My childhood was a typical All-American one—great family, big house, good neighborhood near lots of family. Growing up in a small Ohio town in “Amish country” was about as picturesque as a childhood could be. I grew up in the church and have a very religious family legacy. Yep, living the dream and loving every minute of it.
Many times we wish to live in our childhood innocence but then the great big reality of growing up starts to set in. The challenge then becomes keeping our dreams alive when so often the circumstances around us seem to want to rob us of them. My family moved to Missouri when I was ten, and when I was thirteen, attending a local youth conference, I had such a dream. I dreamt that I was in a far off place talking to people that didn’t look, talk, or act anything like me. I held on to that dream watching and waiting for it to become a reality.
I remember the first missions trip I went on with our local church to Mexico. It was a real eye opener to the reality of how privileged I really was as a kid. During my junior year my family moved to Heartland to become part of the ministry. During my senior year I went on two mission trips: to Mexico again and the Philippines for the very first time. I was certain that I was seeing my dream come true.
I hit a wall shortly after that. My family began to have some problems and I really questioned God for letting things happen that did. Having grown up in such a tightknit family enviroment made it that much harder to deal with. I thought my dream had run its course and that this was life as it would be from now on. Every day was a struggle. But God remained faithful.
Did everything turn out perfectly the way I would have wanted? No. Strange as it may seem I found a lot of comfort in the Bible from the story of Job. Job said “though He slay me yet will I trust in Him”(Job 13:15a). I knew my situations were nothing compared to what Job faced and knew that if God was still worthy of honor, trust, and love in the middle of those circumstances, He was worthy in the middle of mine. “Though He slay me yet will I trust in Him.”
His plans are good. Having made it through those tough times I was happy just to be in one piece, but God had a greater plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “they are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope”(Jeremiah 29:11). Not only did God help me weather the storm, He gave me my dream back. And not just gave it back, but made it grow and expand beyond what I thought was possible. I was given the opportunity to join Heartland’s Missions team traveling with Pastor Charles Sharpe and the many teams we send all over the world to share the gospel and help those in need.
I have been out of the country more then twenty times to at least ten different countries. What I discovered was not just God’s faithfulness to get us through the day, but His plans are never for us to stay at that place of just getting by day after day after day. He has a dream and sometimes we have to let our dream die to make way for His.