December 26, 2011

A New Year, A New Heart


A while back I traveled in El Salvador with Compassion International.

Honestly I was hesitant. Going across the world meant going to a place in my heart I feared. A place a dream was buried. A dream I was afraid to re-awaken — should it die again, the grief would be insurmountable. When this dream is surrendered to the Lord, it ruthlessly, tenderly breaks me. In a thousand good ways. But it’s not been surrendered. It’s been locked up and covered with the dust and debris of hurt, mistrust and disappointment.

Disappointment not in the dream. Rather, in the dream Giver. The Giver of all things… life, faith, desire. I know this is Truth. But my reality had shifted to a lie in which the Giver was the Taunter…dangling the proverbial carrot, always in sight; always out of reach.

He’d been trying to talk with me about this misunderstanding for some time. But life is a superb sound barrier. I didn’t want to hear about it, “If this dream isn’t going to come true by yesterday, don’t mention it again.” As the day to leave for El Salvador drew closer, I desperately buried deeper the place my heart dreaded. Disdained. Hated even. I wasn’t fond of who I’d become. It was ugly. Seriously filthy.

The first night in El Salvador we shared how we could pray for one another.

It was then I heard the knock. My bygone dream rapping. “Let me out. Talk about me. Be accountable.” And so I did.

I told of my love for missions, particularly foreign missions. And the grand temptation to turn my heart off…detach…withdraw from loving the one in front of me well. Because I was given that dream when I was a little girl and carefully tended it for two decades. I was convinced it’d been shut down; I’d been deceived.

It’s scary to trust again. To greet the edge of a dark cliff, jumping takes faith. The possibility that maybe {holding breath here} maybe… the dream isn’t really dead, perhaps it’s just on hiatus… hibernating… germinating… cultivating…well, sometimes that feels like too much to bear. Is a twist on the old adage true? “It’s better to have dreamt and lost, than never to have dreamt at all.” I’m beginning to believe so.

Reality and Truth held my hand in El Salvador and gently eased me away from the lies, hurt, mistrust. Being with children who laid their tiny hands on my head in prayer. Radiated joy though they know more pain in their 6 years than I will ever know in 86 years. Proclaimed the goodness of our God with no reserve. These awakened the dream in my heart. And I know, part of its dormancy is my fault. I must take time to nourish it through local missions, writing letters to my CI kids, loving the ones in front of me well.

An open heart gives way to open ears. Honestly, I still catch myself holding my breath. I’m jumping gingerly. But a miracle happened I can’t ignore. A dead dream came back to life; and hope was resurrected. And each day since, the Holy Spirit has gently tapped me on the shoulder and now I’m listening. He reminds me that yes, indeed, He is the Giver of all things. Life, faith, desires. And Truth. For this I am grateful.

~Does this resonate with you too? I’d love to dialogue. What dream do you pray is revived this year?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~Ezekiel 36

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  1. Hi beautiful dreamer,

    I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you this year!

    I feel like my dreams are waking up, stretching, and getting poised for soaring! I’m looking forward to what the Dream Giver has for me this year, too.

    Hey! I got a full-size lap top for Christmas, and now I can see how absolutely gorgeous your website is! Wowzers! My tiny little netbook didn’t do it justice.

    I love you sweet Sam, LB

    • LB, thrilled your dreams are yawning a sleepy “good morning” and breaking into a new day feet first on the ground. So excited for you and all God has in store. Keep following after faithful Him.

      New lap top? Ooooh, sweet! All the better to see YOUR beautiful new blog~ 🙂

      Here’s to the dreamers and the Giver, xoxo

  2. Oh, sweet Sam. Your heart echoes mine in so many ways. It amazes me! You are able to express those desires and longings so much better though!

    It has been a deep ache imprinted on my heart that for years I feared would never be satisfied but… The Great Giver is satisfying beyond measure. In February of this year, I head to Africa!! And not only myself, but my hubby and daughter as well. We are going to share the love of the Father with those of Lagos Nigeria. Whoot-whoot!!

    Ezekiel 36:26 is a life verse for me. Am in love with it!

    • Oooooooohh, OOooooohhh!! Doing the happy dance with you! Africa!! With your hubs and girl!! Amazing….!!!!!

      He goes before you and behind you. He sets your feet on high places. He commands His angels concerning you.

      Can. Not. Wait. to hear all about your adventures, friend.


  3. “An open heart gives way to open ears.” I like that, Sam.

  4. i have fibromyalgia and have let it rule my life…enough…i am going to read Gods Word eat better and exercise and pray more for God to open a door for me to find work and ministry…in Jesus Name Amen….Jeremiah 32:27

    • Karen, I too struggle with pains, aches, and exhaustion (mine comes from chronic fatigue syndrome). I will be praying for your goals, as they are in line with my own. May we take confidence that we can do all things through Christ who gives is strength!

      • Amen, Brooke! Thanks for this encouragement that indeed… we can do all things through Christ. May the Lord encourage you every step of the way. Happy New Year… xoxo

    • Hi Karen, just remember, (this is something i really took grasp of, really deeply…so I’m just sharing it, NOT JUDGING, just sharing!)

      Remember, as Christ is on the right hand of our Father…SO ARE YOU! Jesus is healed and by His stripes you WERE healed, ARE healed and WILL ALWAYS be healed…He is WHOLE at the right hand of our Father and as HE is, SO ARE YOU!

      The enemy sends sicknesses and what better disease to give you, right? so talk back to the enemy and claim your healing! and if you feel you need back up, just shout it out in Jesus name!

      No, I haven’t got it all together, dealing with MAJOR things on my own end…as soon as I finished reading your post, that was the first thing that came to mind and I normally don’t respond to posts! LOL!

    • Wow! Amen Karen!! You’ve inspired me! Blessings to you as you dive into changes this New Year with the Lord. xoxo

  5. I can relate to your first two paragraphs at the moment:

    “Honestly I was hesitant. Going across the world meant going to a place in my heart I feared. A place a dream was buried. A dream I was afraid to re-awaken — should it die again, the grief would be insurmountable. When this dream is surrendered to the Lord, it ruthlessly, tenderly breaks me. In a thousand good ways. But it’s not been surrendered. It’s been locked up and covered with the dust and debris of hurt, mistrust and disappointment.
    Disappointment not in the dream. Rather, in the dream Giver. The Giver of all things… life, faith, desire. I know this is Truth. But my reality had shifted to a lie in which the Giver was the Taunter…dangling the proverbial carrot, always in sight; always out of reach.”

    This is exactly where I am right now, struggling to believe what I read in the Bible, broken-hearted over not only the loss of my dream but in my experience that God has not been faithful. That feeling that I haven’t experience God the way the Bible describes concerning my most precious dream has almost shattered my faith. I prayed so hard, I sought God, I believed I had received confirmation, wrote down Bible verses and everything, all my church family were in agreement and support of me – I genuinely believed that my dream was God’s for me too. I spoke the promises that I believed God had been telling me over and over again, never losing hope that my dream might come true, and I believed in my heart that God would make things clear.

    Well he did – only for just a few short weeks later to tear it all away from me. I know I prayed hard, I read the Bible, I sought God so honestly and urgently, spoke with older, more mature Christian friends – I did everything I could think of to seek God’s will and I just don’t understand why He would mislead me, let me hope again and then to rip my dream away from me. I’m having trouble believing that God is faithful and good and kind. I did “seek the Lord with all my heart” but he didn’t do His bit “and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

    I had found Bible verses from various books in the Bible, I had prayed so earnestly “God, if I’m reading something into this that isn’t Your will, please show me a verse that even I, in my emotional state, can’t misunderstand.” But He didn’t – instead I received more and more confirmation, until I reluctantly dared to hope again.

    I feel let down and I don’t know how on earth I’m supposed to trust God anymore; this dream was the most precious one I had, and although I know God doesn’t owe me anything, I do feel that because I so earnestly sought His will, tried my best to do what is right (although I did slip up a bit I admit) and received confirmation from God, that He has let me down.

    Sorry for typing on and on and on – but the first half of your post resonated with me so much, and I’m desperate for some guidance. Please, if you have a minute, could you pray for me?

    • Hi Jac,
      I don’t have any good answers for you, because I could have written your words. I won’t say that if you trust and have faith God will set everything right, because that isn’t how life usually works — not until we get to heaven, at any rate! But I know exactly how you feel. Time after time my dreams have been crushed, even though I have diligently done everything I can to follow and seek after the will of our Lord. Now I am at the point where I just pray that, if my dreams are not in His plans for me, that He will take them from my heart. I will say that through it all I have learned to love Him for who He is and not what He has done for me — He is always good, no matter my own circumstances or what my future holds. Just know that you are not alone!

      • Anon, thanks for your heart to minister and love others well. Super sweet and so appreciated! I pray the Lord gives you the desires of your heart in expected… and oh so lavishly luscious unexpected treats!

        He’s a good God. Amen.


    • Dear Jac, thank you for sharing. I too {in a different dream than this one I wrote about} prayed and sought the Lord and had TONS of confirmation… for years i waited faithfully and fully submitted to God. And the dream didn’t come to pass. I know that hurt and loss.

      A friend of mine looked me in the eye and said, “Sam, you need to say out loud that God is good and He is still faithful, no matter what.” I bawled like a baby. It took me about a half hour, but I finally got the words out. And for days, months… I said preached that truth to my soul. Let’s preach in prayer, shall we?

      Father God, thank you, that … no matter what… you are good and you are faithful. Faithful beyond our pain and disappointments. Good beyond our circumstances and failed dreams. You are always and will forever be a good and faithful Father. Please give Jac’s soul rest and courage and hope and faith. And wipe away the doubts that impend. Thanks so much Jesus. Amen.


  6. Oh how wonderful our God is! Thank you for posting this, I’m sure it has touched many. But, I do have to say that I am absolutely certain that I was meant to see this! Thank you!

  7. well, I tried to be anonymous and that’s what happens…your email triggers your picture! LOL. Oh well…might as well post my blog.

  8. Oh Sam, I can’t even LTS because I have a big lump in my throat and tears running down my cheeks. I just love you and your heart. SO excited to see all the Lord has for you. Love you so much Sam.

    Hugs and prayers,

    • Feeling your sweet hugs and love through the screen. Thank you for your constant encouragement and grace. Praying His desires of your heart come to be this year for you and your sweet fam.

      LOVE you to pieces friend!!

      xoxo, Sam

  9. I’m currently wrestling with surrendering my dream of writing a young adult fiction book based on my experience being raised by a father with depression/bipolar disorder.
    The book is written; it received a grant from a national children’s writers organization, caught the interest of 2 editors and one agent…but ultimately they passed on it. Waiting/surrendering/germinating can feel like quitting, especially when well-intentioned friends and family ask how the book is going! It’s been 10 years and two revisions since I started.
    So the dream I hope is resurrected in 2012 is my dream of writing to draw people closer to God. Whatever form that takes, even if it’s not the book.
    As I type this it occurs to me that the main thing that got me through a tumultuous childhood was my faith in God, but I haven’t put that in the book. Trying to be mainstream and marketable. Maybe that’s part of the problem!
    Thanks for sharing your story. It certainly hit a chord.

    • Hi Robin,

      I can relate to some of what you shared. My Dad had depresstion/bipolar disorder and alcoholism, and I have tried to numb myself to the pain of that those most painful parts of my past by not thinking about them and my mind has also simply blocked out other parts of my childhood and teen years. I have a love for writing, a desire to write mainly poetry and prose that points people to God, but God may have more in mind for me. I know that God taught me lessons through those hard times, His Word promises that He works all things together for the good for those who love GOd and are called according to His purpose.

      I was just thinking a little bit ago that God has performed miracles in many relationships with my family and friends, and in my family and friends. I write this sitting at my childhood home, where my Mom lives, and where a lot of tough stuff happened in the past. There have been times that it was painful to just be here because the enemy (devil) wanted me to focus on the pain of those times and not see the healing that God has persistenly and faithfully poured onto and into those memories and relationships. I sit here today in awe of how God has indeed brought real love, real forgiveness, real hope, real laughter into relationships and hearts that had been beaten and battered by darkness…God’s Light, Jesus Christ, has triumphed over the grave, sin, death, hate, disease, malice, fear, all darkness! Jesus won! God won!!!! As a Christmas hymn says, “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep! …THe wrong shall fail, the right prevail! For peace on earth, goodwill to men!” As my pastor said yesterday in church, we know the end of the story! Though mankind will sin, and the devil rail against us, GOD WINS! GOD WON! GOD REIGNS!

      Thank you for sharing your posts, Sam and Robin! And all of you dear ones…I have read them all and knew that God was calling me to read something posted by Proverbs 31 tonight.

      God loves you, Beloved of God!
      God is faithful!

      “Trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on your own understanding and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

    • Hi Robin, ohhhh, can I relate! Just got a rejection letter from a publisher on a fiction novel too. I’m sorry yours hasn’t been picked up yet. And pray the Lord shines lights to areas He’d like a few more edits. Though I know after 10 years, it may be hard to pick it back up again.

      One practical thing I’d love to suggest is attending Proverbs 31 Ministries’ She Speaks Conference. It’ll be July 20-22 in Concord, NC. It’s a speakers/writers conference, and you can schedule a 15-minute publisher appointment to propose your book. The website hasn’t been updated with new sessions yet, but here is a link if you’re interested

      Blessings to you friend! Thanks for sharing.


  10. Hi…my mom sent me this article and I cried from the first sentance. This could have been my own post. Thank you for the hope that the dreams the lord gives us are not easily given up to death. I have done so much missions in my life. Guatemala Japan Serbia are a few and lived in northern Ireland and worked with youth for christ for 3 years there. My heart aches for this ministry again, and like you I don’t do well looking for opportunities here but I’m choosing a word for 2012 and that is Awakening. I want to be awake again to who God has made me and not settling for things that I settle for.
    My husband and I with our little son moved last year to do a church plant and I was so excited about it but then it fell apart right in front of our willing eyes. I feel like we are in prime redirecting land but I’m scared to hope to loud. I know my life to the full is in missions, ministry, being a part of his great story with intentionality.
    Thank you for sharing this…awake my soul and sing!

    • Ashley, your words could have been peeled off the walls of my heart. Line by line. Thank you for sharing and girl, I am agreeing with you in prayer that the Lord will lead and direct y’all in the way you should go. I pray your heart is full of the passions for missions He’s given you and that you’re able to not only awaken them, but LIVE them out this year!!

      Excited for you as you and your passions AWAKEN!


  11. Hi Sam,

    I just posted to Robin, but wanted to tell you how God touched my heart through your words too.

    I thought God was calling me to live in Africa since I was a 13 year old girl (I’m now 40), and at that time I thought it would be in the peace corps. I had a desire to help people, but at that time God seemed distant and I didn’t know yet that He was calling me to draw near and to be born again. I was a seeker for a lot of my teen years and eventually gave most of my heart to God at age 21, ( at the time I thought it was all of it but time has proven otherwise). My love for teaching children, for the poor, my heartbreak at seeing the famines in Africa and the pull toward Kenya in my heart, years teaching and working with children in urban schools and with the poor in the inner city, mission trips to and a summer working in my local inner city, New York city and Appalachia, a mission trip I thought I was supposed to take to Russia that i didn’t due to my own depression and my Mom’s health crisis, all part of my own dreams that I thought would culminate in being a longterm missionary in Africa.

    I just had gastric bypass surgery about 3 months ago, and God has blessed me by removing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol already along with 65 pounds already! Praise God!

    I have been neglecting time alone with God lately, at times feeling like I may be on the edge of being able to take a short term mission trip or a job in christian ministry as God prepares me for missions in Africa. At other times I am wanting to not risk to dream again of being a missionary in Africa, and trying to convince myself that living in my same metro area is fine and what I am called to do. I too struggle with loving those in front of me well, struggle with being a good steward of time and money and talents. Yet I know that God used broken vessels and wrote about it in the Bible, and I have seen God use this broken vessel when I have chosen to obey Him.

    Please pray for me to trust God completely, to hear Him clearly, to know Him intimately, and to share His love faithfully with everyone around me (wherever God places me for however long He has me on this earth!).

    Thank you!
    God bless you!

    • Tammie, what an exciting year you’ve had. And as you gaze on the horizon of 2012, I pray you totally know and feel the Lord standing with you… Dreaming big for you and mapping out His good plans He has for your. Hopeful plans with a future wrapped in His perfect timing and love.

      Whether He longs for you to start with the person next to you, or across the world from you… I hope your dream to serve Him in that ways comes to pass this year. I can tell already that you shine bright!

      Blessings to you as you lean on our good and faithful God!!


      • Hi Samantha,

        Thank you for your encouragement 🙂 Praying for you too as you seek God’s dreams for you and hold His hand as He leads you into the wonderful future He has for you!

        God is faithful!
        God loves you,

  12. Samantha, Your blog posts are a blessing. Your writing is beautiful. It always leaves me wanting more! God is using you in a mighty way 🙂 Love and prayers, my friend.

    • Sweet Beth, you are a blessing. Thank you for your encouragement and cheer!! I pray you had a Merry Christmas and this new year is filled with more knowledge of Him. xoxo

  13. Janet Volpe says:

    Oh, how I am praying for your dream to become everything the Lord has promised. My dream has more to do with home missions – the younger ones, I have a masters degree in Religious Education and that was my life for over 30 years. Then the pastor I was working for told me that he was going to change everything I was doing with the children. I knew that I would not be able to go along with that so I left that position. That was ovver 10 years ago. The pastor blackballed me and I could not get another postition even though I was well known and had always gotten much support in the past. I have been trusting the Lord to give me a way to do that work again. It does not require a paycheck necessarily. My pay has always been seeing the children come to the Lord and claim their salvation. This story could go on and on but I will stop here. Pray for me that something opens up in the new year. Thamk you.

  14. Hi Sam, I read your devotional “Remember” today in my e-mail today, and I wish I had a friend like you here with me! I am surrounded by friends that are married and sometimes it is very hard to be around them. I too, have felt like a “carrot was dangling in front of me” but out of my reach. Thank you for the encouragement to stay strong in the Lord and to know he is the giver and keeper of all our dreams and desires. God Bless You!

  15. Hi Samantha,

    Your devotional inspired me to sponsor a little girl from Kenya. I was always on the fence, but I actually took the step.

    God bless!

  16. Here is a scripture I have hung unto during times when my children have run down roads of destruction…Isaiah 49:24-25 KJV Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? BUT thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the might shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

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