Live, Dream, Plan, Expect!

We all go through life imagining what the perfect life would look like don’t we?  We see others with more money…less stuff…more stuff…different jobs and no matter what, we wonder, “Would my life be better if I had what they have?”  I think if I just did this or that…all my problems would go away.

I remember one time before Jim and I got married we took three of our four kids on a weekend away at Cumberland Lake.  We had high expectations of the perfect weekend allowing our three kids still at home to get to know each other.  We had the perfect blended family in mind.   We had planned the weekend with fun things we knew the kids would enjoy doing.  When we got there, we unpacked the car and headed out for a day of adventure.  The first stop was one of those restaurants where you drive up and park.  Someone on roller skates came out to take our order and then skated back with our food some time later.   It was something different since we didn’t have one of these places back home and they had a nice assortment of food that the kids would enjoy.  It was the perfect stop for some famished kids.

My daughter and her friend were in the back with Jim’s two kids in the bucket seats in the middle of the van and Jim and I up front.  As the food was delivered, we all excitedly passed the goods around the van with the anticipation of the first “fun” we would have that weekend.  Most of us had taken a bite or two when one of the kids in the middle seat started choking.  He had bitten off a piece of his cheesestick and the cheese was stringing down the back of his throat not allowing him to move it up or down!  Jim turned around and held out his hand just in enough time to catch the flying, chewed up piece of cheese.  We all just sat there looking at our food.  One by one, each person put their food back into their bags and filed out of the van to the trash.   No one looked at each other but just returned to their seats, solemnly staring forward waiting for our next great idea.  Not wanting the day to start on a sour note, I cheerfully turned and asked, “Who wants to go bowling?”

By the time the weekend was over and we had all gotten to know each other a little better, we could laugh at our first experience as a “family”.  However, what we had expected for the weekend and what we got were two different things.  I can’t say it was bad because we didn’t get to enjoy our meal…it was just different.

Have you ever made the perfect plan with high expectations?  Perhaps it was a vacation, a new relationship or even a new home?  We live, we dream, we plan, we expect.  How does your relationship with God enter into your life, dreams, plans and expectations?  As children of the King, we should be living big, dreaming big, prayerfully planning big and expecting God to be in every little detail.  However, when we leave Him out of our lives, dreams, plans and expectations, things often fall apart.  Perhaps they might even go as planned but just aren’t as big a blessing as we expected them to be simply because we forgot to include God.

The truth is, we serve the CREATOR of the universe.  If we ask Him to come into our lives and fill our dreams with His plans for us, we should be expecting great things.  I see so many ask others to pray for them and the answer is, “Sure, I’ll pray for you,” in a monotone response.  Why aren’t we excited?  Why aren’t we expecting great things when we pray?  Is God a God you can’t count on?  Of course we pray for things and don’t always get the answer we asked for, but does that make God bad?

I so want to live a victorious life in Christ, don’t you?  I want to get excited about praying for God’s plan in my life and in others’.  I want to wake up every morning with a supernatural expectation that only God can give me.  I want to embrace the fact that the Creator of the Universe, Savior of the World wants me to join Him on HIS team and help HIM to reach others!  We serve an AWESOME GOD!  Why aren’t we excited and jumping up and down about it?

This week I travel to Northern Indiana for four speaking arrangements to share my personal testimony of how God came into my life and changed me.  My body and mind are weary from the last two weeks of saying goodbye to my brother in two memorial services, grieving over the void it leaves in my life, not much sleep for a while now and demands of things needing to be completed here before I go on the road again.  However, I have great expectations.  I know that my strength is not what gets me through; nor is it what is effective in leading others to Christ.  I depend on God who is my strength when I am weak and even when I am strong.  I know that if He is first, He will bless my travels and words despite my physical circumstances.  I’m expecting GREAT things!

What is God asking you to plan today for Him?  Has He invited you to serve Him in some way and you have not yet said yes?  What are you waiting for?  Life gets busy, we get tired, but it’s not about us.  It’s about Him.  Trust me.  Your results may not look anything like what you planned or dreamed but with God in the center of it all, you can expect the unexpected!   So go big!  Live life to its fullest, dream like you can’t lose, prayerfully plan with God in the center of it all and get EXCITED that you serve a God that exceeds any expectations you may have!  The key is to not stop.  Keep moving, praying, serving and expecting!  See you next week!

2Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” … Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ephesians 3:20  Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.


Dreaming Big Doesn’t Hurt, But Not Dreaming Might…What’s Your Dream?

As we are nearing the end of one year and heading towards the beginning of a new one, many will find themselves taking the time to reflect on this past year.  Have we followed our passions and dreams or did we allow life to get in the way and crowd them out?  Do we still even have the fire and passion to pursue some of those dreams we once had in our younger years?  Perhaps you feel that you have no choice right now other than to just survive and stay above water; let alone be able to pursue a dream right now.

One of the courses I took in college was designed to help us find our passion and/or purpose in life.  I found the process fascinating and when I finished the course over 5 years ago, I was inspired once again to write a book.  As most of you know, I have always wanted to write and be an inspirational speaker, but it just seemed that every time I tried, nothing happened.  That all changed last fall when I began writing my first book, Just Trying to Be a BlessingAll of a sudden the stories and lessons I had learned in my life just started to flow onto the pages and before I knew it, I had a book! I was almost thinking I would never get it done and it’s hard to believe it is really happening.  Have you had an ongoing dream like me that seemed like it was never going to become reality?

Knowing my book will soon be here, I was recently asking people on Linked-In what worked best for them when it came to promoting their writings.  One man told me I should get a copy of a book from John Maxwell called Putting your Dreams to the Test.  In that book, John talks about some who are only dreamers while others actually do what it takes to make their dreams reality.  That made me stop and think about how committed I am at this point to make my dreams reality.  I no longer want to talk about them; I want to be living them.  I love the fact that the book is almost out and I have begun on book #2.  I’m even more excited that I am also finally getting the opportunity to share as a speaker!  It’s only been a 25 year old dream that is finally becoming a reality now!

God says in His Word, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” in Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV).  He made each one of us with purpose and with passion.  Have you ever met one of those people who from the minute they could talk, knew what their purpose in life was and followed it out from that point every breathing moment of their life?  I stand back and am amazed each time I encounter one of those people. As a person with A.D.D., God knew He couldn’t give me one purpose that long ago and expect me to stick to it throughout my entire lifetime.  First of all, if he gave me this purpose at a young age, by the time I got to 50 years old and He was ready to make this new thing happen, I would have never remembered what it was I was supposed to be doing!   Secondly, He has to mix it up for those of us with A.D.D. or we get bored!

I think our purpose and passion sometimes changes according to the season of life we are in at any given time.  There was a time when raising my children felt like my main purpose and passion.  Now that they are raised, God seems to have given me new direction as well as He is continuing to fan the flames on some older dreams that I just haven’t gotten around to yet.    Unlike the childhood prodigies that follow their life’s purpose beginning just after their first step, most of us probably fit more into this category of various changes throughout their lifetime.  Some might refer to them as our seasons of life.

One of the people in history that I really admire is Abe Lincoln.  Abe was an entrepreneur like me and he seemingly never gave up despite tremendous adversity that he faced year after year.  Jim laughs at me when I get another idea as he knows it will take me down a path for a while where sometimes I win and other times I will lose.  To be honest, I have more losses than wins with my life’s endeavors.  When I do feel like I’ve lost another one, I once again think about Abe and am reminded that great people didn’t do great things without a whole lot of struggle through the not so great tries along the way.

My life’s purpose seems to be doable—what about yours?  God hasn’t asked us to die on a cross and carry everyone’s burdens.  Nor has He put us on the earth without the Power of the Holy Spirit to get us through that which He has asked us to do.  All He has asked is that we find our purpose, follow our passion and let Him do the rest.  Do you have a dream?  Is there something you dreamed about doing many years ago and gave up on it thinking it would ever happen?  Spend time in prayer and ask God to show you the purpose He has for you this upcoming season.  We have a new beginning on January 1, 2012.  What are we going to do to make our dreams become reality?  The fact is dreams will only be dreams if we let them.  Dreams becoming reality require purpose, planning, passion and the tenacity to follow through even when we fail the first time…and maybe the fifth time…and the eleventh time…you get the point.

Thank goodness Jesus never gave up.  I am also very grateful Abe Lincoln didn’t give up either.  Next December, I want to be saying, “Thank goodness you and I didn’t give up.  Look at what God has done in 2012 through us!”  Keep in touch and let me know what dream/dreams you are pursuing for 2012 and keep me posted on how God is bringing you through!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:21 (NKJV)

I have to make a plug since it is somewhat related to this topic.  Please bear with me and keep reading!  Not related to my book, God is also opening doors for speaking engagements so that I can tell other women about my relationship with Christ and share my personal testimony as a speaker with Stonecroft Ministries.  If you are local and would like to hear me speak, I will be in Cincinnati on Jan 19, Middletown on Feb 6 and North Dayton on Feb 7.  I would love to include you in the audience one of those days.  Email me with your contact information and I will make sure you get an invitation from the coordinators of the events.  Sorry guys, these groups are for women only.  Feel free to invite me to your church groups though if you’d like!  I love to share God’s goodness whenever I can!