Once Upon a Dream

A Guest Post By Rachelle Rea…

Once there was a girl who told God yes.

Yes. Three letters that form one tiny word etched in ink on a rock I kept from the walk where I first whispered it. Yet yes can be a big word when breathed with the heart-voice and meant with the soul. Like a stained-glass window, that word, when spoken to an infinite God, can let in light and glory and open-mouth awe.

Once this same girl dreamed of the word go.

Go. Two letters that form an even tinier word, etched in a dream on a heart. I was inspired by Amy Carmichael, whose go meant giving up everything in India, and by Livingstone, whose go entailed following God into the depths of dark Africa. I read their stories and wondered if God would call me to go someday. Then I no longer wondered if, but when.

The dream has morphed and molded in the few short years I’ve held it close like a fresh, new pearl. Fear has caused it to shrink and shrivel. Love-light has allowed it to grow and stretch. Possibilities have put it to the test.

Not six months ago, I walked into my Sunday-school classroom before any of my kindergarten kiddos had arrived and saw the announcement. A team from my church would be going on a mission trip to Costa Rica this summer.

And I knew. My yes meant this. My go meant now.

Questions swirled within my mind until at last the only question that mattered rose to the surface. My child, will you?

Once again, this girl told God yes. And, I’m scared. And, Oh, but, what about–? And, What if there are tarantulas in the shower, Lord?

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 (NIV)

So the last week of June I clasped a ticket in trembling hands. I boarded a plane that took me to a village on the side of a volcano, a village named Tierra Blanca. We rose at five every morning when monkeys jumped on our roof. We restored electricity to the little church, distributed clothing to the people, and spoke stumbling Spanglish with the children as we played. Most importantly, we showed, shared, and saw the love of Jesus. (And zero tarantulas.)

At two a.m. on Independence Day, we landed. Home. At baggage claim I looked at all the people gathered ’round—the team that would never be quite the same again… and I felt a little like mourning. Because I would miss them. Because I would miss the dream coming true for the first time in Costa Rica.

But then, I realized that the dream coming true doesn’t mean that the dream ends.

Rapunzel asked, “I’ve been looking out of the window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?”
Flynn answered, “It will be.”
“And what if it is? What do I do then?”
“Well, that’s the good part, I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”

My dream coming true this summer when I went on my first mission trip doesn’t mean this daring journey is over. It means I get to dream my dream in a new way. Because saying yes isn’t a one-time thing.

Once there was a girl whose dream came true. Now that girl smiles at the rock with y-e-s scribbled on it and dreams of saying yes again.

Rachelle Rea is a homeschool grad turned college girl, a word crafter who loves to watch the sunlight sparkle through the trees, and, of course, a daring dreamer. Visit her at www.rachellerea.com.

The Beauty of Redemption

I returned to the United States with India temporarily tattooed on my hand, but permanently ingrained on my heart.

Meeting up with my brothers in Mumbai was definitely a highlight of my trip, but the real miracle happened when our team left the city. After spending a few days amidst the poverty and pain of Mumbai, the lush, green haven called Ashagram washed over me. I sensed immediately what one of the former street boys confirmed only a few hours later: “This is a healing place.”

I know that it’s a healing place for those who were rescued from the darkness of the streets of Mumbai, but I also believe that each one of my team members experienced that healing in one way or another.

The term “beauty from ashes” has never meant so much to me. The hungry street boys I saw in Mumbai… I met them at Ashagram. Their eyes were aglow with the saving power of Jesus’ love. The prostitutes I saw lingering outside the brothels… I met them too. They smiled, they laughed, they praised the God who rescued them from darkness. And as I entered into a beautiful night of worship while a young man named Sunil played his guitar,  I discovered the true meaning of the word redemption. How was it possible that this extravagant worshiper could be the drug addict he claimed he once was?

Just when I was wondering if the hand of God was so clearly seen in my own life, one of the boys slipped me a note that read:

Do you know that you are my very close friend i ever have. Friendship is like love. and love never end. an love not take record of rong. you are love.

Though I wished I could have stayed much longer, I’m content to leave on that note. I figure that if that was the conclusion Santosh came to after my nine-day stay at Ashagram, I did what I went there to do. And I experienced the beauty of redemption in a way I never knew that I could.

Reluctantly Called

For the longest time, I simply didn’t understand people who said they were afraid to give God control of their lives because they were afraid He would call them to some remote village in Africa. Maybe that’s because I gladly would have gone to Africa as I delighted in my call to world missions. Many missionaries tell stories of their hesitation to follow God into the mission field, but not me. I fell in love with the dreams God was stirring in my heart and I couldn’t fathom how anyone would fear God would call them to something they didn’t want to do… Until He called me to something I had no desire to dream. For the first time in my life, I truly related to Thomas Carlisle’s “The Great Intruder.”

“It is exasperating to be called so persistently when the last thing we want to do is get up and go but God elects to keep on haunting like some holy ghost.”

So there I was with this “holy ghost haunting,” and sweet, obedient, willing-hearted, little me said, “There is no way I’m pursuing that one. If You want this to happen, You’re going to have to make it happen Yourself.” (FYI – that is a really, really dumb thing to say to God because it just might be possible that He’s truly serious about that thing to which He called you.) Last night, He answered my foolish statement. Last night, He stripped away all my excuses. Last night, He provided such a clear starting point that I can’t turn away this time.

While I should listen when God calls me, sometimes I’m stubborn and insist that I need more than His call if I’m actually going to move. So last night, God sent me a person to ask me to follow that calling, and I felt Him whisper in my heart, “You denied Me, but can you deny her?” I couldn’t. And He knew it; that’s why He sent her to ask for Him.  

So I’m taking this moment to say that I’m stepping out into the calling I never dreamed of, and I’m willing to bet it will soon become my greatest dream. Because I still believe God doesn’t call us to things we don’t want to do; there are simply a few things we don’t yet realize we want to do.

So if God has been stirring something in your heart and you’ve been afraid to answer, this is your call from a human, beseeching you to step out. Someone in this world needs you to take that place God has opened up for you. If you’ve somehow managed to deny God, please don’t deny that person who really needs you to embrace your calling. I can guarantee you won’t regret it, but you will regret not trying.