NOTE: The following is an excerpt from the book Dare to Trust, Dare to Hope Again: Living With Losses of the Heart © by Kari West. All rights reserved.
45. Daring to resuscitate dreams
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Sometimes you just have to do it. To survive, we have to seize life. We have to step over the grave of that marriage that died in divorce. We have to toss out the wilted roses from the funeral of our loved one. We have to reconcile ourselves to living without the health we want, the happiness we deserve, or the people we need. We have to bury what isn’t to make room for what is, so we aren’t trapped in unlived lives.
Maybe you have always dreamed of completing your education or of adopting a child. Perhaps you have thought about changing careers and said (as I did), “Someday I’m going to write.” Well, you can do it. You alone can do it. Alone means all one or wholly one. God has already given you all you need (2 Peter 1:3). It really is wholly up to you. You don’t need another person or another thing to breathe life into your dreams.
Dreams come in all shapes and sizes—from aspirations and reveries to images and thoughts passing through the mind during sleep. Do you know that the Bible is full of dreamers? During a dream, Solomon received a divine vision where God appeared and asked him what he wished for. God was pleased with Solomon’s response and gave him a wise and discerning heart (1 Kings 3:5-15). Jacob had a dream of seeing God standing above a ladder of angels ascending to heaven. God promised Jacob the land on which he slept (Genesis 28:10-22). At first, Joseph’s dreams landed him in a pit. But after interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, he was elevated to Egypt’s second in command (Genesis 37:41). Another Joseph dreamed of an angel. He received startling answers as to why his fiancé, Mary, was pregnant (Matthew 1:19-24).
Someone once said that dreams are the stuff of life. I have friends who say when life gets too stuffed with obligations, they dream of heaven. All of us have dreams—those aspirations we imagine might be possible and the thoughts we visualize. Our Creator uses these dreams to reveal His will, to keep us from evil, and to encourage and instruct us about life. (Footnote 36) Some of us have compromised our dream for other people’s values because we didn’t fit in or it just wasn’t done. Others of us gave up our dream. We buried it out of fear. As a result, we left behind an important piece of ourselves. That dream may have been the most important thing God gifted us to do in the world.
Catherine Marshall was a dreamer. She was only twenty-three when she moved with her husband, Peter, to Washington, D.C. He became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and later served as U.S. Chaplain. At the peak of their ministry, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Doctors claimed she would recover in just a few months, but two years later she was still struggling with the disease. Catherine also battled depression. Out of those experiences she wrote:
Once I had such big dreams, so much anticipation of the future.
Now no shimmering horizon beckons me . . .
You have told us that without vision, we men perish.
So, Father in heaven, knowing that I can ask in confidence
for what is Your expressed will to give me,
I ask You to deposit in my mind and heart that particular dream,
the special vision You have for my life. (Footnote 37)
After her husband’s sudden death, Catherine Marshall went on to become an internationally renowned writer and speaker. She frequently talked about the years of isolation in her bedroom as the place where God taught her to depend on Him alone and where she dared to believe she could dream again.
You, too, can find the courage to revive your dream. Something deep inside you is telling you that you just have to do it. And you will dare to do it, because the life within you is becoming more stubborn than death.
PRAYER PAUSE: Father, when the time is right, help me resuscitate the dreams You gave me long ago. I don’t want fear to shrink my world or steal my dreams.
Dreams are renewable.
No matter what our age or condition,
there are still untapped possibilities within us
and new beauty waiting to be born.
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