Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dreams and Sketches...

I'm beginning to sketch; my inspiration is returning. I'm dreaming again.

I'm dreaming big.

It was a little over 2 years ago when a blogged about my first dream of Tony since his passing. And in that dream Tony brought me paint cans - cans of 3 primary colors - to be used on the big blank canvas representing my life without him.

It's taken me this long to reset my eyes from that big white canvas; it's as if I was blinded to any color. And it even took a while for me to even see beyond it's "blankness" to remember the beautiful paintings, my very own art collection of my life, leading up to and during my time with my husband. Those are still coming back into clarity as I reflect on my blessed beginnings and my blessed time with Tony.


I feel as if it's time to start on the next piece in my collection. It's time to start thinking about what's it's gonna look like, what dreams it will unfold.

So, what am I dreaming about? As my pastor Andy Stanley says, "What are you working on big?" What keeps me up at night? What do I think about when I am inspired to make an impact on this world, when I think about the legacy I want to leave?

Well, lots of things, really.

I want to continue emptying my cup into the lives of college students and young 20-something women. I am convinced that if these girls go hard after God at their age, there is no telling how much further and farther they can go for the Kingdom in their lifetime. There's no stopping this generation. I'm a firm believer, and I just wanna be a part of it.

I want to keep learning and growing and being challenged at my dream job. I shake my head often as I thank my God for such an amazing place to work; it's really hard to refer to it as "work" for I enjoy it so much. I know my future is in the Lord's hands, but I certainly hope my future includes a long career in ministry at Buckhead Church.

This one's a stretch and a little hard to talk about...but, I want to be a wife and a mom. Yes, that means a wife, again. Now, I know this is gonna require some extra large "big girl" pants to even have the courage for the Ha! But I have given myself permission to desire for God to bring me a "kinsman redeemer" like He graciously gave to widowed Ruth in the Bible. So, pray for a Boaz for me, if you'd like, but even more, pray for my complete TRUST and contentment to be in Jesus.

But even more, my big dream, my really big dream that only God can make come true...well, that involves women I've never met, women I may never meet, women in totally different circumstances, women who live so completely opposite of me, women who may or may not know my Jesus, women I have little in common with...except for sharing the deep pain of loosing a husband. These women are widows like me.

Yet, they live in absolute poverty.
They live in countries where women are not valued.
They live in cultures where when they lose their husbands, they are pushed to the absolute margins of society.
They not only live with the pain of loss, but they live devoid of hope of anything ever changing in their lives.
They feel as if they have nothing, no one to care, no one to come alongside and lift them up...out of the pit they know as hopelessness.

And, there are over a million of them. Out of the 2.45 million widows in the world, almost half live in absolute poverty, poverty like we've never seen or experienced here in the States.

And that, that's what breaks my heart. That's what bothers me. That's who I think about when I daydream about my life's purpose.

And my dream, my heart's desire, is for God to open a door for me to help them, to come alongside someway, somehow. I want to share their lives, to tell their stories. I want to love those widows considered the last and the least, those widows on the margins, I want to love those widows...on the edge.

And I don't know how. I don't even know when. I'm in the very infant stages of a plan, a sketch. I do know that the Bible calls us to care for widows in distress. And there are over a million of them. This Saturday, June 23, is International Widow's Day, birthed out of what has become in the last few years as the "United Nations Plight of the Widow."

So, I'm writing this to ask for prayers for my dream and for God to lead me in His timing to what I am to do. I don't write this to make anything of myself; I'd most certainly never have put this on my "wish list" of things I want to do when I "grow up."

But these women have been impressed on my heart. These women, they need Hope and they need livelihoods restored and they need Jesus. And someone's gotta do something. Perhaps I'm one of those someone's.


All I know for sure is that my life is not my own. I want more than anything for my dreams, my life canvases, my life's impact, to reflect the One I live for.

Dearly loved, sketching,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Little Miss Independent

I'm fairing fairly well these last couple of months. It was a marathon of anniversary dates and holidays from November to April. I dug out about mid-May and finally started feeling as if the weight of the world was no longer on my shoulders.

It feels good.
I feel happy most days.
It feels a little like normal. that's not a word I ever thought I'd use to describe my life ever again.

A few weeks ago, I sat across from a new friend who has been stuck in her own cycle of grief and loss. It was a surreal experience for these words to come out of my mouth to encourage her:
"If you would have told me two years ago that I'd be sitting across from you, sharing my story of tragedy and how I've made it through, I would have never believed you."

Sure, two years ago, I trusted my God to carry me through. He was and is the only One who could. But, I was in such a dark space that I could not see it, and I most definitely could not envision feeling anything but tragedy and sadness ever again.


There are days when I look around and feel as if God picked me right up out of that day before Tony died, put me in a time capsule, and shipped me right into my current life. It really is best case scenario for having to start over, for having had tragedy rattle every part of me. I am so very grateful; I certainly did nothing to deserve this great favor.

Yet, I have to remind myself that the common denominator through all of these circumstances is me. Me.
Me with all my insecurities and weaknesses. Me with all my demands. Me who more often than I care to admit likes to control my life.

I took a stroll down memory lane this week, I thought back to my hopes and dreams as a child and early teen. I remembered vividly what I wanted to be:

An independent woman.

Ha! It seems laughable now. I don't think I had any clue what that meant at the time, but it sounded intriguing. I wanted to be able to do things on my own, to depend on no one but myself, to accomplish and achieve anything I set my heart to...all because of me.

I mean, thanks, Kelly Clarkson, for a cool song, but honestly, what young girl aspires to become that?

Still, there was insight in that phrase. It was a foreshadowing to a very thorn in my side...little miss independent.

That's exactly how I operate when I try to do things apart from Christ, when I blaze through my day, my week, event or circumstance, depending on my strength and not that of my Savior's. It's my very flesh, my weakness. And when things seem manageable, attainable, achievable on my own, that's when little miss independent takes over my life.

Sure, it's great to be able to use the talents, wisdom, strength God has given me to go about my daily tasks, decisions, relationships. But the danger lies in thinking I am captain of my own ship, driver of my own car, my very own puppeteer in the puppet show of my life.

Contrast that with the first year, really even most of the second year, after loosing Tony. I can recount many days when the sun came up, my alarm clocked blared, and I had nothing, NOTHING, to muster  to even sit up in bed, much less get up. All I could do was earnestly ask the Lord to give me the ability to get up, to put one foot in front of the other and to trust Him for the rest of my day.  I was desperate. I was dependent. I could do nothing apart from Christ.

I am thankful to have moved past this stage of grief and to be able to get up on my own again. Still, I find myself wanting, longing, to never forget what is was like to be completely dependent on Jesus to meet my every need, down to the very basics. I don't want that experience, as hard and painful as it was, to go in vain.

I suppose why these two word pictures I stare at each morning as I get ready are so fitting.

I wanna stay desperate for my God, desperate for His Presence. Desperate.
Dependent on Him.

Dearly loved,