I had the privilege of meeting Holley Gerth and Lisa-Jo Baker amongst dozens of other beautiful bloggers in the flesh this past weekend at the Jumping Tandem retreat, a weekend nestled in the fields of Ashland, Nebraska, a retreat which Lisa-Jo would describe as “church camp meets slumber party.”
It was a lot of women, and a few men, gathered together under one roof to explore the topic of dreams, and what a God-sized dream looks like, and how we can be a part of it.
Holley led the opening keynote and I led two breakout sessions the following morning and then I stole her away that night for a glass (or plastic cup, rather) of red wine and a quiet talk.
Because God has been giving me a shepherd’s staff lately.
In my dreams, it’s a staff, and I’m rising, a little girl (Talitha cumi–little girl, I say to you, arise!) and Jesus is handing me pens in one hand and a shepherd’s staff in the other.
And I sat across from Holley and we were both in our pajamas drinking red and I said, “What does it mean, this shepherd’s staff?”
And she sat and she thought for awhile. I knew she was praying. And slowly the words came: “The shepherd tends to his sheep; he carries the young lambs in his arms, and he takes them to quiet and safe places.”
But then I leaned in. “I feel I need to challenge people though, too.”
She nodded. “That’s what the end of the staff is for. It’s for prodding the sheep, because sheep can be stubborn.”
She isn’t laughing. She’s looking at me and believing that Jesus has given me this. “And what about the ruts, the crevices?” I say. “When someone is just so fallen, and doesn’t know how to get out of that wounded place, how do we help them?”
Her eyes light up. “That’s the crook of the staff. If a sheep falls into a hole, the crook carries them out and sets them on solid ground.”
I don’t know the details. I just know the big picture. I know Jesus has given me a shepherd’s staff, but that night, in the corner of the lodge with our plastic cups full of red and our faces washed and ready for bed, I learned why he had given me that staff.
Because a sister of mine was willing to stay up and wrestle through the details with me. To pray with me, and to believe in my dream.
This is community, friends. This is what I want my blog to be about. Guiding, shepherding one another to safe pastures; prodding when we need prodding, and scooping up and holding close when one of us falls in the ruts. In the hard and wounded places. And you did this, here, in this post, in which my friend shared her very vulnerable story and you came alongside her and showed her mercy and grace. ((Thank you))
So this is my dream, friends. To help shepherd us along in this quiet place.
And Holley’s dream is to believe alongside God-sized dreamers. And she does it so well, because she’s anointed. Because it’s God’s dream for Holley to do this.
And that’s when we succeed, as Lisa-Jo Baker reminded us in the closing keynote. Not because we’ve gained a certain number of followers or we’ve stood on a big enough platform, but because we’ve chosen to be obedient to the calling God has placed on our lives.
To pick up that pen, or that paintbrush, or that hammer, or in my case, a shepherd’s staff, and together, work out our faith, our salvation, to the sound of heaven’s applause.
Today I’m so honored to be giving away Holley’s latest book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream.
To enter to win, please share in the comments WHAT YOUR DREAM IS. Thank you.