I have talked about Why I Quit Chasing My Dreams, and that talked about how you can to. So, now what? You have prayed and written out your loaves and fish. You have considered your themes, and written out your fears. You have prayed some more, and asked God to give you some guidance. So where do you go from here? Well, here are some thoughts on that. Remember, this is not a magic formula to building everything you have ever wanted. This is about letting God work in you and through you, so that your life would bring him glory. Sometimes, he will tell you to do exactly what you are doing, and to continue doing it faithfully. Sometimes, he will bring something totally new into your life. There is no obvious or correct response. But here are some thoughts for some practical things to do next!
Tell Someone, but Not Everyone!
If you have started this process of praying and seeking, be sure to tell some close trusted friends. If you are married, start there. Then tell a couple of people that you trust, and that can speak truth into your life. But don’t tell everyone. When we tell everyone everything, before God has really birthed something fully in our hearts, our vision can become foggy. Our sense of listening can become diluted. We begin to trust what others say over what God is leading us to. So, be wise in telling, but do tell. You need people to pray for you. God often uses the body to confirm what he is teaching and revealing to us.
Watch and Wait, Expectantly.
Watch with a heart that is ready, and ears that are attuned to the spirit. If you have asked God to give you clarity, vision and guidance in your next steps, expectantly watch. There is no magic time limit on this, but if he brings something your way, ask him, “is this an answer?” to what you have been praying about. If you feel him telling you to move, don’t ignore it. Ask him to confirm it. You need to be ready for him to respond. It is in his nature to use his people to bring him glory. Trust that if you ask him to do that, he will!
Take the Next Step.
When God provides a small opportunity, and you feel that little rush of adrenaline, take the next step. Don’t rationalize yourself out of what he is asking you to do. There is definitely a moment when, after you have prayed, you kind of know that this, this, is the answer. It is a terrifying moment of great peace and clarity. Don’t overthink it. Say yes to what he asks you to do. And know, that the initial excitement might wear off. Fear, doubt, and real life will set in. So……..
If you are praying through what God might be calling you to, and he has been leading you in a certain direction, you will need to remember why and how he led you to whatever he calls you to. Write out a list. When you doubt, whip out the list, and be reminded of God’s working in your life.
Don’t Say No Just Because It’s Big.
The biggest things are the things we desperately need God for. It should be too big. I don’t believe the old saying that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I think he generally gives us more than we can handle so that in our weakness, his strength and grace will be made perfect. Trust that about him.
Keep Your Heart in Check.
Get in the word, know your tendencies and when your idols can throw you off course. Ask God to help you set boundaries. Constantly ask yourself, “am I doing this for my glory, or for his?”. If your answer isn’t for his, stop and pray some more!
Pray for Other Laborers.
And ask God to make that clear to you. Don’t assume you already know! You probably don’t. But he will be stirring the same types of things in other people’s hearts. When Jesus met Saul on the Damascus road, he told Paul to go to a man named Ananias, whom Paul did not know. You can trust that Ananias wanted nothing to do with Saul, the dude who was killing followers of Christ. But in Acts 9, God went to Ananias too. He told him to be ready to accept Saul when he comes. God worked in both of them, for the purpose of Saul’s vision being restored, and for the sake of the kingdom. So, pray for and look for those who would walk out God’s calling.
Know your Limitations, but Have Faith in God’s Limitlessness.
You can’t pull anything lasting and of eternal value off in your own strength. We are all too busy for everything! But, when he calls us, he equips us. That includes the time and energy necessary to complete the task he has set before us. You might need to be creative. Remember, he always gives us more than we can bear, so that we can turn our heavy burdens over to him, and take on his yolk, which is easy.
There is no greater work than what God has called you to. So, when you know what that is, do it excellently. Stop doubting yourself and start trusting the God who lives and works through you. Work as unto him. Use your resources. Study scripture. Pray. Seek wisdom. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Be excellent while abiding in Him. There is grace for every ounce of imperfection living in you. But there is also power in Him that is sufficient to walk you through what he has called you to!
So, after you pray, look at this list, pray some more and then take little steps. Pray that if you are taking steps in the wrong direction, that he would lead you back to where you should be.
While you would never know it by the looks of my very bare walls (hey, it’s only been 5ish months since we moved!), I love having them decorated with beautiful scripture prints! So, when Jenn from Applegate Summers asked if I wanted to team up with her and Amanda from Truth in the Tinsel to do a little giveaway, I obviously said yes!
What exactly are we giving away you ask? Well, three lovely readers will be chosen to receive their choice of 2 Scripture prints from Lamplights.
Here is a little more about Lamplights, from it’s creators, Elizabeth and Sara:
“Lamplights was founded in 2013 by two women who love Jesus, love His Word, and love our families. The vision was birthed many years before as we sought to display beloved Scripture in our homes in a way that was beautiful and inviting. We desired to do what Deuteronomy 6 instructs us — to talk about God’s word at all times, to hold those words in our hearts, and to display them around our homes.”
Out of that, Lamplights was born, and I must say, I love their prints (especially their chalkboard prints, you know how I love a good chalkboard background), and their heart for giving!
Here are some of my favorites from their Etsy shop:
And, their Christmas prints would make perfect hostess gifts, or maybe even a gift for your neighbors! Or, you could just keep these for yourself! I won’t tell!
As I mentioned earlier in the post, three lucky winners will each receive 2 prints of their choice, because we love you, and want you to have some pretty scripture adorning those walls in your home! So, check out the different ways to enter below! And, if you can’t wait to find out if you’ve won, use the code ADVENT2013 for 10% off of your order until 12/12!
Also, be sure to read Elizabeth’s advent devotional over at Jenn’s today! And, be sure to Check out Amanda’s great advent book, Truth in the Tinsel. I love that all of these ladies are all about Jesus! So, go and support them!
I have struggled with goals before, mostly because they o can lead me down a self sufficient path of laboring in vain. However, I am learning that by pursuing God, you can be intentional about the steps he is asking you to take. So, I started writing goals a little while ago, again. I didn’t want to post them on the blog, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with it. But, I think that I am ready for a little accountability, the kind of accountability that keeps me from hauling off to chase my dreams. Accountability to rest in Him, so that I can pursue his plans. In light of all of that mess, here are my goals for this month. I have also included my “WHY’s”. I am not sure where I saw this, but I did see a goal sheet somewhere (maybe Lara Casey?!) that asked you to write out the reasons why you have set each goal. That has proved to be a helpful heart check for me, as I set some goals for the month.
1. Spend time with God before work. I have been doing this halfway for a while. What I have realized is that I have such a different perspective when I do this before I start my day. God’s word is profitable ALWAYS, so time of day doesn’t matter, but for me, it does help get my heart ready for the day, to start my mornings in the word!
2. Exercise 5 days a week. I used to go to the very best gym in the world. If you live in SC, you should run to go sign up….NOW! It is one of the top three things I miss about living in SC! I have tried to get some workouts in at a gym downtown, but during the week it is hard for me to do. So, I am making weekly plans with a combination of videos, running, and some weights at our school gym. Being physically active is truly one of my favorite things in the world. So, I need to somehow find a good rhythm with my workouts. It is part of honoring God by being a good steward of my body!
3. Drink 2 bottles of water a day. I know I need more, but I am taking baby steps. My Why: This is just super important for me here in Bangkok, since it is soooooooooo hot. I can easily, and quickly become dehydrated. Plus, it will help me cut down on the sodas and coffee. This one is about being a good steward of my body too!
4. Go on 1 date with each daughter. I really have loved that since being here, we have had much more time as a family. There has been lots to talk about with all of the transition, and I have enjoyed having time with my girls. While Esteban and I can easly find time to go on dates, I want to be intentional with the girls as well. So, in order to continue to cultivate my relationship with them individually, my goal is to take them out individually, at least once this month.
Finish Start Christmas shopping. I seriously don’t even know what to do without Target here. But alas, I must figure it out. So, in order to be a blessing to my family here and back home, my goal is to finish my shopping by the 21st of this month.
6. Read David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell, and 7 by Jen Hatmaker. Why? Because I have always been super intrigued by everything Gladwell writes and have been in a bit of a reading slump lately. 7 has been so widely recommended that I have had it on my list for a while now. Then, yesterday, they were both less than $4, so I bought them. I will start reading them this evening! Go get yours fast, before the price goes up again!
7. Stick to our budget this month. We have gone through seasons of doing really well with this, and then seasons that were less than stellar, to say the least. It took us a few months to figure out life with a Thai account/Thai money and with an American account/American money. So, now that we have a good idea of how the month’s expenses flow, I really want to be more diligent about this. Why? Because I am really learning what it means to be a steward. I want to be able to give freely, and live open-handedly. I want to focus on building his kingdom, not my own! And that starts here!
8. Blog at least three times a week. I feel like I have gotten into a good groove here the last few months, and would love to keep it up. Blogging is something I enjoy. I would like to continue using this blog as a way to encourage others, keep friends and family up to date, and to document what God is doing in and through our family. I believe that God has given this little space to me for a purpose, so I want to steward that well.
9. Go to Chinatown. I haven’t been there yet, but have heard that you can get everything you could possibly want there. So, I want to head out and see what it is all about. This is part of me getting to know this city a little better.
10. Skype once this month with all of my used-to-be-college-girls-turned-real-life-grown-up-girls. This was a goal of mine last month, and I am glad to say I was able to chat with almost all of them! And….. I loved it(cause, I totally love you girls!!)! So, I want to keep it up and do it again this month, so that I can hear all of the ways God is growing and working in these awesome ladies!
11. Finish putting together curriculum boxes and a training schedule for a small apartment based school here in Bangkok. This is one that kind of fell in my lap, thanks Julie ! However, it was a direct answer to prayer for wisdom and guidance. This is on here because God led us to it, so we are doing it!
That’s all I’ve got. We will see how things go at the end of the month!
I have talked about Plan to Eat before, but this weekend they are having an awesome sale, so I need to talk about it again!!! Plan to Eat has really been a lifesaver for me! I have loved using this meal planning tool, because it is so ridiculously easy! And, as if it weren’t easy enough before, it now has an app that I can use to take with me while I am shopping! In case you don’t know what Plan to Eat is about…here is a little summary of how I use it!
Step 1: Add your recipes and any staples you buy regularly to the Recipes section.
This is by far the most time consuming part of using this. However, it is really easy now, with the bulk entry option. Also, most recipes you can just copy and paste a link and it populates the recipe for you! I probably spent about an hour and a half on this one day at the beginning. Now, if I find a recipe I like, I just quickly pop it in for later. I just did that with two recipes and it took less than 2 minutes! Start up takes some time, but then it is super quick!!!
Step 2: Plan your week’s meals.
I do this really loosely. I never really eat the meals I plan on the days I planned them. But, for those of you who are a lot more type A about that stuff like that, you can plan out your whole week with this program. There are spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I slide everything I want for that week over to a spot. Then I am done. This takes me about 5 minutes each week.
Step 3: Grab your list
The program generates a list for you, so there is little to no work for you to do! I usually just go through the list to check off anything I already have. You can also add any extra items you might want to your list, with a simple add item button at the top of the list. There is a spot for staples like toilet paper, detergent, etc. so you can throw those in there as well. This takes me another 2 minutes each week.
Step 4: Shop!
That’s it. In less than 10 minutes I am headed out the door. Once I get to the store, I whip out my phone, open up my app, and shop from there! Things disappear as I check them off, and I get out of the store quickly, usually having spent a lot less money! (You can do the whole process on your phone, but I prefer to sit down at my computer to do this!)
I have tried lots of things, but this by far, is the easiest…and my absolute favorite. For me, investing a little time up front was nothing compared to how easy it is each week! I have been using Plan to Eat for about 6 months now, and can honestly say that I have never meal planned for that long in my life! It has been amazingly helpful in my transition to Bangkok as well! Grocery shopping here can be pretty stressful, but having everything to plan before hand be so quick and easy takes a bit of the load off!
Like I said earlier, the reason I am writing all of this again, is because they are having huge Black Friday sale, where you can get a year’s worth of service for 50% off! 50% people! That means you will pay only $19.95 for the year (That’s $1.60 per month) for your subscription. You can also sign up for a free trial and buy your subscription at the same time. If you do, your subscription starts on the last day of your trial! So…what are you waiting for people!
Here are some more pictures…for your enjoyment! Also, read all the way through to hear more about our ministry here!
We went to the night market on the river again with some visitors. The girls tried on hats. Abi is totally the Boss, obviously the blinged out kind and Maya looks like she is ready for a derby?!?! I am not really sure what that looks like, but I would imagine it looks like this!
Esteban and I had another date night in. We ordered some take out and watched Shark Tank…which I LOOOOOOVE! And then, there was the couple who invented the stuffed elephant. MMmmhhmmmm…..it wasn’t just any stuffed elephant. It was the kind in a cool box. It was the kind that you put out when you were mad at your spouse. It represented the “elephant in the room”….haha…get it?!?! If the elephant was placed somewhere for you to see, by your spouse, then you knew you had to talk about the real elephant in the room…..at some point. That little guy is saving marriages all over the place. 5 to date! Can you guess how many investors jumped on this?
We have been ordering food from a Mexican place nearby for a while now. We finally went one day for lunch and were so excited that it turned out to be such a fun place! The food is delish, and it reminds us of some of our faves back home! And, like all good Mexican places, it won’t break the bank! We were happy campers!
There was a fair at school this week, so the girls spent their Saturday getting glitter tattoos and their nails painted! That’s their kind of carnival! Layla is obviously ready for Christmas!
At the night market I was so proud of myself for snagging these shoes for 100baht less than the asking price. I ended up paying about $11 for them. They were so cute…until I wore them twice…then this happened. They have somehow lost their appeal! I definitely got what I paid for!
And now…on to the ministry stuff!!!(Did you like that super smooth segue?!…btw..I totally had to look up how to spell segue!)
For those of you who don’t know, we are currently living overseas (in Thailand) so that my husband can be more centrally located for the work he does with SCPI. This ministry has him traveling often, working with national leaders mostly in Asia. Below is a link to our most recent newsletter, for those that are interested in hearing more about our ministry. If you have any questions, or would like to consider joining our team, you can contact Esteban at the email address provided in the newsletter.
For those that are already a part of our team, we are so thankful for your prayers and support. We have seen God working through this ministry in so many ways, and are blessed by your generosity, and heart for the world. Thank you for giving sacrificially. Thank you for praying for us faithfully. Thank you for care packages, emails, Fb messages and Skype chats. Your care for us has been huge during this time of transition. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Rachel and I met in college, and have kept up through FB. I mostly love looking at all of the pictures of her daughter Janaa, who seems like the most fun kid in the world! I will let Rachel tell you more about her adoption in the questions below, but you can also check out her blog to read more about their second adoption. Pretty soon, they will be a family of 4!
(Rachel, I feel like I need to note the fact that I own the same dress, in two colors, and possibly the same shoes, if they are the shiny ones from Target!)
1. Where did you adopt from? Thailand (Chiang Mai)
2. How long did your process take? It took 2 years from the time we started looking for an agency. Our daughter was a “waiting child” so we had a referral quickly. It was a year from referral to court.
3. Tell us about your child. Janaa turned four the week we flew home. That was six years ago. She will turn 10 in a couple of weeks.
4. Did you do any fundraisers? If not, how were you able to pay for adoption expenses? We did not do fundraisers. We were the first people we knew in our community to adopt, much-less internationally. People were hesitantly supportive, but it almost felt as if it was something we needed to do on our own since we chose to adopt. As if choosing adoption meant we also “chose” to pay the price. My mom’s Sunday School class (all amazing ladies on fixed incomes) took up an offering one day without us knowing. It was the sweetest $110 we received. The Lord provided the money every time we needed it in very unusual ways. We didn’t borrow anything until it was time to travel. We did have to charge about $10,000 in travel expenses and in-country adoption fees. (This time around we are fundraising.)
5. Was it hard to assimilate your child/children into your family? What was the biggest struggle? We were extremely blessed to know our daughter before the adoption. A friend was her foster mom so we were also able to Skype on a regular basis for the 2 years we waited. She was very comfortable with us since we were “friends” already. Her biggest struggles have been that her birth mom is Buddhist. She is concerned about her salvation. We did go back a year later so she could meet her and we were able to tell her about Jesus. That has helped. The biggest issue was grief. It was like losing her “foster mom” and “siblings”. She was in the same home from birth to almost 4 years. Her foster brother was a few months younger and they were tight. We still keep in touch and the grief has greatly subsided, but it was hard for the first 3-5 years.
6. Why did you decided to adopt? We fell in love with Janaa by watching her grow up. We started sending packages to her and her foster brother. When her papers went up for adoption we couldn’t imagine “losing” her. Through the experience we have had our eyes opened to the blessing of adoption and are in the process of adopting a little boy from the DR Congo.
7. What would you tell another family that was interested in adoption? How long is this suppose to be? . You will never receive a greater gift than your child. Yes, children do need homes, but it is much more than that. It is the creating of a beautiful family that man could never design. Don’t wait and don’t be scared. If you know God has called you to this HE will provide ALL that you need emotionally, spiritually, and financially.
8. What agency did you use? AAI – Adoption Advocates International out of Washington state And would you recommend them? We had a good experience with them. Because we were requesting Janaa (which isn’t allowed in Thailand), they were the only agency that would take our case. Our daughter is home so I think they did a great job. With this adoption we are using AAS – Africa Adoption Services out of Kentucky. We do like them so far, but they are new. If it were our first adoption we probably would not have chosen them.
9. Where there any surprises with your adoption? Yes! The lack of knowledge on the part of US government from international to local bodies. Homeland security lady, Stacy Strong, told us our daughter was not adoptable (not true) to the local county office that took 2 years to grant our adoption because they couldn’t understand the process we were telling them we needed to go through. They originally told us it didn’t exist. The emotional strain was something I didn’t understand, but did expect. There is almost a postpartum depression affect. And, that people would assume I was only 1/2 of a mom because I didn’t give birth to my child. That was/is hard.
10. What has been the biggest blessing since adopting your child/children? The sweet reminder of who God is…His love, grace, sovereignty… There are things about God I never understood or would have understood without our sweet girl and the whole adoption process. There’s nothing better than snuggling on the sofa, smelling her hair and thinking about the goodness of my Heavenly Father.
Yesterday I shared about why I quit chasing my dreams. Today, I want to help you stop chasing yours as well! Before we start there are some things you need to know.
First, you need to know that I am right smack in the middle of this. So, absolutely none of this is figured out. No major life changes have happened for me because of this…..yet. What I am going to share today is my first little baby step towards pursuing God and his plans, and ditching my own!
Second, you need to know that nothing I am going to share is new, novel, or impressive. I have had the privilege of learning from many godly women, and so, these were just some steps God used to help me. They are a mixture of lots of things, that lots of other, much more intelligent, people have said or written!
Third, you need to know that if you do these things, nothing magical will happen. You won’t automatically have some great master plan for your life. All they are meant to do, is help you intentionally pray through who God has made you to be, and what his next steps for you are! No magic here!
Okay, so, let’s get to it!
The first thing you need to do, before you write a single thing down, is stop and pray. And I want you to pray specifically. Ask God to reveal his heart for you. Ask him to give you eyes to see, and clarity. Ask him to bring up any idols that you have been clinging to, and then, when he does, repent and lay those idols down. Today, that might be all you can do. Without this, there is really no point in doing anything else. You will end up chasing your dreams again. And, we know how tiring that can be! Also, when you pray, I want you to pray in faith. James 1:5-8 says,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
So, ask believing that God will answer. Ask believing that his wisdom is far greater than what you could ever possibly understand. Do not be tossed to and fro by the winds of other people’s expectations, your own expectations, or by your vain idols. Be grounded in the God we are chasing! (Remember, he is easily found!)
Next, I want you to ask God to reveal what some of the themes in your life have been. Since you have believed, I am willing to bet, that you can trace a few trends in your life. For me, there were several, but the three that were always present in some way, were decipleship, education, and orphans. Since I have believed, I have had a heart and passion for all three of these things in almost every ministry I have every been a part of. Yours might be music, writing, serving, art, dance, cooking, teaching, encouraging, etc. This is going to take some thought, and lots of prayer. But this is so important! God creates each of us individually, and uniquely. However, he creates us to somehow play a part in his purposes. So, if he has given you a specific burden, it is for a purpose. And that purpose is NOT to make you feel awesome. That purpose is somehow supposed to be used in his kingdom building. So, seek him, and write down your themes. I would keep this to 3 or 4 major themes. Try to be general with these. Maybe you sing, play the guitar and the piano. Instead of those being separate themes, music would be your theme. Got it?
Loaves and Fish
Next, I want you to write down your loaves and fish. In Matthew 14:17, the disciples tell Jesus, “…We have only five loaves here and two fish.”. And we all know what happened with those loaves and fish. Jesus multiplied them, and used them, to feed thousands.
All believers have spiritual gifts. We all have talents as well. Everyone is good at something. We have training, and experience too. Again, God did not give us these things for us to make a great name for ourselves. If you are a great speaker, then ask God how you can use that. If you make amazing cupcakes, ask God, how he might use that for his kingdom. This is not the time to be shy. We aren’t bragging, we are being honest with who God has made us to be. Every gift we have, every experience, every talent, was given to us by a God who perfectly engineered every aspect of our lives. And even our greatest gifts are insufficient for what he calls us to. Apart from him, John 15 says, we can do nothing. So right now, all we are doign is bringing our insignificant amounts of loaves and fish. Then we can ask him to take our insufficient resources, and multiply them so that they are used for his kingdom’s purposes. So, list them out. Start with your spiritual gifts, and then your natural abilities, talents and life experiences. Write out anything he brings to mind. There is NO LIMIT to what he will use.
Okay, so we have our themes and our loaves and fish. But if we stop here, then we are overlooking something huge, that could hold us back from really pursuing God and trusting him to lead us well. We all have fears. We all hold back, live small, and don’t take action, because our fears are bigger than our view of who God is. David didn’t let fear creep in when he heard Goliath making fun of God. He believed his God was bigger than any earthly threat. Paul believed the same thing.
So, we need to write down our fears, and then confess them. We need to turn them over to God, and let him shoulder their burden, while we shoulder his. His yoke is easy, ours is ridiculously heavy! So write down the things you are most afraid of when you think about really pursuing the things God might be asking you to do. Mine revolved a lot around a fear of losing stability. Both financial and just an overall lifestyle that was stable. They involved me losing control and taking on something that I know I CANNOT pull off on my own. I absolutely hate the thought of that. Because if I can’t pull it off, I have to trust that he can. That has always been a struggle for me. But I don’t want to look back on my life and say that I played it safe, and pursued an easy, happy little kingdom of my own. I want to do what he wants me to do. So, I have to deal with these fears, and so do you, because they are real, and they hold us back! So, write them down. Then, prayerfully confess how you might be letting these fears rule in your life. Ask God for freedom, and a far greater view of who he is.
Now, we are going to pray, wait, and expect. I bet you thought I was going to say that we should look back over everything we have written and analyze what the most logical next step would be for us to take. But if we do that, we will inevitably end up chasing after our vain idols. And we aren’t doing that anymore, remember?
Nope, we are just going to pray. We are going to ask God to make sense of everything we have written. We are going to ask him what his next step is for us. We are going to wait, worship, dig into scripture and pray some more. And as we begin to sense him telling us something, we are going to write it down, and baby-step in the direction we think he is asking us to move.
We are going to seek wise council. We aren’t going to seek lots of council, but we are going to seek wise council from a few. Then we are going to pray some more. We are going to follow our shepherd. When he asks us to do something too big, we are going to confess our fear, and keep walking. If he changes our direction, we are going to change ours. Because we aren’t chasing our dreams anymore, we are chasing him.
Okay, that was so long! I told you it wasn’t a how to, or a magic formula!
Don’t feel like you have to do all of this at once. Don’t feel like you have to do this at all. But do pray. Do lay down your vain idols. Do pursue him, and don’t let fear get in the way of that. Pray that he would raise up believers who would passionately lay down their dreams, and live out their faith. Pray that the gospel might be brought to every man, woman and child through the faithfulness and obedience of his church.Pray for what your role in that looks like. It could be something small, or it could be something huge. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you are following your shepherd, using what he has given you and being a part of his kingdom work. As we seek to live this out, I would love to hear some of the things God is laying on your heart, and the different ways I can pray for you!
whew….Well, if you made it this far, you get a prize! Here is a free printable for ya’! Just click the image. Then right click and save to your desktop. After that, it will print as an 8.5 x 11 full sheet!
I don’t actually believe this anymore. I used to. Then life happened, and I realized that this isn’t true. You see, I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast. I worked at it, but didn’t come close. I dreamed of marrying someone famous and living in Beverly Hills, spending all of that famous person’s money. Well, my hubby is a lot of awesome things, but rich and famous are not words I would use to describe him! As of late, I have dreamed of being a country superstar. Obviously the awesome-singing Carrie-Underwood-type, not the cutesy-guitar-playing-popish-Taylor-Swift type. Unfortunately, I don’t have the chops. I dreamed all of these things. Some of them, I even worked towards. But none of them have come true.
Sometimes, I get bored with my life. I feel small, stifled and insignificant. So, I chase “my dreams”. Usually these dreams have to do with making more money, getting more degrees (so I can feel smarter and more successful), or making a greater name for myself by doing something noteworthy and great (like writing a book or getting a zillion followers on you-name-it-social-media outlet).
But, then Psalm 16 reminded, that those who chase after vain idols, their sorrows will be multiplied. And you know what, that was a lot truer than good ole’ Walt Disney’s quote. In fact, my chasing of “dreams” constantly left me discontent, and looking for more. Because my dreams were just that. They were mine. They were about me. I was building my kingdom, and felt like if I could achieve them, then I would be happy. But I couldn’t achieve them. I was limited, ill-equiped and powerless to accomplish most of those dreams.
Lately, God has been reframing what “dreams” are, for me. Psalm 16 is my go to….always. It says that I can choose the Lord as my portion, and that in him I have a full inheritance, and He will give me council. And then Psalm 3 reminded me that I am to acknowledge him in all things, and that HE will make my paths straight. Finally, Psalm 37 declares, that when I delight in the Lord (choose him as my portion, set him before me), he will give me the desires of my heart. In that, there is in implication that the desires of my heart will some how be altered when I delight in Him.
Sooooo……I started thinking, and praying, and waiting. I recognized that my default was still to chase after my vain idols. And I was doing that under the guise of “following my dreams”. I was merely thinking big, and taking action. But all of those things were vain idols that I had put in place to add to the self-worship I had grown so accustomed to living in.
In my praying God reminded me about building his kingdom. He reminded me about making his name great. He reminded me that he is my good shepherd who leads me well, for his namesake.
Then, I started to pray differently. I asked him to help me to stop chasing my dreams, and to start chasing him. And he began to change my vision. He began to set a new “dream” in my heart. One that was a lot more in line with his kingdom than my deep-seeded desires to belt out Blown Away on stage in front of a million people!
I stopped chasing my dreams. And I am not sorry about it. I haven’t given up, and I am not living small. In fact, the things that God has put on my heart are a lot scarier than the going back to school to get another degree. They are lot more difficult, and not as clear cut, as moving again or finding a new job. They are absolutely things I am ill-equipped to do on my own. But, God equips me to do what HE calls me to. He doesn’t give me everything I need to chase after my own dreams, but he does give me what I need to live out his purposes!
Sorry Walt Disney, but I can’t achieve all the “dreams” that I dream. However, I am finding that there is something exciting, scary, and completely amazing about laying those “dreams” down to follow the God who created the universe. There is something to knowing that he will accomplish his purposes and is allowing me to play a small part in that. And while I have NO idea what the future looks like for me or my family, I know that he does. So, I am throwing out the Disney quote and trusting in the truths of his scripture. I am putting to rest the dreams that have turned out to be vain idols, and am choosing him as my portion. Whatever he asks me to do from there, is up to him. I am praying that big or small, he would help me to be faithful, obedient, and reliant on him.
Tomorrow, I am planning on sharing some practical steps to pursuing God and his calling or purposes in our lives. These aren’t fool proof, easy as 1-2-3 kinds of steps, and I am no expert. But he is beginning to walk me through a time of learning what it looks like to let his Spirit lead, and I want to share that with you! So, I’ll see you tomorrow!
A friend posted this on FB this morning, and I had to share it! For all of the momma’s out there, this is for you!
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Allison is one of my favorite people in the world. Seriously people. She is one of the wisest, most godly women I know. However, she is also one of the most hilarious, wildly ridiculous people I know as well. She is the perfect picture of a totally non-boring Christian woman! A few years ago, she and her husband Jeff, felt God calling them to adopt. Here is a quick peek into her family’s adoption.
1.Where did you adopt from? China
2. How long did your process take? Approximately 11 months
3. Tell us about your child/children. Hope was 2 when we adopted her, and was considered special needs because of her cleft lip and palate.
4. Did you do any fundraisers? If not, how were you able to pay for adoption expenses? We received many grants ranging from our church to various online agencies/ministries. (Those grants took Allison a LONG time to research and put together. In the end, they got a huge chunk of their adoption paid for through grants)
5. Was it hard to assimilate your child/children into your family? What was the biggest struggle? It took about 9 months to adjust. The biggest struggle was teaching obedience.
6. Why did you decided to adopt (feel free to share as much or as little as you would like!)? We talked about adopting when we were dating. We decided to move forward with our adoption process, after my husband started preaching on James 1:27, and we had dinner with a family who adopted two girls from China.
7. What would you tell another family that was interested in adoption? Go for it!
8. What agency did you use? And would you recommend them? Children’s House International. I liked them because they gave us a lot of information on the children’s special needs before we were matched. However, they were out of our state, which meant I had to do almost all the paperwork myself.
9. Where there any surprises with your adoption? She was potty trained at 2 years old!!!!! Yippee!! Also, after we arrived in China, they tried to get us to pay more money.
10. What has been the biggest blessing since adopting your child/children? She’s the coolest kid ever!! Seriously, a complete gift. I did a TON of research and would be happy to help anyone with any questions regarding adoption.
Hope really is the coolest kid! She is sweet, spunky and totally perfect for that crazy family! Allison is totally serious though. She is a wealth of information and would be happy to answer any other questions you might have. So, let me know if you want to connect with her!