Over the past several weeks, I have sensed God doing something new and different in my heart. It's taken me awhile to step back from it and realize that He is building a new measure of faith in me as I take a specific dream that has been close to my heart for the last year or so, and throw it from the safety of my heart's nest, and wait to see if it will find it's wings and fly.
This theme has spread through quite a few of my posts and the two most recent. I didn't know it, but I had unwittingly launched a series of posts that I have decided to call, "The Dream Saga." Although my conscious mind is a bit late to the party, I have gone back and added in the label to those posts to keep them linked together and so that I (and others) can read about what God has done and the wondrous possibilities of what He can and will do.
I have an egg basket on my kitchen counter.
It's filled with some Easter-ish colored shredded paper and some plastic eggs.
Before that, it was collapsed down and hanging from one of my "command centers" by the kitchen.
Why an egg basket, you ask?
It's a symbol of my dream.
About a year ago, my kids, my mom and I ventured out to a family-run farm for a homeschool field trip. This lovely family -- with homeschooled children now grown and working on the farm -- let my kids explore through the chicken coop, the goat pen, through the thicket of turkeys, the garden and even gave us a ride on a trailer through their vineyards.
We had a blast and my kids came alive crawling around hunting for eggs and filling wire baskets, trying to catch lizards and swinging from their tree swing.
As we sipped ice water, traded stories about our homeschooling journey, and enjoyed the cool breeze on their enclosed porch, I felt it...such a strong sense of contentment and tranquility.
I had kept a special eye on my second born child through it all-- the one who had just been diagnosed with ADHD. The one who was struggling to find a new normal on her medication that often made her emotional and out of sorts.
She was having the time of her life.
I looked around me and breathed a prayer before I even realized I was doing it.
"Please, Lord....can I have...this?"
I'm not sure at that point, I knew exactly what this was....of course, we were not in a position to buy a John Deere tractor and start making furrowed rows for crops. I didn't feel ready to take on a gaggle of turkeys, or a bunch of goats.
But the wide open space...the lack of tall wooden fences to enforce boundaries...the quiet and absence of road noise and sirens...it was intoxicating.
My body relaxed and my shoulder muscles released and I felt....peace.
They sent us home full of that peace and a dozen eggs that my children had hunted down.
I went home and jumped on the internet in search of an egg basket like we had used that day. I found the perfect one, but my mouse hovered over the "Buy Now" button for awhile. It seemed like a foolish purchase in our present situation.
A few months later, I decided to take a leap of faith and buy one. When it came, a few days later, I showed it to the kids and told them that it would remind us to pray for a peaceful bigger place of our own -- whatever that would look like.
Almost a year to the date, I felt like it was time to revisit that dream. Upon checking in with our realtor, we found that our house was not only on the positive equity side, we would be able to net enough for a down payment on something else.
I took down the egg basket in its collapsed state, and I set it up on the counter...and I filled it.
I put out a couple of other Spring/Easter decorations, and as people came and looked at our house, we waited. Realtors put their business cards next to the basket...one, three, seven, ten cards piled up. And then the one we had been waiting for...a full offer on our house -- just what we needed and a smidgen more.
Easter came and went. The tomb was empty and then filled with the Son of God and Son of Man. Scripture and the prophecy was fulfilled.
The Easter decorations went away, but the basket remains. Open, filled with only a copy of the real thing. But I am believing that one day -- not too far in the distance -- it will be filled with real eggs that my children will wake up excited to hunt down.
At times, I have continued to feel a bit foolish -- making that online purchase for something that had no purpose or use in our current situation. It was a fanciful dream. But, yet, I felt compelled to buy it. To display it. To meditate on it. To faith it into being.
You see...sometimes we have to be comfortable enough to sit with the emptiness and still believe.
The cradle that seems to mock us with its emptiness. The empty side of the couch and bed that has been anxiously waiting for the presence of the spouse for which we have longed and yearned. The passport that is devoid of visas and stamps and lays languishing in a drawer.
But these things must exist in emptiness before the miracle of the filling.
Before I was married, I enjoyed hearing a story about another single gal who bought a pair of men's pants and laid them over the bottom of her bed -- asking God to "fill those pants" with the mate He wanted for her. While it's a cute and slightly comical story, I always liked the moxy of that act.
So often we don't want to be reminded of that emptiness. We do everything we can to banish it from our thoughts. The idea of intentionally putting out something that would fall into our everyday line of sight is unthinkable.
Or is it?
Perhaps rather than stowing our greatest empty dream away into a journal, or even locked away in our drawer or hearts, we should find the courage to pull it out and display it. And pray over it. And weep over it. And share it with others. And hope-fully, one day, put our hands on that object, lift it up and rejoice over it.
I'm learning not to fear the empty, but to be grateful that it allows for infilling.
Yes, I am still waiting my egg basket to be filled with the real deal. But until then I will see it every waking day and continue to pray.
Because we never know when the empty will be filled.
The iPad 2 case I felt compelled to buy in December which was on sale at my local grocery store...the one that I had no iPad 2 to put inside of....the one that I wrestled with taking back for a refund several times, but every time, put it away with other electronic items for a hoped for "one day." The one I would see and think about how much my homeschooled children, my ADHD beauty, and my inner-writer would love to own...
Well, that iPad 2 case is in the process of being filled. It will arrive in a few days -- secondhand in wonderful condition, with extra goodies from a friend who doesn't need it any longer. Empty for almost six months, it's merely days away from being filled.
And the truth is that every empty thing is only days away from being filled. Only One knows just how many.
Postscript: The iPad arrived a few days ago and would you know...not only does it looks great in the case I bought, I am able to use it with the Logitech keyboard/case that my friend sent along. If that is not synchronicity, then I don't know what is....