Apr 23, 2014

Dream Big.....

Today's Reading: Jeremiah 35
Find the Reading Plan here.


I have an incredible post for you today from a woman who has seen first hand the power of God. The power to use the most "unlikely" of circumstances in order to fulfill God's plan for her beautiful life. With this plan, blessing many others along the way.

Her story brings me to tears every time I hear it.

Be blessed by Terri Webster's story today.

 
The Dream
by: Terri Webster
 
Dear Shine Sisters,


To be writing this post is surreal. One day, a long time ago, 21 years to be exact, God lit a flicker of an idea in my head. It’s like He took a match stick, struck it across the side of a matchbox, lit the flame in my head, and then, as it flickered in various directions, He protected it as life’s wind threatened to blow it out.


I was single with two kids. Divorced, damaged, hurt and exhausted. I put up a pretty good front, with my various “I’m fine” masks. Not with my younger brother though. The Christmas of ’92, my brother gave my children and me a trip to Disney World for our present. There was one condition though; he had to drive us there. We lived in Conyers, Georgia, which was a day’s drive away. How tricky of him, huh? The gift was ours as long as he could go and drive us himself. Of course, he knew my car would never make it to the Georgia-Florida border, much less to Orlando, and back again.


So the following spring (right at this time of year), the four of us piled into his hatchback Ford Escort and set out for our Magic Kingdom adventure. When I first caught sight of the Magic Kingdom castle, the little girl in me came alive, along with my then six-year old daughter. My exhaustion was transformed. I felt young again, refreshed, relieved and excited. To experience this with my kids was priceless.


The resort where we stayed had a huge pool with a nice wood-framed out-building next to it. A wrap-around, covered porch-type decking surrounded the building and had rocking chairs lined up on one side of the porch. On the other side of the building was a sandy play ground with lots of big playground equipment. My son (then 12), was enjoying the pool while my daughter freely played in the playground area. I sat in the middle on that shady, covered porch in a rocking chair.


From that rocking chair I could see both of them and hear them as we talked back and forth. I rested, rocked and soaked in the calm, peaceful, easy feeling (sounds like a song), that was foreign to me during those days. My mind wandered as I thought about a few other single-moms I knew and how they too were struggling and exhausted. We’d shared our frustrations of broken-down cars, home repairs, trying to discipline our children without support from our ex-spouses, and the need for better paying jobs, coupled with wanting to go back to school so we could get that better job.


I felt a twinge of guilt as I sat there soaking in all the beauty of the resort, relaxing and having fun. I remember whispering to the Lord about how I wish every single mom could experience this type of calm and peace.  Suddenly, as I sat there, a thought rushed over me out of nowhere. I envisioned other single moms sitting in the other rockers, while their children played. I thought about the conversations that would take place about future plans, college, better jobs, healing and support.


That thought snowballed into the idea of a place where single moms could live temporarily and find the right kind of help as they are renewed and restored while they work on their futures. Instead of floundering through their lives in survival mode (as I was doing), I thought there needed to be a place to go to for help, guidance, resources and relief, to become more stable and secure. The idea grew into a dream I felt was too far-fetched. Eventually life took over again as I continued in survival mode for the next 13 years.


During those 13 years that dream would resurface, only to die back down again. I finally laid it to rest after I remarried and settled into my comfortable new life learning to be a wife again. I wanted to finally leave those years behind me and move forward.


Almost 16 years after that first thought flickered in my mind at Disney World, God broad-sided me with unexpected open doors to bringing that dream to reality. I wasn’t looking for it, thinking about it or even wanting it. From my comfortable, cozy chair in the corner of my bedroom I tried to convince God that I was too old and tired to take on a ministry like this. What if I failed? I’m not educated and knowledgeable in all things non-profit and incorporated. Then in the sweet, loving way God does, He reminded me it wasn’t about me. It was His idea to begin with, His thought, His dream, His plan.


The Lord God Almighty opened those doors and because of that, Spring Ministries exists today to help rebuild, restore and strengthen single parent families through Christ’s love and practical helps. Spring stands for Single Parents Rooted in New Ground.


A lot of you have already been to the Kindle House which will eventually be home to three single-mom families. You’ve seen the big, covered wrap-around decking that borders the entire house. I know that soon the wooden rockers will line the covered deck where single moms will sit and plan their futures while their children play safely. They’ll grow closer to Jesus as they witness His love through practical needs being met.


This is too big for us, but not Him. There are other ministries very similar to this one that are meeting needs and changing lives. This is God’s heart and His desire. These non-profit ministries are doing what our government is failing to do.


This is why writing to you today is so surreal. It’s happening despite all my fear, doubts and personal issues. On May 4th, Spring Ministries will have our first tea party/silent auction fundraiser at the Kindle House. Big events like this are not my “thing”. Can I be honest with y’all? Really honest? These events scare me to pieces. The planning, the work, the publicizing and wondering how it’ll turn out have freaked me out. But the truth is the outcome falls solely on God as He is the one in control.


If you’re wondering what you might can do to help, we (I) could really use your prayers. Also, you can plan to come to the tea/silent auction and bring a friend, spread the word, invite people. Come and see for yourself the future home to three single-mom families. Come see what God has done and is doing.


For more information on the event and to get your $10 ticket for the luncheon go here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-ministries-tea-partysilent-auction-tickets-10562385379.


One other thing: If you’ve ever had an idea, a little thought or a dream about God taking the bad things in your life and turning them into ministry, that’s probably His idea, His thought and His dream that He wants to plant inside your very smart head. Another sure sign is that it’s something too big for you to accomplish on your own. That’s how He wins and the devil loses. That’s how God takes what is meant for evil in our lives and turns it all around for His purposes!


Dreaming big,
Terri