Tag Archives: dreams

The Day I was Supposed to Move

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A lot can happen in a year.

The last 12 months have been some of the most wonderful, painful, exposing, sanctifying, excruciating, and joyful months of my 28 years.

God has opened my heart, locked tight with fear, and poured in more love and goodness than can be contained in 10,000 lifetimes. He has begun the process of breaking down my Fort Knox-esque self-protective tendencies and given enormous gifts of grace so beyond my dreams and imagination that I didn’t even know to ask for them. I’ve watched Him answer six years of prayers in my small group babies as He has matured, purified, saved, sanctified, and led them deeper into His heart. He has faithfully and flawlessly demonstrated His sufficiency in the valleys and on the mountain tops and in every moment in between.

This year has been filled with sorrow, longings, dreams, and compassions that fail not. It’s been packed with patience from the Father, security from the Son, and constant hope from the Spirit.

The Lord has taught is teaching me to trust Him (and others) with my emotions, my unmasked soul, and my constant urge to resist grace and base my worth on performance. My heart, shriveled from 28 years of insecurities, has been expanded and nourished by a love unlike anything it has ever known from a human so marked by majesty that my soul explodes on a daily basis in worship and praise to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. And my mind constantly reverberates with this grace-drenched message: If His gifts are this good, how much greater is He?

God has proven to my fearful soul over and over that He is good and that He does all things well. He strategizes our lives well. He directs all things well. He writes all our stories well. He never makes a typo. He only ever writes with the highest quality grace-filled ink and He is plotting in all things for His supreme glory and our deepest joy.

Even when He says no.

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Oxford, England.

Today is the day I was supposed to move to England.

“…but God.”

Three months after we returned from England last January, Haley and I began praying about moving to Oxford, a city that instantly felt like home, magic, and possibilities. She would get her PhD, I would write and teach English, and together we would immerse ourselves in the culture we had fallen in love with and make disciples.

We discussed it with our parents, faithful counselors, and each other (all the time). We sought God for months and moved forward, talking with people on the ground in England, students and advisors at Oxford, and various missions organizations. We made lists and Pinterest boards, bought and designed a travel blog, strategized and wrote content for said blog, and researched anything and everything we would need to purchase before moving.

I looked up jobs and Visa applications, formatted my resume for England, and found an apartment. We imagined living, writing, and studying in the same city that was once home to C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, T. S. Eliot, John Wesley, and so many others.

And in every second, God taught me to dream again.
I just didn’t know it wasn’t for England.

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Everything in Oxford is magical (even the doors).

It was the end of October when the no came.

The door was shut.
The desire had changed.
The answer was clear.

Joy flooded in.

I wanted to go but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to be in Oxford but I wanted to stay in Paducah. I wanted to move and do cross cultural missions but I didn’t want to miss what God was doing in our church or watching His plans for His people unfold.

After years of wanting, seeking, and begging God to send me overseas to give my life for His global glory, He (again) called me to stay. Paducah is where He called me and contentment and rest stabilized the calling. His peace proved His presence.

“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

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On this, the day I was supposed to move, I can tell you with more clarity and conviction than ever before that God will never deny you an egg to give you a scorpion. But He will deny you a scorpion to give you an egg (Luke 11:11-13).

My heart was saying, “Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.” The Lord was answering, “I must teach you to long for something better.” -Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity

The bottom line (isn’t anything new): God always has the best plans. Especially when He says no. He can be trusted. His ways are higher than ours and His beauty surpasses anything our minds can conceive.

Do you want to know the most recent lesson He’s teaching me? It’s that sometimes, when you brace yourself for a no, He actually says yes. Just in an entirely different way than you were expecting.

Sola Deo Gloria.

“This God––His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.” -Psalm 18:30

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God Never Wastes Your Waiting

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Microwaves.
Instant downloads.
Express lanes.
Remote-start cars.

We’re a culture that knows what we want—and we want it now.

Feasting on entitlement and instant gratification, we hate delays in traffic, food service, and the Internet. My coworker says we live in a drive-thru society and because of that we’ve developed aversions to any and every delay, glorifying everything instant.

This bleeds over into our walk with God. We want Him to answer, provide, and show Himself the second we ask, seek, or knock. But sometimes His answer comes in silence (which is not the same as abandonment) or a whispered, Wait.

That’s where God has me right now. It’s good and hard and holy and is daily exposing my heart, which is tainted by the desire to control everything. Impatience reveals we are not God and that, try as we might, we cannot make things operate on our timetable.

In this reality, I am called to wait. Maybe you are, too.

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Learning to Dream Again

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I’ve been a dreamer my whole life. 

My parents are probably the biggest influences in this. They are extraordinary and I, ashamedly, don’t tell them that enough. Say what you want about the Dallas Cowboys, but my parents are the best cheerleaders the world has ever known. They have fought for me, pushed me, and believed in me when I didn’t even know what that meant or looked like. They taught me to dream, to hope, to drain every ounce of life from each day, and to strive for more than could be attained in this life.

Like Gabriel Oak, who told Bathsheba Everdeen in Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, “I believe in you entirely. I don’t believe there is anything you can’t do,” my parents reverberated that message my entire life. Their love for me and confidence in the Lord created a space safe to both dream and fail and dream again.

But here’s the thing about my dreams: none of them happened.

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Randy Alcorn: Death is not the end of adventure

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For the Christian,
death
is not the
end of adventure
but a
doorway
from
a world
where dreams and adventures
shrink,
to a world
where dreams and adventures
forever
e x p a n d.

-Randy Alcorn

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Ambitions, goals and dreams

We all have them in one form or another. We all aspire to be someone or something, musicians, athletes, doctors, preachers, teachers, the list goes on. 

Perhaps God is using your life goals to plant in you the desire to carry out something for His glory completely beyond your wildest imaginings.

Dream with me for a bit…

[This list, made for my True Beauty girls, is by no means exhaustive but maybe, just maybe God will use it to broaden horizons and reveal to you how much He loves you and wants to use you in part of His redemptive work among the nations.]

doctors without bordersWhat if God planted the desire of being a doctor in your heart not so you could make a six-figure income and live a comfortable life, but to deny yourself the right to comfort and to instead lay your life down for those remote villages in third world countries who have no medical access?

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Bucket Lists and Magazines

This weekend I was looking over some of my old journals and found a list of “100 things I want to do before I die” from March 2010. Despite my ambitious personality, I only made it to 37 things.

Some of the list included:

  • Compete in the Olympics
  • Get a 4.0 in college
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Lead someone to Christ
  • Go on a mission trip to Africa
  • Constantly abide with Christ
  • Write a book

While I’ve been able to mark off about 12 things off the list, one thing jumped out to me.

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