“Dare to dream. Dare to imagine the impossible becoming possible in your life.”
Jenny Williamson wrote this challenge to dream in her book, Courage To Be You. I have dared to dream since attending the 2009 Courage Conference. It came at a transitional time in my life and helped me connect to dreams that had been lost in the flurry of life.
Our family served together in the Air Force for 26 years. We just got stationed back home near our family in California after a five year extended tour in Geilenkirchen, Germany. Germany was a dream tour and now we were a part of the war rotations at Beale AFB (real life acclimation). My husband Bobby was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant and was now the man in charge (16 hour days). Our two older boys were heading off to different schools and our youngest daughter, Cassandra, was making the hard transition back to American schools. Anyone who has lived the military life knows the challenges and incredible privilege of serving. Amongst all of this, I felt a strong prompting to go to the Courage Conference.
I encouraged 17-year-old Cassandra to attend and she came, really out of love and respect for me. I loved the journey the study was taking us on and especially watching God bring Jenny a fresh message each week. I felt privileged to see and be a part of hearing God move mountains on behalf of Courge Worldwide helping children being rescued from sex trafficking.
It was about four weeks into the study and God seemed to step in, and to bring clarity about why He wanted me at this conference. I was unsettled deep within. It was like something was missing or dying, even though I was serving and doing exactly what He wanted me to do. One of the study questions asked “What did I do in my free time as a child?” A light bulb went off as I remembered drawing and coloring for hours. It was the creative side of me that lay dormant. I was connecting to a deep desire to create. A desire that was put on hold and ultimately lost because of everyday life. This prompted a change in direction for my life, I would’ve never expected.
At the same time God was inspiring Cassandra too. She wrote her first original song called “God Move My Feet”. Every week at the conference, Jenny would ask people to share something they had the courage to do that they couldn’t do before. Cassandra stood up and shared, “I wrote my first song.” Cassandra explained that as she was reading the Bible study, new words overlaid the writing on the study guide. The music just came. Jenny encouraged her to share the song the following week. Cassandra reluctantly brought her guitar thinking Jenny would’ve forgotten her nudging the week before. The minute Cassandra walked into the foyer, Jenny remembered and was excited and encouraged her to share her song. Cassandra overcame her fear of performing in front of large crowds and sang “God Move My Feet” and He certainly did! She received a standing ovation. The rest is history as she has continued to write original songs.
She’s shared her passion for art and music to the amazing girls and pastors in Africa, twice now. I was privileged to take photos and videos on her first visit. We are hoping to go back again as the Lord leads.
“I decided to give what I had, my ability to create. So I did a live chalk pastel rendering of a young girl while Courage Worldwide shared their cause to about two hundred local Lutheran pastors in Masoka, Tanzania. A piece of my heart was left in Africa.” – Cassandra
God used Jenny and this study to help us both discover and rediscover our God-given gifts and be brave enough to go for it. I went back to college at 43-years-old, earning a degree in Web Design and Interactive Media. Now I’m a professional photographer, videographer capturing weddings, engagements and more. It fills my heart with joy connecting to other’s story. Managing our family’s nine websites has also kept me quite busy.
Cassandra earned a Masters Degree in Fine Art and Education. She is currently the music director at Living Waters Church in Wilton California. One of her original art pieces, Fenced In, depicting a girl caught in a cage, was displayed at Art Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
She was able to educate others about sex trafficking for 19 days, where an estimated five hundred thousand attended. The ripple effect continues as we both obey God, loving what we do and loving others through it.
Thank you Jenny for being brave enough to have the courage to be you! It has changed and impacted our world!
Cassandra at her studio in El Dorado Hills 2019
PWOC Conference “Joy In The Wilderness” England – Mildenhall AFB – Cassandra painted live and led worship while I spoke to the military wives at their chapel, May 2020.