we rarely visit. As we were driving I thought of an old friend.. he pastors a church in that town. I thought..wouldn’t it be great to see him. It was a quick thought and I didn’t dwell on it..I wasn’t even sure where he lived. We met our friends in a wonderful frozen yogurt shop..as we were enjoying our yogurt..my husband said..”look who’s coming in the door.” I turned around and there was our old friend with his two beautiful children. No Way! It was God.
This morning my daughter called to tell me about a kitten she was considering adopting. I was surprised because for weeks I have been thinking about the fact that our family is catless and feeling very sad about it. I kept bringing it up to my husband and wondering why I had such a feeling that something was missing. Suddenly we were in the car.. in the holiday traffic..driving to see the most darling little Siamese kitty. He is spending his first night with my daughter’s family … my new grandcat..only 5 minutes away. God knew.
So when something small comes through your mind..a small desire or want..don’t be surprised if God shows up and surprises you with the very thing you were longing for. He wants us to know that He is aware of all of those things that we hold in our hearts..every little detail..every potential opportunity to show us that He is with us..that He loves us..that we are not forgotten.
“The Lord is my shepherd.. I have all that I need… Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”
Funny how we wish our circumstances would change. Aren’t there things in your life that you wish were different? Of course there are..we all have them. Everyone has unfulfilled desires and longings. We all wait..sometimes for years.. for things that have not happened. We wonder why..we question our own hearts. We grow tired..angry..sad..depressed. We can’t find God. Is He gone? What’s going on?
We need to look inside and ask the right questions. What are you after God? Is there something that you are trying to show me? Have I missed something important? There may be times when you hear nothing and all you can do is wait. Or..He may speak into your life. It could happen in many ways. Through the voice of a friend, spouse, or stranger. His voice may leap off the pages of a book. He may speak directly to you through a movie or TV show. God is always speaking..always revealing..always interested in reaching us.
So why is it so hard sometimes? I don’t have the answer to that. Sometimes the voices in the world drown out His voice..often our own inner voices make it hard to hear Him. The enemy may be accusing us..distracting us from the voice of our God. All we can do is cry out..asking for insight. He will not leave us without help..He will come to our rescue..He may not change our circumstances but He can change us. He wants to meet us in our pain and bring relief to our weary hearts and minds.
Trust Him..He is with you!
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.”
Since we are in time and He isn’t..there is a bit of a conflict. We have trouble waiting when in reality time is not important to Him. Try wrapping your mind around that for a minute. Our culture tells us that every minute counts..don’t waste any time..get moving..go faster and faster..time is of the essence. God sees things completely differently..in fact He says the opposite to us. Slow down..take your time..wait..don’t be in a hurry..never panic and remember to stay calm. His ways are mysterious and counter intuitive to us.
I was recently thinking about a desire that I have had for years..something that I longed for..I wondered if God wanted to give it to me. After all I am a grandmother and time is running out. I can hear the Lord laughing as I write this..time never runs out for Him. In this present season He is giving me that desire and I am having a difficult time believing that it is time. How strange is that? Here I am waiting..praying..longing and suddenly it seems to be here and I am struggling to receive it. What is God up to? It seems that He wants to teach me something very important.
The first message in all this is a reminder that He never forgets us..or our desires. The second one for me is realizing that what I thought I wanted actually scared me a little.. I was so used to the way things were.. I was going to need to leave my comfort zone. God knew that I would need to get to the place where I could receive what He had for me..He waits until we are ready so it is a gift..He wants to see delight in us..He waits to surprise us and watch us the way a Grandma watches her grandkids on Christmas..seeing their surprised faces as they get that unexpected gift..what a moment!
Isn’t it amazing to realize that we have a God who loves us enough to wait for just the right moment. He is not punishing us..He is not cruel or harsh..He loves us more than we will ever be able to imagine with our finite minds. He is for us..with us..under us and over us.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
I have been experiencing many of these in the last year or so. Here’s what it looks like. I have a deep longing to move forward..to do something new..to follow God in a greater way. The next thing I know I get a glimpse of what this might look like and I begin walking toward what looks like a new destination. On the way to that place I start to realize that something is wrong. My passion and vision begin to fade and I know that it is another false start..I stop and wonder why it keeps happening.
Yesterday God began to shine His light into this process. He showed me that all my intentions were good..that the ideas were good and that my desire was good. So what was going wrong? Have you figured it out yet? Suddenly I knew what I was doing..trying to find my own way..directing my own steps..relying on my ideas and plans. He intervened to remind me that this is not the abundant life. My plans are not bad..they are not sinful..they are not evil..they are not the same as His. Don’t miss that last sentence. We can settle for something good when God has something absolutely better for us if we wait.
All of these reminders add up to one thing. We live in His kingdom by waiting on Him..living fully in the present and trusting Him to unfold His perfect plan for us. It sounds simple but it is truly challenging..especially in a world that continually reinforces the idea that we are masters of our own destiny. I want the absolute best that God has to offer and if that means waiting and waiting and waiting than so be it. His ways are deeper and richer than anything I could ever dream up in my most creative moments. After all He is the one who set the heavens in place and He is the one who created us in His image. He is our rescuer and our deliver..His grace is beyond measure.
“God has made everthing beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so , people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”
Every single day we make many of these. In our culture we are continually bombarded with them. Just visit the local grocery store and try to choose a box of cereal or a package of cookies. So many choices..maybe too many. So which choices really matter? Not the ones I mentioned..nothing really hangs in the balance when you choose your favorite chocolate chip cookies. Other choices are much more important.
As we follow God we make the choice of how far to go with Him. He may be coaxing us out of our comfort zone..asking us to move into unknown territory. We can choose to resist His promptings. Our fears often direct our steps..I’ll do the thing I know I can do. I’ll take the road I that feels familiar. I’ll do what everyone else says I should do. I’ll play it safe because it’s easier. God waits. He waits until we are ready..to hear His voice..to step out..to move forward. He is patient and not demanding. In fact if you choose the way that is the most comfortable He is not going to be angry with you. He leaves it up to you.
I realized again recently that there is always a temptation to return to what is known. Do you really want me to venture out into unknown territory again? Can’t I just play it safe and do what is comfortable and easy? God says ” Yes you can..but you will miss out on the best thing because you are choosing what seems good in your own eyes.” Wow! ..the best thing..I don’t want to miss out on that. So..face the fear and the unbelief and take the path that He carving out for you. He will take you by the hand..step by step..and lead you to new experiences that you never imagined possible.
His ways are not ours and His thoughts are not even close to our own. We cannot figure out the mind of God but we can be sure that He only has great things for us as we follow Him. There are risks and challenges on this road..but He is our safe place. He is with us!
“Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. He will honor you by giving you the land…the Lord rescues the godly…and they find shelter in Him.”
God has a way of asking for the impossible and making it sound reasonable. He can sneak right up on us..when we are not expecting it and ask us to move in a brand new direction..taking risks that seem very unrealistic. But..if you think about it..isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Nothing He did while He was here made a lot of sense.. humanly speaking…one reason we may have trouble interpreting the gospel stories.
His way is counter-intuitive. He does not see our lives through the lens of our reality. He views them from His perspective..the author of the larger story. He stands over the small stories of our lives and sees the beginning..the middle.. and the end. We can’t do that..no matter how much we may try. He prepares us step by step to leap forward into His arms. He asks us to do things that no one will truly understand. He urges us to move in step with Him..not looking back..preparing to turn the next corner with no real idea of what lies ahead.
A life filled with risk..surprises..unexpected ideas..twists and turns. The abundant life that He has promised us.. is not comfortable, quiet, or safe. In fact.. once we taste of His creativity and ability to do new things with us and in us..there will be no peace until we say “Yes Lord” to everything He is asking for. He desires to transform us..to shape us and to take us on new adventures. He is a radical God..an out of the box God..Our Creator!
“Who knows if perhaps you were made Queen for such a time as this!”
It is astounding when we realize that God provides perfectly for us. Are you questioning that statement? I have. Sometimes I wonder if He is even aware of what I think I need..suddenly when I can’t stand it another minute He moves..He directs..He speaks and He provides. Often it is not what I thought I needed..but it is the perfect thing. Only God knows us well enough to do this.
He sees inside our hearts..our desires, longings, suffering, pain, disappointments…our grief and our sorrow. He provides hope, encouragement, comfort, and relief..at the right moment. We don’t see the answer to the prayer we have prayed over and over again..instead He meets us with renewed faith so we can continue to pray. We feel deeply disappointed..He does not remove it..He reveals Himself in the midst of it. He never promises us an easy life..He promises over and over again to be with us.
I want eyes to see God at work in my life..no matter what I am feeling or thinking. I want to be able to see His hand giving me everything I need for this day..to realize His love for me at all times.. I want a strong faith that does not falter when the rug is pulled out from under me. Do you? Let’s trust that He is working in our spirits..that His love is overcoming our unbelief. Run into His arms today and ask for what you need and know that He hears and He will come through for you.
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”