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all that matters…

I had a dream that woke me up last night…it awakened me both literally and spiritually.
It left me wanting my life to be consecrated anew and afresh for the Lord.

This life I live…it isn’t my own. 
My life…my heart…my mind…my soul…it all belongs to God.

I think the dream was from God, and I think it was meant for my healing and maybe yours.  He reached down into the deepest parts of me and did something.  Somewhere in the tears and the prayers and the letters I wrote to Andy and the kids early this morning, he did something.  Yes.  I wrote letters to Andy and the kids.  Welcome to my crazy.  When you have a dream like I had, you want to be sure your people have words written straight from your heart to theirs.  Anyway, there’s no formula.  There’s no drill.  There’s no step by step that I had to do before he did it.  I had a dream and he met me there, and he supernaturally did something in the deepest parts of my soul.  

I’ve lived my life believing in free will.  I know we have choice.  But, with all that is within me, I know deeply that his love and his grace reaches down to us.  He seeks us and pursues us, when we aren’t seeking and pursuing him.  I love that I don’t have to find him.  I don’t have to reach up toward him.  His love comes down.  He’s always coming to us.  He came down.  He moved and breathed and walked the earth with us, and then he died for us.  
Today, he met me in a dream.

In the dream, I was in a car accident.  I was alone and I was dying.  I was very aware that I was completely out of control.  I know you don’t really know me, but something I’d like you to understand is that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to be in control.  Now, I feel this need to tell you that it isn’t as bad as you may be imagining.  I’m not a complete control freak.  But, the truth is, any amount of control leads you down a path of independence,  and independence leads you to self-reliance and self-protection and ultimately, independence from God.
Isn’t it crazy ridiculous that a huge struggle for me has been a need for control, yet the very first feeling I felt in this extremely vivid dream was my total lack of it?  And wouldn’t you guess that the very next feeling that overwhelmed me was the enormity of God’s  complete control.  It’s a divine conspiracy.:)

In the dream, I trusted Him and His plan, and let me just tell you that I’ve spent years learning to trust Him and his plan for me.  It has been layer upon layer upon layer.  Who knew there were this many layers to my heart?  I’ve spent my life wondering what his plan was in allowing certain things.  After all, it was those things that left me thinking I needed all this control to feel secure.   His plan is so simple.  I regret that I’ve made it so complicated and so much about myself.

His plan is that my life give him glory.  Everything.  EVERYTHING I’ve ever experienced or encountered, good and bad, has been for his glory.  He truly makes beauty from ashes.  
In my dream, as I was dying, I really had no other choice but to accept His plan,  and in the acceptance, I surrendered another layer of myself to him.  I love that there are hymns passed down through the ages that perfectly depict the peace that comes with surrender to his will, his plan.

When peace like a river attends my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
My story only exists for his grand story.   Satan is real, and he is our enemy.  His goal is to destroy us.  One of the ways he does this is to distract us and keep us hyper-focused on the broken parts of our stories.  In those hard places, he often causes us to question God’s power…his plan…and ultimately his love for us.  We spend whole lifetimes caught up in the wrong things.  All those things I’ve struggled to grasp in my lifetime…control, acceptance and approval…those things that Satan convinced me I needed…those were the very things He has attempted to use to destroy my life.  But God is faithful.  He is stronger.  His love is deeper than all of satan’s schemes.  He is all powerful and able to mend what is broken.

It is in the broken places that he draws us unto himself.  I don’t understand it.  It doesn’t make sense.  But it’s true.  I don’t want to spend another minute distracted by those places in my story.  He came to give life and give it to the full.  Abundant life is found in him.  He came not only so that we could have eternity with him in heaven, but also so that we could experience heaven here on earth.  I want to trust wholly and love freely and fully HERE ON EARTH, just as it is in Heaven.  

So, this dream…it not only woke me up out of my deep sleep this morning.  It woke me up out of a spiritual slumber.  I’ve been walking with Jesus for 20 years, and he’s brought healing in so many ways to my heart, but there’s always more, and I received  more this morning.  He is determined to give me the fullest life possible RIGHT NOW.  

I asked him last January to allow me to walk in the freedom that he has so graciously given me.  It is so frustrating to experience wholeness and healing over the course of many, many years and yet know that it isn’t exactly translating in your life, like you know he means for it to.   I’ve spent the last 7 months wondering how he would bring a new level of freedom, and the wait has caused me to slip into the slumber that I mentioned.  To be honest, I’ve felt hopeless, even this week, because total freedom in a few areas of my life seems impossible.  And really, apart from him, it is impossible.  This dream I had brought me to surrender another layer of my stubborn independence this morning, and I already feel lighter…free{er}.

I know I’ve never shared nitty, gritty details of my story here, and I know it must leave your mind wondering.  But honestly,  you knowing the details of my story  won’t help you or transform you or heal you.  
All that matters is that you know  that God is the author of each of our stories.   There are parts that are extremely broken in all of us because we live in a world that sometimes causes hurt and pain, but His grace reaches down and heals and makes whole, even when we aren’t looking for it and find ourselves too independent to ask for it.  He finds us wherever we are and however bad we are struggling and hurting, and he loves us and pours his grace out on us.

I pray you feel his grace coming down like rain on you today.  I pray you, too, will surrender yourself anew and afresh to him.  I pray you will trust him and know that his plan is to show you how your story fits into his story.  I pray that you know that he uses every part of your story, especially the broken, ugliest, scariest, most tragic parts.  Lord Jesus, take our lives and let them be all for you…for your glory.  Help us to accept your gift of love and grace that we might love you with all of our hearts, souls, minds and with all our strength.  Then, and only then, will be able to experience loving our neighbors as ourselves.  
It is all that truly matters.

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as You choose.

::Chorus::
Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.
Take my life, Lord take my life. Take all of me

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Prince Snow Farm - Tara, this touched me to my core! We wait for signs, wait for the higher feeling, that connection….I often feel like I have NO control in my life…too many bills, can’t chase my dream to write, house is a mess….laundry builds up….but your words made me feel a need to control them, yet allowed me to realize I need to let the Lord in now, not once I have it all together. Thanks.

Becky - beautiful and honest.
i can relate deeply.
thank you for sharing.

{A*very} Cottage Home - What an amazing gift God gave this morning to you in the form of a dream. He was directly speaking to you and allowing you to experience his amazing grace as you let go and died to old self and felt that metamorphic change deep within that is the love and peace of God himself living inside of you. I was thinking of you this morning as I myself was contemplating the enormity of putting full trust in God and allowing him to transform my life to be as he created me to be. I was thinking of you as the song of St. Francis rushed through my mind and I thought how awesome it would be to have those words in the form of one of your custom signs. Perhaps some day soon I will place that order. In the mean time I am so thankful that my thoughts of you made me come to your blog and see this wonderful testimony that you have shared. God loves you so much and is shining brightly through you as you continue to trust and be reborn into the person he has created you to be.

Brooke - Wow. Girl! You inspire me with every post and this one did NOT disappoint!! I had a MAJOR dream this week too, pertaining to our adoption… and future adoption! ;) It was such a clear answer to a question my husband and I have been battling. Our God works in the MOST AMAZING and MYSTERIOUS ways. I’m so happy He is freeing you more each day! xoxo! Brooke :)

MDP - So beautiful. So well written. Such a blessing to hear of another’s hope in God’s blessing of freedom!

Farmgirl Paints - Beautiful. I dream too. Love it when He takes my slumbered eyes and reveals something fresh and new. He woke you up and now you have a new revelation girl. He’s so good.

Kimberly VanDyke - His love is amazing. Even in the quietness of our sleep, He is working and molding us. Beautifully written and much needed. Thank you.

Kimi

Robyn - Beautifully spoken and written. I am also struggling with walking in the freedom he has given us and not taking back the reins to control my path. It has been a painful summer, but I do believe he is writing my story without my input right now. Praying God uses this momentous event on the timeline of your life as a consistent reminder to you about his faithfulness. “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.” Not at my impulse, but His alone!

Mindy Whipple - Such beauty in these words and such truth in the content. So much of God speaking to us all through you. Thank you for listenting, for dreaming, for sharing…

Rhiannon Goodbread - Thank you for sharing…..I have had some close times with the Lord this week also (much needed) and it was encouraging to read about yours as well. :)

Jenny - Tara, The Lord is using your life and your gift for writing and expressing to learn,grow and touch the souls of others. Thank you for giving your heart. Jenny Carroll

Johanna F - Thank you so much for sharing!! Truly beautiful

ycannon1 - Thank you for sharing this story! I too have had a similar (dream) I too also got up and started writing letters to my family members! It is so amazing when God truly reveals himself and you know that he is there for you no matter what! It was meant for me to see your blog tonight. When I feel so down and lost God always uses someone or something to bring me back and today I know it was you! Thanks again!

GLENDA CHILDERS - Many blessings on you, dearest, as you flesh out all that this dream means …

Fondly,
Glenda

LLH Designs - Oh, praise GOD for the ways He comes for us! I just got back in town from a family wedding and am exhausted, but this post woke me right up! I relate to so much of what you’ve written. Your words remind me of a song from Needtobreathe called “Slumber.” Listen if you haven’t heard it. I want to be wide awake to ALL that God has for me. So wanting to walk in more freedom. If you ever make your way to Franklin to stay with me, I can envision long porch chats about all of this! xoxo!

Finding Home - I often feel God brought me to the blogging world to find people like you, words like yours. The type of things I never hear in my life here I find on this screen. Thank you.

Kelly Cach - I feel breathless…whew! We would have so much to talk about over coffee. Over several cups, actually.

Still holding my breath…that was powerful.
Thank you

Dayle Allen Shockley @ A Collection of This and That - Beautiful post, Tara. I’m just now getting by some of my fave blogs and it was meant that I read this … today. Thank you.

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