” In my dream, the angel shrugged & said, If we fail this time, it will be a failure of imagination & then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand. “
Week 1: Why we’re here: A Framework for Action
It sounds benign enough, right? A Framework for Action. I don’t even remember what my expectations for the week were as our teacher, Janna Moats, introduced herself on Monday. Perhaps I anticipated encouragement, or maybe a review of the character of God. I most certainly did not expect to feel how I felt by Friday:
I didn’t recognize this feeling until yesterday afternoon during a one-on-one with my beautiful small group leader Lenneke, when unforseen tears made their way down my cheeks. It was then that I remembered a part of a book I read this fall: The Dream Giver. This book is about an ordinary man named Nobody who leaves his ordinary life in the land of familiar to pursue the dream given to him by the Dream Giver. (aka God) At one point in his journey, the Dream Giver asks Nobody to give Him back the Dream. Nobody was very upset about this, but after much thinking and whining he relinquished his Dream. Then he started mourning, which is where I found myself yesterday.
Let’s re-wind six days to the first thought-shifting story that Janna shared with us. She spoke of a television program she had recently seen about the high rate of Americans adopting Ethiopian Babies. At the end of the program a young Ethiopian woman was shown bringing her tiny baby to an orphanage, she was obviously devastated and her words spoken through tears were “I don’t have money to feed my baby.” We were given the impression that this is the reason many women choose to give up their children, and a common response from the developed world has been to take the babies and adopt them out to families who do have the means to feed them. Janna challenged us by pointing out that the woman didn’t want to give away her baby, and that what she really truly needed was the resources to provide food, not an adoptive family.
Which would imply that what much of the world’s children need are not orphanages, but more creative solutions that address the issue of poverty. Maybe this has always been obvious to you, but I cannot say the same of myself. Which frustrated me, in the beginning, until Janna pointed out another truth: “God speaks to us in the language that we understand.” I understood God when I felt Him pulling at my heart to work in orphanages, but I probably wouldn’t have understood Him if He had spoken to me about a different kind of solution.
Which brings me back to mourning. I no longer feel certain of where God is leading me, and it makes me anxious and a little frustrated, if I’m honest. I know that I know that I know that I want to pour myself out on behalf of children, but I’m not sure anymore what that is going to look like. I feel like Nobody, giving up my dream to the Lord, even though I feel like I’ve only just recieved it. Maybe God was being clear about me and an orphanage, or maybe He was just speaking my language. Either way, it’s requiring me to trust Him even more intensely, and opening up my mind to think further outside “the box.”
The best part about Nobody’s dream, however, and hopefully my own, is that when God took it back He was only making it more His own. And when He placed it once again in Nobody’s heart, it had grown bigger and more beautiful than he ever could have imagined it on his own.