“… when dreams come true there is life and joy.” Proverbs 13:12
Last week Phil and I left for Germany to teach INTENTIONAL: Raising Passionate Jesus Followers. We flew into Zurich, Switzerland where we were met by a delightful young couple and their two-year-old daughter. We’d known Stephanie before she met Luke, then watched their love grow and all the curious leading of God in their lives that eventually landed them at the Black Forest Academy in southern Germany. As we taught this group of missionaries and business people, pastors and teachers and leaders, I couldn’t help but be humbled by their intelligence and maturity. Their questions revealed their hearts— brimming with love for their children and a deep desire to follow fully and passionately after Jesus in every area of their lives.
A few days later we traveled by train to Salzburg, Austria, land of Sound of Music and Maria and all those Van Trapp children. Castles and Cathedrals and Cuckoo Clocks and Glockenspiels. As you read this, we’re exploring the wonders of the Christmas Market, then headed by sleeper train back to Zurich for our flight home.
(the mansion where the Sound of Music was filmed)
And all I can do is wonder…
Why in the world would God let me do this?
A simple, shy homebody. A woman characterized by average. Normal. Medium. And yet here I wander, half way around the world, doing what I couldn’t possibly have dreamed up on my own.
For years, I’ve eschewed the best sellers that claim all our dreams will come true if we’ll only believe enough. I’ve been known to scoff at the “Best Life” ideals. Shuddered at what I believe is an adulteration of the message of Jesus. Somehow diamonds and dream vacations just don’t line up with the reality of Paul’s life— or John’s or Peter’s or any of those heros listed in Hebrews 11. Early on in my walk with God, wise mentors taught me that only in laying down our lives can we hope to gain everything He has and wants for everyone of us. I have believed that a life fully surrendered, emptied of expectation, ready and willing to die to dreams is the life that is truly life.
So how did I end up here? Living this dream?
It started with a problem: How in the world would we raise our children to be full-on followers of Jesus? With no faith background, no inherent wisdom, and no idea what to do, we began to study. To read and research, to ask questions and seek mentors. And as our children grew, we dug deeper.
Having no idea what to do, we had the advantage of having no preconceived ideas about how it should be done.
Sometimes we taught others what we were learning. Mostly we just listened and took notes and begged God to give us the wisdom we needed to face the unexpected.
Some friends thought we were overdoing it. Others taught us what they knew, adding to our stockpile of accumulated answers.
We dared. We risked. We did what we thought we heard God teaching us, telling us, leading us to do.
And we made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Which led to a lot of repenting and relearning and humbling ourselves to try again.
Somehow our four children survived all that intensity. Somewhere in there they caught hold of Jesus and held on. They saw Him and heard Him and fell in love with Him.
Amazing. Miraculous. Beyond belief. Watching them, one–by-one, catch hold of Him has been more reward than I’d ever dreamed.
But, if I’m honest, somewhere I did dream of passing these uncovered treasures along to others. Years and years ago I even wrote it all down- only to realize I still didn’t know enough— hadn’t lived enough, to have enough to offer. Someday, I thought. Maybe someday.
And now I’m getting to live that Someday.
And I’m beginning to see a place in our lives for dreaming… not scheming and pushing and assuming and expecting… but for the kind of dreaming that has hope at it’s heart. Dreaming that maybe God will take my small sack lunch— my version of a couple of dried fish and a few barley loaves and multiply it to feed many.
And so today I’ll wander the stalls of the Christmas Market, wishing strangers a Frohe Weinachten, holding Phil’s hand, pinching myself from time to time just to be certain it’s real. In a couple of days I’ll be back to my normal, less-than-extraordinary life. Later, I’ll wrestle with what I’ve believed about the place of dreams and hopes and wishes.
But for now… I’ll just delight in dreams come true.
From my heart,
P.S. Are you dreaming of what God might have for you as you follow Him fully? Dare you tell us what that dream looks like? I, for one, would love to hear what God is up to in the weaving of your story.