Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waiting on Your Dream

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-5

God gives us desires. He places dreams in our hearts to pray over and work toward. When our desires are from the Lord, he will carry them out to fruition.Back in 1991, I was given my first opportunity to speak before a large group of women. It was at a Mothers’ Day breakfast hosted by my church, Cedar Ridge Community Church. I was flattered they thought I had something to share, but at the same time I was terrified. For weeks I agonized over my message. Finally the day arrived. Trembling, I walked to the podium and began to share what God had given me. To my surprise, the women listened intently to what I had to say. They laughed at my stories. Many nodded their heads with looks of appreciation as I hit each of my main application points. Some even shed tears. After I finished, I received an enthusiastic round of applause. It was the most fabulous 20 minutes of my life.

I could hardly wait to get home and share my success with my husband. “They loved it!” I enthused. “It was a total rush, standing up there, sharing the Word of God. I could do that every day for the rest of my life!” That very morning I began to pray that the Lord would choose to use me in this way again. The dream had been planted.

Over the next decade, I was asked to speak once or twice a year at various churches or camps holding special events. Not an overwhelming number, but those engagements kept the dream alive. I began to feel strongly that the Lord had given me a gift. I also wondered why he wasn’t allowing me more opportunities to use it.

Waiting, while your desires fester in your heart, can be excruciating. We are tempted to try to “make it happen,” as Sarah did when she offered Hagaar to Abraham. However, with this particular dream of mine, I was very afraid of going ahead of the Lord. I wanted to be ready if I was to take on a ministry of this nature.

God did use that waiting period to get me ready. He did this through the experiences I had in raising my four children and learning how to be a godly wife. When God took my mother home to Heaven after a long fight with cancer, I struggled through a long period of grief that tested my faith. Two years of my life were spent in learning how to manage Panic Disorder. Much learning took place during my teaching career as I worked with a total of over 500 students and their parents. When I look back on who I was in 1991, I shudder to think of the kind of speaker I would have been. God knew this, and took the time to insure the ministry he wanted to do through me would be effective. He lovingly and carefully orchestrated the circumstances and people around me to grow me into a woman ready to teach his word and encourage others.

Finally, in 2004, the Lord gave me my first opportunity to be a speaker for a weekend-long women’s retreat. From there, the opportunities began to flow. I also began to write a book. Several of the articles I had written were published in magazines. It seemed like the Lord was indicating the time had finally come. So I retired from teaching and enrolled in seminary to pursue my master’s degree in Biblical studies. My husband was in full support of these decisions. He, too, sensed God’s movement and timing in our lives.

The point to this long story is this: God plants the dream, but then is faithful to sustain it. He waters it with encouragements, using opportunities and people in our lives. He nourishes it by working within us, getting us ready for the fulfillment of that dream. When the time is right, he brings that dream to fruition. When he does, we marvel at his timing and wisdom. We look back on his faithfulness and wonder at his patience with us as we stewed and fretted in the wait.

What dream do you hold in your heart? It could be finding that perfect someone to become your spouse. Maybe God is taking his time in giving you children. Is there a ministry that your heart is drawn to? You may be searching for a job or wishing for a home of your own. We become disillusioned with God when those dreams remain unfulfilled. Yet how much agony we would save ourselves if we would determine to trust God to bring that dream to pass, in his timing, not ours.

We can trust our faithful God who originally planted the dream within us to be faithful to carry it to completion. And when He does, we will give the glory to Him, because He will make sure that we understand it was His accomplishment, not ours. It will be worth the wait.


Zoe said...

Julie, Loved this post and the reminder that the Lord birthed those dreams in our hearts. I'd love to know more about the book you mentioned. I'm not concentrating my sessions on the Ephsians verses this weekend but just might in the future.
Happy Dream Day friend,

Dave said...

I am so thankful to God that He allowed our paths to cross, and I get genuinely excited when I hear you talk about your ministry. Thanks again for the meal last week -- it was delicious!

Van said...

Hi Julie, I loved the comments you posted on my blog - all about water. YES - the study of water is fascinating - throughout scriptures - think on this: water in the desert - wells, springs, oasis, cisterns. Each represents a spiritual reality. You have inspired me to write about water.

debcar@elmore.rr.com said...

Julie, I hold a dream in my heart that God planted when I was just a young girl. Lately, I've been thinking about ditching this dream of writing. So glad that you waited on Him. Your devotion has inspired me...think that I'll hang in there a little while longer.