Where Dreams Begin

The last time I visited home in California, I hunted high and low for a drawing I did as a teenager. Elated to find it, I filed it in a blue folder and took it home to show Eric. There is something about this drawing that speaks of my dreams as a child and the longings I still carry to this day. One of the things that I love about the dreams of our youth is they are limitless, free from fear. They are not restricted by the size of a bank account or social status. Often, these dreams speak to the unique personality and God given identity we each carry. 

So back to the drawing...

I have two favorite sketches, they are both “architectural” drawings of a home. Both have lots of space and each is filled with rooms, rooms with bunk beds, a room with a crib, rooms for children. I envisioned this home filled with those who needed a safe place, needed love, a fresh start. 

When Eric came to visit me in Thailand after I had been living there for nearly a year, he posed a question to me as we sat outside a coffee shop near the red light district. Something I love about this man is that he is eager to hear my heart, to know what I envision, and how together, these dreams can become a reality. “What does a home look like to you?” he inquired. It took me a moment to respond. “A place of peace, of rest, somewhere I can be free to be me.” Living in the red light district for several months, rest was something that I highly valued. It is so easy to give to the point of exhaustion, but I didn’t want to burn out.

Exploring and dreaming in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2010.
This past September we celebrated our 4 year anniversary. This also means that we have lived in Kansas for 4 years now. Somehow that sounds like a short amount of time, but it has felt SO LONG. When people hear that I am from California, often they respond with, “Why are you here?!” When I remember what first led us to this place, it is interesting that it involved a dream of a home, a home where people whose lives felt shattered, who had been wounded, who felt tormented by demons, beaten down, could come, would be welcomed, prayed for, loved and made whole. It was a vision for a home of healing and deliverance.

The house on Front Street…

About 2 ½ years ago, there was a two story white house for sale a couple blocks from where we were renting. Completely on a whim, we decided to walk through during open house. A close friend was over that Sunday and accompanied us. As we toured the home, our hearts and minds and dreams began to explode! We saw the large kitchen and living area, the bedroom downstairs, the 4 rooms upstairs, and already modeled kitchenette, as if someone had rented out one of the spaces before. One of our favorite spots was the glass enclosed sunroom in the back and immediately we saw it as a place people could come to, a house of prayer. Not only could this be suitable for our family but also to house others, to equip them for missions as well as a place of refuge. Against all odds, we set up an appointment with a mortgage agency. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify for a loan at that time. It was a disappointment to say the least. Every time I drove by there, I told the Lord I wanted a house like that, or similar…out in the country!

The overwhelming need…

In our conversations with agencies and as we talk with others who serve survivors of trauma and trafficking, the overwhelming need they share is for housing. So many of these women and children are often brought into the care of an emergency facility but then where do they go from there? Who will provide a safe place for them to be restored? Where will they find rest? That is where the vision for a safe home has immerged. The core of the home will be…family. We realize that this is a risk and we have talked many times about what it will look like to maintain boundaries for our own health, while at the same time embracing those whose definition of family has been marked by deception, abuse, betrayal and rejection. Healing for a wounded heart often comes through redemptive relationships; replacing what one has formerly known as abusive or lacking with needs met in love and safety. It is creating a new normal, and that takes time.

This is God’s redemptive plan…

I love researching trauma and the brain. It is fascinating to me to learn how God has created the human body to survive in the midst of pain and suffering, simply amazing. He is not distant from those who have walked through horror. And if we are patient and willing, He will allow us to help those who are broken create new pathways in their brain, to turn those triggers and ways of escape into opportunities to discover that they are loved and carry a purpose. God does set the lonely in families and gives them joy!

So this dream for a home, a safe place, I’m trusting that it IS a tangible dream. And, I want to invite you into it too. I think sometimes our dreams are so big and God knows that. He wants it to be done in community with others. I don’t know how this will all take place, but I’m believing that perhaps that sketch I drew as a girl is actually a blueprint God has on his drafting table in heaven, just waiting to be realized in time and space today. This is often how He builds His Kingdom. His plans become our dreams. Our hearts are His drafting table. What will it take for us to take hold of those dreams and run?