Dare to Dream

I read about a man who had a failed business venture and didn’t even have enough money to buy a railroad ticket to leave the scene of his failure. As the story goes he went door to door photographing babies, then sold his camera and bought a one-way ticket to California.

Here’s my favorite part:

He left Kansas City in July, wearing a checkered coat and un-matching pants. He had $40 cash, and his imitation-leather suitcase contained only a shirt, two undershorts, two pairs of socks and some drawing material. But when he paid his fare for the trip to California, he bought a first-class ticket.1

A first-class ticket?!?!

It seems foolish for a guy who had just begged and borrowed for his failed business to spend money on a first-class ticket. Seems frivolous. A misprioritization of funds. But this man had a first-class dream only fitting for a first-class ticket.

The man was Walt Disney.

Walt had first–class vision and considering he left Missouri on the heels of defeat, I’d say he had first-class ambition. In reading his biography by Bob Thomas, Walt Disney: An American Original, I learned many things about Walt. Much was unknown to me, but for the parts I knew, I gained a deeper understanding. For instance, Walt didn’t face just this one obstacle of failure. He faced several. But one of the reasons I find him to be so inspiring is his relentless determination to hold on to his dream.

Stories like Walt’s inspire me to pursue God’s callings even though I have no guarantee of success and to keep trucking even if I’m met with some obstacles of failure.

First-class vision. First-class ambition.

Maybe you don’t have a Walt Disney sized dream. I mean, seriously, who would’ve ever imagined? But the potential for what God wants to produce from your dream will never be known unless you keep trying. Maybe it won’t look like what you thought it would. Maybe it will be more than you could have ever thought or imagined.

Ephesians 3:19-21 TLB Now glory be to God, who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

There are some visions in my heart that just seem downright crazy. One I shared with my pharmacology instructor in nursing school. As I was speaking it out I thought, “I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud. She probably thinks I’m nuts.” But something must have resounded in her, because she, to this day, is one of my biggest encouragers and supporters to keep moving toward that vision.

Here are some questions to consider…

Would you pursue your goal even if others doubted your ability?

If you failed at something you desired would you try again?

Do you look for new possibilities when you get rerouted from the original goal?

These were my thoughts last year when approaching my test to get my national certification in neonatal nursing. The reality of failure was thick. I mean I’d walk out with a paper that either said, PASS or FAIL.

I had studied and studied still yet, felt like I hadn’t studied enough. I married my book for a good two weeks. I went through all online practice questions, looking at not only the right answer, but also all three of the wrong answers per question, making notes as to the rationale for each one.

It was pouring down rain the day I went to take the test and on my way there I got a call that my daughter’s school was on lockdown for a reported gun on campus! Seriously! Talk about being rattled when you’re already rattled! At the reassurance of my husband, I proceeded on to the testing center thankful for him to be making decisions regarding the safety of our child.

The few items I took into the testing center were zipped in a bag and locked away. I lifted my pants for an evaluation that I wasn’t stowing any cheat sheets in my socks. Cameras were recording every moment, and I was suppose to relax, focus and think. Did I mention I have testing anxiety? I kept thinking, “Why do I do this to myself?!” Then it came time for the photo. I knew this photo would either have a pass or fail beside it when I left, but I chose to smile anyway.

This was my goal. This was my personal desire. I knew I needed to smile because no matter the outcome I was going to give my best, and I was going to keep trying. No one or nothing could influence my motivation more than my own desire.

I guess God has hard wired that approach in me by this point. I mean, considering this blog, I consistently overcome questions of my own doubt and it’s value to others when I write. Then there’s the book, the memoir I’m writing. How many times I’ve asked myself, “What if no one reads it?” To add to it are the speaking commitments. It’s awesome being asked to speak at an event, but what’s the point if no one shows up to hear it, or if it’s not relevant to them in their life?

I suppose what makes a dream a dream, is the possibility of failure or of it never becoming a reality. Without the latter, it’s not really a dream at all.

But who wants to fail? Who wants to invest their heart, thoughts and efforts into something that may never come to fruition?

No one, I would think. But wouldn’t we miss something of great value if we didn’t go for it? And even if it doesn’t pan out, we know that we’re becoming something in the process, more of who God wants us to be.

Well, we’ll never know if we quit, or never even try.

It’s why we do what we do unto the Lord and not unto people (Colossians 3:23), because God will get us where He wants us to be. He will make us into more of who He wants us to be through the process, but we have to stay the course, focused on Him.

Walt Disney buying that first-class ticket shows me that failure is more of a mindset than a reality. As Walt said, “Around here however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

Nothing holds a candle to God’s creative work in our lives. But we play a part. We have to dare to dream.

I pray this post spoke to you. Did you know I’m writing a book?! Would you join me in supporting these endeavors by subscribing to our blog, sharing with your friends and family, or making a purchase below? We can’t grow with out you.

**If you are considering testing for your RNC, I invite you to purchase my study notes.  Your purchase will help us generate funds needed for website redevelopment and editing our book for publishing! The notes are compromised from the book Core Curriculum for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Fourth Edition by M. Terese Verklan and Marlene Walden. My study notes include all lab values as listed in the book, and the online practice questions, also from the workbook Certification and Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Fourth Edition by Robin L. Watson. Also included is the information I needed to apply for the test.  After your purchase is complete, the study notes will be emailed to your address provided at checkout.**

Click Here to Purchase RNC Study Guide

1Walt Disney: An American Original (p.66)

 

Enduring Love

When we imagine a picture of endurance we may envision a mountain climber or a triathlete. Those events when one must press-in with extreme efforts. Events in which there’s not an option to stop and take a break. A picture of endurance is illustrated when facing something that causes pain, or suffering, something that is a hardship.

The picture of endurance in my mind is the face of my friend who completed her last radiation yesterday. She endured a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation. She has endured a disease while raising her children and continuing her work caring for others as a nurse. She endured with the truest mark of courage– her gorgeous smile.

I picture our sweet, most often very tiny, NICU babies who endure arterial sticks, chest tubes, intubations, and lumbar punctures. And their parents, who endure the process with feelings of helplessness, wanting desperately to take their place.

I picture family members enduring grief from the death of a loved-one, individuals enduring the loss of their own physical capability, parents enduring the heartache of a rebellious child.

My own memories take me back to being seven. I learned early how to grit my teeth, enduring bandage changes that often required ripping, enduring physical therapy resulting in scars tearing, and enduring the unknown striving to walk again after those scary days when I couldn’t even wiggle my toes.

Picturing the unpleasant and the difficult are natural images when considering endurance. However, do you ever think about love?

We’ve been in the “love” season. There are dinner dates and roses, chocolates and jewelry. Images of happiness, joy, and romancing stir. But endurance? That sounds more like a workout, more like physical training, or a hardship, not love.

Let’s take a look at this very popular verse in the ESV and NLT:

I Corinthians 13:7

ESV- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

NLT- Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love is the muscle to our workout. Love is the courage to our battle. Love is the strength to our suffering. Love doesn’t just get us through the bumps in the road; love gets us through the hardships, the storms, the challenges. Love gets us through all things, in every circumstance.

Those relationships that have endured reflect a beautiful picture of love.

And that’s what brings me to the picture I’m closing with. Our long-time precious friend and family photographer, Mallory captured this moment last fall.

It may appear as a simple pose, but those arms wrapped around me are our testimony to love’s endurance.

Love endured early before we were even married when someone made the suggestion to Brandon that he would eventually feel unfilled as a husband because of my scarred body. Love continued with endurance through the changes to our relationship with each little miracle we welcomed into the world. Love endured through our goals of bachelor degrees in engineering and nursing. Love has endured through imperfections of our flesh; baggage, insecurities, hang-ups, shortcomings, and disagreements.

There have been bumps in the road. There have, quite honestly, been complete washouts. There have been disappointments. But our love didn’t merely sound like a sweet story or a convenient option, no it was created. The Lord in all His goodness, in all His holiness, in His perfection took two people without anything to offer and He gave us a gift that He made for us in eternity—a love that’s been fierce, secure, soft, delicate, unique and constant.

His love endured all for all of us to live this life with the power of enduring love.

I will be yours, you will be mine, together in eternity. Our hearts of love will be entwined together in eternity. Forever in eternity.”

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Control Freak

Getting in the car with my mom I must be prepared for one thing, the possibility she may honk her horn. And I don’t mean a little “toot-toot.” I mean, lay-on-the-horn, blaring-loud-for-all-to-hear kind of honk. It doesn’t end there. Whatever ability she has to demonstrate her displeasure on the outside of the car is only a glimmer compared to her expressions on the inside of the car. And my Mom is a nice person! However, she gets all riled up on the road. Inconsiderate people who pull out in front of her causing her to slam on her brakes. Distracted drivers, talking, or yes, even texting away on their phones. Rushed workers ignorning the lane closure signs to squeeze in at the last possible moment. It infuriates her.

When she rides with me she’ll identify every moment I should utilize my horn. My neglection of such an opportunity produces much discussion as she’ll inform me that I need to let them know what they did so they won’t do it again. There’s where her hope is. It’s not an angry, difficult, short little lady. It’s a woman who intends to help people out, highlight the error of their driving, so they can do it better the next time.

My take is different. Number one, I wonder if the person who pulled out in front of me, or cut me off, may be a mother who has a screaming baby in the car, a tired toddler and an argumentative child. Believe me, that causes some distractions and enough stress without being honked at. Or possibly, it’s a nurse who lives forty-five minutes from the hospital and got called-in before she had a shower or a trace of make-up on her face. It happens. Secondly, and most importantly for me is, I don’t care. I don’t care about honking at someone and getting all worked up over them, because I have no relational connection, nor any ounce of influence on them to change anything. If a driver is flat-out rude, they’re going to be flat-out rude whether I blast my horn or not. It’s just not worth the aggravation to me.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I do get worked up. I do get riled to the point of feeling steam come out my ears. Okay, not quite steam, but you get the picture. Flaming mad. Like Anger on Disney’s Inside Out or Donald Duck when he’s “had it up to here!” (Yes, that’s what he sometimes says, although it almost requires a translator to comprehend his lines.)

I tend to get all upset with things I think I have control over. Emphasis given to the word, “think.” It’s like a quantitative study. I have variables in an experiment. The independent variable is manipulated to produce the dependent variable. Since my lab puppy, sweet little Ruby Sue, is turning one this weekend, let’s consider dog food. The type of dog food is an independent variable because it’s something I can change (or manipulate), and the results I get are the dependent variables like her weight, her likability to the food, and maybe her coat being more shiny.

If I have no influence on the outcome, I don’t get too engaged. It’s that whole, “it is what it is” kind of situation; “que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.”

But let me share with you where I do get hung up. It’s again, in those areas I think I have control.

My parents were told, on more than one occassion, during my years of rehabiliation from my burn injury that I may develop an addiction to narcotics. I’ll share more about the topic when the book project pieces together, but for now, let me focus on this subject of control. Although I desire to be as out-of-it as possible when I’m recovering from surgeries, I’m quite eager to stop taking the medication when I no longer need it, because I don’t feel in control when I’m in a fog. Too much of my childhood was out of my control. As an adult, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the care I received. Absolutley overwhelmed. I’m living a life today because of the care I received. Nevertheless, I remember as a child wanting control over the situations I had absolutley none.

Memories of being restrained, with my arms braced out to my side, unable to move. Memories of a tube down my throat breathing for me, but occluding my ability to communicate. Screaming for help when those precious nurses were tearing bandages off my raw body. Fighting against amazing physical therapists as they ripped scar tissue to stretch my contractured body.

Yes, I have control issues.

I also have a good, good Father who loves me as I am, but desires me to grow in Him. Just as He provides opportunities to make the impatient patient and the prideful humble; He’s given me many opportunities to release control and grow in trust.

A reoccurring theme for 2015 was trust. As I felt challenged in 2014 to rest, 2015 was about trust. Here’s a bit of what I journaled toward the end of the year…

As I’ve sought the Lord, as He’s challenged me to trust Him, using situations to strengthen my trust muscle, I can see the control shatter. I needed to be here and He was preparing the time for me. I needed to grow in the quality, in this characteristic.

‘Do you trust God?’ Yes, I’ve always trusted God. However, do I trust God when I have no control, no influence over the outcome, when I have nothing to contribute, or even manipulate?  Not in a bad manipulate-evil-devising way, but in a manipulate as, take it in my own hands and change what it needs, or what I think it needs to be, to form it and mold it on my own. Do I trust God even then?

Oh, how I thought He was teaching me through the writing to trust Him. Oh, how I thought He was teaching me through the speaking to trust Him. Oh, how I thought my obedience to step away from full-time nursing was trusting Him, or being given our website was trusting Him- but, those situations were PREPARING me for the biggest trust exercise the Lord could have set before me….

I know where my desire to control comes from. It’s fear. I wanted control when I was little because I was scared. Not much has changed. I still to this day fight fear. The fear is a bit different, but I fight nevertheless. But again, God is so loving and kind towards me. His Word says, “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). Which means I don’t have to be in control. I just need to trust in Him.

Therefore, as you’re stepping into your dreams, visions and goals for 2016, be aware of the vision killers we’ve discussed the last few weeks: feeling overwhelmed, making assumptions, and fear.

Fear has no place. You serve a great God! And the same power that raised Jesus from the grave lives in you (Romans 8:11).  Remember that fact, and exercise that muscle to trust in the face of any fear this year!

Isaiah 30:15 ESV For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and REST you shall be saved; in quietness and in TRUST shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,

This was one of the verses I’ve stood on, encompassing the Lord’s challenge for me to rest in 2014 and to trust in 2015. But unlike the people of Israel, may we be willing.

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click on the link to hear this song– No Longer Slaves  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxkNj5hcy5E

I’m Fine

I walk around like everything is fine, but deep down, inside my shoe, my sock is sliding off.

This message caught my eye when posted by a friend on social media. Of course, my heart was moved when I read the first half thinking, “she’s going through something.” Upon completing the sentence I truly laughed out loud understanding the sentiment exactly. It happens to me with a certain pair of boots. I must wear long socks, otherwise, there’s no inconspicuous swipe-it-with-my-index-finger type of retrieval maneuver. No, I must take the boot off entirely to fetch the sock that is nearly off my foot, scrunched up down around my toes. Irritatingly uncomfortable, I must say.

Nevertheless, we wear it well. We stroll around cool and casual without the slightest indication something is not right. We don’t let on something is out of place. We don’t expose our sock is driving us nuts!

The reality is, all of us are walking around with our sock sliding off at one point or another. All of us.

Why do we act so casual? Why do we walk along without the slightest indication something is wrong?

I’m sure you realize we’re not talking about socks at this point.

A short time ago, someone contacted me about a woman who needed a bit of encouragement in a trial she was facing. The trial was similar to one I had experienced before, but one I’ve not shared with many. We met for a visit. As I listened to her pour out her heart, mine broke at the memory of going through what she was enduring presently. The Lord stirred me to share with her the testimony.

Sharing the testimony was timely and effective. While it brought the intended comfort and encouragement to her, it was apparent that it came unexpectedly.

We all walk through things others may never imagine.  However, it is wise to demonstrate prudence in sharing the storms we face. For one, some who do not have the same insight, do not understand, and our sharing can render us vulnerable to attacks. We must listen to the Holy Spirit in seeking counsel.

Secondly, we don’t want to magnify the storm. Personally, I’m not a sweep-it-under-the-rug kind of girl. I’ve been a fighter my entire life. It’s why I’m alive today. And it’s not something one can switch on and off. While I was commended for my spirit to fight as a little girl, as an adult now, it can make some people uncomfortable. Although I’m geared for conflict resolution, wisdom is essential to know the difference between progressing toward resolution and merely magnifying. We must know when our speech is magnifying the problem or resolving the problem.

Third, if we haven’t taken it to the Lord, we must not take it to another. As much as I’m a people person, as much as I crave and truly need the interaction of others, no one on this planet has everything I need. Speaking to the Lord and allowing Him to guide who we need for godly counsel is exercising complete trust in Him. And as a result, removes vulnerability to attacks and provides dimension to what we’re facing.

I share this for you to be encouraged. Our tests aren’t the focus. We wait for divine intervention and share the testimony in His timing.

So what’s so encouraging about that?!

It’s that everyone has a sock sliding off!  Whether they’re talking about it or not.

Thinking back to last week’s post, in addition to feeling overwhelmed, what is another vision killer to reaching our goals?

It’s assumptions.

We assume that everyone else has a sock nicely in place not causing an ounce of irritation or aggravation. We may even have toxic thoughts like, “So-and-so has it all together. They’re so strong in their walk with God and here I am dealing with this garbage. I could never be the kind of person or Christian so-and-so is. I’m just sick of trying.”

First of all, we must all stop trying so hard and find rest in His power at work within us.
II Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Secondly, know that assumptions are a tactic the enemy utilizes not only in our church, but in our homes. There is a lot of defeat, and potential disappointment, which can come from assuming the comfort of another’s walk. We walk through trials strong and confident, because our trust in God. It doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy. We’re all walking through stuff at some point.

Remember, we all have a pesky sock sliding off every now then.

We’re not always fine.

Allow me to close with a passage by Lysa Terkeurst. These words spoke encouragement and healing into my storm of 2015. I pray it blesses you in pursuing your goals for 2016.

Humility and wisdom are a package deal. And often people who have the most wisdom have experienced the most humility. Or sometimes even the most humiliation. A wisdom like none other can arise from those hard places that bring us low.

When I’m going through stuff that makes it hard to make good decisions, I want to turn to people who have been through some stuff. And not just people who went through hard times, but those who came out on the other side carrying some wisdom from which I can learn. Real wisdom- wisdom that’s been unearthed in the messy, untidy, mud-puddle places of life. When this kind of wisdom sits in the heart of a person who is vulnerable enough to drop their pride and share what they know- that’s a gift I desperately need when going through some stuff.

Lysa Terkeurst The Best Yes -pages 209-210

*in reference to:
James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
and
Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

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Casting Crowns sing a beautiful song on the subject titled “Stained Glass Masquerade” ~ you can listen to it on the following link ~  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7U–p31vIY

Just Forget It

When we built our house in 2001, we chose to complete the room over the garage. It has served several purposes over the years. At first, it was somewhat of an office, with our inherited-from-my-parents, thirty-year-old, rinky-dink desk where our computer set along with our printer. We also kept our first set of living room furniture up there; two recliners and a sofa to relax along with our treadmill and weights to exercise.

As the kids continued coming along, the area transitioned into a much-needed playroom. In such time, the playroom has been forfeited to become a bedroom, giving each child their own space. Stay in one place long enough and you’ll see the scenery change time and time again. Something similar happens to us in our walk with the Lord. We develop and change as He uses us for His effectiveness.

That’s one reason we make goals for each New Year, isn’t it? We want to be a little different than we were the year before. We want to demonstrate growth in our character and spiritual maturity. Not that we weren’t fabulous and wonderful last year, but God’s picture of fabulous and wonderful may look a little different for us this year. Remember the office turned playroom turned bedroom? Same wonderful room. Different fabulous function.

Let’s talk about those goals. In nursing, we make goals each and every shift. Those goals are specific and measurable. For instance, if our goal is improved gas exchange, we will measure the outcome based on three “as evidenced by,” like decreased work of breathing, improved blood gases, and decreased need for supplemental oxygen. This approach to setting goals can definitely be beneficial for our personal lives as well.

Stepping into the New Year, each individual person in our home set the following goals for themselves:

Educational
Physical
Spiritual
Financial- a giving goal, a saving goal and a purchasing goal

These goals, and how we measure the goal, looks different for each of us, from the six-year-old, to the nine-year-old, to the twelve-year-old, to the nearly fifteen-year-old, on up to the mom and dad. Nevertheless, we each have our goals written out with our game plan to attain them for one another to see.

Here are a couple benefits to writing them:

–keeps us on track
–keeps us accountable

Our Pastor use to say, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Proverbs 29:18 informs us having vision, divine guidance, and revelation keeps us disciplined, in return, bringing wisdom, joy, and happiness. *see translations: NLT, NIV, ESV, KJV

So, if we understand the benefit of setting goals and having vision, why do we have such difficulty following through with our goals?

I suppose there are more reasons than one blog post could contain, at least there are for me. But if I may share a piece of my heart with you today, as we dive into that question, and continue on with the topic again in another post (because again, that question is too deep for one post).

Maybe you identify with lack of focus; lack of self-discipline; a negative mind-set. Those are all detrimental to achieving goals. Another vision killer is feeling overwhelmed. The task seems too big, you don’t know where to begin, you feel ill-equipped for the dream. So what happens, you may be familiar with the phrase, “just forget it!

I’ve seen it. Remember the playroom? The space provided such fun and creativity, such joy and a level of carelessness….for a time. It’d all come crashing in when I’d holler, “It’s time to pick up!” I believe the kids wanted to pick up and put things away in an admirably orderly fashion, however, when every toy is on the floor, they just didn’t know where to start. It’s that whole, “how do you eat an elephant?” kind of question (which by the way, always grosses me out, I mean, who would even think about eating an elephant?).

You know how to pick up a crazy mess of a playroom, just like you know the answer to that icky elephant question. One toy at a time. (Or one bite at a time, if you choose to go that route).

I wrote down some crazy big dreams this year. And let me tell you, they scare me. I’m so afraid of failing or disappointing (my family, my Lord, and really myself too) that I almost didn’t even want to write them down. But it’s one toy at a time. And if I get close, it’ll be that much closer and I’ll be that much more of who He wants me to be than I was on 12/31/2015, because by writing them down I’m exercising obedience and trust in Him. Aim for something with me, even if you don’t hit the target, you’ll get closer than you were before.

That room over the garage is close to a studio apartment for the kiddo who calls it, “my room.” The other kids have vision for the room too though; a vision that includes a ping-pong or pool table when the room is one day vacated. That growing-closer-by-the-year event is one Dad and I don’t want to envision yet.   Nevertheless, whatever the future holds, we’ll have a room over the garage, and it’ll be used. It’ll be the same room with a potentially different use, effectively illustrating our heart’s desire for the Lord to continue doing the same with us.

Hebrews 13:21 NLT
may He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you,through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.

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Courageous Dreams

Brandon, Heather, Brooklyn, Jaron, Caden & Gavin Meadows are big Disney fans!  This fact is no secret to anyone who remotely knows our family.  We find it amusing to work lines from Disney movies into our everyday conversation.  Just last night, when Jaron, our nine year-old, was off to take his shower after soccer practice, I reminded him to pay attention to certain anatomical locations.  He turned around and quoted a line from Timon in Lion King 1 ½, “Mom, I’m not a little kid anymore!”  We all burst in laughter!

Brandon and I have never outgrown our enjoyment of Disney animation.  I remember back to when Toy Story 2 was released in theaters.  It was early in our marriage, so we didn’t have children yet.  Our schedule must have been pretty packed the Friday and Saturday of its premier; therefore, we resorted, despite our guilt, to skipping Sunday church in order to see it.

We currently see the same interest and excitement in our children.  Brooklyn is twelve, and yet still enjoys our Friday night family movie, which almost always is a Disney one.  And she is one of the best in the family to incorporate those Disney lines!  This makes it even funnier to us, because she’s the least animated of the kids.  When she works in a punch line, it’s hysterical, because it’s unexpected.

A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I were sipping on our coffee while the kids munched on their cinnamon rolls, our normal Sunday morning routine.  Brandon asked the kids what were their dreams of becoming when they grew up.  He followed it with a passionate quote from Rapunzel in the movie Tangled, “Haven’t you ever had a dream?”

Night-Evening-Tangled-Rapunzel

The conversation continued as each child expressed their dream.  Brooklyn shared that she wanted to be a veterinarian, out of her deep love for animals.  Jaron shared that he wanted to be a mechanic because he loved cars.  Caden shared that he wanted to be an engineer because he loved legos.  Even Gavin, our four year old, enthusiastically shared that he was going to be Spiderman when he grew up.

In our normal family way, we related this conversation back to Disney.  We spoke about Cinderella who believed in her dream.  In her song, A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes, she sings, “Have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through.walt-disney-screencaps-cinderella-cinderella-1377203319

Then we spoke about Princess Tiana who, despite Mama Odie’s “Dig a Little Deeper” song, still emphasized her own strong work ethic in seeing her dream come true.Tiana-as-Waitress-Princess-and-the-Frog

 

And of course, we acknowledged the man himself, Walt Disney who didn’t give up.  He made his greatest contribution to animation with Mickey Mouse only after losing his first successful animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to another studio.

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This may all seem somewhat childish, but the reality is, even adults have dreams.  We give them more grown-up descriptions, such as, “goals,” or “visions.”  But all in all we still dream.  More often than not, we just don’t have the courage to share those dreams or the faith to pursue them.  Or perhaps we look at a dream failed when really it was the Lord redirecting.

I had a dream of a vocal career in Contemporary Christian music.  Obviously, I’m a neonatal nurse, so you might be inclined to think that I was way off the mark and that the dream was naïve.  But I have seen the Lord benefit my life today from my pursuit of that dream.  I spent a few years traveling around the state of Oklahoma singing with a group within Oklahoma Kids.  That time was undoubtedly the happiest of my childhood and it cultivated my stage presence and confidence.  I had an acceptance there that I couldn’t find at school.  The foundation during that season of my life led me to singing on my own in competition, in festivals, in churches, and even in my town’s pageant.  One thing leads to another, and I found myself in Nashville with my vocal coach at Embassy Music, and later in Estes Park, Colorado at the Christian Music Artists’ Seminar.

Again, waste of time because I’m a nurse and not a professional vocalist?  Not at all.  Those experiences prepared me for something I would have never imagined.  Public speaking.  More than anything, I gained an invaluable characteristic through discovering my potential in vocal music; I gained a sense of confidence, and that is something we all need to pursue the dreams God stirs within our hearts.

I’m still dreaming today.  I have dreams for my kids; that they pursue an education, have a fulfilling career, experience the love of a devoted spouse and the miracle of healthy children.  I have dreams for my marriage; including continual professional growth, service in ministry, time to enjoy hobbies together, and maybe some sand and water too.  Doesn’t a beach just represent a peaceful side of dreams?  I have dreams for my career as a nurse, for more opportunities in speaking, and for the open door to formally write my story.

What will come of these dreams, these visions, these goals?  I don’t know.  But God does.  He placed the dream in my heart to have a husband that would look beyond the scars and desire me as if there were none.  Dream came true.  He placed a dream in my heart to be able to experience pregnancy, birth and the wonder of motherhood.  Dream came true.  He placed a dream in my heart of being able to physically minister to patients as a nurse.  Dream came true.

I don’t know what it will look like, or how it will happen or when it will transpire, but I do know that God’s plan has been far greater than any I could have ever imagined, and that what He has in store is consistent with what He has accomplished.  This is where faith is at work.  Hebrews 11:1 (NLT), “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

We walk by faith, not by sight.  We don’t wait to see the evidence before we step out.  We believe, we work hard, we push on through failed attempts because we have faith in the One who holds the plan.

May we all be courageous to pursue what God has placed in our hearts to dream.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”– Walt Disney

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