There I was, wondering where to go from here, and God sends help in two forms: a book from Andrew Wommack entitled How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will and Dutch Sheets’ Give Him 15 daily devotions. For the past two weeks he’s been taking excerpts from his book Dream.
That dreams give us a reason for getting out of bed in the morning is a gimmie. That dreams inspire us to achieve goals and reach heights we never thought possible is a gimmie. If we are living our dream job then we will never work a day in our lives is a gimmie. But on October 25th, Dutch shared the story of Wilma Rudolph and a light was cast on dreams that I never saw before.
Wilma Rudolph was the premature twentieth child of twenty two. (And I thought my paternal grandparents’ brood of 13 was many). It was doubtful that she’d survive. Her young life was further complicated when at age 4 she contracted double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9 she removed her brace and began the hard work of learning to walk on her own. By age 12, she could walk unaided. She became a star basketball player and sprinter in high school. At age 16 she won a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympic Games. Before the Olympic Games at Rome in 1960, she set a world record for the 200 meter dash. In the Games themselves she won 3 gold medals. Not bad for a premature baby who doctors had little hope would survive let alone thrive.
Dutch Sheets concluded with yet another facet of dreams from Wilma’s story: Dreams heal. It does appear as though it was Wilma’s want to walk independently that motivated her to her great achievements. That really stirred my brain about the power of a dream. Can that longing raise a person from a sickbed, pull a person out of mental darkness, put water to the flame of emotional trauma? If the power of a dream could cause a young girl to discard a brace she depended on, and she would not only go on to walk but to run and win gold medals, what could it do for us? It’s something to think about, isn’t it?
Denise had a dream. She wanted to have a prayer ministry. As a very young woman, her sister made fliers for her announcing her phone number, desire to help through prayer, and confidentiality. She posted them around town, anxiously awaiting the multitude of the needy to reach out to her. No one called. But that did not squash the desire to meet people’s innermost needs through prayer.
Fast forward. As a young mother, and as a homeschool project of sorts, Denise participated in Operation Christmas Child by having her son and daughter each fill a shoe box of items for needy children around the world. When they were grown, she volunteered for collection week for O.C.C. at the church she was attending. Beyond supplying cookies, she didn’t specify her exact role as a volunteer and “fell” on the prayer team. Sounds too coincidental, doesn’t it? Not long after that, she received an email from Samaritan’s Purse about her application. Thinking it was spam, she deleted it. Then came a follow up phone call. That’s when the dots were connected between the relationship of Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child. To this day she does not remember filling in an application but here’s what came out of it: She is the official prayer team coordinator for O.C.C. for one of our local counties. She is responsible for praying for the ministry as a whole, praying at any (local) events they might participate in, in person monthly meetings, a zoom prayer meeting every 3 months, and going to collections at churches to assist in any way she can and pray over the boxes before they are shipped. I personally believe larger things are coming for Denise.
What I find more amazing is that Denise has the occupation of being a regular part-time waitress — and she’s a good one at that. She has a genuine smile that can not only be seen but can be heard in her voice. Many may snub their noses at such an unassuming employ but it has afforded her the luxury of raising her children (while bringing in extra income), flexible days and hours, and now funds the volunteer work/travel that she does for O.C.C. Even the employment that she has molds to the dream that God planted in her heart.
What were your childhood dreams? I ask because I’m going there today. That’s where Wilma went, that’s where Denise went.
When I was a child, I had several dreams. I loved to sing and belted out Jesus Loves Me at the tender age of 5 for all of our neighborhood to hear. I thrived in chorus in high school, bringing in awards, so I thought I’d make it as a nationally (at least 😉 ) acclaimed singer. That didn’t happen. I was, however, the worship leader at a small country church for a time, did some traveling and singing with Mum, who is also a songwriter and musician, and sang “specials” at church up until about 10-15 years ago.
I must have dreamed about being a teacher because I remember lining up my stuffed animals and dolls as a child while I laboriously wrote out lessons on a chalk board and taught them. I would “graduate” from inanimate objects and go on to teach a girls class at church, teach at our homeschool co-op, teach our small Sunday evening Bible study group, and my most pleasurable and rewarding teaching experience of all, raising and nurturing my children.
I dreamed of being a writer. I was encouraged by two of my high school teachers to continue along that vein. I won some awards and was published in a magazine. You are reading me here now. That part of my life always seems to carry over from one chapter to the next.
Out of the things I listed above, my passion for life lies here, at home, with my people. Our former Pastor Chris got the biggest kick out of that, me walking through the church asking, “Has anyone seen my people?”
I once asked Bob, “Why did you want to get married?” I honestly thought sex would be part of his answer, at least in jest. Let’s be honest though, if he wasn’t willing to wait for me, he could have had sex anyway with someone else. He surprised me when he answered me in all seriousness, “I got married because I wanted a family.”
And that, dear readers, is where my heart resides: with family. At my core, since I was a child, I wanted to be married and have children. It is my desire to see married couples strengthened and parents once again treating children like the gifts from God that they are and encouraging them in the biblical training of their offspring.
I guess why this transition from young children to adult children is so hard, is because I was looking at this particular time in my life as being over. I’ve been looking through the wrong lens. I haven’t been seeing it as the experience necessary to pass on to other young families. And how about this? I can couple child rearing to marriage — 20+ years of it. Marriage is difficult at times. Some day I may share how we walked through a marriage riddled with landmines from an abusive past and capitalized on by a job that taxes the mental and emotional parts of a person to the point of destructive habits and divorce for many, and sometimes breakdown for others. The commitments we make may seem impossible to keep at times, but with God all things are possible.
You know, Bob’s reason for getting married is God’s reason for creating you and me. God wanted a family, someone He could talk to and dream with and work with and bless beyond all wildest imaginings. Yes, that’s you and that’s me. We’re God’s dream come true. Let’s start acting like it by joining together as we talk with God and explore the purpose, His dream, for our being here. And just maybe, during our journey of discovery, which might include the dreams of our youth, we may be healed.