All posts tagged dreams

The Gracious Hand of God

Published July 12, 2017 by Dawn

“And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests” (Neh. 2:8).

God has used this verse to put some wind back into my very deflated sails this week. I’ve been living with a very big disconnect in my faith. You see, I have great faith in God. I believe His word is true, from cover to cover. I believe He is the same today as He was in olden times. I believe He has done great things, making all things from nothing and other such miraculous things. I don’t question His ability. I do, however, question mine.

When the Lord spoke specifically of His will in my life, I was immediately ecstatic. I was Isaiah, hand waving violently in the air, “Here I am! Send me!” I have willingly submitted myself to studying scripture hard-core, knowing that God’s call is directly tied to His Word. In short, I was ready to be used, willing to be prepared, but sadly … unwilling to really believe God could do what He wanted to do through me. You see, I know my flaws. I know my sin. I know my SELF, and she’s not very talented, smart, capable, likable … the list goes on and on. Everything I thought God needed me to be to accomplish His will just isn’t in me naturally. Naturally, I’m a mess. Don’t try to console me … I don’t need it. Why?

Because the gracious hand of my God is upon me.

Oh goodness. This verse. So powerful. So empowering. You see, I have faith in God. Not in myself, but finally, I can see that faith in me is not necessary. I just need to recognize that God’s hand is on me. God can take this foolish mess that I am and do something that I could never do on my own. Because God can do anything. With His hand on me, so can I.

“With God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). Do you know how many times I read this verse, but apparently just now am able to believe it? Something clicked. The Lord kept bringing Nehemiah 2:8 to me over and over this past week, and suddenly, this verse is REAL. I know my God can do all things. I know without Him I can do nothing. But suddenly, I KNOW that with His hand on me, all things – every dream, vision, heart-cry He encourages – are possible.

I am going to try again. I am going to pick up my bruised ego (and throw it away) and go back to being about my Father’s business, trusting in Him. Knowing that succeeding at His Will is ultimately about my connection to the Vine. I simply have to stay connected. Stop being distracted. Stop allowing Satan to taunt me with fear and lies. Acknowledge my deficits while also acknowledging His infinite wisdom and ability. I just have to be an empty vessel willing to be picked up by my Father and filled to overflowing. However it comes out is however it comes out because the gracious hand of my God is upon me.

I hope you know, though, that although this blog is a little me-centered (it’s my pep-talk), it’s about all of His children who are holding on to a dream. You might be tight-fisted with a bleeding heart right now, desperately wondering how you are going to do what God is asking you to do. Let me help you relax, dear friend: you may not be able to say, “I’ve got this!” but God is! He just needs you to be willing and obedient. If you have turned your back on those promises because they have exasperated you for so long and you can’t stand to look at an unfulfilled Word, I just want to encourage you. It’s not by your might, or your power. It’s by His Spirit. Reconnect, because God still wants to use you! Don’t lose heart anymore, church. The gracious hand of our God is upon us!


Because He First Loved Me

Published June 18, 2017 by Dawn

I had a very humbling experience the other day. I was lying in bed the other morning It was really early … like, the birds weren’t even up yet. I laid there hoping for the best in terms of falling back to sleep and eventually slipped into a nap. I had this dream that the Lord was looking for me, searching deeper and deeper into the depths of this really dark pit. He finally made it to the bottom, still faithfully calling out my name. There at the bottom, he lifted up this thick covering and there I was, hiding underneath it. I looked up at him with fire in my eyes and venom on my tongue as I hissed, “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

I was a little kid who had lost a game of hide and seek. The Lord searched until he found me, and to my shame, when he finally found me, I was insolent and hateful. I had the sensation that this dream was a picture of Jesus. He was searching out the deepness of my heart, looking for me. I was humbled to hear myself whisper such a horrendous thing to my Lord. His gentle love in that moment humbled me greatly as I heard the Spirit whisper, “…because he first loved me.”

Being transparent seems easy for me, but I have to admit that this one was hard to even delve into for myself, much less admit it out loud for the world to know. I’ve prided myself for years … Is it okay if I get really transparent here? I might not have admitted this out loud to anyone before, but the truth is that me not being who I once was is a huge deal (to me). I took pride in it for years. Being redeemed, being transformed … I took pride in that. You will say to me, “That’s not Christ-like.” I know, friend. I know. I couldn’t help myself. I know that person, and I know myself now. I know the pit I came out of and I felt the weight of escaping it (though now I know I didn’t feel hardly anything compared to what Christ carried for me), but I felt it and the memories made me very proud to be where I am now. Are you hearing the echoes of pride as you read this? Is it turning you off? I am so sorry. I just want you to know what happened to me the other morning and to understand, you have to understand where I was at. I was proud. Of myself.

I have spent the last 8 years of my life in the arms of Christ. I have patiently bore the suffering for His name and His purpose in my life. I have not created my own way and called it good. I have remained as faithful as I can to His Will. Don’t abandon reading now … I know what this sounds like, but bear with me. I have, through all of this, nurtured this pride that somehow, I have attained “good enough” because I have strived for holiness, wrestled with flesh and maintained a firm hold on my own righteousness.

Yes, I credited God with my mouth. I thanked Jesus from my heart. What he did for me on that cross was amazing: buying me from the clutches of sin so I could pursue holiness. And each step forward, I patted myself on the back. That’s why Christ uncovered me. Because all this time, I have given credit to myself for something I could never have done on my own. There, in the secret place of my heart, I watched in horror as my child-like self hissed “I hate you” to the one who sought me, found me and pulled me out. What is there to be proud of when you know yourself like this?

That wasn’t the worst part, though. That wasn’t what did me in. Here’s what did it: He looked at me tenderly in that moment and I could see it on His face. He loved me in that moment.

Something happened. I broke. Jesus, hearing my rebellious heart hate Him, looked me in the eye with such compassion and reached for me anyway.

I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood the cross until this moment. I have spent endless hours reading the Word of God, drinking in the love story of He and Us, but the truth of it never hit me as powerfully until this moment, when His compassion destroyed my pride. I can’t even love Him without Him first loving me.  To me, that would be the easy part compared to some of the things I have been through. If I can’t even do that one thing without His help, how can I claim credit for anything?

I can’t.

Not only do I know now who I am without Him, I know fully what I am capable of. Without Him, I can do nothing. Without Him, I have done nothing. Without Him, I’m full of wickedness and a lover of darkness. I only have light because of Christ. I only walk in light and share light because of Jesus. Paul bids me to “take care lest ye fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12) and now I know just how far I am capable of falling. I am also humbly aware of just how much Jesus has done for me, in spite of myself. Not only am I ashamed of my pride, I am ashamed of my propensities outside of Christ. I thought I had a hold of righteousness, but it turns out I am fully capable of making the devil blush.

I’m in awe of Him. I am in awe of a God who can know this about me and still love me fiercely. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and I am so unworthy. Who could blame God for dealing harshly with someone like me? But that’s the incredible thing: He doesn’t.

He loves me.

Not just me, though. You too, friend. You too.


Dear Lord,

Your love is so incomprehensible. I can’t fathom the depths of your mercy. I am so humbled and grateful. Please continue to heal me and lighten what’s dark and forgive me. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your compassions that don’t fail. I love you … now, even from the depths of my heart, I can honestly say I love you. Thank you for your patience on my behalf. You are so good.


A Dream for the Church

Published July 3, 2016 by Dawn

I had a dream last week I wanted to share with you, but I didn’t know the right words. The truth is, when I wrote it all down afterwards, it lacked all the eloquence I strive for when writing. But I don’t want to sit on it anymore, so here you go:

My son and I were standing in the church kitchen when suddenly, it began to fill with water. I was able to climb up onto the kitchen island before the water became too deep, but my son was not. The water quickly filled the kitchen, stopping just short of covering the island and sweeping me off into the water. I was frantically looking for my son, when I realized that the water was churning around me. Then I saw their fins. The kitchen was full of sharks! I began desperately screaming, looking around to find my son. Then I felt an overwhelming sense of calm as the largest shark swam right up to the island and opened his mouth. In the back of his throat, curled up in a fetal position facing away from me lay my son. In his throat! That deep inner peace compelled me to reach in and pull out my child, who was shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

Sadly, this is not the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. But it was really weird. Thankfully, the Lord had a message in it that he shared with me when I woke up.

Desperate times are coming, and the church will not be unaffected. The church will be flooded, but in the midst of that flooding the enemy will come, seeking to devour the children of God. It will be a terrifying time, and the enemy will seem victorious. But even then, my children will be unharmed. The enemy cannot chew you up. He cannot swallow you and he cannot consume you. Even when it seems that the situation is dire, or even hopeless, the enemy has not won. I will command him even then to open his mouth and I myself will pull you out and rescue you.

Confessions of a Teenage Screw-up

Published July 26, 2014 by Dawn


Epic Fail. Our plan seemed fail-proof and yet somehow, we botched it and now my mom was on her way home. On her way home to take me to the Health Department. To get a pregnancy test … I was scared out of my mind.


Not that I needed the test. I had been so sick for two days, unable to eat, hardly able to move without getting nauseous, and I had put myself in a very vulnerable position for way too long. It was pretty much inevitable. And mom was on her way home. I took a short shower and then sat nervously waiting for her to pull up. Finally, the car horn went off and I walked out to her livid face sitting in the driver’s seat. She couldn’t even look at me. I got in the passenger’s seat and shut the door, and she pulled off without a word. Then she started asking questions. I don’t remember if I cried or if I just answered her with the same numb monotone I had grown so accustomed to using with people. Why did she all the sudden care? And at the same time, I wanted her to care. I wanted her to care that her daughter had just messed up really bad. And I wanted her to look at me, and tell me it would be okay and that no matter what she loved me. But she couldn’t. And I was dying inside.


We got to the Health Department, signed in and waited. My turn came and I peed in the cup and waited some more. My mom hadn’t said anything since we got there. A few minutes passed and the lady called my name again, and asked me if I wanted my mom to come back too. Did I want my mom?! Yes! I wanted her. Even if she couldn’t look at me or speak to me, I wanted her. I was dying inside.


She pulled us into a small room and explained this paper in her hand. A whole sheet of paper with a lot of words I hardly understood just to tell me I was pregnant. Another pregnant sixteen year old. I was so – – I don’t know what I was … ashamed. Embarrassed. Terrified. Lost. Dying inside.


I don’t remember what my mom said as we went home. We both cried. She said some things to try to help me through the pain of the moment, but I couldn’t hear her over all the other voices in my head. I was imagining what my friends would say. What my ex would say. What my principal, who had become the closest thing to a father to me, would say. What I would say to myself when I finally decided to cope with this life instead of ignoring it or wishing it away. What the heck I was going to do about this baby. How it would change my life. My plans for the future. All my relationships. What was my mom saying to me in that moment? Looking back, I wish I’d have just listened intently to her and soaked up her wisdom and love. It might have helped me through the next few months of my life.


When you tell the right people, word travels faster than the speed of sound itself. I told the right people. My sister and my ex’s best friend, and within an hour, the phone was ringing. “What’s going on,” he said. “Oh, you know, a lot,” I said. And then burst into tears. See, I had just decided I was done with him. I mean really done. We’d been “going out” for several years on and off. On when he was sure he wanted to be with me, and off when he was sure he was too young to be with just one girl. And I was so love-sick and desperate, I let him do whatever. He was saying everything I wanted to hear and although his actions were screaming something else, all my heart would hear was what his lying lips were saying. And finally, I had decided I was done. I started making plans to go to an acting school in California, had filled out the application and was awaiting a phone call to set up an audition when I found out I was pregnant. Right when I had decided to run away from it all, I became bound to it by a child I didn’t even know I wanted.


The next day at school, the whispers started. The shunning. They don’t mean to be so cruel. But kids don’t know what to do with natural curiosity sometimes, and with little thought, they whispered and stared and cut me to pieces in my heart every day for months. And teachers weren’t much better. Everyone has an opinion and no one knows what to do with it. It’s just too good to keep to themselves, so they say what they need to say and feel justified in it. It’s utterly worthless for building others up, and doing damage no one could anticipate. But no one cared. It wasn’t their hearts bleeding.


I don’t remember much from the months of pregnancy. I slept through a large portion of it. Hormones and depression will do that to a person. I do remember a few things. First, there was the day I told me dad. My biological dad. He called me a whore. I stopped talking to him. We were done. I was dying and he’d driven another knife into my already bleeding heart. There was the day my school counselor told me to consider my dreams in light of my circumstances and pretty much “get real.” I didn’t want to. Reality hurt so bad. Reality was killing me slowly. I wanted to believe I could still be somebody and do something great. Get through acting school and move to NYC. Pursue a career on Broadway. Reality was a bunch of painful statistics I didn’t want to face. Like, pregnant teens rarely finish school, don’t go to college, and live off state assistance the rest of their lives. They rely heavily on family. They don’t usually make more than X-amount of money because they usually have several kids at a really young age and life just sweeps them away into a lifelong poverty. No college, no dreams realized. Pregnant teens have very little positive prospects. This was the reality I was supposed to face. No thanks. I hated her at that moment, and for a long time afterward.


There was the time in Wal-Mart when I was about seven months pregnant. I was looking at Shampoo with my mom and called her “mommy.” And suddenly realized how young and vulnerable I felt, and how much of a child I still was inside. With a child inside. It scared the crap out of me.


I also remember the night I wrote a suicide note and hid it in the second drawer of my dresser. I had finally made a plan and decided to stick to it. I had been depressed since I was thirteen, and pregnancy sent me over the edge. I was home alone a lot, and the inner turmoil in me was more than I could bear. I didn’t want a baby. I didn’t want to continue any type of relationship with this stupid boy. I didn’t want to face reality about my future. And finally, I didn’t even care about that future. I just wanted to die. So I wrote the note, determined to end my life after having the baby and before leaving the hospital. I had been cutting myself for a while anyway, and I guess, warming up to it. I figured, just a deeper cut and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. So I wrote the note explaining my pain and why I decided to kill myself. I thought maybe that would provide some type of peace of mind for my mom.


I remember the morning I went into labor. It was 4:40 in the morning on the day the doctor said she’d come. No surprise, but the timing was awful. I walked my bedroom floor for two hours until my mom woke up and we went to get my boyfriend (my ex and I reconciled) and headed to the hospital. The rest of the day was a day from hell. They induced me, I went into contractions around noon. I remember laying in the hospital bed looking around at the people in the room: my mom, my sister and my boyfriend, and thinking to myself, “They have no idea I’m going to be gone before tomorrow morning.” I was numb to the idea, and saddened by it all at the same time. The nurses finally came in and told me to push around six in the evening, and by eight, decided this baby should not be born naturally. Maybe could not. The doctor asked me what I wanted to do, and I said, “Well, what are my choices?” He told me we could continue doing what we’re doing or we could do a C-section. I asked his professional advice and he said simply, “Well, if we continue to do what we’re doing … one of you might not make it.” And all the sudden, I cared. I wanted to die. But I didn’t want this innocent baby to die. So I decided on a C-section. A half hour later, I heard the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard. A tiny cry pulled me away from the worst physical pain I have ever experienced in my life. The epidural didn’t seem to work all that well and while the doctor was assuring me I’d only feel pressure as he worked, I was feeling the searing hotness of being cut into and organs moved as he delivered my daughter. It was agonizing. Her cries were a welcome relief from the pain, and in that moment that I first heard her cry, I wanted so badly to be her mommy. To love her and be loved by her. I wanted to give her all the love in me that no one else seemed to want. I lost my heart in that moment. She stole it.


True to statistic, I had another baby within a year and a half. I didn’t want him either. Same guy, same lie, same stupid emotional roller coaster. Same ridiculous ending. I was eighteen and pregnant again. My daughter had become my life, and now all the sudden, I was struggling to both continue loving her while simultaneously hating everything else about my life. I messed her up in the months that followed. When my heart shattered this time, there was someone so close to it, she got hurt too. I am still so sorry to her for that. But I had my son because I loved my daughter. And only because I loved my daughter. It took me six months to love him. I prayed everyday, “God, please, I want to love this baby. I don’t just want to care for him out of obligation. I want to love him like I love her. Help me!” I was so desperate for my heart to change toward him. All I felt was a sickening feeling of obligation. I did not adore him. I didn’t want to be his mommy. Until the day I looked at him and he stole my heart too. I don’t’ know what changed. I just remember being flooded one day with every feeling I knew I should have had toward him and never did until that moment. And I cried. I still do. He’s precious. Ten years later, he’s so precious to me.


After that pregnancy, I decided to get well. I walked away from the relationship that was doing nothing but destroying me and I purposed to defy every other statistic I had heard about teen moms. I graduated high school. One down, many more to go. I enrolled in college that fall and finished four years later with a Bachelor’s degree. Took my best friend to my graduation in New York. I decided that since I might not ever act on Broadway like I wanted to, I’d at least go see it. We did. It was four days in New York that thoroughly convinced me I could never live in New York anyway. One more statistic down. That fall, I bought my own home. A friend in the Real Estate business told me she found a perfect house for us. I went with her to look at it, fell in love instantly, and began to walk the land. I prayed over it. I walked the yard praying. I filled out the paperwork and although she warned me that the application process was sometimes a huge hassle, mine was quick and painless. God had opened up a major door in my life, and I walked through it. We’ve lived in that house for almost six years. All this time, I’ve been on government assistance. That’s another one, remember. Another statistic teen mothers live under. I’ve lived it. It’s humiliating. It’s a prophecy I don’t necessarily care for. But I’ve lived it, so what can I say? They weren’t wrong. Just a painful word spoken over way too many girls. A useless utterance. Hopelessness spoken over an already painful reality.


I shared all of this to tell you something super wonderful about my God: He cares about the things we care about. They touch His heart and He knows our pain. Not only does He know, He absolutely cares. Our concerns become His concerns. Every one of those statistics I set out to defy, He has helped me to conquer. Including state assistance. A few months ago, I applied for a position that would pay a salary big enough to get me off of state assistance. I didn’t get the position. What I got was a post-interview in which I was told that there was absolutely nothing wrong with my interview or my skills, but they gave the job to a man who could bring more to the table. He was also a football coach. So I lost out. But I also received such a confident peace from the Lord that I boldly said, “You know, it’s totally okay. I am confident that when God is ready to bless me, nothing and no one can stand in the way of His open door.” And I meant it. And last month, they pulled me into an office adjacent to the classroom I work in and offered me that position. God worked so that not just that guy, but the two or three prospective hires after him, all received better positions until they offered it to me. And so, finally, my two children and I are done with welfare. Praise God! And with that, I am convinced that there is nothing the world can say that will stand when God speaks something in our lives. I may not have ended up on Broadway, but I have a daily stage presence in the lives of area teens both as a teacher and as a youth leader. And I know very well what they are going through. My life as a teenage robot ran the gamut. Been there, done that is such an understatement. And God is using my pain. And I am totally okay with that. He has gone above and beyond for me and I was the world’s refuse. Yes, my God has turned major tests into a magnificent testimony. And He can do it again.


Let me ask this of you: don’t just read this. Don’t. Don’t fill up on my life’s story and think you know me and walk away with just that: a better understanding of my life and where I come from and what God has done. Take it in. Recognize the pain, depression, hopelessness, the slow dying. Notice the determination and complete dependence on God that created my victory. Walk away with a better understanding of hurting girls who give themselves away, desperately seeking love. Love them so they won’t! Speak words of wisdom, not your opinion, into their situations. Pray with them. Pray for them. Pray for these boys that don’t know what they are doing, and don’t yet care. Pray for the media that sells sex like a drug to the sea of hurting, and wonders why promiscuity reigns. Pray for the church to become effective again, so people know where to run to, and about the Father who loves them as desperately as they want to be loved. Pray for mothers who don’t know how to love their kids because they hate themselves. Pray for kids who don’t understand the pain in their mommy, or why their mommy can’t say “I love you” or hug them. Pray for men to become daddies again. To care for their offspring and to care for the women they profess with their mouths to love. Pray for men who will step up in a position of fatherhood they didn’t create so that generations to follow will become healthy and whole again. Pray for those who don’t think they will ever rise above their present circumstances. Pray that they will come to know our amazing God who speaks things that are not as though they were. Pray for change. Please, pray for change.