Posted by: Sally | July 23, 2007

Dare to Dream! And nurture dreamers in your own home!

Dare to Dream and Nurture other Dreamers

Ten years old marked a time of dramatic change in my life. Living in the same town, going to the same church, swimming in the summers at the same pool and going to the same school had provided a kind of sweet stability for my young life. I had a sense that we knew a lot of people and that my mom and dad, and all of us were well-liked. We had a “place” in our community that gave rhythm to life. But, in the Spring time of that year, my father, who was an executive with IBM, was asked to move to Houston. This was my first experience of moving and having to start life and reputation and friendships all over again. Yet, for me, Houston provided another dramatic change. It was the beginning of an onslaught of pneumonia– which would attack my body four times in the next year. I had been born about two months premature and respiratory problems and asthma had followed me most of my life, but this pneumonia thing, with hospitalizations and oxygen tents, was all new. I am sure, looking back, that it must have been a time in my parents lives, that was quite stressful. After just four months in Houston, they requested a transfer to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the air would be drier and they thought I would be healthier.

The funny thing is, though, I remember it with pleasure. Perhaps since everyone thought I was going to die, I got more attention. I received presents and cards. Yet, one of my favorite memories, as I might have mentioned before, was lying in my four poster bed, looking out the bay window at a forest of trees and reading, reading, reading. It was the first time I discovered, “The Childhood of Famous Americans.” I read book after book of people who, in some way, became a hero. There were men and women who disciplined themselves to become great athletes, doctors and nurses, war heroes,–it didn’t really matter what their story entailed, but each one brought to my heart a sense of accomplishment–of people who lived a purposeful life and made an impact on their world. These stories excited me and brought me great pleasure–I wanted to do make something of myself. I began, then, to dream about what I could accomplish. I didn’t want to just let life drive me through the routines, I wanted to mount up in my life and contribute something big, somehow, someway.

The next time I remember feeling this burning excitement in my heart, was when I was in college. I had committed my life to Christ and was in a leadership group and was being personally discipled by a sweet young woman named Hope. She would meet with me and talk about scripture and pray with me. She would often say, “Sally, I wonder what great things God has in store for you. You have such a gift of communication and encouragement and such a grasp on scripture. I know God is going to use you to change the world. Dream big!” Perhaps these words were what led me to choosing a path where I would be privileged to be a part of a ministry through which the Lord would use me in the lives of others. I am not sure, but I know that when she said these life-giving words, it stirred in my heart and made me want to live up to her expectations. It excited me to be a part of God’s miraculous work. I look back now on passages like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, and I, too, wanted to be one of those who sought and knew God and loved Him in such a way that my life would make a difference in this world.

I felt like this again, yesterday, when I heard one of our pastors speak. His message was about not settling for life, but becoming an overcomer. There was this little familiar flurry of excitement stirring in my heart. It melded with some of what I have been thinking about lately. I believe that all of us were made by God to do a work in this world that would bring Him great glory and that would point to His light and beauty. We were created in His image, in His spiritual likeness, but with our own personality, skills, messages and drives. Each of us has the opportunity to live out a great story–one in which His power, His love, His light can touch everything we do. But only if we are dreamers–dreamers for His glory. To live by faith, means to live as though the Holy Spirit is truly living through me–If the Holy Spirit looked at my marriage, my children, my friends, my skills, what would He be planning for my life? How would He be living it differently than I am living? What would He be planning according to His power and resources? How would He be bringing glory to His Father through the ways He would have me step out in faith, the ways I would be generous extending His love, the ways I expressed compassion and redemption to a lost world, as He would?

As I see the huge needs in our culture for Christianity to come alive–a need for teachers who love children and want to inspire them to have a great moral character and to learn how to read (as our test scores as a nation have gone down every year for almost 20 years.) When I hear of all the latch key children, I want to find a way to train more mothers to stay at home in order to fill the emotional, spiritual and moral cups of their children. When I see the immorality, violence, emptiness and lies in media and in movies, I long to see passionate, artistic, insightful and skillful Christians rise up to reclaim the arts for the Lord. And on and on. Christ has a passion for bringing God glory in every arena of life and He seeks to raise up those who would boldly redeem back areas of darkness in His power and in His name. Yet, he has designed that there would be specific trainers of the next generation that would be able to train up godly, inspired leaders—mothers!

How Did Dreaming express itself through my life?
I remember in the movie, The Chariots of Fire, when the olympic gold medalist Eric Liddel was talking to his sister about his running, He said, “When I run, I feel His pleasure–God made me to run!” I feel that same thing about speaking. When I stand up to speak to a crowd of 10 or a crowd of 5000, I feel His pleasure–I feel that there is a blessing and power that I was created to walk in. I understood what Eric meant! I remember that when I was a young woman, I dreamed about speaking and writing–I was driven toward it. When we nurture the Spirit of God in our lives, we will find pleasure and passion in those areas that God has created us to do. Of course, it may take hard work and most of our lives is about faithfulness and growing, but each of us was designed by God to accomplish His work through our lives. One of my friends was having coffee with me in Vienna once and she said, “You know, Sally, lots of people want to write books, but very few get to really be published. Do you really think you will ever get a book published? Is that realistic?” Of course her words troubled me for a while, but as I prayed, I gave my skills to the Lord and told HIm that I would be faithful in all areas of my life, but that I would also try to be faithful to practice writing and speaking–to use it to encourage my friends in letters, that I would speak to children, adults, whoever and wherever He took me, for His glory. And if He wanted me to get published, fine, but meanwhile, I pledged to be as faithful as I knew how. Many of those years, I was speaking to my children in our own home, passionately sharing from what He had given to me in my quiet time. This is where I found my joy–sharing passionately with those I loved the most! It was from this small arena, that God caused my ministry to blossom.

So often, when I talk to women, they live as though they have no hope. They have lost all vision of their purpose as moms–they have quit dreaming with their children. When we are limited in our hearts to the tasks of life, to the responsibilities and bills and duties we have, we can become very discouraged. But when we realize that the Holy Spirit, Himself, dwells in us and wants to bring glory through our lives and create supernatural life and love right where we are, it gives us a whole different way to live. When I realized that I was a trainer of children who could learn to dream and take on the task of bringing God’s kingdom to bear on this world, I always looked for ways to expand their faith, to listen to their talents and delights, to speak of how God might use them in this world. I told them they had only a few years to bring about miracles of love in His name, to banish sadness and darkness and to bring about light and His life through all that they did. It gave us an excitement about every day, every lesson God was teaching, every story that we heard. The way it played out in my children’s lives was different for each one. Sarah was an incredible reader from the time she was very small. I would read volumes of books to her, and enter her into every reading program, contest and give her lots of opportunity to write. She would fill dozens of journals with her writing. I encouraged her as a message maker who would bring light to many minds. I truly believe that she will become one of the most important writers of our times. Her insight and creativity and wisdom for one her age has been blessed by God. She has had to work hard, but I believe her many years of input is beginning to pay off.

Joel, had the same input in soul, with the reading and devotionals, but I noticed that he sang in perfect tune from the time he was 15 months and could do perfect harmony by the time he was three–it came natural to him. Consequently, we gave him music lessons, exposed him to lots of different music, took him to concerts, and gave him all the software and instruments we could afford when he wanted to try to produce a small album. Nathan, our very extroverted child, loved people, activity and performance. Clay took him to Christian magician conferences to stretch his own skills as a stage illusionist. We provided his band this year with a place to practice. We are helping him to get training in discipleship as he follows all of these areas in hopes of having a ministry to his generation. Joy literally came out of the womb loving a stage. She has grown up at our conferences and never flinched when she stood up in front of hundreds of people–in plays, musicals, conferences or anywhere else. When Joy performs, I feel God’s gift and pleasure in a marked way! This is why, the Anne of Green Gables was our way of supporting her in her own dreams. We will see what happens, but we hold all loosely and trust Him to open and close doors as all is in His hands.

I see so many moms, whether in Classical school, homeschool, public school and private school, become bogged down with the work load and curricular demands. But I meet few, who have invested much time in Kingdom dreams with and for their children. David became king of the slingshot–was that according to His mother’s hopes and dreams? He also came to court because of his great music. Gideon was a grape stomper. Esther was a pretty orphan. Peter was a working class man. Paul was an academic. But the thing they all have in common, is that they used who and what they were for God’s glory–to make a difference in the world for His kingdom.

Proverbs tells us the from the heart flow the springs of life. Jesus wanted us to live from the wells of life springing up in and through our hearts from His Spirit. If we are to take the world by God’s force and light, we must learn to be dreamers, empowered and inspired by God, to bring His light to the darkness. We do this by cultivating the dreams and passions of our children’s hearts. Often, dreams are costly–we went 5 years without a regular salary to start Whole Heart Ministries, but we believed there needed to be a ministry specifically focussed on giving the kinds of specific messages that God had place on our hearts to give to families in this generation. Bills and difficult tasks all had to be attended to, but prayer and scripture would always light the fire of our dreams. Faith in “things hoped for but not seen” was what energized each project. We rented our first hotel by faith when we believed moms needed refreshment, we sent out some emails, and the rest is history!

One of the reasons I wrote The Mom Walk was because I felt so many women were trying so hard to get the training of their children and the living of their lives right by following the right formula or doing the right things. I found that someone’s box did not ever exactly fit our family or our lives. I saw much more over the years, that God intended me to walk by faith, to learn to listen to Him as he spoke to me through scripture and gave me ideas of how to obey Him and honor Him through my times of prayer.  I found that on my journey with Him, throughout motherhood, that learning to walk in freedom and peace with Him, and living by His design freed me up to watch Him work, to live by grace instead of someone else’s expectations of me.  (My secretary had a great suggestion–if there are any of you who would like to do a book study on this book this fall, if you order 10 books, you will  receive a free set of cd’s from our mom’s conference of The Mom Walk. You will have to call for this special offer, though give us a couple of days, since our servers have been down! 800-311-2146)

Your and your children and husband may all have unique purposes through a story for God’s kingdom. You may not always understand it in the midst of God preparing your heart and character for the work He has for you to do, but He uses those whose eyes are turned toward eternity, toward Him, toward His glory and work. A good question to ask is, “Am I living by what I can hope to accomplish by my hard work only?” or “Am I living in the realm of possibility of what God can accomplish, beyond my own skills and effort, because I am trusting Him to be accomplishing through me what He is able to do, even beyond my efforts, but according to His abilities?” Am I speaking life-giving encouragement to my children in the midst of their ideas and dreams, or do I throw water on them by asking them to be “realistic”. There is so much to be said about the work side of dreams, the bills to be paid, but today is a day to focus on the dreaming part of our lives. My vision for raising my children must be bigger than grades, SAT’s, getting a job. It must be a call to bow my knee before God and ask, what is your work for me? For my child? For our family? How can I bring you pleasure? How can I live in your power? May our sweet Father fuel our hearts with what is on His heart and use us and our children as He dreamed when He made us!

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Responses

  1. Wow, Sally. This particular post strikes such a chord within me. I can feel the passion rising! Thank you. Thank you.

  2. Sally,
    What a beautiful thing to read as we gear up for the coming school year. It really convicted me that I need to pray and ask God to show me my children through His eyes and desires not through my own. As I read all the things the Lord showed you and Clay about your children I have to admit that I don’t think I could say I see the uniqueness in each one of mine. My prayer starting today will be to ask God to give me eyes to see the giftings and bents in each one and then to guide them in those areas. Thank you so much for sharing. The Lord has really used you in our life today and we will never be the same.
    God Bless.

  3. This is fabulous, as usual. I love it that the Lord speaks to us all over the world, and yet so often He’s speaking the same sorts of things. As Bo’s embarked on his journey this summer, I’ve found my heart SO stirred once again for the mission field. I feel like God has reminded me . . .whispered into my ear that I’m still called somewhere. I am so glad I’ve had peace in my calling as a mom–I see the fruit of the work I’ve done, and I’ve been so blessed by having a new work sent to me to do even this year! I will continue to do that work with even more determination and love and peace BECAUSE I’ve been able to see the first buds of the fruit of that work in Bo’s life this year. I’m also seeing, though, that maybe we could all do some missions work together! For some reason, we’ve sortof been of the mindset that, “Well, we have children now. Maybe we’ll go when we’ve finished their education and they are off with their own families.” Then one day a few weeks ago, it struck me–how come I think my children can get married and head to the mission field, where they will, of course (God willing!) have children of their own–what do I think they’re going to do, come home to raise them? No! They’ll raise them where they are, most likely. So why do I think we have to wait?

    Anyway, this is all coming on the heels of another lesson in *following* my husband, as opposed to dragging, LOL. So I’m holding God’s hand, keeping my other hand over my mouth as much as possible, and waiting to see where He’s leading us. It’s so exciting to know His dreams WILL be fulfilled, and those He placed in us WILL come to fruition–maybe many times over as we watch our children carry the torch!

    Loved this post, as always. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    And I may be calling to order a set of books for our “umbrella school”–I’m doing a Bible study this year during co-op! 😉

    Love, MistyK

  4. As always, your heart and words are an encouragement to my soul! As the seasons of your life change, the focus of your life remains the same…….I so appreciate your steadfastness!

    Love you friend,
    Laura

  5. Thank you Sally for your great insights on this article. It helped me to look at the big picture and not get so focused on the details that take my eyes off of the Lord. You trully walk in the spirit. I also need to start praying for God to show me my boys gifts and talents. Lately I’ve been relying on Him completely to teach me how to mother my children. God bless you Sally,
    Hugs,
    Imelda


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