love and good works

I’m searching hard to remember every last aspect of a dream I had the other night. It seems a little odd to me, because it’s never been something I’ve felt I needed to do. All that capturing in detail what happens while my eyelids are closed.

To dream or not to dream. Yeah…it’s never been a question.

When I left Declare Conf last year I made myself a promise on the drive home. A promise that I’d stop being fearful of the dreams and desires God puts upon my heart. Even the ones that call me out of my comfort zone. The ones I didn’t totally understand because they seemed so out of character and just plain out of left field. The ones that seemed to be risky…like quitting a job to conquer motherhood in a new way, working alongside my husband for our self-owned business…and this stuff. This stuff He spoke upon my heart last year.

My vision has never been this clear. Ever. There’s a newness about life that’s fresh and clean on the outside. I wore that skin for so long, refusing to shed it out of fear. But once it came off it left behind someone much more confident. Someone determined to use this life for more. Someone determined to let His Spirit work…

But that dream. That dream of sitting in my grandparent’s old house and chatting it up with two others that I’d only met once before – about the devastation on the other side of the world. The starvation. The slums. The girls. The daughters who are sold into slavery at such a young age.

I have daughters. Three.

My stomach flips, wrenches and twists. Tries to rid itself of what’s in there if I let my mind entertain the thoughts.

Minds do that. They squeeze every drop of detail so that the scene unfolds behind the eyes of someone who hasn’t necessarily seen it, but has enough sense to draw the pictures in such a way that it scares us dead in our tracks.

What if…they were mine? Ours. Yours. Them that we all know and love.

And I sit reflecting on the exasperation…my exasperation. The burner that went out on my stove or that strange noise my dryer seems to be making.

I sip the abundance of water in my cup while I straighten the cool sheet gathered at my ankles. The ceiling fan hums every so softly, casting a breeze down on my shoulders.

And I’m comfortable. And I wonder when I’ll start complaining that the gentle breeze is just too much and reach for a blanket to stave off the chill.

So I close my eyes and come to terms with the dream again, clenching them shut real tight so I can see all the details again and wonder what it means.

Coincidence? Premonition? Does God still speak in dreams? Ever?

And then I recall Ann’s blog post on Preemptive Love. I cried, no sobbed tears over every word. And I followed all the links reading all the stories and as I let the realness of Mohammad’s heart condition sink into my bones like a heavy weight we so often don’t have the time or want or desire to carry, I remember he’s someone’s son.

I have a son. Only one.

War hates. War rips and devastates and we think once it’s done and the last shot is fired that life will go on.

…and it does. With consequences that gut us so deep that we can’t get ourselves out of the wake it leaves behind. Swimming and searching and shouting out to God as they swim and search and shout out to theirs.

It’s about “serving The Other,” she said. “The Other” someone who breathes like I breathe, loves like I love and kisses babies to sleep at night with the same affection I have in my heart. “The Other” doesn’t believe what I believe and, in some cases, hates me for that belief.

Jesus didn’t cut and run. He made it clear the world would hate us because it hates Him. Yet it didn’t stop John from penning some form of the word “love” nearly 60 times throughout the gospel of the same name.

And we get it wrong. We think it’s a feeling. One that speeds our pulse and sends the blood to our cheeks as we remember all those years early in life when animation taught us that hearts float from our chests and make our feet lighter than air. And we wonder when we read this commandment how on earth we’re supposed to feel that for the world…

Not this love.

That agape…that action. To go into the world and embrace it with open arms, bridging gaps that this shadow of fallen circumstance cuts away, as a tear to the skin by a barbed metal fence.

We’re the needle and thread, sewing that tear back together again. Spreading that Balm of Gilead over the tenderness of a wound long open to oppression.  

And suddenly I have my answer. That premonition, for it’s no longer a question. Not a coincidence. He can still speak through dreams and touch our epicenter through what we see and hear. We so often dismiss it as nothing…

But it’s something. It should mobilize us.

And that.

That mobilization…

That example we awaken as His hands and feet – to stir one another up in love and good works…

That is our purpose. That is who we are. That is what we’re created to be.


It’s been a week now since I’ve left the workforce that I’ve known for so long. I’m here to do everything I mentioned before. Be so much more available to my family, but also to carry out a calling that God placed upon my heart nearly a year ago. I don’t know what it looks like yet, but the dream reminded me. It frightened me a little, because it was so real. He used familiar memories mixed with those who are already throwing caution to the wind and wildly obeying a calling that sounds almost nuts to our comfortable American lifestyle.

I’m trying to just take it all in. And pray…between raw emotions, I pray. I know He hears me because it keeps stirring. There was rest for a time – time to get my head together and carry through with my promise.  And now I’m doing a different juggling act.

But I know this is the right thing and I’m carrying on with the plan. His plan. Not mine…


Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Holley Gerth and Coffee For Your Heart

Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday

Holly S. Barrett for Testimony Tuesday
Holly Barrett