I have had lots of dreams. I usually cannot help but tell them.
There was one dream I had a number of years ago that I did not share with many people outside of my family.
I was a half a year away from graduating college…with a degree in Psychology….and the expressed desire to go on to grad school or seminary. in Chicago. Then that summer, a dream took hold of me that was quite outside the plan I had for my life. It was scary…and adventurous. I loved it. It terrified me.
I would take a year or two and travel all over the world, staying with missionaries on every continent and write the stories of what God was doing there. It culminated in an afternoon, effortlessly dashing to pieces all of the dreams that had come before. I called my mom. I got a giant map of the world and began to plot. I contacted hundreds of churches to get the names and contact info of the ministries overseas they supported. It was a giant list. I wrote a letter. I sent a letter. Then I waited.
My sweet husband is learning to be amused at this character trait of mine…things really do get a hold of me….and when they do, I go for it.
I went for it. Then I waited.
I really felt like the dream had been a million pieces in the air that God had mysteriously caused to take form in front of my eyes. Yet I did not receive one response.
Reluctantly after several months I put away the binder I had created to organize and plan my year of epic adventures that I had been so sure lay ahead of me.
It was only months later that my sister signed a record contract and God led me to be with her. The dream faded and then when I got married….well…world travel and epic adventures of that sort seemed terribly far away from reality.
Another dream was born in Shawn and I this last year….the dream of going to Africa and teaming up to help bring awareness to what is going on there with AIDS, drought, and war. That dream took longer to shape into something we could communicate and attempt, but when it did, it was this: to go to Africa and do a book together…me writing the stories, Shawn photo-journaling the trip and the people. We wanted to stay in one place and really get to know the people over a period of time and have all the proceeds go to help those people…
We ‘shopped’ the idea to a number of organizations/ publishers we thought might be good partners. No one bit. Everyone said no…actually what they said is “that’s a great idea! but its not really what we do.” We had nearly decided to go it alone when…
…someone caught the vision God had planted in us. We had some meetings in the last month and there was confirmation on all ends… we are still working out the details, but it looks like the trip will be in July.
We sat in the final meeting of a series of meetings that have been taking place for a couple of months. We were working on the details… You know I had never even considered it, when they asked “so what country are you thinking of going to?” Africa is a big place…*grin* We looked at each other and then back at them and stammered for a second before saying, “we were hoping you could help us with that…maybe tell us about places…give us some options.” As they agreed to meet with us again and share some options, we both thought back to the morning of my birthday…
We woke up around 10 and meandered to the Starbucks … Shawn got his usual-a venti iced Americano with no room- and I got mine- hot soy chai. The Starbucks happened to be attached to a Barnes and Noble, so we made our way in. Shawn went to the music section and I lusted over books. We met up in the travel section and found a giant book that had a page for every country in the world…stats and pictures…notes about culture and landscape. We found the only seats still open….two hard wooden chairs near the front of the store…not exactly ideal. So after a few minutes, we decided to buy the book. The next few hours of the day were swallowed up by that book. We drooled over the beauty in places we hadn’t previously known about and wondered about life in those far away lands.
Shawn told everyone at the meeting about it…”there are so many places! we just don’t know..” he concluded. At their urging, we shared a little more of our hearts….
When we had come up for air, one sweet lady looked at us and said , “it really sounds like your heart is for children…maybe its not so much about the country,..maybe you could do a book about the children of africa and then more books…the children of india or china or russia…”
I got cold chills. It was at that moment that I realized what was going on….what God was doing…. It hit me like a two by four. God had held onto my dreams until just the right time and now (seemingly, to me) out of nowhere, He is giving them back to me.
I heard a sermon a few years ago about how God uses time to mature us for our dreams and to mature the dreams in us. That has always stuck with me and now its more full truth.
I held back some tears in that meeting…totally awed by the way God weaves our lives and they way He gives glimpses and they way sometimes it seems like things just don’t pan out…and then suddenly its like the messy threads of the tapestry make sense when its turned over.
So here’s to the Dream Creator…and the dreams He gives…