I remember the first time I attended a conference. From the moment the first speaker took the stage and began to pour our her story of transformation and the way God had redeemed her life, a spark was fired in my heart. You see, ever since I was a little girl I always heard God whisper this phrase to me, “I’m raising you up and you will speak to nations” and when I sat in the conference listening to this woman’s testimony, my heart leapt! I had a picture of what I believed God would do with my life. I guess you could call it a dream, but it also felt like a magnet, something that I was pulled towards, something that increased hope in my life, but something that I was equally terrified of and felt incapable of doing. Back then I was afraid to stand in the back row of the choir on stage, yet I felt drawn to speak. I kept this desire a secret between me and God for a year, but for some reason, I couldn’t shake it, so I began to speak it out.
I said, “I want to travel the world, speaking at conferences, and sharing the story of redemption that God has written in my life… I believe I am called to speak to nations.”
And, when I mustered up enough courage and spoke my dream out loud, I was met with;
“I’m not really sure that is what God has for you.”
“Sunny, you need to search your heart, are you just drawn to fame?”
“that seems like a selfish desire…”
“the Bible shows that women are to be home with their kids, not speaking in churches.”
These are just a few of the comments that people spoke, and they got jumbled together in my heart with my own voices of self-doubt and insecurity. I actually spent years asking God forgiveness for this dream, for my selfish desires, and for my heart that was obviously seeking fame. Yet, every conference I went to, and every teacher I heard speak, every healing God did in my life, every time I sensed His hand redeeming new parts of my life, I kept feeling pulled, I kept feeling like it was what God had for me. And, there was that voice that I kept hearing say, “I am raising you up and you will speak to nations.”
The dream just wouldn’t go away. The closer I walked with God, the stronger it seemed. And, the more I dreamed, the more pushback I got, and the more my insecurities flared up. I tried to talk myself out of it saying things like, “how on earth does anyone even find someone in Minden Nevada?” and “I’m not even gifted to do this, it’s just a silly dream.”
But then, eventually I had people come into my life that did believe I was hearing from God, and they did believe in raising me up, and they did believe that I should work towards that dream becoming reality.
Every time I stepped out, I got more pushback and criticism, which became a gift, because it helped me become SURE of what I was called to, and it was affirmed by The Voice of the ONE who made me. And every time I stepped out, I also had people affirm what I had been hearing from God; they saw my dream was a possibility, because they could see this was what I was made for.
So, this last year, I boldly spoke out a vision that God gave me for a women’s conference, and I found a handful of incredible women who would dream with me. Our pastor gave us an opportunity to jump in and encouraged us to DREAM BIG, and BOY did we! We kept inviting people to join the “dream team” and this conference planning became a breeding ground for the dreams of many people. Every woman who came to us, we deployed into her gifts and helped her to get into her sweet spot, so that we could help her achieve maximum impact, knowing that by doing so, we could encourage other women to do the same. We determined early on that we would not be limited by small thinking, but rather we would dream knowing that God would provide!
Impact Women happened this past Saturday, and I am still overwhelmed with emotion at all God did. I saw my friends in their sweet spot. I saw my sisters “getting their brave on.” New women heard about the love that God has for them. New friendships were formed. I saw women who once simply had a dream, walking in the joy of it becoming a reality. I saw a team of women bravely step into being who God called them to be, and as a result impacting the lives of others. I witnessed a revival, as God was improving the condition of our hearts, and strengthening us from the inside out.
And last but not least, I became a conference speaker. I may not be speaking around the world YET, but I am a conference speaker. So, I have spent the past few days sobbing, knowing that all those years ago at my first Women of Faith conference when God sparked my heart, that He actually did have this “dream” in store for me. He just wanted me to keep trusting, keep surrendering, keep saying yes, and He wanted me to do the work while He worked inside of me in order to make it happen.
If you have a dream and you get pushback regularly; use it as fuel to keep going.
If you have a dream that seems impossible, press into God, because with Him, nothing is impossible.
If you have a dream and you don’t think you are capable, keep saying yes to small things along the way, and you will grow your capabilities.
If you have a dream, don’t give up, be faithful, and WORK HARD. Dreams don’t just happen, and they don’t just get handed to you. They require your participation!
And, if someone else shares their dream with you….encourage them and if it is possible, give them a hand! You could be a part of helping them be who God created them to be!
This whole experience has taught me that God places dreams into our hearts and gives us the ability, the resources, and the strength that we need to accomplish them! Now, it’s time for this woman to dream again! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next!
P.S God Delights in YOU!