Several years ago I wrote the following except in an old blog:
Recently I was watching the movie Conviction, detailing the real life story of Betty Anne Waters. Waters, who had a brother wrongfully convicted of murder, spent 18 years putting herself through law school in order to prove her brother’s innocence. She was a waitress, had 2 children, and had limited time and resources. Despite her circumstances, she chipped away, step by step, and reached her primary goal of freeing her brother.
I found her story so inspiring, because it so clearly portrayed how any small person can accomplish something great, no matter how long it takes. Even Noah, who was commanded to build the arc, was estimated to have taken 55-75 years to complete it. Had I been in the same situation, I can’t say I would have done it. Sometimes I think of how can I change things today, rather than how can I change them tomorrow. How many of you have ever dreamed of accomplishing something, or getting somewhere, but couldn’t because of certain circumstances or limitations. Have you ever wished you could open up a free clinic in a third world country, but aren’t a doctor? Ever dreamed you owned several houses you could offer at no charge to low income families in need, but didn’t even own your first home yet? How about yearning to preach to congregations about the great and amazing Glory of God, and all His wonders, but only know a few stories from the bible? It is situations like these that make me think, if I don’t do it, who will? If there were enough people doing all these things, then many of these problems could be reduced.
The problem I always sit and think about, is the problem of children without families. I often think, plan, and dream, of how I can change legislature so rules are changed about the well being of children in foster care. I wish I had the authority to go to the UN and demand changes for international adoption. I wonder what I could do if I had my own adoption agency, free of charge, and how many more adoptions might be possible if finances weren’t an issue. There are so many things that NEED to be done, by so many MILLIONS of people, yet I think we underestimate ourselves, and God. We are capable of so much more, and He is capable of EVERYTHING! So what are we waiting for?
A year after watching that movie I tried to enroll in the social work degree program to become a social worker, to try and make a difference. Being a mother of 4 young children, not having a lot of money, and definitely not a lot of time, it obviously didn’t work out. I was discouraged and shoved the idea to the back of my mind. I think my problem was that I was trying to take too big a step, was trying to swallow before I chewed. What if instead, I took my time? Chipped away at it, little step by little step? Think about someone you know, or yourself, who might be in their mid thirties or older. If they had thought of something big, maybe 10 or 15 years earlier, they would be in a position NOW to get it accomplished, just as we may be years from now! What if I took one course a semester, or even one a year, until all my children were in school? Even if it took me 15 years to complete a degree in social work, in 15 years from now would I rather be ready to embark on great changes for those children in need, or would I prefer spending my days not fighting for change. I don’t at all regret not going to school earlier. I know I am where I am supposed to be. I love my life and raising my beautiful family. But I am not going to be a mother to young children forever. There will come a day when they have all moved out and onto their own God inspired journeys, and I want to be ready for my journey as well. God has given us so many abilities and is just waiting for us to use them. We are the ones who are going to change the world! I encourage you to think of something big you have always dreamed of doing, and start thinking of how you can get there. All it takes is one little step at a time until you eventually find yourself on the other side of the world! Last night I signed up for my first course. What will you do?
Almost 7 years ago I wrote the above post and signed up for my first social work class. It was all about taking small steps to accomplish something big in the name of God. When writing that post I had felt led to sign up for school to become a social worker, so that I might make changes in the lives of children without families. The article was about turning dreams into a tangible reality. I had the expectation that I would chip away at it slowly and complete it sometime in the far future. I was excited, encouraged, but to be honest, I was a bit scared and a tiny bit doubtful. Part of me thought “How on earth am I going to do this?” At the time I had 5 kids, 3 with special needs, already ran an orphan ministry and had a husband in school to become a firefighter! I knew God was calling me to step-up, but I truly was a bit doubtful. Having 5 kids had been exhausting…truly exhausting. I trusted my Father though, and moved forward, unsure how exactly my future would unfold.
Almost 7 years later, all I can say is God really DOES know what He is talking about. When He is the one in charge, the Holy Spirit steps in and amazing things are accomplished. My original thought had been one course a semester, maybe even a year, depending on how I could handle it. Funny how I assumed it was me who would have to handle things (we all know who really handled it). Today, however, thanks to God’s amazing power, I am a registered social worker. I achieved my diploma in social services and a Bachelor of Social Work. I managed to complete a 4 year degree in the required 4 years, in addition to adding 2 more children into my family. I often wonder how it all worked out so well. I am not a coffee drinker, have never even had a cup my entire life. Yet the way I managed to somehow get through everything was to stay awake long hours. I basically put my kids to bed at 7pm, and then spent from 7pm-midnight or later doing homework, folding laundry, working on ministry things and spending time with my hubby. By the time I go to bed it was usually 12:30 or 1:00am in the morning, and then I woke up the next day at 6am. I should have been exhausted. Prior experience has taught me that doing such ridiculous things would leave me unconscious and napping every day. Yet somehow, somehow I feel like I had all the caffeine in the world to get me through each day. I finally realized what that caffeine was. It was my God. My amazing, powerful, and all knowing God, who knew from the beginning that He would be the driving force behind what I do. After all, I am merely a tool for Him to use. God is my caffeine and the only reason I was able and am able to do what I do.
Here’s the real kicker. I reread my post from that day 7 years ago, and realized I had divulged one of those dreams you often don’t reveal to people, or don’t think will ever come true, like becoming a president, or opening an orphanage, or something that seems so unfathomable you feel silly even saying it. My dream had been to one day open an adoption agency, free of charge, to make adoptions more accessible. Well…as usual….me with my little faith, thought it nothing more than a pipe dream. But GOD knew it was a reality, He was planting a seed because He knew it would come to fruition one day SOON! Today, I now run an adoption charity focused on bringing awareness, education, and support for all things adoption and foster care related.
While it is not an adoption agency yet, it is the foundation to which we will one day build one. I have a great team who works alongside me and we have managed to implement many programs to support children. All this because I took a step of faith, unsure of where it would lead me. Why am I telling you all of this? I am certainly not trying to say “look at everything I have done,” on the contrary; it is hard and extremely awkward for me to say these types of things. I instead say them to you to encourage you! For so many of you out there who have a dream, a dream you think might come true some day in the future, or maybe not at all, or have desired doing something but don’t think you can, or have the energy or time…I just want to say YOU can’t, but GOD CAN! God will give you unthinkable strength, unimaginable energy, and HE can be your caffeine! He can give you the passion and driving force to move mountains, if you only let Him. I hope this encourages you to take a step of faith and do something scary, uncomfortable, and unimaginable, and wait to be amazed by what follows!
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