I like talking better than I like writing. I’d rather be sharing my heart and my words with you face to face over a cup of coffee or on a long walk instead of through this vehicle called “a blog.” Every time I attempt to type words on a sheet of paper, they feel inadequate and small compared to all that I am feeling and experiencing these days! My heart and life are so full that words do not seem to suffice or reflect the intensity of it all. Instead of writing to you, I wish I could show you–show you what the fulfillment of a dream looks like. I wish I could take you out to Courage House here in Northern California and walk beside you on the trail that goes around the entire property and watch peace surround you as it does me every time I am there. I shared that walk at Thanksgiving with the young ladies that now call Courage House home and some other very precious people in my life–people who believed in the dream of Courage House before there was any tangible evidence. That walk, that day, and that home is the fulfillment of a long held dream and an answer to a prayer, one I didn’t even know I prayed.
Ever since my family moved to California twenty years ago, I have longed to recreate the Thanksgiving of my childhood in Tennessee. Rolling hills. Wide open spaces. Loud laughter. Food with way too much butter in it! Horses. Dogs. Kids. Adults. Family — so many that you didn’t know everyone’s name. That was the dream God put on my heart: a home filled with family and with people who believe in you.
All of that happened at Courage House this Thanksgiving. My entire family was there. The family that was born to me, the family I married, the family I adopted, the family I chose and the family God divinely brings to me. A friend of mine whispered in my ear on Thanksgiving Day at Courage House (as we were piling our plates high with food that was destined to clog our arteries), “Take a moment to enjoy all of this; it is the fulfillment of a dream.”
Another place I wish I could take you is to Tanzania, Africa so I could show you Courage House there! The drive is one that I never tire of though I don’t get to travel it often enough. If you are blessed with a clear day, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the backdrop for your drive. There are hundreds of kids enthusiastically waving to you, smiling the biggest, most beautiful smiles as you drive through their villages on the way to Courage House. If I could take you there, I’d show you the church that my seventy-five year old daddy built by hand last year in one of those villages and the garden he helped put in at Courage House. I’d introduce you to the three young ladies that now call Courage House home and to Joshua, the baby boy of one of our girls. A baby at Courage House! That too is a fulfillment of a dream! (God whispered to my heart years ago that Courage House would have babies.) I’d introduce you to Lauren Eden, an amazing twenty-something-year-old young woman who left everything she loved in Mississippi to follow the dream God put on her heart – to be a dispenser of His justice, His grace and transforming love in a remote village in Africa. Lauren has lived in Moshi, a small town in Tanzania, Africa located at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro for three years entirely by faith, waiting for God to fulfill the dream he put on her heart, while at the same time pursuing it with her entire heart. This week, that dream was fulfilled. I think I heard Lauren’s shouts of joy all the way from Africa!
I promise you that words will never convey what Lauren and I are experiencing and feeling. The only way you will ever understand it is if you too have experienced it; the pursuing of a dream with all your heart, risking what our society calls comfort, security and safety to see if fulfilled, believing in something you cannot see when no one else does, and praying you aren’t crazy or just dead wrong! I have such a passion for YOU to experience this same thing: the fulfillment of a God-sized dream.
With the New Year fast approaching, I am reminded that it has been seven years since Courage to Be You, Inc. was founded and God gave me the dream of equipping, encouraging and empowering others to dream big, live large and laugh loud™ as well as fulfill their own God-given dreams and purpose. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that God will give you a dream too big for you to fulfill, but one that He longs to so that you can understand what I am trying to say. You were created on purpose for a purpose™ and if you don’t do what you were created to do, someone’s prayer will go unanswered and your dream will go unfulfilled.
This New Year, I pray you will have the courage to be you! Thank you so much for being a part of my dream and for being the answer to my prayer when I prayed, “God where is your church? Where are your people? How will I ever do this alone?” Through your giving, your volunteering and your prayers, you not only helped fulfill my dream, but the dreams of the girls that now call Courage House home.
From all of us at Courage to be You, thank you and Merry Christmas!