Dreams are Forever…………..

I have just finished doing some overdue typing for my daughter.  She has been competing in high school speech for the past few months with a highly controversial piece on God and dreams and now our church is potentially interested in having her speak to the congregation.  Lately I have been struggling a bit with my own dreams and desperate need to make progress on them.  As a sat here this afternoon typing this speech up to send to my daughters youth pastor, I actually began to read her anointed words and allowed them to sink into my soul and I found myself abruptly reminded of all the basic principles necessary to reach for my dreams.  I thought they might inspire others as well.  And so here they are………

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Who Are You?

By Montana Lawrence

When you take a look at your life what do you see? Who have you been, who are you going to be? Maybe you are exactly who you always dreamed you would be or maybe life is not going the way you had always hoped. Well, I pray that the words I have for you today can show you that no matter who you are, no matter what you are going through, God loves you and He has a plan for your life. When we begin to seek God’s plan for our lives we must first examine our walk with God. Then we will take a look at the importance of trusting and believing in God and finally we will learn how important our dreams are in our lives.

In seeking God’s plan you must examine your walk with Him. Psalms 23:3 says, “He guides me along the right path for His namesake.” Now this poses a question. What is my path? God’s perfect plan is something that He reveals to us gradually throughout our lives. He guides us through life step by step showing us who He wants us to be and what He wants us to do. Everyday God gives us opportunities to follow His plan but He leaves it up to us to make the choices and decisions.

Second, we must understand the importance of trusting and believing in God. God’s plan is perfect and He does love and take care of us, but that does not mean following His plan will be easy or nothing bad will ever happen to you. We live in a fallen world. Sometimes bad things happen and sometimes it’s hard, but no matter what you are going through, God will always be with you, for Psalms 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” You see God will never leave you no matter what the circumstances. We have to be strong and choose to listen to God instead of all the other voices that tell us it’s too hard and that we can’t do it because let’s face it, there are going to be people in your life that are going to reject you because of your faith in God. But the truth is, God’s opinion of you is so much more important. Sometimes in life, we see ourselves as being caught in something that’s too big for us to handle. When we are in these situations one of the most powerful things we can do is pray. Some of us may think that prayer is simply asking God for things we need, but prayer is actually talking with God. Philippians Chapter 4 verses 6-8 says, “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We have to trust God because He sees the whole picture when we only see small fragments of it. When we think there is no way out, God makes a way. If we constantly tell ourselves I can’t do it, it’s too hard, then it will be. We have to be more like the little engine that could. As she began that ascend that mountain, she said, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” All the way up the mountain she kept on saying that she could do it and she believed she could. Instead of running away from her challenges, she

faced them with all her might. We have to be willing to face our fears and challenges because God has a way of using them to make us stronger.

Finally, you must both identify and believe in your dreams. On August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington DC before thousands of Americans and he declared to all of them that he had a dream. He did not get up and say, “Well guys, segregation is horrible and you know people are being killed, neglected and hurt. Wow, things are really awful for us, maybe we should just give up.” No, he got up on that podium and he said, “ I have a dream.” he knew what he was fighting for and he understood that he had a purpose in life and that now matter who he was and no matter where he came from, God wanted to use him to do great things. A lot of times we as people have difficulty determining what we are working towards and ultimately what we are living for. We spend too much time worrying about our circumstances and not enough time focussing on the things God wants to do through us. That is why dreams are so important in our lives. Our dreams are what set the foundation for some of the major accomplishments we will have. Everyone needs dreams because it’s extremely difficult to determine who you are and who you are going to be without them. God lays certain dreams on everyone’s heart and we have to believe we can accomplish the dream He puts in us. He wouldn’t have given them to us if we could’t accomplish them. However, just wanting your dreams is not enough. You have to work for it and like I said, “It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.” You have to believe in yourself because if you don’t that will set you up to fail. Your mind is a powerful thing. The thoughts you form eventually become a reality. As my dad often puts it, “The body achieves what the mind believes.” Most of all, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it because it’s not true. Philippians chapter 4 verse 13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe that if you work for your dreams everyday and trust God to guide you, that you will accomplish them. I also believe that anything is possible with God.

In this life, there are very few things worth living for. It’s not enough to live for money or fame or even for ourselves, because you will find that living for our own selfish desires will never give us the ultimate fulfillment that we long for. The only thing that fills that gap, that emptiness in our hearts is Jesus Christ. John 3:16 says, “For God so live the world that He gave His only son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves you so much that He was willing to give his own son to die for you. His love is so great it is more than your or I can comprehend. Maybe you think that you can’t find God,that it is too late, but I am here to tell you that every day God gives us opportunities to follow His plan, to love and be loved by Him. We examined our walk with God and then we took a look at the importance of trusting and believing in God and finally we learned how important our dreams are in our lives.

The truth is that God will never stop loving you and when you do choose to receive Him and choose to follow His perfect plan, you will feel His fulfillment in your heart and it will change your life forever.

Planning For The Future

Every January after the snow dust settles from the Christmas rush and the joy of constant celebration I find myself extremely reflective.  I spend time reviewing the last year and assess my successes and my failures in an effort to be more affective for the year ahead. It is a process that takes time and leaves me more focused and ready to start fresh with the sincere hope of accomplishing more.

During this time of reflection, I found myself recognizing a deep need for more dedication to organization and discipline.  Worse yet I am convinced that I will need to engage in regular exercise, which I hate, and better diet choices.  I had great opportunity for success this year in my life as a wife, mother, writer and speaker.  But the key element missing in my recipe for a complete life of contentment is definitely more “BALANCE”.

It sounds so simple, so straightforward, almost attainable.  We shall see.  In an effort to achieve my goal for balance I am going to step out and engage my blog audience.  I will share the steps I take from this day forward, both the good and the ugly and I hope to hear from you along the way.

It is a bit of a catch phrase, or cliche to say the I need more “BALANCE”.  It seems like such a simple task.  It has continued to elude me despite me past efforts.  So, instead of just toying with the idea of “BALANCE” I plan to take it step by step, day by day and I am hopeful you will share in my process and true confessions along the way.

Stuck In The Mud

The Mud

This afternoon as I was finishing up my lunch, my daughter rushed in breathlessly to report that the new baby calf was stuck in the mud.  We have had an exceptional amount of rain here in the last 7 days and there is water on top of the ground just about everywhere.

So, in a flurry, we all jumped to our feet (me and the kids) threw on our shoes and headed out the door on a rescue mission.  Upon arriving on the scene it was evident that our little guy had been stuck for awhile.  Shoulder deep in the dark, black, soupy mud from the rain the night before, no mother to be found, he looked pretty beat.  Not without a bit of struggle and a lot of tugging and pushing, we finally managed to get him to high ground and to a place of peace and rest in the rich green grass of the pasture.                                                                       What a relief for him and for us.

Interesting enough, as I was standing there watching him rest in the clean green grass with the calm breeze blowing and the sun giving off just the right amount of warmth it dawned on me that in this experience God was speaking to me.

How many times in life do we end up wandering off the path that God has placed in front of us and end up horribly stuck in the mud.  And as we sink and struggle and wrestle with the mud we just end up more stuck.  Pretty soon, just like the little calf, we give up, exhausted, frustrated and depressed.  And even though we can see the green pasture intended for us, just a few feet away, we don’t know how we will ever reach it.

It is in that moment of complete exhaustion and surrender that God will come along, if we ask, pluck us out of the mud, and drag our tired soul to the green pastures.  His place of rest. Psalm 23 says “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.”

Green Pastures

The moral of the story is don’t wander off and get stuck!  Stay in that place of rest, wait on Him and He will make your path straight.  I have been stuck for awhile, and in that moment of physical rescue for the baby calf, God opened my eyes to see His will for my life.  He brought me to the green pasture, gave me rest.  He restored my soul.

If you have been wandering too as I suspect many of us have, look up.  Let the Almighty lead you to your place of rest.  He will if you let Him.

The Future Of America

Wyatt Is On The Far Right

I look at this picture of my son Wyatt and his group of 6th grade friends and I have hope for the future.  This photo was taken of the boys at their first band concert and they all agreed that they were going to wear ties even though they were not required.

With all the crazy stuff going on our there in our world today and the questions I have as a middle-aged patriot, I feel encouraged to see such a great group of young men, proud to stand tall, together.

What most of you may not realize is that ALL of them are polite, respectful handsome young men.  I am so thankful for my son, his choices and his friends.  Based on this photo, America is in good hands.

Back To Basics

Been away for a while…..looking for myself.  It happens that way sometimes for everyone I believe.  I have wanted to write but had nothing to say.  Writing for nothing seems pointless and a waste of time.  So I waited.

During this time of year I find myself in a constant state of reflection.  What have I accomplished, have I met my goals, am I a complete failure, what can I do better, and most importantly, what am I thankful for.

So today, on the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend I return from a long absence to write and reflect and resume communication with all of you who have become part of my life through technology.  And what has my time of reflection given me you might wonder????

What I have determined is, that regardless of our state of mind or what is occurring day in and day out, God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  That even when we take time off from Him, He patiently waits for our return.  That His constancy is the only thing in this crazy world we can depend on no matter what.  God is dependable.  God is loyal.  God is loving. God is my strength.  God is my deliverer, and everything else is just a distraction from the truth.

It is good to be back………..

My Hair Bra…….

So, my four year old son and I are sitting in the dining room this morning listening to some new christian music through itunes ( he loves music) and all of the sudden he says to me, “Mamma, are you going to take out your hair bra or leave it in?”  After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I confirmed with him that he was referring to my pony tail rubber band.  But,  when you think about it bras are ment to hold “things” up right? So I think I am going to stick with hair bra from now on.  Make it a great day!

Back To School

Just some random thoughts today…….I have been school shopping with my children for the last two days with one day and one child left to go.  I take them individually as my mother did in hopes of giving them that one on one time that they never get with four children in the house.  We shop, eat and talk, I love it.  It gives me time to chat with them about the things on their mind that I hardly ever get to hear.  I learn some amazing things about who they are during those brief shopping sprees.

But I have observed something rather interesting during the process this year.  As I spend time cashing out visiting with cashiers or other moms, many have commented on how they can’t wait for the kids to go back to school.  I had one cashier say,  ” I bet you are looking forward to school starting?”  To her shocking surprise I responded, “No,  I’m not ready.  I love having my kids home and I miss them when they go back.”  Her response,  “That is soooo sweet!”  And the way she said it made me think that my response was unusual.

Now I don’t want to pick on anybody and I openly admit that there are times during the summer when I send the kids outside with directions to stay out and find something to do for a while.  But the deafening silence that ensues when school begins makes me sad. Fact is I miss them.  When my “Man of the North” and I had children it was intentional.  We like being around them.

Time passes so fast here on earth.  My children are by far the greatest gift besides my husband that God has given me.  I truly treasure my gift.  And with the beginning of another school year comes new milestones.  My oldest son is starting middle school and my daughter is in her last year of middle school on the cusp of high school.  My youngest turned four, three weeks ago and will start kindergarten next year.

My dad said to me once, “I turned around twice and you were gone.”  I am planning to enjoy the turns.