Calling All Dreamers ~ Guest Post By Stephanie May

Hi, friends! I’m excited to bring you another new Calling All Dreamers post today. I can’t wait for you to meet Stephanie May of The Lipstick Gospel. When I found her beautiful blog, I knew I had found a kindred blogging spirit. She has a gift for words and storytelling, and her joy in Him is contagious. Thank you for sharing your words and heart today, Stephanie!

daringtoDREAM

My sophomore year of college I got my heart broken — not just a little bit broken, but the kind of broken that you’re afraid will never heal.

I sat on my bed after the final goodbye and cried. I didn’t know what to do, where to put my hands, how to get up and brush my teeth. Life as I had known it felt over and I didn’t know how to take another step.

A few weeks later, as the gash on my heart began to heal, I was finally able to lift my eyes above my hurt to see what was next. I needed to do something, needed to put one foot in front of the other. I needed to do something that would take me in the right direction – whatever that direction might be.

And so I did what any sensible girl would do – I headed straight to the magazine aisle of the grocery store.

I grabbed any magazine that caught my eye and headed home. And surrounded by glue, scissors, and a large piece of cardboard, I began to dream. I had no requirements for the board. I cut and pasted anything that I liked for any reason at all – compiling a messy collage of random pictures, products, and words.  It wouldn’t have made sense to anyone else, but it made sense to me. It was mine. It was the first, teeny, tiny step towards dreaming about a future that was full of surprise and delight, instead of the disappointment and sadness where I was currently drowning.

Since that night, I’ve made several other dream boards, each one different from the last but equally full of hope and color.

These boards have been a crucial part of me learning to dream. Pulling inspiration and ideas from wherever I can find them, I compile them together in a life full of dreams that are much bigger than my current reality.

And I think this is important.

We serve an endlessly creative God — a God that brings dead things to life and calls those that aren’t as though they are. And I think that through big, wild dreaming, we are able to take one step closer to the lens through which God sees the world and our circumstances. We have to learn to dream if we want to step closer to God’s imaginative and seemingly improbable reality.

These days I feel like all of my dreams are coming true. I look around, at my job, my friends, my home, and my life and am amazed at how many of these things I had dreamt of before a single one of them came to pass. The life I’m living stretches to the ends of my imagination and dreams, filling them up completely.

But in the process of living out these dreams, I’ve stopped doing just that: I’ve stopped dreaming.

I have no idea where I’m going next. I’m so focused on today that I have no ideas or hopes for the next few months, let alone the next few years.

And in some ways that’s good. There’s something beautiful about living in the present and looking around, eyes wide, at all of God’s creations unfolding around us.

But I don’t want to stop here. I don’t want to limit myself to the things around me. I want to constantly be pushing the envelope, reaching for bigger things, more impact, more beauty. Because I believe that we serve an infinite God, and I believe that dreaming with us is one of his favorite pastimes. I think it has to be adorable to watch his children stretch big and tall, trying to dream like he does.

I want to live in a grateful contentment in the present, while dreaming, hopefully and with the innocence of a little girl, about the future.

That’s my challenge for myself these days – to figure out what I’m dreaming of next.

I want to see what my Daddy’s capable of. Don’t you?

What are you dreaming of? 

* * *

Stephanie May

Stephanie May is a world-traveling journalist who is in love with Jesus, with life, and with all things beautiful. In July 2012, she returned from the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries around the world (she blogged about it, too!). Currently, she is working for Adventures in Missions as a Storyteller. When she’s not traveling (and especially when she is), she’s writing forThe Lipstick Gospel. You can follow her on Twitter at@smay15.

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Calling All Dreamers – Claire Bone

Hello again, friends! Hope you’re having a lovely, inspiring, joy-filled week.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Claire Bone (if you aren’t already familiar with her blog). I connected with Claire on Twitter, and she’s truly a gem. She’s clever and creative and encouraging, and I’m so happy to have her here sharing her heart for my Calling All Dreamers series. Thanks for being here today, Claire! :)

daringtoDREAM

Like all little girls, when I was small I had a million different dreams and fully expected that they would all come true. If I wanted to be a ballerina/veterinarian then I could. There was no question in my little girl mind, that whatever dreams I cooked up for myself not only could come true, but would.

When I realized I liked karate more than ballet and was afraid of most animals, my little girl dreams shifted to middle school dreams of being an artist and a journalist. In high school, I began to doubt my ability to make my dreams come true. I wasn’t a great artist; there were so many others better than me. Besides, paint and pen weren’t how I best expressed myself. I was a writer in my heart of hearts.  I knew deep down that I wasn’t courageous enough to go to journalism school; I wanted to be a wife and mother, not a foreign correspondent. At seventeen, I didn’t have a great story to tell, I just knew I liked to write.

I went to college listless and unsure of what I wanted to be when I grew up, the dreams of my youth so far behind me that I had forgotten what they were. If comparison is the death of contentment, doubt is the killer of dreams, and boy did I doubt.

I doubted myself from major to major until I doubted myself right out of college. I doubted myself from relationship to relationship. I doubted my abilities to write, teach, or create. In the midst of all my doubts, God brought me to my knees and revealed Himself to me as only He can, but that’s another story for another day.

Slowly, through faith in Christ, my dreams returned. It wasn’t immediate or even quick, like we might expect. While becoming a wife and mother were deep desires of my heart, good and wonderful gifts from the Lord, they weren’t the secret dreams of my childhood.

Words and stories were being stored in my soul until His perfect timing, that moment when I had the courage to share my words for His Glory and not my own. That’s the tricky thing about dreams, isn’t it? It isn’t easy to recognize that my dreams are to glorify Christ and not me.

So, here I sit, in the early stages of dream making…What do I write? Devotionals? Essays? Could I possibly ever be paid to write? I write stories and memories and, yes, dreams, all the while doing my best to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Because with Jesus, all my dreams, and so much more, are possible.

Connect with Claire

Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Calling All Dreamers: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved

Hi, friends! I have been loving this Calling All Dreamers series so much. Each woman’s words have blessed and encouraged my heart — and I hope yours, too. I’m excited to share the next post in the series today: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved . I’ve been so very blessed to connect with Amber. She has a soft, sweet spirit, and her words are always so lovely and encouraging. Welcome, Amber, and thank you for being here today! :)

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I never fully understood the meaning behind this verse before.

I was never as full of dreams and desires as I am now.

I know that when I am with God, when I am trying to walk with Him and talk with Him, when I am seeking a relationship with Him, I begin to dream.

Big

Huge

Scary

This dream could not possibly come true without God’s hand working ALL the things

Kind of dreams.

That is how I read this verse.

When I am delighting myself in the Lord

He will fill my heart with incredible desires and wild dreams.

Then HE will make them happen.

And when He does, I will point back to Him, and give all the glory to the one who deserves it.

The one who makes dreams come true.

The one who plants desires, and shines upon them so that they might grow.

The one who delights in me and I in Him.

Thankful to be dreaming with a Big God in my corner.

In awe of the desires that He has given me.

And excited for His will to be done.

Keep Dreaming Big with Jesus friends,

His good work in you is just getting started!

In Love,

 

Hi!  My name is Amber and I blog over at Beautiful & Beloved where you can read about beauty & love, God’s grace & God’s word, chaos & creativity.  I am the mother to 4 kids ages 5 to 9months and I am married to a handsome military man.  I am hoping to open my own boutique very soon so I am no stranger to God sized dreams and I am beyond delighted to be sharing with you all today!

Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Ashley Beaudin

Hi, friends! So happy to be sharing the next in the Calling All Dreamers series. Do you all know Ashley Beaudin? She is the beautiful heart and soul behind Overcome The Lie and The Story Project. I so appreciate her heart, and I know you will, too! Thank you for being here today, Ashley! :)
daringtoDREAM

Plans, Discipline, and Dreamers

I have been thinking, as I usually do, and maybe some would say, a little too much. But I enjoy it. I enjoy the beauty of processing life, wrestling through what I am feeling and dreaming about how to move ahead.

One thing I am really good at is making plans, and one thing I sometimes am not so good at is following through with those plans. If you have hung around me long enough, you’ve probably noticed it.

I cope through life by making a plan. 

When I see something that I do not like in my life, maybe something I am struggling with, or something that feels out of control, I get out my pen and my paper, and I write out how I will change it.

But the thing is I never actually do the plan.

But why? Why do we get stuck in making plans without any life change?

I think sometimes making plans can deceive us that if we write it out or if we think about it long enough, it equates to actually doing it.

How many of us read magazines, books, and articles on eating healthy, but can’t seem to put down our can of Coke?

How many of us listen to sermon after sermon talking about faithfulness in the secret place but struggle opening up the Bible?

How many of us watch movies, read books, or like a Facebook statuses about fighting poverty, but can’t seem to stop for them on the street or go visit them where they are?

I am convicted. I am so convicted.

At the core of this beating heart is a dreamer. Dreamers see life with colours and words and ideas. They would go anywhere and do whatever it takes, because they do not see what everyone else sees; they see potential, possibility, and a promise. Like a wild horse, full of passion and enthusiasm, they find beauty in the chase.

My dreamers and my wild horses, pause with me, and breathe.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our pursuit that we forget we are worthy of pursuit, too.

And discipline is not your enemy. I know sometimes it feels like it is when all you want to do is shout from the rooftops and run free, but it actually makes you better.

Disciplining yourself is not punishment — it is recognizing how valuable you are. 

We have to stay close to His staff and His rod, not just one or the other. It is His staff that reminds us that we are His, but it is His rod that keeps us safe and from wandering. (See Psalm 23. Like right now. Actually go look.)

We need our dreams. We need the passion and the hope that you bring. You are the poets and the prophets, ushering in the wind of God to our dry bones. So dream big and dream wild.

But remember reality. Look in its windows and in its doors and see the faces and the numbers. Remind your heart that you are worth pursuit; you are worth discipline. And that plans don’t happen just because you wrote them out.

Plans happen when you get up every morning and when you start being faithful. 

This is something I am hearing in every corner of my heart today and maybe I just wrote this for me. But I am soaking this in and letting it change me. Changing how I cope and approach and respond.

Maybe discipline and faithfulness are like the harnesses of dreams and passion, not because they hold back but because they lead and protect. 

And I know there are some days when I wake up and my passion needs to be protected and needs to be led by the hand. Because I don’t want discouragement to have a chance.

Not a chance.

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Ashley Beaudin is a 24-year-old freelance writer, visionary, and speaker. She is the editor and writer of The Story Project and the founder of Overcome the Lie. You can hang out with her some more at www.thestoryproject.org

Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Natalie of NS Pottery

Excited to be sharing the next in the Calling All Dreamers series. I’ve been blessed to become friends with Natalie both online and off, and her heart for the Lord is truly beautiful and inspiring.  Thank you for being here today, Natalie!
 

I believe God puts dreams in our hearts for a reason. The things He created us for? For the most part, we will enjoy doing them. We will have a passion for them. Dreams are a gift from Him.

At the same time, dreams can also be dangerous. They can sit on the throne of our hearts.

“If I can just do this, if I can just have that, I will be happy and complete,” we might think. 

They can distract us from the One who gave us our dreams in the first place.

It is critical to hold our dreams with open hands. Knowing that the Lord has my best interest at heart and that His plans are far greater than my own helps me to wait upon Him. The things that I think I want so badly right now?

Maybe it’s not the right time. 

Maybe there is something so much better waiting for me that I would miss if I’m too focused on this other thing.

We don’t have the whole picture. He does. And I find so much peace in that.

So while you’re dreaming, remember, He knows best. When He is first, everything else will fall into place.

 

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Connect with Natalie:

Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Nadine of A Secondary Heartbeat

So happy to have another Calling All Dreamers post to share with you all today. I appreciate and value the way Nadine writes with such beautiful honesty, and I want to thank her for sharing her heart here today!

I had a dream once.

It was beautiful. Filled with colour and emotion, thoughts
and plans, it was absolutely littered with my heart and soul.

I got busy. I filled up my time with things other than
colour and emotion, and somewhere in between  losing those thing, I forgot about the dream that had so long
been hidden deep within my heart and soul.

I held on to thoughts and plans, at least late at night when
I couldn’t sleep and needed to fill the time, but these thoughts were
different.

They were weighty and heavy laden. They were burdensome and
lacked the vision of before.

I listened to them because there was little else for me to
listen to.

The only thoughts I could hear were my own, and the only
voice I knew well was my own. So I held them. I surrounded myself with them.

Instead of laughing at the days with come with strength and
dignity, I wept at the days I was sitting in; unwilling to look forward except
with fantasies. I was stuck.

Today I sit at a crossroads. The crossroads of busy and
desire. The space in between looking forward with joy or with fear.

I wish I could say that I’ve started to walk towards the dream but if I take the time to
evaluate, I have not.

I’m going to dream again.

The dream of today is simply to dream again. To dig within
my heart and find the space in between all of these thoughts. The space filled
with that thing.

I’ll say it again. I am going to dream again.

Connect with Nadine

// Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Heather Boersma

I’m excited to begin my Calling All Dreamers series with this post by the lovely and inspiring Heather Boersma. Many thanks to Heather for sharing her heart here!

daringtoDREAM

From Dream to Reality: The Story of Publishing my first Book

I began writing my first devotional book in eighth grade. It was a time in life when I was totally alienated from my social circles, both at school and surprisingly, at church. My peer groups offered me nothing but rejection, and I was left with a choice; either feel sorry for myself, or use this time to really get to know the Jesus I’d decided to follow so many years before.

I chose Jesus. Each and every day, I sat on the floor beside my bed reading my bible and writing in my prayer journal. I went through dozens of devotional books and found the Word came alive in a way it never had before.  And as the Lord spoke to me, I felt led to share with others what He was revealing. So I began to write.

As the awkward Jr. High years passed and I gained new confidence in who God had created me to be, this passion only grew. Instead of being a reject, I became known as someone who was strong in their faith. People came to me for advice on matters of faith and with their prayer requests. I had been given a message and felt a burning passion to share it with the world.

More than 10 years later, my second attempt at the devotional book began.  An outline was created and the guts of it started to fill out that skeletal plan, bringing my dream to life. But several months after starting, my computer crashed taking all my hard work with it. Strike two.

So when the Lord began to nudge me in this direction for a third time, I’ll be honest, I hesitated. But after months of ignoring the multiple confirmations He sent my way, I relented and decided to obey. This is when the idea for “Dream Big” was born.

The next several months were spent researching, planning, and writing a book proposal.  In the summer of 2010, I began writing the book.  A year later, and just days before my child (a son!) was born, the first draft of my manuscript was completed.  Eight months after that, and two years from when I first said “yes” to God, a proof copy of my book came in the mail. What an amazing journey it has been!

Many people ask me about the process of writing a book, and here are the first 3 things I tell them:

  1. Write a book proposal. In the process of writing a proposal, you will be forced to define WHY you want to write a book. Is it purely for personal gain or do you really have something to offer your reader? If you can’t get through the process of writing a book proposal (and it is a lengthy process, when done correctly), there’s little chance you’ll actually have the stamina and passion to get through writing an entire book! I used the book “How to Write a Book Proposal” by Michael Larsen as my guide.
  1. Set aside blocks of time to write. The unfortunate news is less than 1% of book proposals that go across a publishers desk are accepted. This means you probably won’t have a publisher breathing down your neck to complete your manuscript by a certain deadline. This means you need to breathe down your own neck (hmmm, tricky) and be self-disciplined. So set aside a block of time each day, week, or month for writing. I wrote nearly one third of my book during a two-day writing retreat. I went to the cabin by myself and did nothing but eat, sleep, and write for two days straight. Figure out what works for your life, and then JUST DO IT!
  1. Pray for DIVINE INSPIRATION. This is the last step, but the MOST important of them all.  Here’s the thing — if you’re not writing empowered by the Holy Spirit and divine revelation from God, then what is the point? I’m sure we all want to write something that has eternal value. Something that will allow our readers to experience the Spirit of God ministering directly to their spirits.  In order for this to happen, we need to be diligent and faithful in our own relationship with God and continue to allow Him to speak to us and inspire our words.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you go on your own journey of writing, whether it be a book, an online course, or even a blog! I’d love to hear from you if you have any other questions about writing a book, or about my book “Dream Big: 30 Days to a Life Beyond All You could Ask or Imagine”.  Also, follow this link to watch the book trailer and get a little taste of who I am and what my book is all about!

In Him,

Heather

Connect with Heather // website // e-mail: heather@heatherboersma[dot]com // twitter // facebook