Friday, February 22, 2013

Dream the impossible dream....

       Dreams. There are two kinds of dreams. There is the kind where rainbow unicorns and aliens team up to bake a birthday cake for Cinderella, hopefully these are the ones you have while sleeping. Then, there is the kind of dream that is like a wish or hope; a desire within us. Those passions within us, I believe, have been placed there by God for a purpose.

       Without a dream it is hard to be focused and know what direction we need to go. It should be a dream for all of us to be closer to God, that's one thing. However, within each of us is a separate passion that can be used to glorify God.  My dream is to be a speaker and writer for my sisters in Christ.  It was not always so. We learn more on the journey we are set on by our dreams than by achieving the dream itself. Perhaps you think your dream is silly or you can't see how God could possibly use your talent or desire. Perhaps there is something along the pursuit of that dream that He wants to show you that could rock your world and change everything. We don't know. God works in wonderful and unexpected ways. As long as we seek to glorify him in what we do, He will use that dream.

      Many times I have become frustrated and pleaded with God, "Why did you put this desire in me if I can't use it"? When really I am saying, "Why can't I use this the way *I* think I should be using it"? Yet when I step back and look at the chain of events that lead me here, they were all important parts of shaping who I am and how I view my desires. Often they were sad, or troubling times. Would I change them? Nope. Not one. I often look to Romans 8:28. These growing pains do hurt, but they are necessary. The path to the dream is just as, if not more important, than achieving it. Does this mean you'll never reach you dreams? Certainly not. God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into the nest. We must actively pursue our passion. It will not be thrown into our lap. Remember though, our idea of success should not be measured by the worlds standards, but rather by Gods.

      In this world we often like to look at other peoples dreams and chuckle or shake our heads. Why? DO we not serve a God who does the impossible? Look at Genesis 18:14! An OLD woman about to have a baby. We would say impossible! Nothing is too hard for God. With the limits the world constantly places upon us it is hard to think of our God with NO limits. The scriptures are saturated with proof of Gods abilities...and yet we doubt. A human from dust? A baby born to parents 100 years old? Walls of a great city falling by marching around them then yelling? A man carried away in a chariot of fire? A great sea parting and thousands of people crossing on dry land? A bush burning, but not consumed? IMPOSSIBLE!! Not. With. God. Are our obstacles so great that God cannot help us overcome them?

      Do you remember the new found passion you had when you first became a christian? You felt you could take on anything and change the world. As time went by and people dribbled a few drops of doubt on your fire here and there your passion grew weaker. Those dribbles grew larger and soon your fire was low and your spirit was quenched. Not like a refreshing quench your thirst. Rather extinguish a fire that is supposed to keep you warm and safe. There is a stark contrast. Let's shift our focus for a moment from our dreams to the dreams of others. Do we encourage the passion and desire to serve and conquer mountains, or do we sprinkle some water on the fire? Look at 1 Thess. 5:19. You do not know the power of God or what he may have planned for that passion. Should we not encourage and guide? Hebrews 10:25 gives us an idea.  Don't snuff out someones light because YOU think THEY can't achieve it. They may not be able to, but God CAN.

       Here is a little thing for you to try. Look up Phil. 4:13. Read it over and over. Each time emphasize a different word and think about how it sounds each time. Like this:
 *I* can do all things through Christ who Gives me strength.
 I *can* do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
 I can *do*all things through Christ who gives me strength. Keep going until you've emphasized every word.
        Make your dreams big, because God is bigger. Open your heart to the ways he wants to use your passion. Feed your fire. Read scriptures, pray to God. Let God shape and teach you on your journey. Fan the flames of others.   Remember.......     "Nothing is too hard for God."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's just stuff.

All right ladies and gents, hang on, because we are going a little bit of everywhere with this post. Remember to keep hands, feet, and arms inside until the ride comes to a complete stop. :-)

The past few weeks I have been in Virginia with my mom and children getting my grandfather ready to move to Michigan with my parents. Eighty years worth of items to sort through, is a task. He simply sat in a chair and had no opinion on what we packed up for him. All he wanted to take was a picture of my grandmother holding my mother when she was a baby. The rest was just stuff.

I have learned a great deal these past weeks. Most lessons we learn aren't ones we want to learn, but we must be ever watchful to see when a lesson is presented. Lessons in life, usually hurt, and can often drive you to boarder line nutty-ness (that's a word in my book). All lessons are taught but not all are learned. Make sense? I have learned that we have to look for the lessons God wants us to learn in everything. The time here in Virginia has been hard emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It's in these times the lessons are ripe for the learning.

What did I learn? A lot about myself. However I want to share some of what I learned with you. I learned it's just stuff. All of it. From heirlooms to handbags to books to furniture. From houses and cars to clothes and jewelry. It's all stuff. Almost a year ago I sat and watched my grandmother pass from this life with nothing left but the pictures of her family that hung above her head. I've watched my other grandmother do the same almost 4 years ago. At the end of their lives all they wanted was family. To know they were loved. To hold someones hand and not be alone. Now, my grandfather, though still alive, just wants his family and to know he is loved. We are to wash away the past and let go of hard feelings, if they linger. We want God to forgive us as we forgive others, don't we? People aren't stuff. Love isn't stuff. Kindness, hope, faith, mercy, none of these qualify as "stuff". Though I've known this, I've learned it more deeply.

When we first packed to come here I brought 3 bags of books and school supplies so the children and I could do school. I'll be the first to admit I have a *slight* obsession with books. I felt that I needed all this stuff and more to have the lessons covered. While we do need some things, true learning doesn't need a lot of stuff. I learned how to teach my children with simple things and a bible. Some lessons will require more, I understand. But we live in a world of so much excess. I want my children to learn now, that it is just stuff. I want them to learn how to cherish their family. I want them to learn to see God in everything and to trust Him. My job and privilege as a Christian mom is to teach my children these things (among others) and to love them unconditionally as they learn, and to instill a love of learning in them. One day, I hope that they can see the lessons that God has waiting for them, even in the hard times.

Love today, give mercy freely, and remember most of the stuff we worry just stuff.