Hi there! Wow, is it cold as I write this post! But it’s January, so all is as it should be. I’m snuggled up in a warm sweater, with a furry blanket on my legs, and the dog curled up next to me. And hot spiced tea. Yummers! Get yourself situated in a comfy spot, and let’s talk about dreams. Do you believe dreams can come true? Do you have any dreams – long term stuff? Have you given up? Let me tell you an incredible story…
For nearly 40 years I dreamed of running a Christian retreat center. A place with nature, cabins, a central lodge with a kitchen, a great library, a beautiful chapel, and the ability to share with folks about God and His love. A place where weary pastors could come and be refreshed, or study in a peaceful setting, away from the demands of ministry. A place where youth directors could bring their students to encounter God away from the electronics and craziness of normal life. A place where families could come and bond together with God. A place where the hurting could find healing. I nearly bought property a time or two; it just never quite came together. But the dream was in my heart. I had it all on paper – property layout, cabin design, right down to the quilts on the beds and some of the books that would be in the library. I never quit dreaming, although sometimes it lay dormant for years.
During that same general time frame, a priest had a similar dream. The Lord provided the property and the live-in community, and a center was born. It sat there for years practically in my back yard, unnoticed, unknown. I found it on a web search a few years ago.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I was born Lutheran, ‘saved’ as a Baptist, then worshiped in an independent Charismatic church. I was divorced, backslid severely, and in a single year lost the most important stuff in my life. I came back to God, then the Baptist Church, then the Charismatic Church… while spending 8 years in a spiritual desert. When He mercifully took me out of that desert, surprise! He led me to the Catholic Church. All that time, I’ve dreamed of the retreat center. Regardless of life circumstances, the dream never died. It faded sometimes, but never went completely away.
For eight years I’ve had a perfect, stable and secure job with men who are absolutely angels in people skin. We are a great team. Sometime in the late summer, my heart began to change. A desire to serve God more than man was birthed someplace along the way. It became increasingly difficult to drag myself to work at that office every day. The job didn’t change; I changed. Then I went on Pilgrimage to Israel. My heart changed even more. The Pilgrimage to Israel poured barrels of rocket fuel on that small fire.
On December 31, I met with the priest who runs that local retreat center. I’ve spent quite a bit of time there for various events, personal retreat time, helping out where I can. He’s become a dear friend and mentor. After several months of prayer and my wrestling with God over what in the world I was supposed to be doing, Fr. D agreed that I will go to work there full time starting in February. Remember I talked in another post about ‘leaving the nets’? Yep, I’m finally leaving the nets. He was smiling as he told me they’d all been waiting for me to ‘get it’ for several months.
Dreams do come true. The job at the center, Sanctuary of Hope Prayer and Retreat Center, is not a ‘normal’ job. It must have been created specifically for me by our Lord. Who else would do this? Position available. Duties include: intercessory prayer, worship and adoration; social media, writing articles; data entry and mailing list maintenance; publicity and public relations; maintenance helper – (think ‘hold this pipe while I attach the other end’); and other duties TBD. Bilingual English/Spanish a plus. Is that eclectic enough? And it’s perfect! Okay, so I’m not quite bilingual, but I’m working on it!
That’s my story. What are you dreaming of doing? Is there something you can do to work toward that dream? Someone you need to talk to? Is there something in your heart that just won’t die out? You can always chat with a pastor or priest. That’s never a bad place to start. Who knows, they may have the right key to unlock your dream. What are you waiting for?