Saturday, March 26, 2011

Holding on Loosely

At times, I find my fingers tightly gripping a dream.  The appearance of it is beautiful to me.  It's what I pray for and wait for.

But God wants me to hold on loosely.  The way a dream takes shape is by the forming of His hands, if it is a dream worth having.

I learned this because of a orphan I love.  A boy in Ukraine who is part of my heart's family.  In my dream, we adopt him, and he spends weekends fishing with my husband.  In my dream, he shares the room on the third floor with Eli, and they wrestle with our bulldog together, laughing as brothers.  In my dream, he sits in the chair that has been empty at the dinner table each evening, and on school mornings, I only drink half of my coffee before rushing one more child out to the car on the way to school.

We pursue this dream.  We see in God's Word that He is "A father to the fatherless...God sets the lonely in families."  Psalm 68:5 & 6
That must mean it's God's will for him to be adopted, right?

God is faithful, both in the opening and closing of doors.  God's dream for Sasha is different than mine.  In my loosely holding onto a dream, God has taught me so much about His perfect way of shaping our lives and our hearts.  He has taught me so much about how little I understand and how unequipped I am to be the dream-designer in my life.  Certainly there are dreams I have, because God has planted them in my heart.  But as they grow from seeds, the way they spring to life and blossom is by His design.

God has shown me that He has set Sasha in a family.  He is part of our family by love.  We work hard to love on him and encourage him through letters and by a commitment to meet any needs we know he has.  We remind him the Lord loves him and has good plans for him.  We have promised to remain in his life as long as he'd like us to be there.  God has also set him in a family in Ukraine, at Sunshine, where he has lived for several years now.   Sasha is standing next to the man who has been his foster father in this ski picture.  I loved receiving this, because I am so thankful that he is being loved and cared for within the context of a family and a home.

And God is so good.  He is refining my dreams and stretching my faith all the time.  But even as this is happening, He surprises me with beautiful gifts.  In August, Selden and I will be going to Sunshine to spend time with Sasha and the other kids there.  Some of you sent them gifts this Christmas, as part of the Sunshine Christmas project we did on Facebook!  (See their happy faces, with all the gifts!!!)  We are taking gifts to the children when we go, so if you would like to send something to a specific child (you can meet them all on Sunshine Christmas on Facebook or I can send you pictures) or something for the Center, please let me know.   Please also pray for us to raise the finances for the trip (and if you'd like to make a donation, we humbly welcome that - you can "comment" to ask more info).  We are so excited to go on this mission and meet the children whose names and faces we now know.  They all are so precious!

Even though I've learned to cradle my dreams in open hands, knowing that they are only mine if God says they are and how He says they are, sometimes I know He must be smiling as He hands back to me bits of what I have desperately longed for.

The vision my heart has had for over a year now is one of Sasha and Selden, standing at the water's edge, fishing poles in hand.  (They both love fishing more than anything.)  I've said goodbye to this dream over and over.  Each time I package up things I bought for Sasha to have here and go to the post office, I let some of my dream go.  When I lost my pink fishing pole, and we unwrapped the one we bought for Sasha, because he isn't coming here to use it, I let my dream change shape.  So, I'm really excited to tell you that one of the things we'll be doing on our missions trip is fishing!  I'll take a few pictures of this, because how many times do you get a chance to stand back and look at a dream spring to life?

God wants us to be willing to hand back each of our dreams to Him.  He desires our trust.  He is worthy of our trust.  God is not a dream-taker.  When things turn out differently than we hoped, it is because we can only see things from our limited perspective.  God wants me to chase Him and His will instead of a dream.  When I open my hands and release everything in my heart back to the Lord, He is so faithful to repackage and give back to me the dreams He has created for me in exactly the way He knows is best.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4


  1. Hi Shannon! Only by slowing down and paying attention can we understand this concept... something that can be hard for my often Type A personality, unfortunately... but I'm learning. One of my new favorite verses is this, "I am the Lod your God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea." Is. 48:17 I especially like the waves of the sea part, because they just keep coming in! You're such a blessing! Let me know the details on contributing for your trip :)

  2. That's a great verse! Thank you for sharing and for being interested in contributing to our trip. We're basically praying for friends who would like to give something to a specific child, so each kiddo has a gift, and we also have a need for the financial provision of the travel and in-country expenses. If you are interested in being involved in supporting our ministry there, you can send me a private message on FB if you want to, or if you want to reply here, you can. That's up to you. I'm happy to answer any questions! Thank you for blessing us with your involvement in Sunshine Christmas and your supportive heart toward our missions trip this summer! We'd love the Lord to provide beyond the amount we need for our travel costs, so while we're there we can meet some needs of the center to bless them on behalf of the friends in America who love them with the love of Jesus!

  3. I am more than excited to help and to send some more gifts to Irina and Kanisko. I want to start shopping NOW. I am thinking I may have to buy and send you with my own suitcase. Bless you and your heart, Shannon. I think that this mission is wonderful. I know that the first time I sas Sasha's picture he pulled my heart strings too. Love you.

  4. This is powerfully profound. Your heart-stance before God compels me.

    Thank you for sharing your story with me.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing yours, Sara - it really moves me to read your posts. Thanks for taking time to read this one.

  6. Great post! Letting go of dreams can be so difficult, but God's plan is always fulfilling when we finally let go and enjoy what He has for us to enjoy! Love you guys!