Thursday, May 30, 2013

What If You're Wrong About Your Dream?


Sometimes Your God-Sized Dream Seems to Fall Flat…




Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,                        Ephesians 3:20  

My God-Sized Dream began about 15 years ago.

I had opportunity after opportunity to share my story of faith before large and small groups. I spoke about God’s faithfulness in my marriage, throughout the loss of babies, woven into the terrible accident my husband had, and about the power of prayer that carried me through.

I didn’t really ask for these opportunities to speak.

I was shaking and crying the first time I spoke in front of the women of our church. Baring my soul was such an emotional experience. I had dealt with pain and suffering, loss that I would’ve thought could kill me. I had been to the depths, but I had also been to the heights as I experienced a closeness with God that taught me He is the Way.

After speaking, I was stunned by some of the reactions…

“Wow! I was always jealous of you because you seemed to have it all, the perfect life.”

“I wanted a third baby and when I saw you had one, I resented you. I’m sorry…I had no idea.”

“I wish I had a God story like you…”

“I’ve never told anyone this, but I lost a baby too. I was only three months pregnant…but it still hurts.”

When I heard these comments and many more, I came away with a deep burning desire to:

1. Share my story so people would know they are not alone; we all struggle, we all experience loss.

2. Assure people, especially women, that they absolutely do have a God story…and it matters.

3. Learn from one another, grow in faith, and glorify God in the sharing of our stories.

The opportunities to share continued, but I wanted to reach more women and share more stories, not just mine. I knew so many women who had amazing God stories. Stories of loss and gain, love and pain, healing; lives that had been touched by God and changed forever. Stories from a wide range of women—multicultural, multiracial, multi-age, multi-denominational. Stories that had the common thread of faith, sometimes terribly tested, shredded faith, but faith nonetheless…faith that sometimes falters, sometimes bursts forth.

I wanted to share our triumphs and tragedies…how God had shown up in the midst of them all.

At first, I pictured a magazine that would be full of these stories. I was a writer and editor, so this was a natural venue. But this idea simmered without the financial support I needed...while the magazine business faltered.

Then the Internet took off and this seemed the natural place to start.

I prayed, wrote notes, shared my vision…and eventually, we had a group of five women who were on board with the dream. We talked, prayed, planned, hired a web developer, agonized over a logo, settled on a name and a tagline that fit.

Then, just a few weeks before our launch party, we were down to a group of two. I didn’t think this was enough human power to proceed. But my faithful cofounder Kimberly Amici assured me we had an Advocate, a Helper, a God who could do more than we could ask or imagine.

I had my doubts, but sometimes you have to fly on the wings of a fellow dreamer.

On September 21, 2013, our dream was born. Circles Of Faith, Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect. We had a wonderful celebration with enthusiastic loving friends cheering us on.

There is so much we didn’t know going in…

We didn’t know much about community/contributor websites. We had no idea how much work, dedication, and intention populating our site would take. And I wasn’t exactly tech-savvy (Thank God Kimberly Amici is way ahead of me on the tech front.)

It’s been nine months of a major learning curve.

There have been obstacles, fits and starts, disappointing stats, and plateaus. We’ve been discouraged, asking ourselves, “Why are we doing this? Is it worth the effort? Did we misunderstand God’s call?”

I tossed and turned with these thoughts one Wednesday night, thinking, praying, and quietly crying out, If we’re going to move forward we need help…

The next morning, I headed downstairs and glanced at my phone. My friend Joy had texted me. She was stepping down from a longstanding commitment. Did we still need someone to work on our Events Calendar?

One day later, I sat in my faithful writers group and my dear friend and writing buddy, Susan Panzica volunteered, “I would love to join you at Circles Of Faith. I think I can help with Administration.” Oh my goodness…I was thrilled. Just the strength we needed.

And then one more day…I met with my friend Chelle who I met online. She was part of the God-Sized Dream team and just happened to live in my town. I updated her on Circles Of Faith. And she offered, “I’ve worked on Strategic Plans many times…I can help you with that!”

Really? I am blown away.

God has confirmed His call. He has supplied our need. He has encouraged us to move forward. To keep dreaming and doing. He is widening the circle and we are walking forward with a brand-new team of amazing women.

We have a vision that only He can fulfill…It’s a God-Sized Dream and it continues to unfold in God’s perfect timing!!

What’s your God-Sized Dream? Where are you on your dream path?


13 comments:

  1. I am so thrilled that your dream is blossoming! Yay for our God, you, God-sized dreams, and God-sized dreamers! Yours is such a story of encouragement, Elise. I'm so glad you summarized it here.

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    1. Thank you Mandy! You are an awesome encourager and I so appreciate you. Blessings!

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  2. Amen! That's all I have. That's all we need.
    In love and friendship,
    your friendly strategic planner

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    1. Oh Chelle, I so cherish our friendship and am in awe of all your amazing gifts. Thank you for being willing to share. You stay in my prayers!

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  3. I love how your faith journey has evolved and God has been there every step!! You are such an encouragement to others and I am excited to see Circles of Faith continue to grow!!

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    1. Thank you Kristin! I am excited about Circles and God Sized Dreams. All good. And I'm looking forward to continuing the journey with you. Blessings!

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  4. Elise, I loved reading of your journey. Makes me love Circles of Faith even more. Your faith is an inspiration and I'm grateful to have connected in this wonderful blogging community. Blessings to you.

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    1. So grateful for you Beth...Your faith is inspiring and so fresh and rich. Just loving getting to know you! And so grateful for your support.

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  5. I still remember when you shared your God story at a MOPS meeting! It was so encouraging!

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    1. Thanks Noelle! You have so much to share. What a gifted writer you are...but it's more than that. You really know how to grab God lessons from the ordinary. Love having you aboard Circles Of Faith!

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  6. Glad I was in on seeing the help unfolding...

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  7. Yes, Penny, you were instrumental!!

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  8. I am new to your site and just reading about your dreams but I know if God gave it to you He will see it all the way through! I remember when my husband and I were pastoring in Missouri and first were asked to go overseas as missionaries, something I had never wanted to do, but that day God was at that little after church meeting and the words that came out of my mouth didn't even sound like mine. When I said, "I'll go..." I thought my husband would fall out of his seat at Applebees! The plan God had in store was a bigger dream than we had imagined and in no time we were in the former Soviet Union planting churches! So girls, think big, because God does!
    Blessings!
    nannette
    www.hopeinthehealing.com

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