Tag Archives: dream

A Closer Walk: I’ve Always Been A Dreamer

little dreamerI guess I’ve always been a dreamer.

As a little girl I dreamed of being a ballerina, a cowboy, the captain on a submarine… (Yes, I was a tomboy.)

But as I grew older my dreams changed.

I began to realize as I matured that a dream was something more intangible; something that would feed my soul and give wings to my spirit. I realized that a God-given-dream was more about a becoming; fufilling destined purpose; and less about having great achievements.

A question and a truth began to dawn, whispering that I was created to fulfill a niche—one custom-made for me alone.

I wish I could say the answer to this “niche question” found me right away, but actually, rather than a grand “Ah-Ha!” moment, for me it was a very slow sort of awakening. One that took many years—although I did have one small momentary breakthrough—when I was thirteen.

I had been given a creative writing assignment.

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My English teacher was using one of those canned courses where you are told exactly what to write and how. Much too tame and restrictive for me, I decided I would CREATE a story of my own; one that I made up.

(I thought I was being so independent and brave!)

The next day, expecting a good scolding, imagine my astonishment when my teacher announced to the class that she had one story she wanted to read out loud.

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She lifted my paper and my words poured out in life-affirming music.

When she was finished reading she simply said, “I think this student will someday be a writer.”

A Writer.

She thought I should be a Writer?

The idea had never entered my mind, but it was too late now, the dream-seed had been planted, and then it was buried for many dark and difficult years.

dreamer's doorIt wasn’t until my fifth decade that the lost and long forgotten little dream-seed began to push back the darkness and reach for The Light.

Again, it happened quite unexpectedly during another very ordinary day.

I was in the middle of a ten-year-wilderness-march, caring full-time for my mother. Our relationship had always been difficult; strained since my early childhood. Nevertheless, I was the one elected by uninamous family-ballot to be her full-time caregiver, a “job” I had promised myself I would never, ever, do.

When God first told me I was to leave the city I loved, all my friends I loved, and the job I loved, and return to the place I had said I would never return to?

I shouted at the Lord.

Yep, total transparency, remember?

I shouted that such a move would be, “… like being buried alive!” And, it was.

Such is the circuitous route of a God-given-dream and the unfathomable ways of The Dream-Maker, until one day like someone in a fairytale, my awakening came.

It literally began in the form of a wake-up call.

Our phone rang, and I heard my aunt’s voice, sobbing. She was re-reading some of my old letters that she had tucked away in her bible.

She was recounting to me what I had written to her—but I wasn’t listening.

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Instead, in one of those very surreal-kind-of-deja-vu-moments, I held my breath as that thirteen-year-old girl and her dream awoke.

Rubbing Rip-Van-Winkle-sleep from her eyes, she sat up, stretching arms to the sky. Eyes wide and blinking, she turned to look at me, and smiled…

And I in turn, looked up into the vast blue sky—into the face of a God—that I knew was smiling too.

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IT TAKES TIME

I know how difficult it is waiting for Me.

I know, too, how it tries the soul and twists the heart.

(I know.)

You think I AM uncaring; unconcerned to let you wait so long.

(You think I don’t know everything that goes on in that mind of yours?)

But ask yourself,

“Do you want visions and dreams picked too soon like unripe fruit?”

Would I be a loving and responsible parent if I gave you responsibilities you are not yet prepared for? You are focused on the one final product ~ the promise possessed; the vision a reality. I on the other hand, am focused on you. You are My primary concern and always will be. It is your becoming that holds My rapt attention… yes, what you are in the process of becoming.

I wish I could tell you that you could get what you want by a wave of the hand, or a twitch of the nose, but those are fairy stories. The dreams and visions I have for you are very real. Encourage yourself with this Truth: “One day…”

I tell you, the day is coming when all I have whispered into your spirit will come to pass. I AM not called: Promiser. I AM called: DELIVERER!

You are never out of My care, whether you are waiting from the backside of the desert, or a prison cell; whether you are one hundred years old like Abraham, or a small child like Samuel.

Your times are in My hands.

All is well.

It takes TIME to make a dream come true, but come they do

One day.

a closer walkOne day as Moses was tending the flock… suddenly the Angel of Jehovah appeared to him as a flame of fire in a bush.”

Exodus 3:1-2Exodus 3:1-2
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3 1 Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. 2 The angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

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Here?

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I live in the shadow of a mountain.

(A BIG one.)

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It’s an old volcano ~ semi-active. An ancient reminder that this place? Is a place where volcanic things happen.

My town? Is a very small town. Located in one of the poorest counties in California.

Our unemployment rate hovers around 25% all of the time.

(The percentage of hopelessness is much higher.)

This place? This is a place you want to be from, not a place you want to go to. Most folks just pass it by, while zooming down the interstate.

Most of our young who grow up here? Leave. They go off seeking opportunity somewhere else… because in truth? Why would anybody want to stay here; do anything here? Building on the crumbling ruins of what once was, and now—isn’t? Opportunities, miracles, hope? Highly unlikely you’ll find any here.

So, I have been waiting. Waiting to go. Waiting for another door to open… for a heavenly signpost to point somewhere… anywhere, else.

I wanted to be done with here.

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Does your dreamer’s heart keep secretly mumbling, “Not here God!”

Imagine my dismay when I heard God say to me,

“I will make all my mountains a way.”

A way? Here? (My heart sank.) Because yes, I was looking over there. To another place. A better place. A place that definitely wasn’t, HERE.

You see, wherever I look here? I do see only mountains. Mountains of deserted empty buildings. Mountains of obstacles and difficulty. Mountains of poverty and lack. Mountains of prejudice… mountains of sad events, with even sadder memories attached to them. I feel surrounded here by big black mountains—of impossible impossibilities.

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So God started sending me messages about mountains reminding me that we are in everything together.

That, wherever I am—He IS.

He keeps reminding me, my mountains, are His mountains. And today God said, “Yep! You got it exactly right,” then affirmed, “You are in the very place where miracles happen.”

“Here?” I said.

“…yep!” He answered.

(My heart sank further.)

This is not what I was hoping to hear. Perhaps it’s not what you want to hear either? Maybe that other “place” you are pining for? Is not God’s place for you either… even though, secretly? You keep hoping that it is.

So I wonder, “Is your place also an impossible place? Is God pointing you to an impossible task, right there, where you are? Are you the highly unlikely one, the no-way one, anyone-in-their-right-mind would choose one?” Is God asking you to accomplish an impossible dream? Does He keep whispering in your ear, “Nothing is impossible with Me?” [Luke 1:37Luke 1:37
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37 For everything spoken by God is possible.”

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(Yeah…me, too.)

So, I decided to remind God… (just in case He forgot) “LORD, this is “the place” my family compares to Lo Debar, remember?”

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For those of you who don’t know, Lo Debar was a small village in the Bible that was a horrible nowhere-place; a castaway-place; a place nobody wanted to be in—ever. Lo Debar means “no pasture” and as such, it is a place of no hope.

(Insert heavier sigh here.)

Okay, so then God reminded me of all those prayers I had prayed for (wait for it!) HERE. Yep. All those prayers that didn’t happen. All those prayers I gave up on… attempted to forget about. (Or, at least, I was trying to!)

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Don’t you just hate it when God reminds you of something you would prefer to forget, because that was then, and this is now?

But, I went to my Bible and read where He pointed me anyway…

God also says:

“When the time’s ripe, I answer you.
    When victory’s due, I help you.
I form you and use you
    to reconnect the people with me,
To put the land in order,
    to resettle families on the ruined properties.
I tell prisoners, ‘Come on out. You’re free!’
    and those huddled in fear, ‘It’s all right. It’s safe now.’
There’ll be food stands along all the roads,
    picnics on all the hills—
Nobody hungry, nobody thirsty,
    shade from the sun, shelter from the wind,
For the Compassionate One guides them,
    takes them to the best springs.

I’ll make all my mountains into roads,
    turn them into a superhighway…   Isaiah 49:11-12Isaiah 49:11-12
English: World English Bible - WEB

11 I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 12 Behold, these shall come from far; and, behold, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

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Impossible! (I’m thinking) Highly unlikely God. Surely, not HERE Father. Please! (another heavy sigh escapes from my heart)

Then I “stumbled” upon this…

Okay God, so is this the signpost we’ve all been praying for?

(God whispered…”yep.”)

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Surrendering A Dream For A God Sized More

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Oh, the agony and the ecstasy of surrendering a dream!

I’ve learned so much about dreams.

They don’t “just happen” for one thing. They are often years and years of long hours (Twelve years to be exact!) and many hours of very hard work.

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They are a gift from God, yes.

But…

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They must always be held loosely, ready to be surrendered if He asks us to.

And He does ask.

(Sometimes.)

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I’ve learned that not everyone will rejoice in your dream.

No.

Some will, but some will look on your dream with envy, and even hatred. People close. People you trusted. Seems unthinkable. I know. But it’s real. Sadly real.

They want your dream to fail and when it succeeds instead? Their bitter anger is quite a shock.

It’s part of the cost. (The agony part.) And you need to know it happens.

Though you will try hard to prevent it, you cannot control another’s heart-choices.

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People will marvel at what you’ve done; at what you and God have accomplished.

(You and God will know the real truth.)

It was mostly HIM!

You just got to go along for the wild ride.

You know His Truth, “…apart from Him, you can do nothing.”

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The compliments will be nice.

Life affirming!

You will get to know yourself in a new way you never could have, apart from your dream coming true that is.

A dream will test you. It will test your gifts, your strength, your love of God. (Oh, yes!) That, too.

There will be tears.

Dreams have MUCH joy. But also (at times) much sorrow.

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You may discover (like me) that this dream everyone believes “fits you so perfectly” doesn’t really “fit you” the way you thought it might—once hoped it would.

No, not at all.

Someday, someone might challenge you to, “Ask for more.”

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And in your heart of hearts? You know there is much MORE God has for you. He has created you for His plan and for His purpose, for His Kingdom.

People will think you’re crazy! Say you’re crazy. (And you will think you’re a little bit crazy, too, sometimes.)

To surrender so much? To just walk away? To lay all these lesser things, these lesser dreams, down?

It will hurt.

But His Voice that is calling to you on the inside where only you can hear is saying,

“There is more… trust Me.”

And so you walk away.

You refuse to fight, quarreling in some sleazy courtroom over nickels and dimes.

Many will say, “You are wrong. Totally crazy! Get an attorney! Fight for what is legally yours! Right is right, after all. Demand your rights!”

But, here’s the thing.

First, the word of God says quite clearly, one believer is not to take another believer to court. [1 Cor. 6:11 Cor. 6:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?

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] That’s a BIG problem if you’re trying to live out what you say you believe.

Second, I knew in my heart. I was longing for something more than this “little dream” could provide. I had been feeling that something was missing. A big something.

I was longing for more than mere money. I wanted purpose. Eternal purpose. Intangibles, with eternal significance.

So, my choice seemed clear to me.

I released my smaller dream believing for God’s MORE.

I let The Takers in my life, TAKE.

Without a war.

It wasn’t easy! It certainly wasn’t painless! You may be so Christ-like you could walk away from your half of a six-figure business, but me? I struggled BIG time, for a LONG-time!

But again, if we really believe what we read in our Bibles, then I knew there would be far-reaching eternal consequences to everyone’s choices.

I will come face-to-face with Jesus someday and answer for mine alone.

I will leave others to answer for theirs.

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So I made mine. I laid down this dream-come-true.

(Sigh.)

ONCE UPON A TIME… I had a little book shop.

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The loveliest little shop.

The sweetest, dreamiest, little shop.

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(Everyone said so.)

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But I laid it all down.

I gave up ALL those heavy weights for A God-Sized-MORE.

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“Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said:  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.  And whoever does not carry their cross and FOLLOW ME cannot be my disciple… In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”         Luke 14:25-27, 33-35Luke 14:25-27, 33-35
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25 Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple. 27 Whoever doesn’t bear his own cross, and come after me, can’t be my disciple. 33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple. 34 Salt is good, but if the salt becomes flat and tasteless, with what do you season it? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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NIV

Thank you Abba for teaching me againNOTHING this world has to give matters more, satisfies me more… than Your smile.

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It was my great honor to serve you Siskiyou County. Thank you for your support and patronage, your friendship, and most of all, your love!

God bless you all, Martha “Molly” woundresser.com

A Caterpillar’s Lament

woolybear

A little worm
All drab and brown
Is all I’ll ever be.
But oh,
The dreams inside of me
That no one else can see.

Though every day
My life is spent
Down in the mud below.
I long with all my heart and soul
Up to the clouds to go.

To rise above
On wings of love
Where all is beauty bright.
To flit and fly,
To sail the sky,
To climb to rainbow’s height!

But here I dwell
In Self’s dark cell
A weakling frail and small.
Dear God above
The source of Love
Please hear me when I call.

With colors gay
Begin today
To make me something new.
Let me sing
On gossamer wings
To dreamers – not a few.

A song to show
That all things low
Can miracles believe;
If they will shed
All fear and dread
And new dreams now receive!

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Picture It: I’m Living My Dream!

redmond 1Picture it. I am living in my dream-city just a hop, skip, and a jump from Seattle, Washington. A city cut right out of the forest. Everything, everwhere, is GREEN. Tall lush evergreens cover most of the landscape with flowering shrubs, wild ferns, and thick lush mosses, carpeting forest floors. No wonder they call it the Emerald City.

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Redmond Valley

Rain? Who cares. I am living in the Garden of Eden, in my dream-condo perched atop a hill overlooking the serene and picturesque Redmond Valley.

My views look down over Lake Washington with it’s myriad of sailboats, and beyond that, Seattle’s high rise’s with it’s landmark Space Needle. Towering behind that, the wall of snow draped mountains rightly called, the Olympics.

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Every Saturday bright and colorful hot air balloons take off and land in the field across the road from where I live. I can hear the laughter of people walking or bicycling up and down the paths that run by my condo, to far down the valley floor, beyond my view. My small village is perfect in size; not too big, not too small, stores clean and tidy, accommodating all of one’s simple needs. Seattle’s big city lights twinkle just beyond, offering symphony, ballet, theater, and a rich night-life.

Yes, I am in heaven!

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Add to all of this… I am working my dream-job at a large Eastside church. It’s challenging work with people I love and greatly respect. Friends abound, and though I am not doing the “exact” work I had always hoped to do, still it is interesting, with loads of future possibilities. Not completely perfect… but I have a plan.

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I am single, in my mid-thirties, but content and growing in my relationship with Christ. Yet I am about to discover I still have a great deal to learn about this “Follow Me.” discipleship thing.

I am about to learn that God’s plan and my plan are on a direct collision course.

So I guess it’s not surprising when I tell you that one lovely spring day, God barged His way in on my beautiful plan and whispered, “It’s time to go…”
“Wait a minute!” I almost shouted it, “I’m living my dream Lord. Go?”

My immediate reaction was not the “willing and obedient” Isaiah teaches us. On the contrary, my first thoughts are, “No way. I can’t be hearing this right…”

The life I had, the life I was living here and now, was the answer to all of my prayers.

“…oh no, no! This can’t be right.”
God couldn’t possibly want me to give all of this up.

So I stalled. I argued my case. I presented all my grand reasons for staying right where I was.

God’s “whispers” got louder, and I kept stalling until one day, He finally took me by the scruff of my neck (maybe not literally but it felt that way) and made it absolutely, no-doubt-about-it, crystal-clear that if I stayed I would do so on my own terms without any of His blessings to count on.

I also understood that God was all DONE asking.

I will never forget His exact words to me, “Today you will decide.”

You have to have experienced that kind of ultimatum to understand how deadly serious those moments of decision actually are.

They are crossroad decisions with choices that will frame the rest of your life… and deep in your heart – you know it.

I can still see myself standing in that “impromptu” chapel service, tears pouring down my face choking back the sobs, as I finally let go of my dreams and surrendered to the LORD. It wasn’t a golden moment filled with all the shining light from heaven. (At least not from my perspective.)

I knew where I was headed. The place I dreaded. The place I had promised myself I would never go back to.

A very BROWN place; often drought-stricken, with scorching heat and choking smog. Jonah sitting under his weed wishing everyone in Ninevah would croak had an understanding and sympathetic friend in me!

When God whispered, “We are going into the wilderness…” I wholeheartedly agreed. Not a doubt in my mind. I often thought of the Sinai when remembering that valley!

Well, I obeyed. I returned to my Ninevah just as Jonah did with broken heart and dragging feet. I was about to begin my tenure as my mother’s live-in/full-time and only caregiver.

I told myself this new assignment would last three months, maybe six at the most. Surely no longer than that. Then I would head straight back to all I had just left behind.

Okay,” I whispered. “I CAN do this.”

God would undoubtedly let me return when this temporary job was finished. After all, hadn’t I given up everything that I wanted to obey Him and come back to this wretched place? Surely God would see all my great and suffering-sacrifice, and make this an easy trip through the desert.

I had a lot to learn about God… and myself.

My “short trip” through the wilderness was to last ten long and difficult years. My captivity was going to teach me lessons that, had I known back in the beginning when I agreed to go? Had I known where this wilderness-journey would take me? The changes and “education” God had in mind? I would have voted for less “blessing” and stayed in the land of the green!

And God and I both knew it.

But, here’s the thing.

I would have missed out on the dream God had planned for me. I would have rejected any chance for receiving answers to long-forgotten sleeping prayers. Dream-prayers I hadn’t considered for decades. Dream-prayers I had misplaced

If I had stayed in Seattle, I would have chosen a “settle-for” life rather than the ABUNDANTLY MORE God was longing to give me.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

We need to go back to our desert vineyard.

A lot of things died there in that wilderness. Lesser dreams. Shallow hopes. Illusions about others. Contradictions and self-determination. Even well-meant “Christian” certainties. All were to be surrendered to that vineyard cemetary.

What was left was confusion, disillusionment, lots of anger, and daily battles with bitterness.

You see, Habakkuk’s Vineyard is a place where you believe it’s all over… dreams. possibilitieseverything. All over. Dead and buried.

It’s a soul-place. An inner place. A grief-stricken place. Where endings are all you see. It’s a place where all of God’s promises seem contradicted. Where you wonder why you ever followed God. Why didn’t you just say, “no.”

The enemy torments you daily with the reality of how everything has turned out. With accusations of “What a fool you are!” and of course, daily slander against the God you trusted and obeyed in the first place.

You’re left in the aftermath asking, “How is this life better than the one I wanted? How is all this mess and chaos a “blessing” from God?”

In Habakkuk’s Vineyard all the things in your life that can be shaken, will be shaken, so that that which cannot be shaken might remain. [Hebrews 12:27Hebrews 12:27
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27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain.

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But, the remains?

To be honest with you I viewed “my remains” with contempt.

I wandered through the ruins of this vineyard thinking, “…so this is the reward for obedience.”

Endless questions tumbled around in my brain. “Why was I here? Why would God bring me to a place like this? What had I done? How was this place the blessing?”

I plainly believed, “I have been ripped off!”

Max Lucado once said, “When we’re out of options – that’s when were most ready for God’s surprises.”

Even in Habakkuk’s Vineyard?

Yep, but hang on.

I’m getting ahead of myself again.

The Dreamer

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Dear Child of Mine ~ I see you there,
All burdened down with weight and care.
I see your tears as you clutch it so,
Your precious dream that died… (I know.)

I understand the hopes you held,
The longing wish that all would meld.
I know it seems “too late” to dream,
As though this pain were some sad scheme…

To break your heart; to see you cry.
To crush your hopes; to watch them die…
But don’t forget from Mary’s womb;
The miracle… the empty tomb!

From empty shells of seeming loss,
A victory shines across each cross.
So your life, too, a puzzle torn;
Will yeild new visions ~ yet unborn.

Please trust Me as I take each piece,
And you will find as you release…
That from the Caterpillar’s sleep,
Will come new dreams for you to keep!