A Long Post About a Poser Wandering in the Desert (and Maybe Learning a Few Things)

There are times I think I’m the biggest poser on the planet.  This past Saturday was one of them, at least at first.  I had this compulsion to get out to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and go on a hike through Palm Canyon to the palm oasis there.  I didn’t even want to do it as much as I felt like I had to do it, and that right there should have clued me in to the fact that the whole darn escapade was going to be a series of life lessons…

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Indianhead Mountain. Palm Canyon is to its left.

The actual hike is 3 miles round-trip, but when you tack on the walk from the park Visitors’ Center to the trailhead, it’s closer to 6.  But the weather was in the unseasonably-cool low 80s, and I’ve walked that kind of distance many times.  I figured I could get away with about half of the strongly-recommended gallon of water per person since it wasn’t too hot, so I tossed a few water bottles, my camera, and my journal in a backpack, and off I went.

The walk to the trailhead is paved all the way to the campground at the entrance of the canyon, and it’s marked with signs detailing what kind of flora and fauna you might encounter on your way.  Easy peasy.  And then suddenly, you get to a sign saying “Palm Canyon Trail” with a little arrow, and you launch yourself into a vast expanse of sand dotted with creosote bushes and ocotillo.

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I bet this jackrabbit knew where HE was going!

But what that sign doesn’t say is that you’re merely on your way to the trail, not on it yet.  You have to cross a campground parking lot and pass a toilet with no doors and apparently look lost enough that a passing park ranger rolls down his truck window and asks if you’re okay, and when you say you’re trying to find the trailhead, he looks at you dubiously and points, and says, “You mean where those 3 palm trees are?” and you just know he thinks your poser self is gonna die on that trail.

Just past those 3 palms I found another sign warning me that the trail is HOT and DRY, and PEOPLE HAVE DIED OF EXPOSURE HERE, and begging me to PLEASE TURN BACK WHEN YOU HAVE CONSUMED HALF OF YOUR WATER.  It might as well have said, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here,” because there really wasn’t a marked trail.  All I saw in front of me were downed tree trunks (which I later found out were remnants of palms destroyed in a huge flash flood in 2004) and boulders strewn haphazardly across the sand.  But the canyon walls formed a V shape ahead of me, so I figured it would be hard to get lost.  And I assumed the trail would be pretty clear…hahahaha.  First life lesson time!

1. Sometimes you have to learn to see in a different way.  And usually, you’re in the middle of a completely unfamiliar, potentially panic-inducing situation before you figure that out.

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Most of the trail looked like this.

Based on past hikes, I assumed the trail would be clearly signed/mapped/marked.  It was not.  I had the hardest time even getting into the canyon, until slowly, slowly, it began to register that some of the rocks weren’t so randomly placed (TRAIL EDGES! HALLELUJAH!).  And some of the palm trunks seemed to form barriers (YO! DON’T GO THIS WAY!).  And, lo and behold, there were even a few, teeny-tiny, rust-colored arrow signs tacked here and there!  It felt like learning a new language by immersion, but I started being able to see the trail more clearly…unless I looked too hard.  Then I came to a standstill.  Life lesson number 2!

2.  In a life lived by faith, if you get too bogged down in the details, you lose momentum and bearing.  Keep your eyes on the prize.

I found it fascinating that if I didn’t think too much, my brain seemed to identify the trail with no problems, and I didn’t feel panicky from not knowing where to place my foot.  I heard the Lord whisper very clearly, “Just like following me.  Faith transcends your understanding and keeps you moving in the right direction, even when you have no idea where you’re going.”  However, life lesson number 3!

3.  Don’t get complacent.  That will get you off track, too. 

A few times, I found my mind wandering and then realized I’d lost the trail.  I had to stop, get my bearings, and backtrack.  I also had to revisit life lesson number 1.

Finally, I began to see desert willows, a sure sign of water, and soon there was an actual trickle of liquid in the creekbed.  I could see palm trees ahead of me, but I couldn’t figure out how to get across a very slippery boulder.  As I shot photos and thought, a couple caught up with me and asked if I had been to the palm trees.  I had to say no, that I couldn’t get across the rocks, and I turned to go.  A minute later, I heard the woman call for me.  Her boyfriend had been able to climb it, and they wanted to show me.  Life lesson number 4!

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The seemingly-insurmountable boulder

4.  Sometimes you’ll cross paths, however briefly, with people who can figure out things you can’t.  There’s wisdom in being teachable. 

He found a way around a side I hadn’t seen, and he offered to give me a hand if I needed it.  His girlfriend took my camera so I wouldn’t accidentally drop it, and we all continued to the palm grove together.

Eventually, the couple took off in search of a seasonal waterfall, and I sat in the cool shade and wrote in my journal.  Then I began to head back toward the trailhead, and that’s when I learned life lesson number 5!

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Palm Canyon Oasis

5.  Don’t think just because you’ve been somewhere or done something once, you’re an expert.  Stay humble, and remember past life lessons as you move forward.

I suppose it was silly of me to think getting back would be trouble-free because I did lose my bearings a few times.  Nothing ever looks the same coming and going; plus, I was getting tired and hungry, and I had to pee (guess I took enough water after all?).  But I did get back, and I had such a lot to think about.  I suppose I had felt like a poser because people are always telling me how adventurous/competent/in control I am, and I felt woefully inept on this hike, even a little nervous.  But as I trekked back to my car, the Lord whispered the clearest life lesson I heard all day:

6.  Courage is not the absence of fear.  It’s approaching full-on freak-out mode and going ahead into the unknown anyway.  It’s preparing as much as you can and then trusting Me with the rest.  Good job, daughter.  Go get a taco.  And drink some more water.  You need more than you think you do.

🙂

 

 

 

 

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Freedom From the Danger of “That’s Just How it Is”

This post will be a little different from what I usually write, and some of you may take umbrage at it, but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while now. Please read with an open mind and heart.

We live in a confusing, chaotic world.  Every day, we’re bombarded with relentless input telling us who we should be, what we should like, how we should dress, etc.  We’re told what’s “normal.”  We’re told what’s “exceptional.”  Some of us grow up being told we are nothing, and we internalize it.  Others of us grow up being told we can be whatever we want to be, and when our 4’11” self tries to be the next Michael Jordan, we realize we might have some unrealistic expectations.  Our parents, our friends, our cultures – each has a different idea of what we should be.  And all this noise leaves a lot of us feeling like abject failures.  Like we won’t ever succeed or fit in.  Like we’d better just accept that that’s just how it is and move on, doing the best we can to get through each day.  That acceptance stops our destinies in their tracks.

I watch so many people I care about living this “reality.”  They either try to become whatever they’re told they should be, or they rebel and end up somewhere equally disastrous.  Either way, they’re living a lie because they don’t know the truth of who they are.  And I just have to say something about it.  Because back in 2009, I got heartily sick and tired of all the noise, and I decided I was going to cut through it and get to the truth.  And I did, and I grew so much over the following years, and I’m still growing.  That’s how it works when you taste the truth – you’ll never, ever be able to get enough of it and will go after it for the rest of your life.

It came down to a single question.  I turned the Lord’s own query from Matthew 16:15 back on him.  “But you, who do YOU say I am?”  And, y’all, I am telling you that this is THE way to find your true identity.  He Who knew you before He formed you in your mother’s womb (see Jeremiah 1:5) WILL tell you.  It won’t be an overnight process, and you’ll have to be willing to set down every single preconceived notion you have about God, about yourself, about EVERYTHING.  But He will lead you gently; He will bring people to speak into your life; He will heal all the broken places, and then you will understand that “that’s just how it is” is not a phrase He ever, ever utters.

It’s an incredibly brave choice to ask this question, especially if you’ve had a rocky or nonexistent relationship with God.  I don’t want to preach at you or try to convince you of anything because honestly, no one can do that except for Him.  I just want you to know the option is there for you, and it is an absolutely fruitful one if you are willing to go into it wholeheartedly.  If this post has piqued your curiosity in any way, I am more than happy to talk with you, pray with you, steer you toward resources that I’m aware of.

Today is a great day to never again have to believe that “that’s just how it is.”

 

Part II, aka, “The Details, or, at Least, as Many of Them as I Know”

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On 29 May 2013, I stood near this marker and looked out over the roaring Little Su River, just outside Wasilla, Alaska.  As had happened many times already, I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the place, nearly to tears.  I texted the hubby something about how incredible it was, and he responded, “I guess we’d better move there.”  Now, anytime I travel, he says things like that to me, but this time was different.  I had found myself constructing a whole life for us in Alaska, mundane stuff like, “If I lived here, I’d drive such and such a car.  I’d go to such and such a grocery store.”  But I hadn’t said anything to J because while I was fulfilling a 30 year-old dream, he was back home in Texas working crazy hours and bearing full responsibility for our child.  I didn’t want to rub my joy and freedom and exhilaration in his face.

But it dawned on me that this was the fourth time he’d texted or said this to me during this trip.  And something clicked.  My heart started beating faster, and I prayed for a phone signal.

Me: You keep saying that.  Are you saying what I think you’re saying?

J:  Do you want to live there?

Me:  Yeah…kinda.  Yeah.  Do you?

J:  Yes!  Let’s do it!

Me:  But you haven’t even seen it.

J:  I don’t care.  Let’s do it.  What do we have to lose?

Me:  Nothing, that’s what.

Both of us (and God – I heard it very clearly): WHY THE HECK NOT????

I mean, what do you say when God asks you something like that?  We started talking details, and J wanted to move right then and there.  But I felt like there was a timing to it all, so I made it back to Texas a few days later, and we began to plan.

Ah, plans.  The fun-to-make, well-thought-out, just-makes-sense framework for all that is good in the world.  Yeah.

From the start, not one thing turned out the way J and I planned it.  We sent out resumes.  We went on interviews.  We priced houses and U-Haul trucks and plane tickets.  Resumes went unperused.  Interviews got to the “you’re one of two candidates” stage and fizzled.  U-Haul was not the way to go – anyway, who wants to drive a huge moving truck 4096 miles, over mountains and on gravel and tar-based highways (did you even know there was such a thing?)?  God made it very clear to us that HE was going to be the one to make this whole thing happen, and it has been an unnerving, faith-stretching-to-the-breaking-point process.  He’s called us to take one step at a time and promised that each step would open up the way for the next step.  Translation:  we haven’t known much of anything for the better part of a year.

J can do his job from anywhere in the world, so there’s that.  But we didn’t have the money to ship our stuff, which is what God told us to do.  In fact, we still don’t have all of it.  But he has promised us that he does, indeed, finish what he starts, so we’re shipping it.  The resources will be there.  The same goes for a place to live, a school for our son, a job for me — he’s going to provide.  That kind of faith looks like utter foolishness to most of the world, but we can do nothing else.  We know and believe what he said.

This last year has been a year of purging and reassessment.  The Lord made it very clear to us that nothing old is to go with us into our new lives.  (This even includes some things we’d consider “good.”  They just don’t fit the picture anymore.  S-T-R-E-T-C-H.)  We’ve made 6 trips to the Salvation Army to give material items away, and there’s at least one more trip that needs to happen.  I think the most fun giveaway happened a couple of weeks ago, on a perfect last day at the beach.  M and I had decided to leave our boogie boards on the sand with a sign saying, “Moving to Alaska!  Don’t need these!”  But we happened across 2 young girls and their parents, so we just handed them over.  And then we asked if they wanted our pop-up shelter and three beach chairs.  It turns out the mom leads an area Girl Scout troop, and they just started learning about camping, so these things were definitely useful to them.  We left the beach with huge grins on our sunburned faces.

Did I mention that along the way, a friend of the family decided she wanted to move with us?  So she’s gotten to go through her own faith-stretching, and “family” has been redefined in a brand-new way for all of us.

Old ideas, old beliefs, old ties and relationships – especially toxic ones – all of these came under scrutiny, too.  It’s been intense.  But I don’t even know if I can explain how this move feels – it’s like not only is one chapter done, but the whole book is closed, and a new one is opened, full of blank pages just waiting to be written on.  There is such a sense of life about to start, like everything up to now has just been a shadow of what’s to come.  I am more excited about this than I’ve ever been about anything  in my life.

So…in approximately 8 hours, my friend and I will be on the road.  We’re taking 10 days to make the drive, and J and M will follow us on the 1st of August.  Our stuff should get to us a few weeks later, at which time we will hand the movers a check, and they will be paid in full!  For my Facebook friends, I’ll post as often as I can, but I’m pretty sure internet access will be spotty once we get into Yukon Territory and such.

Squeeeee!  Onward and upward!  North to the future!!!!!!

PS — Did you catch the significance of the “shift” happening on top of an active fault line????

We Have a Big, Gigantic, Humongous, Enormous Announcement

success-really-looks-likeI’ve been mentally writing and re-writing this blog post for about 6 months now. Why? Because when the hubby and I had our big idea a little over a year ago, I just knew how the whole thing was going to play out. We would make the decision, agree on the details, and move forward with executing the plan flawlessly. The story would be sequential and VERY entertaining. My narrative practically wrote itself…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ahem. Sorry.

It’s just that not a single thing has happened as we envisioned. Our end goal is still the same, but the getting there has been all kinds of “not what we imagined.” Really, I should have known better, because in our household, God is not only IN the details, but he writes them. And our best-laid plans gang aft agley because we still haven’t learned just to go with the flow and trust his process.

[Side note: The Lord has been teaching me about the difference between dreaming and imagination, and what his giving us the desires of our hearts REALLY means. It’s not about “if we want it, he’ll give it to us.” It’s actually about one who knows us better than we know ourselves and offers a dream – a desire – he knows we’re gonna love. When we say yes, he gets to work making it happen, but the deal is that it’s like writing an outline. We “dream” – come up with the idea, or more accurately, discover what he’s put in our heart. We say yes. Those are the Roman numerals in the outline. We get to choose what goes there. But the little abc’s are the details, and if we have truly given him authority over our lives, those letters are not ours to fill in. When we do, THOSE are imaginations, and they’re most often in vain. I realize this seems to be in direct contradiction to all that stuff we’re taught about going after our dreams, making them happen, etc. But years ago, someone told me that if I could accomplish the things I dreamed without God, I wasn’t dreaming big enough, and I took it to heart. Dreaming, in my mind, is the single biggest way to deepen my trust in the Lord. And that is very much what this season has been about.]

Okay, so the announcement:

We are moving to Alaska at the end of July. Yes, the 49th state. Yes, for real. Yes, we know it gets cold up there.

I’ll give y’all the details in Part II, which, in and of itself, is exactly 0% how I thought I’d break the news. But there it is. And we are super-excited like you wouldn’t believe. We just have to see a few more things fall into place, and then I can tell you everything. But for now, I need to go cook supper for my family, which will be served on paper plates, as all my dinnerware is packed. 🙂  Until next time…

Love’s a Revolving Do-o-o-r

(With apologies to Princess Ana and Prince Hans, and also to your brain, which now has probably been infested with an earworm)

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people in my life who have come and gone through the years.  Mostly, I’ve been thinking about the ones who have gone.

Some have gone because they grew into people who have little in common with me.

Some decided my presence in their lives was only “for a season.”  I may or may not have agreed.

Some  were hypercritical/nasty/abusive/negative, and I decided they needed to go.

Some blamed me for things I didn’t do, or they didn’t forgive me for things I did.

Some just faded away.  One minute they were there, and then all of a sudden it was 3 years since we last spoke.

Some passed away or moved away.  Either way, we lost contact.

Some should have never come in to begin with.

There are a LOT of emotions that can accompany the dissolution of a relationship, and most of them are negative.  Fear, anger, blame, bitterness, depression, guilt, sorrow…all of  these come rushing in to fill the spot where the person once was.  You might find yourself reciting a litany of things you could have done differently.  Or maybe you scream and scream and scream at the other person, even if it’s only in your mind.  Or maybe you find yourself defaming him or her to others, or even becoming suicidal.

Here’s the deal:  People are complex, unpredictable beings.  We can never truly know with 100% certainty why they do what they do.  We might understand bits of it…or we might be way off the mark and make judgements based on our own filters.  And these judgements we make don’t exclude us.  For example, your best friend might freak out on you one day and yell at you for an hour about how you always try to make her be someone she’s not.  Maybe this is true, and you do that.  Or maybe something about your personality triggers a deeply-buried hurt she carries from someone who really didn’t accept her as she was.  But in the face of that onslaught, you start thinking she’s crazy, and then you start second-guessing yourself and thinking maybe you’re doing this stuff without realizing it and all of a sudden, ohmygosh, you’re such a horrible friend who doesn’t deserve to have a BFF.  BOOM, just like that, 2 hurting people, because you owned the accusation.

So how the heck am I supposed to navigate these murky waters of relationship, then? 

Here’s the answer:  Love.  Love that holds on loosely, allows people to be people, and continues to love, even when they leave.

Absolutely impossible in our own strength.  Truly, and yet we are told  in the Bible to do exactly this because it’s good for them AND good for us.  “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Pet 3:9, NIV).

I think a part of that blessing we inherit is not having to walk around damaged by negative emotions that take root.  If people want to go, let them go.  Realize that you don’t understand everything, but the Lord does, and He still loves your ex-best-friend.  Be like Him – it has nothing to do with how you feel.  Give those hurt feelings to Him (and don’t take them back!!), and then continue to love your friend by blessing her in her coming and going.  Deuteronomy 28:6 says, “A blessing on you when you go out, and a blessing on you when you come in” (Complete Jewish Bible).  And yes, I realize that contextually, this verse is smack in the middle of an explanation of what happens when you are obedient to God.  I’m not trying to twist Scripture for my own purposes.  I just think it’s a great sentiment and an example of how we can treat the people who come in and out of our lives.  And anyway, doesn’t it make sense that if they are coming in and out of our lives, we’re also going in and out of theirs?  So if we are obedient, we receive the blessings coming and going.  And obedience to God’s word includes blessing those that curse you (Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14, Matthew 5:44).

So let the door revolve.  Thank the Lord for the good things the person brought into your life; where applicable, forgive the not-so-good, and send them on their way with a blessing.  And also?  Don’t marry a guy who proposes 10 minutes after you meet (looking at you, Princess Ana)!

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Dämmerschlaf

You know, when you ask the Lord what he wants to talk about, you never really know exactly what he’s going to say…this morning, for example, he brought up twilight sleep.  He asked me to go read about it and then get back to him, so, coffee mug in hand, I read. Here is what I learned:

In the early 20th century, Carl Gauss developed a method called Dämmerschlaf, or “twilight sleep,” for laboring mothers .  Moms-to-be were drugged into a semi-narcotic but conscious state, the idea being that they would have no post-delivery memory of labor pain.  It was heralded as a “new era” for women, but the side effects left something to be desired.

For one thing, twilight sleep removed the woman from the experience of childbirth.  True, she had no memory of the pain, but she also couldn’t actively participate in, or remember, the delivery itself.  One Nebraskan woman is on record as saying, “The next thing I knew I was awake […] and then I thought to myself, ‘I wonder how long before I shall begin to have the baby,’ and while I was still wondering a nurse came in with a pillow, and on the pillow was a baby, and they said I had had it—perhaps I had—but I certainly can never prove it in a courtroom.”

In some cases, this memory deficit affected the normal mother-infant bonding process, leading to ongoing issues.  In addition, the drugs used (a cocktail of morphine and scopolamine) affected the infants’ central nervous systems, which resulted in lethargic babies with poor breathing capacity.  All in all, not a great way to start out…

Okay, I’m back,” said I.  “What are you wanting me to see?

God: Talk to me about your own experience giving birth to M.

Me: Okaaaay.  I went totally natural, had a waterbirth.  I felt like a mama cat who just wanted to be left alone and let the process happen.  I trusted that my body would do what it needed to.  I was adamant about not having an epidural or meds because I wanted to experience the process from start to finish, and because I knew it would be healthier for me and the baby. 

God: What else?

Me: It hurt.  It was a lot of work.  I thought I might die a few times.  Hubby had to keep reminding me to breathe. 

God: But you were fully present in the moment, yes?  You remember when they laid your baby on your chest and you got to see him the first time?

Me:  Yes, I remember clearly.  I was astounded at how beautiful he was.

God:  Okay, so, switching gears for a minute.  You’re not really one for the journey, are you?

Me:  Ummm…I like road trips a lot.  When I get to plan them.

God:  Right, when you’re in charge.  But you aren’t too fond of not knowing what’s going to happen next, are you?  You’ve been learning this about yourself recently.

Me:  Sigh.

God: So let me talk to you about birthing a dream.

Me (starting to see where this was going): Okay.

God: What if you had been in twilight sleep while in labor with your son?  You wouldn’t have memories of pain, but you wouldn’t have been able to be a part of the process.  But since you were awake and aware, you got to experience it all.  And you knew him the second you saw him. Now, just like your midwife knew the natural progression of birth, I know the process for birthing a dream.  I don’t want you in twilight sleep as this thing unfolds.  I want you to be fully present. I need you to trust me, trust that I’m monitoring your vital signs, trust that I know when to tell you to relax and when to push.  I promise you that there’s a connection between the memories of the pain and the value of the dream when it comes true.  And also?  Dreams are healthier, fuller, when we co-labor.

Me:  Okay, so all this recent frustration and not knowing what in the world is going on…what’s all that about?

God:  That’s because you should be relaxing, and instead, you’re trying to push.  Timing is everything, daughter o’ mine.  Let me do my part so you can do yours. I’ll let you know when to push.

God is right, of course.  Right now is a time that I am fully aware of a dream on the horizon, and I am completely unable to MAKE it happen sooner. This has caused me no shortage of grief as I learn to trust his process, trust him even more.  I’ve spent a lot of time yelling and pushing, when what I needed to be doing was saving my strength for when it’s time.  And there are always, ALWAYS clear signs of when it’s time…which I would miss if I were in Dämmerschlaf.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go rest.

 

 

I Dreamed a Dream in Times Gone By…

Les Miserables is my all-time favorite musical, so it was with some trepidation that I went to see the latest movie version.  None of the past versions have ever captured the passion inherent to Victor Hugo’s story the way the musical retelling does, so I wasn’t expecting much of this one.  Seeing as this post is not intended to be a movie review, though, I won’t tell you what I actually thought, except for one little bit:  Anne Hathaway nailed it as Fantine.  She made me cry, like, tears-running-freely-down-my-face cry.  Twice, in fact.  If I did hashtags, I’d say #notafluke.  Ms Hathaway eschewed the typical portrayal of Fantine, which tends to be wistful, kind of wimpy, like that horrible “Foolish Games” song in the late 90s.  Her Fantine was real.  Ragged, broken, ugly, utterly without hope.

I wasn’t the only one crying.  All around me, I could hear people sniffling, guys and girls alike.  I especially noticed all the men who, truthfully, probably got dragged to this movie by their significant females and then found themselves reacting on a gut level to the raw emotion on-screen.  Probably a bit uncomfortable for most of them, I’d say.  Several actually walked out for a few minutes.

I think we all reacted because everyone has a bit of Fantine in him or her.  She couldn’t possibly have known that kind of despair, had she not once been sure that life was hers for the conquering.  And maybe we haven’t found ourselves selling our bodies to make ends meet, but we’ve all had beautiful dreams and ideas of how things were going to work out.  Except that years later, they didn’t.  So we fell into depression, becoming shells of ourselves.  Or we got bitter, alienating those around us and resenting the ones who did realize their dreams.  Some of us turned to various substances to help us forget; some of us just chose to forget and went on surviving.  We decided not to hope because it was too costly, too disappointing.  We pledged not to feel so we could never get hurt.  We laid those dreams down, comforting ourselves by chalking it up to “putting away childish things.”  Coping mechanisms, all.  And Fantine cracked the shell just a little.  For a moment, we felt all the hurt, the disappointment, the pain that is the hallmark of unfulfilled dreams.

I’m willing to bet that many of you reading this can’t even remember what you used to dream of doing or being — you’ve been on autopilot for too long.  I was there – and not even that long ago.  But awhile back, God began to speak to me about dreaming again.  He wanted me to revisit the things I’d dreamt of long ago.  I tried and tried, and I finally had to tell Him that I couldn’t remember any of them. So God, who can be pretty insistent, began to help me.  Suddenly, I was recalling all kinds of things – little, tiny ones and big, audacious, gonna-take-a-miracle ones.  There was genuine laughter and pleasure in His voice as he said, “The last lyric of the song does NOT have to be ‘Now life has killed the dream I dreamed’ because I AM the Resurrector.  Give Me your dreams – because I first gave them to you – and watch what happens!  This is a season for dreaming with Me!”

What has happened so far is that I have begun to live from a place of hope again instead of a place of just getting by.  I’ve begun to trust that He’s got it all taken care of.  I’ve begun to believe that my dreams have already come true because He sees the end from the very beginning.  It’s only a matter of timing, now.  And I have to say, this is a MUCH more fun way of doing life.  It feels like the night before Christmas as a kid.  Remember how you just KNEW those presents were going to show up under the tree (the right place) on Christmas Day (the right time), and they were going to be AMAZING?  Yeah, it’s like that times ten thousand.  And by the way, God always picks out the perfect gifts.  How do I know this?  Because I always dreamt of traveling as a child, and He has given me trip after trip over the past couple of years.  And He hasn’t stopped giving!  I am going to Alaska at the end of May, which has been on my “WANT!!” list ever since 3rd grade, when I did a report on Seward’s Folly and promptly decided I MUST go there one day.  He just gave me that one yesterday, and I am so excited!  I want to jump around and dance like an idiot and yell and scream because it’s just SO COOL! 😀  And you know, it’s not just the traveling that’s so cool.  It’s that this came up seemingly out of the blue – 3 days ago, it was still a 29 year-old dream in the back of my mind.  But HE never forgot, and He put it together and just sort of casually gave it to me, and it’s awesome because it’s not like going to Alaska is a life-or-death deal for me.  But I’ve wanted it, and He gets such enjoyment out of giving His kids good gifts.  So He gave it.

If you’ve forgotten your dreams, like I had, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord to help you remember them.  If you feel like your dreams are dead, rewrite the lyrics because they are SO not.  He will breathe life back into them for you – LIFE.  Joy, abundance, enthusiasm, giggles, beauty.  FUN.  Poor Fantine didn’t grasp this, but you can. 🙂  Because hope IS high and life IS worth living.