I was sitting on my deck one morning trying to listen to God's voice in between my dog barking at every single squirrel that ran past. I actually think he barked at all of them. ALL of them. And when you live with woods surrounding your yard, there are a lot of squirrels...busy squirrels, so you can imagine how constant the barking was. I turned up Pandora a little louder and tried my best to focus, thinking through some things God had laid on my heart earlier this month. I was about to give up and go inside, but at just that moment, in the midst of the noise, God whispered a little louder than the barking and spoke directly to my heart.
Curious about the message God had for me, I opened my bible to Hebrews and began to read the the familiar chapter beginning with 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I kept reading...story after story of all the people who did things by faith - Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses and the list goes on. I guess I've never really paid a whole lot of attention to how many people functioned by faith. It made me sit back and think. I want to always function like that. I don't ever want to lose faith. I don't ever want to get to a point where I don't believe God can do something.
And so, here's my confession...I'm a dreamer. Always have been, and I pray, always will be. Not the dreaming at night kind of dreamer (although that too!) - but I mean someone who thinks anything is possible. The kind of person that most likely drives other people nuts, because I'm pretty sure the unthinkable can and will happen. I love being a dreamer. I believe someone will show up somewhere at some time when it's not even possible for them to. That something will happen that shouldn't physically be possible. I have loved living this way - dreaming big, living in a world of hope. Until all of the sudden I realized I wasn't living there quite as much as I used to. Somewhere along the way, life hit and I realized that maybe my faith was diminishing just a little bit. And that morning on my deck, I wondered why.
Thinking through the course of the last 15-20 years of my life I realized it's life that did it. Okay, in all fairness, I allowed it, so I shoulder some of the responsibility. But I realized small phrases coming from the world had slowly started to pile up, seep in and shift who I was becoming. That won't work. There's no time. That's not realistic. There's not enough money. Reality? Logical thinking maybe? None of it necessarily from a bad place. But all of it coming from a place where I didn't want to be. I wanted to be in a place where all things are possible through Christ who gives me strength. All things. And when I suddenly had the realization I wasn't there anymore, it hit me in the gut. This might sound dramatic (I'm a dreamer, I think that's how we roll), but my heart broke just a little bit and I felt incredibly disappointed in myself...
It was at that exact moment a big, beautiful blue butterfly landed on the chair I was sitting in. It was as if God was saying, but...FAITH. Suddenly I was back in Santa Fe, NM, awake in the night watching blue butterflies fill the room. And I felt the Lord say - The same faith it took that night for you to believe I could show you things no one else could see - that's the same faith I'm asking you to walk with today. And every day. Don't let the world take it from you.
I know some might say there's a big difference between having faith and being a dreamer, but for me - I believe they go hand-in-hand. A friend once told me that God wanted me to dream with Him. And I love that image. It puts me right next to God, dreaming with Him. I know that takes a big faith. But I figure, what do I have to lose? If I truly have sacrificed my life, then I have nothing to lose. And a whole lot of amazing to gain - living the kind of faith that defines who He is. Dreaming the kind of dreams that come straight from Heaven.
My sister-in-law shared a dream with me that my niece woke to one night before the 50-day outreach in Texas began. "Janae and God said 'look' and there was a rainbow we looked at...And then an army began rising up. A great big army." After she told her mom the dream, her mom asked her what God and Janae were doing and my niece said "praying". I love that my little niece saw me with God and that we were
praying together. And I would like to think that we were maybe dreaming together. What's really fun about that dream, is that it became a reality on day 50 of reviveTX, when a rainbow was on brilliant display over the church where we were...the place where an army was gathering to worship the Lord. An actual dream come true.
Definitions fascinate me - I'm not really sure why - but often God uses definitions to direct me down a certain path. So I decided to look up the definition of faith...a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. I can definitely do that. I can totally have full trust in God. Then I looked up the definition of a dreamer...a person whose ideas or projects are considered audacious or highly speculative; visionary. I'm there, too - a visionary. And I really love that word audacious! What I love about both of these definitions, is that they are wrapped in hope...a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. And to me, that's where hope lives - in the complete trust of the unseen. And that's where I want to live - right in the middle of Hebrews 11:1 - "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
I remember I was on a flight recently, headed back to Texas and I was staring out the window, sad about leaving my family behind and praying that God would take care of them for me. It's a hard thing to do, this thing called sacrifice. Especially when each little sacrifice has a precious face and a name. I didn't doubt God was taking care of things for me, but there was still a sadness in my heart as I looked out into the sky above my city. As I was gazing out, a single drop of water rolled down the window and instantly in my heart I knew it was a teardrop from God, showing me in that moment that He cared as much as I did. I quickly looked around at all the other windows to see if there was water on any of them. Nothing. Not one window within my eyesight had any kind of liquid. So I knew - it was just for me. And it was exactly what I needed in that moment.
Shortly after I arrived in Texas, I shared that story with a few people who humored me for a moment, but then laughed and told me it was likely condensation. And I suddenly felt silly. Really silly. So I stopped talking about it and moved on. But later, as I was talking through it with God, I realized something - I know about condensation. And I know God. And I believe with all my heart that it was God. Because He cares about me that much.
My "rose colored faith glasses" I've been told I wear, hold the lens of Christ, so I'm okay with how I look at everything - because I know it comes from God. I pray that I never again forget to put them on. Or if they get broken, that I get them fixed right away. Because if God says there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for me, then I'm running as hard as I can to find that end, no questions asked. After all, it's about the journey, not the destination. And if I ever find an extra pair of rose colored glasses lying around, I'll hand one to you. You should try it. Or if you have yours, go ahead, put them back on. The world looks really pretty with a tint of rose and a whole lot of faith.
So here's where I'm at today...I want to live with a faith so big that the tear rolling down the window is for me, because my Father knows my heart break. That the butterfly landing on the chair is there to give me hope and remind me of the time when God first showed up. That God is big enough to do anything and everything. That Christ sent His son to die on the cross for me. For you. So that we can live life and have it abundantly. Not just a regular old life. Abundant life full of faith. Dreaming with God and letting our faith be bigger than our fear. Always. And a realization that "when you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen...there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly."
Living right in the middle of a ridiculous amount of faith...some people call it an unrealistic dreamer. I call it crazy faith. It's not a very big word. And yet it changes everything.