Following the Little Urges

A few nights ago, I had a very clear dream about a friend of mine. There wasn’t anything particularly dramatic that happened in my dream – I just woke up feeling really warm and refreshed, because I’d had such a great talk with my friend. She was so kind, encouraging, gentle, and considerate, just as she is in real life, and it all felt so real, it was as if I really had just spent a couple of hours with her!

As I sat up in bed with a smile on my face, a thought popped into my head: “I should tell her about this dream!”

Then I thought, “Why?! It wasn’t like it was super important or life-changing. She might think it’s weird if I email her about a dream!”

But I decided it couldn’t hurt, and since I’ve tried to pay more attention to funny urges like this one, I quickly typed out an email to my friend, before I could change my mind.

She emailed back a few hours later, and explained that she’d also had a vivid dream about herself that night, but it was the exact opposite of what I had dreamed. It was horrible – she was doing things in her dream which were completely out of character for her, and woke up with negative feelings weighing her down. When she got my email, it was exactly what she needed to hear, to remind her of who she is in Christ.

What are the chances that we would both have these dreams on the same night??!! Stuff like this makes me realize all over again how much God cares, and to what lengths He will go to speak to us, or provide for us.

I don’t always choose to listen to those little urges – sometimes I talk myself out of doing things that seem silly, or don’t make sense. But when something like this happens, I feel such a surge of excitement, such a growth in my faith and wonder in the ways God speaks to us – it makes me want to always be a part of this kind of stuff!!


I’m praying for the ears to hear Him, the eyes to see what He’s really doing, and the courage to follow the little urges!!

My Dream Come True

His little handsExactly.

Kendra and EverettWhen I was a teenager, I used to daydream about getting married and having a peach wedding. (Hello, early nineties!!) I wanted three kids – two girls, and a boy, and their names would be Rebecca, Rachel, and Ryan.

Over the years, the peach got ditched, and the names changed, but I keep thinking these days about how I’m living my dream.:) What I hoped for actually happened, and my dreams came true.

That doesn’t always happen. I’ve had to experience some really hard things, too. Because of that, I think its even more important to celebrate the good stuff!

I’m curious – how many of you are doing what you used to dream of? Traveling, doing your dream job, living the life you always wanted? What’s making you feel extremely blessed today?

When Dreams Are Marinating

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments and thoughts on dreams this week. It seems there are two main thoughts which keep surfacing: 1) It can be difficult to determine which dreams come from God, and which ones are our own, and 2) It can be difficult to wait on God to see those dreams fulfilled.

On Wednesday, I shared a few thoughts on clarifying which dreams come from God, and today, I want to talk about the dreams that require some waiting and patience!

Reading Heather‘s book, Dream Big, has gotten me thinking a lot about the balance between actively pursuing our dreams, and staying still while prayerfully waiting for the time of completion.

Over the last few years, I’ve gone through a number of experiences which felt as though God was teaching me about the art of waiting – to stop planning, and stop pursuing, and just learning to abide in Him.

This does not come naturally for me. I am a planner, and I like to be in control of my schedule and my life. Learning to let go of “The Plan” was difficult for me, and is something I wrote about in a blog series called, “Chucking the Five Year Plan” (Part 1, 2, 3, 4)

It has been an interesting challenge for me to process Heather’s thoughts and suggestions for having a one year, and five year plan, and being intentional about pursuing dreams. As I read her book, and worked through her exercises for coming up with a plan, I realized how much I’ve allowed myself to swing to the “No Plan” side of things, as I’ve tried to leave room for God to take the lead. I admire Heather’s wisdom in allowing God to do things in His time, while actively and intentionally preparing yourself to be ready for the time when He starts to move in more noticeable ways.

She writes,

When God plants His dreams in us, we often have to wait to see them fulfilled. However, this doesn’t mean we sit around watching TV, checking Facebook, and waiting for our big dreams to come knocking. There are little opportunities every day…that God uses to prepare us for our big dreams. If only we weren’t so easily distracted.

I know how tempting it can be to try to force our dreams to happen. I know how it feels to believe in something so much, to be so sure it is from God, and to be completely confused as to His timing and what He is doing to bring it about.

Sometimes, seeing ourselves in a time of preparation is a very difficult thing. Waiting for seemingly endless amounts of time can be very hard. I have not always faced my times of waiting, the seasons of “marinating” in my life, with as much grace and patience as I wish I had.

The most difficult season of waiting I have ever experienced was before Kaylia was born.

I had two amazing experiences when I felt as though God was clearly telling me we would someday have a baby girl. In the moment, those times were powerful, but by the next morning, doubts would always set in, and it was hard to believe God had really spoken to me.

There were times when the waiting was almost unbearable, and I didn’t know how to be faithful in the waiting. I was so blinded by my desire for a baby, I couldn’t see the opportunities for growth or preparation in that time.

We were asked a number of times during those years why we didn’t just adopt a baby. Part of me wanted to pursue adoption, but part of me was held back in a way I couldn’t understand or explain.

I remember one weekend in particular, when my thoughts and feelings reached a climax. I was tired of waiting for God, and I was tired of the longing and unhappiness in my life. Would it be so wrong for us to take the situation into our own hands, and just go adopt a baby? (That makes adoption sound easy, but I realize it’s not! It just seemed much more possible than pregnancy at that point.)

The weekend of this emotional climax happened to be Family Camp at Red Rock Bible Camp, and I attended a chapel session one evening. The speaker was talking about the Bible story of Abraham and Sarah, and as he was speaking, I got caught up in the story, reading farther along. I read about how God promised them a baby, and then nothing happened – for years, and years, and years….

Because they are Bible characters, it is easy to assume they handled this well, but they really didn’t. Sarah decided to take things into her own hands, and made Abraham sleep with her maid so they could finally get that promised baby.

But it wasn’t the promised baby.

It was the maid’s baby, and as that child grew up, he caused a lot of grief for everyone involved. It was unnecessary, avoidable grief, because it was wrong for the whole situation to ever have happened. If Abraham and Sarah would just have waited with faith and trust, Isaac would eventually have come along.

As I sat there in that chapel, it suddenly struck me how tempted I was  to be a little like Sarah. I really wanted to adopt a baby, not because Ben and I felt called to adoption at that point, but because I wanted to be in control. I was tired of waiting on God, and since adoption is not a sinful thing to do, surely it would be okay to pursue.

Except that deep down in my heart, I knew God was saying “no”. We weren’t meant to adopt our “promised” baby. I still felt God had spoken to me years before, and His words had been, “Wait on me.” But in my times of doubt, it was hard to keep believing, and extremely tempting to start thinking like Sarah.

And so we waited. I have no idea what would have happened if we hadn’t, but I am so thankful and happy and blessed because of the life we have now.


So how do you know? How do you know when it’s time to take action, and when it’s time to just sit tight, because God is up to something whether we know what it is or not?

When do we “marinate” in all that confusion and waiting, longing for these dreams we have deep in our hearts?

I am still working on the answer to those questions, because I think it’s different in each situation, but I’m starting to realize that the answer might be in the “how”.

How am I taking action?

Are my actions pure? (Sleeping with the maid…not so much!)

Do I feel peaceful about my steps forward, or am I just getting a “no” from God?

Is there a deeper reason why I might be held back from taking action?

I felt frustration whenever I was held back from actively pursuing my dreams, but looking back, I can see growth and purpose during those times of “marinating”. Sometimes we need an extended period of time to just sit, soaking it all in, learning to live in the tension.

Reading Heather’s book has enabled me to better define what I choose to do during a season of “dream marination”. 🙂

Sometimes, the pain and struggle of living in the tension IS the preparation. I don’t think I could have handled a five year plan in that season of my life.

But I’ve moved into a different season, and I can see how the dreams I have now could benefit from an intentional plan of preparation.

Just as I couldn’t force God’s timing when it came to having a baby, I cannot force God in His timing for my new dreams.

I’m starting to see the peace that can be there for us in the season of marinating.

I believe that allowing God to control the timing of our dreams is just as important as allowing Him to determine what those dreams are in the first place.


Okay, everybody, last chance to comment, and have a chance to win Heather’s new book!

My question for today is this: How’s the marinating going? Are you able to “actively wait”, with intention, peace, and purpose, or do you struggle with impatience?

Who’s Dream is This, Anyway?

This week, we’re talking about dreams. Join in the discussion and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Heather Boersma’s book, Dream Big.


There was an incredible sunset at camp one evening, and I sat down there by the lake for a few hours, talking with a friend about dreams and love and God’s will.

He was trying to process a break-up, and nothing made sense to him, because he had been so sure this girl was “the one”. We sat there watching the sun go down, and it was such a contrast to me – the incredible signs of God in nature, on display for all to see, and this man’s confusion, pain, and doubt regarding God’s leading in his life.

At one point, he said, “She is the desire of my heart. I know the Bible says that God will give me my heart’s desire!”

It seems to me that this is one of the most common break-down points for a lot of Christians when it comes to dreams and desires of the heart.  “I desire this person, this thing, this goal, and so therefore, as I ask God for it, He will honor my request.”

Like a Sears catalogue, perhaps?

I read once that what the verse REALLY means is this: “Ask God to put HIS desires into your heart, and as you learn to want the same thing He wants for you, you will be able to see all things as a blessing.”

That’s great.


I would LOVE to have God’s desires in my heart. But sometimes I don’t even know which desires are mine, and which are His.

And for some reason, I usually seem to think the best course of action would be to analyze, stress about it, and agonize over it, when really, wouldn’t it make sense just to …ask Him?

“Father, which of these desires are mine, and which ones are yours? Purify my heart, lead me, guide me, give me your wisdom, show me the way I should go. Remove any desires that are not of You.”

He can do that. It is almost like magic, except better.


There was a time when I was ready to leave camp, and Ben was not. I was going through a rough time in my life, and was nearing burn-out, for various reasons. I convinced myself that all areas of frustration and unhappiness would get better, if we would leave camp. I still loved camp, but I decided the challenges of being there were too much for me to bear.

Ben said even though he didn’t want to,  we could leave camp, if I really felt I couldn’t make it work any longer. We could move closer to the city so that all of my appointments, and all the trips in for health reasons would stop wearing me out.

But he really felt that God was not done with us at camp yet.

We discussed the situation back and forth for a long time.

I kept praying (and praying and praying!) that God would put His desires in my heart. Because I wanted my own way so badly, I was very scared I wouldn’t be able to hear God speaking to me.

But one night, Ben and I sat down to talk, and of course, the topic of “When Should We Leave Camp?” came up yet again. And for some reason, that night, as Ben was sharing what was on his heart, I felt my own heart change.

It was so strong, it was almost a physical feeling – everything inside just kinda “flipped”, and I knew, in that one instant, I was ready to stay. It was not time for us to go yet.

I went to bed, completely expecting to experience some kind of emotional struggle with that one for a bit yet, but I woke up the next morning with absolute peace in my heart. My desire to leave had been removed, completely…just like that.

When we did end up leaving, it was with the feeling of release and completion. I will always, always be thankful that we stayed until “the end” – not my end, but God’s end.


I know, I know, I KNOW that God can remove the desires that are not from Him. But for some reason, I still forget to regularly ask Him to do so.

I want my dreams to be clearly labelled and organized, I guess. I want to know which are His, and which are mine. I’d like to know which ones are for now, and which are for later, once these girlies of mine have grown up a bit. (Or I’ve grown up a bit!)

But in my head, I know these answers don’t usually come quickly or conveniently.

So how do you know if your dream is from God? I think you just wrestle through it until it shines with the obvious touch of God.

Sometimes, that is a long time coming.

Often, I slip into thinking of spiritual wrestling as a bad thing. And true, there are times when it is unnecessary. Sometimes more faith in God could eliminate the wrestle. But I think of Jacob wrestling with the angel in the Bible, begging for his blessing. And God touches him.

Oh, that God would touch me! Who cares about the confusion and doubt I felt? Who cares what my future holds? Those moments, when I’m truly, completely connected with God, that is all that matters. I have no worries that He will do what is right and best. Just that He would touch my life and do with me what He will.

I think the worries of this world need to be wrestled down until Jesus is all we care about, all we see. I think we need to ask Him to purify our hearts, our dreams, and our desires far more often than we do. I think we need to ask Him to completely remove the heart’s desires that don’t come from Him, and replace them with His desires.

And when clarity doesn’t come right away, we wait.

Has He ever not shown up? If not, it means your answer is still coming….


Have you ever experienced God removing a desire from your heart that was not from Him?

Giving Your Dreams the Freedom to Change

I used to be a pianist. I used to know the feeling of those keys better than almost anything else my hands touched.

Music was my life, for a while. I taught it, played it, loved it, and tried to get it into my brain and my heart in every way that I could.

My dream was to have a framed diploma hanging over my piano, announcing to the world (or at least anyone who came into my house) that I had achieved my goal – that I had accomplished my dream.

But two months before the hopeful fulfillment of that dream, everything fell apart. The muscles in my arms could take the constant tension and pressure no more, and in the span of two weeks, I lost it all.

I haven’t played since. Five years of learning to live without music.

I tried everything I could to recover. Physiotherapy, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, relaxation clinics…Any suggestions anyone had, I tried it.

Finally, I flew to Toronto to visit the Musicians Clinic. And there I was told, “You’re pushing too hard. You need to let go.”

And I said, “I can’t.”

The doctor said, “What would be so bad about allowing your dream to change?”

And I said, “I can’t.”

I went home, and with nothing else I could do, I tried to ignore it. A gaping hole in my life, and I pretended it wasn’t there.

But at random moments, it would make it’s presence known. Piano music would bring sudden, unexpected tears. My fingers would still move along to a tune, playing imaginary keys.

Music will always be a part of me. I still dream of being able to play again. But I also dream of new things now – things that fill my heart and ignite my soul even more than teaching piano ever did.

I don’t believe that God gave me tendinitis, but I do believe that He redeemed the situation. He made room for something new, when I didn’t have the courage to do that myself.

I will keep on dreaming, but I hope to always leave room for a change in plans – because God’s dreams for me are always a lot better than my own!

Killing Excuses

I found an amazing blog this weekend – all about social media, which I’m apparently getting more and more interested in. Who knew?! I could hardly get myself to stop reading it. And yet it was so motivating that I really wanted to get to work and start implementing what I was reading right away! I was so torn, I hardly knew which to do first!

The big question that grabbed my attention and won’t let go is this: “How are you killing one of your excuses today?”

I’m chewing on that one, because just the other day, I was talking with a friend about dreams and what holds us back. We shared the things we long to do, and talked about how confusing life can get. Sometimes we don’t even know what is holding us back, or why a dream is not coming to life.

I’ve often asked myself what is keeping me from doing the things that I dream about. I still haven’t figured out if it’s fear that I’m just labeling as “waiting for God’s timing”, or if it actually just isn’t the time – I’m in a time of preparation. Even if this is actually a time of preparation, there is still a good measure of fear thrown in there, and I realized that I’m getting tired of that.

I’m not pursuing my dreams, because if I start trying to pursue them, and it doesn’t work out, I will fail. It’s safe just to sit here dreaming and leaving it for in the future. I am safe from failure as long as I stay right where I am, and just keep dreaming (…procrastinating?)

But what am I doing today to kill my excuses?

I’m going to start taking action. I’m going to pray like crazy about each step I take, and if it’s not of God, I trust that He’ll stop me. But I’m going to step out in faith, because that’s the only way that my dreams are going to become reality. I am guaranteeing that nothing can or will happen, as long as I keep coming up with excuses not to do anything.

Do you ever make excuses for why you’re not pursuing a dream?

Been Thinking About Creating

Ben’s sisters are both off on wild, exciting adventures. They’re off to Europe and to the unknown.

I know that we’ll miss them, but I’m excited for them, and in a deep, dark corner inside me, I’m envious. I feel that way because they are going off to fulfill their dreams, and I often wonder what it will take to fulfill my own dreams.

I feel like I can’t quite figure out if I’m waiting for God’s timing, and for things to become “ripe”, or if I’m holding back because of fear, and all I need to do is start actively pursuing those dreams, there for the taking.

I’ve written about it on this blog before – my dream to speak and write and be the next Beth Moore and change the world. Sometimes I feel a little panicky because I feel like I’ll run out of time for all that and I should definitely be farther along in my pursuit.

Other times I feel like I’m still marinating, and like God has so much left to teach me as I stay at home with my girls, creating order in the midst of chaos, loving and supporting my husband in any way I can. There will be time for all those other things.

And in the meantime, I write.

It’s funny, because there have been times when I’ve questioned my decision to start a blog. I love doing it, but it can be really time-consuming. But I realize over and over again that I need to write. I need to communicate with people. So even during times when it feels like I don’t have time to blog, or have time to write, it’s what I need to do.

Sometimes it feels vain – like I consider all of my thoughts so important that they must be shared with the world. But sometimes it just feels like it is there inside me, and it needs to get out.

While I was having these thoughts, I came across this quote on a great new blog I found:

When you have a calling, when you have a gift from God, this is what I’ve learned about it.  Whether you do something with that gift from God or not, you carry the stamp of your gift, the weight of your calling, no matter how many years pass, no matter how many dreams you tuck away in the belief that you must have missed it.

You never stop wanting it, you never stop being it. It’s what you always loved to do and, yes, you do it every day without a single penny from anyone.  Even if no one acknowledges it.

You know in your heart of hearts that you can’t stop being this, doing this, anymore than you can stop breathing. (Emerging Mummy)

I love that. It’s like it legitimizes my need to write – not only legitimizes it, but…encourages it!

All our lives we all need to create because creativity is the life breath of our Creator Father and if we don’t create we breathe stale air and we wither dry. (A Holy Experience)

I blog to create! I used to paint pictures. Then I got a job, got married, had a baby. I didn’t have time to paint anymore, so I started scrapbooking. I had another baby. Even less time, so now I blog. The ways in which I create have changed over the years. Who knows what will come next.

What about you? Are you creating something? If not, you’d better start, cause who wants stale air?!