My small story of an insignificant longing of my heart that has started a journey of significance . . .
I believe that God plants dreams, longings in our hearts. Sometimes they don’t seem to make sense and we forget them. They pop up now and then and are gone again. I’ve had a few of those and three have just collided:
- I always dreamed of being a missionary, working, changing something in the entire world. I was constantly told to stop that nonsense and give to my family and what immediately surrounds me, “Stop thinking big”.
- I’ve had this tug on my heart every time I hear the name “United Nations Foundation” – makes my heart sing.
- I love to make things with my hands – be crafty, yet suck at it as I’m so impractical.
This journey of the insignificant, hidden dreams becoming significant have many practical steps in the process – shaping, practice, preparation, building up confidence . . . unseen tasks God does through each little story/experience we have. Each one meant to be – towards this exciting plan. We learn patience, trust, belief in this process. It takes time to be ready – meditation/prayer/listening – being willing to be open to the unexpected. Yet being active. Obedient to that little voice that says do this, do that.
So: Two years ago I took the plunge and made gifts for a conference I keynoted at, then I made Christmas ornaments for my friends. Didn’t know if it was good enough, was nervous, and yes, embarrassed! Did it anyway. Not knowing it was step 1 in preparation for the things to come – practicing!
A year ago I listened to a podcast by Ali Brown as she interviewed Ingrid Vanderveldt. I knew I had to connect with Ingrid and ask her share her story in my upcoming book. We connected, captured her story and knew in my heart there was so much more to this than the story. (Note the threads being woven). Next thing I knew was Ingrid starting the test drive of her mission, EBW2020 – Empowering a Billion Women by 2020. I journeyed along with her and for the first time heard: “Think Big!” Felt odd, went against my limiting belief (which I didn’t realize I had). Slowly after a few months, I allowed my heart to open and insignificant longings surfaced. As I finished writing Your Story Matters, God showed some painful threads I had not yet dealt with and pulled them out. In those empty spaces He showed me the treasures, sweet longings and joys of my heart. One being, that I love tea, it’s part of my story and that He wants to share in that happy place with me – now it’s part of my brand. It was as if a cork popped off and crazy spurted out. No stopping now.
. . . He also reminded me how I said I don’t want to work with the brokenhearted . . .
This past December my heart broke as I watched post after post of a friend’s son – a Doctor, working in Greece with the refugees . . . I must help . . . I can’t . . . What of the women and children here in my city, my country, all over the world. I fell into despair . . . My heart was captured by those that were broken.
Next day I woke up to the grand idea of a dolly . . . drew her, cut her out, stitched her by hand, placed a teabag and note in her pocket . . . There she lay – the HOPE Tea Doll. I was so excited. Two days later I thought it was the silliest idea I’ve ever had. Yet another two days and the same doctor posted the story of being deeply moved by the sorrow, fear and grief of the the women and children. All they could do was give soft toys as gifts and were overcome with emotion as they watched them cling desperately to them. That was it! I knew I had to just do it.
NEXT STEP: Ingrid leading EBW2020, had it’s first Retreat in San Antonio, Texas and I went – a little nervous, did I belong here? Is this the place for me? What an experience! The room filled with incredible women poured into each other’s lives, business’s, non-profits. Each woman grew and expanded her global vision and work and left bigger and bolder than when she arrived. So did the HOPE Tea Doll. The project got wings to fly to global corners. Threads of passion for tea, laboring in love over hand-crafts, giving globally . . . who I am, my gift, His voice through me. Encouraging. Giving HOPE. Being a missionary.
Icing on the cake, heart-flutters: the ladies from the United Nations Foundation were there and they believe there is a place for this work in one of their upcoming endeavors! Yessum! What about that!
You can be part of this amazing journey and I ask if you please will be, right now. The vision is huge, but it starts here in it’s simplest form: The HOPE Tea Doll Project.
FOR YOU: Follow prompts, no matter how odd or insignificant they seem. It is part of a chain event that unfolds and sets in motion God’s sweetest, significant plans designed just for you. How you’re created, combined with your experiences, to shine brightly as His Masterpiece – ingeniously woven together in your mother’s womb. #YourStoryMatters
“My days are swifter than a weavers’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope”. — Book of Job 7:6 (NIV).