My morning was filled with friend’s sharing one of the most heartwarming, tear flowing videos I’ve ever seen. It’s posted below. Grab some kleenex, you’ll need them.
Many years ago our church hosted an annual women’s retreat in Destin, FL. Hundreds of women would run away from real life with all their best girls for a few days of sunshine, shopping, and Jesus. Best – Idea – Ever. It really was hands down one of the best things we use to do and I’m confident I speak for any woman who use to attend – WE MISS THEM SO DANG MUCH. Lynette Lewis (Lynette Troyer at the time) was a frequent guest speaker at this conference. This is where I first met/heard of her. You can read about her story on her blog here.
As a high school and college girl her story captivated me 1) because she was a successful business woman, author, & speaker – she was a fashionable picture of the dream safely hidden in my heart at the time! and 2) because she was tightly holding onto other God dreams in her heart – to have her own family one day – but in the meantime she wasn’t missing a beat of what life had to offer her.
She was a breath of fresh air for my heart that felt it was dreaming of things no one else around me was. Half the time I couldn’t figure out if I was making these things up or if I was living in a fantasy land (sometimes I’m still not sure, but I just go with it).
Lynette gifted us all with the honor and candid story telling of her journey up until that point -transparent, sassy, raw, emotional, adventurous, inspiring, and funny. From the first time I heard/saw her speak, I instantly connected with both how she was living what seemed to be a very cool and successful life, but also experiencing the real struggle of believing the Lord for a deep desire in her heart. It’s a balance I believe we are all living out in some form, but it was a new struggle for me. Being both satisfied in what God had placed in my hands without letting go of what I knew he had hidden in my heart.
As a young woman figuring out what the dreams in my heart even were, I appreciated that she was so honest. Her transparency, although vulnerable and raw, never once communicated a lack of faith. Instead she shared that it was in her vulnerable moments the Lord would speak softly to her, direct her and comfort her. I admired her faith. It was fierce, much like her stiletto’s and fashion sense.
Since our church decided to bring her back year after year (great decision, btw!), our women’s ministry really had the chance to fall in love with this woman’s dream and faith to believe God for her promise! We also had the chance to pray and believe along side her that the dreams in her life – a husband, growing ministry, children, etc would one day come to pass.
In an almost magical string of events, year after year, we watched her stand firm and come back to update us on her dream journey. She returned to tell us the story of her wedding. At 42, she had patiently waiting and married an amazing man with 4 young boys. She found herself instantly gifted with a family, a dream she never imagined but a beautiful representation of God’s perfect timing and redemption. She filled us in with all the wedding details, including pictures, and I thought my 20 year old heart might explode. Getting married at 42 is not something I wanted, but my faith was tested watching her story unfold and it was encouraged seeing God do what he does best – exceedingly abundantly more than we can dream up ourselves. You can read about her story in her book, Remember the Roses here.
As you can imagine, the next dream in her heart was to also have her own children. We prayed and believed she would get pregnant. I just knew she was going to, she had too – it was the perfect ending to the perfectly evolving story.
She did eventually get pregnant … and sadly miscarried. I so vividly remember her sharing her heart with such faith on our stage after her miscarriage. Tears streaming down her face, her heart broken, but yet her faith still unshaken – that the GOD who had laid before her a dream would deliver that promise to her. She shared in her brokenness how God had used those seasons to birth new dreams to rescue young girls caught in slavery. You can watch the full story on the DVD, Barren No More (scroll to the bottom) Here.
My heart was frozen. In complete awe, that this journey had somehow stopped evolving how I had envisioned it. (sidenote: I acknowledge that might sound weird or creepy, haha! But really, we all felt we were on the amazing faith ride with her through these annual updates!)
This was one of the hardest church sermon/message/women’s night meetings I think I had ever sat in as a young woman. We all, especially myself, love stories that show us when we pray for something, we will get it. With Lynette’s age, there was a ticking clock that was just saying something different. I don’t know that there was a dry eye in the room that night as the ending of her story (as of then) was just not what anyone wanted to hear……and I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I went home that night and had a chat with God on her behalf.
Lord, for real? I don’t like this story. She has been faithful. She has stood firmed. Why? Why not? Seriously, I don’t get it and I really don’t like it? All that and this is how the story is ending?
You see, my shallow faith was shining bright in between the lines of my prayer.
My prayer that sounded like it was about her was really about me. It was about the dreams in my heart I was holding out for. And her ending? Would that me mine too?
Why is it we judge what we deem to be a reflection of God’s faithfulness and provision for someone else as the same results that we’ll live out? Really my heart was screaming “Oh no, Jesus. I don’t know if I’d survive her story.”
Having faith for a dream and not getting the ending I expected at the right moment felt like a weight my heart couldn’t bear. I was already holding so tightly to dreams in my heart and I felt like this ending was loosening my grip. Funny how a moment can feel so real, but we can be so wrong.
In retrospect I can see the Lord was really pushing the trust boundaries of my heart to new places and stretching out soul muscles I would need for the the trust journey I’d walk ahead.
I asked myself – Do I have faith just so Jesus will give me what I want? Is that really the depth of my relationship with him?
I never wanted to love Jesus based on how he would make my dreams come true, and this moment was exposing that’s exactly what I was doing.
Jesus has sweetly reminded me along the way – he isn’t crafting me (us) to be survivors of stories – but to be victors in the midst of them. To walk upright, boldly, firmly, eyes set on the prize – knowing that which he said he’d do – he will do. And in the middle parts – the hard, vulnerable, shattered heart moments – he’s there. His peace. His comfort. His joy will be there. And when it is there, you look different in your hardest, darkest hour than those without His comfort. Because when Jesus is part of the equation what appears to be the end of the story is often times the REAL beginning. It may just take the ending of one, to birth His beginning.
As my wise grandmother reminded me – Don’t imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. They are walking under a grace carefully crafted for their moment and season. The Holy Spirit is with them. He’s not always in your imagination, though.
Since her last time with us social media has aided in letting us all in on her story. Her blog updates, videos, and post have served as reminders to me that even if we think a dream is dead – God is moving and working. That area might look obsolete, impossible, and dead to the physical eye – but to the heaven eye – the dream is still growing, brewing, and only dormant….
Today, Lynette and her husband Ron posted this video and my facebook feed erupted, I cried when I watched it and then for the rest of the day I both rejoiced with and for her, but also was reminded – that God’s way of unfolding our story is more beautiful than we could ever dream up ourselves.
For over a decade this sweet woman has let me and so many others indirectly into her world through her honesty, transparency, and unshakeable faith. You see when you let people into your world – they pray with you, celebrate with you and can be challenged in all the moments you walk through even from far distances. No matter how big or small the platform we stand upon is, our constantly unfolding journey is one we should include others on.
I’m amazed today to think of the space between the moment she stood on our church stage and how my heart broke for her that night until this cold morning when I saw her promise in full form – it hasn’t been minutes, weeks, or months but years. Sometimes I forget the dreams in my life and the timing at which I’ll see them come alive are not just about me – but they are about other people, too.
They are about two baby girls born on Christmas day in Bethlehem who would need a family to love, nurture and care for them. Two little world changers who would need to grow up with brothers to protect and teach them cool tricks.
Jesus stories are always worth the wait. Always.
Don’t settle in your dream today and remember in God’s kingdom EVERYTHING comes back to life.
Now, if you didn’t watch the video GO WATCH IT!