“Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.” Proverbs 13:12 MSG
I used to read and interpret this verse in the context of romantic relationships – because when you’re single, sometimes just all the verses apply to romantic relationships. #realtalk.
But the truth is, I have more dreams than just to be married someday.
This week, a dream came true in ways far beyond what I could have ever imagined.
I spoke to 39 high schoolers about Jesus at a summer camp this week. I shared silly stories about high school flings and my obsession with country music, and the time my youth pastor’s wife locked me in a room in Poland while on a mission’s trip (I had fallen for the drummer on the worship team and wasn’t focused on ministry anymore. Go figure. I love you for that, Emie, and I needed it, so thank you.).
I taught them how to dump their thoughts onto paper, identifying the lies, asking Holy Spirit for the truth most effective. Then to sit and picture their favorite place in the whole world and ask Jesus where He was. And once they could see Him, to ask Him one question: “What are you thinking about me today?”
I encouraged them to encounter God – when you really know Him, you will love Him. When you love Him, you will want to obey Him.
I prayed with so many of them . . . “do you know that you can hear His voice for yourself?” And they could. OH, they could! Young people can hear and see so clearly. I was rocked every single time one of them shared a vision He was giving them, or words He was speaking to them. He truly knows each of us so intimately.
There were tears. So many tears. And they were tears of cleansing and healing and evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
And I was free. I was completely free to be fully Danae. From the moment I stepped onto the parking lot, that holy ground, my Spirit somehow knew I was needed, but more than that, that I was wanted. My gifts were seen and celebrated. My discernment was honored and encouraged. I have never felt more empowered by leaders in my life before – they barely knew me, but they knew the Spirit inside of me, and that was enough.
To be apart of this teaching team that felt hand-picked with precision by God, the three of us, along with our leaders. To see how He was providing us with messages that supported one another, words that meant more because they were burning on each of our hearts first before overflowing to the hungry hearts of the campers. I stood among giants, thankful and amazed to be included.
Yes, Jesus was using me to the fullest. And that in itself was such a joyful experience.
But more than that, I experienced His sustaining power in remarkable ways. He communicated, as only He can, and as only I could completely understand, that He was the One helping me prepare these past few months – giving me words that I didn’t even know the significance or weight of until they were coming out of my mouth on Monday night. He was the One who provided the prayers in the ministry moments, when I would speak one statement and the young person I was praying for dissolved into tears. He was the One prompting me to share pieces of my story that I had not prepared to because someone needed to hear it.
He was the One, who asked me to take a step of faith and not use my notes for that last night of camp. Notes for my message on Purity – the passion of my life since I was in middle school. The message I had been preparing for for years. Little-Miss-Organized stood up in front of a crowd of precious young women and spoke from her heart and from His heart only, trusting His Word, that He would give her the words that they most needed to hear. It was incredibly difficult for me, but I have never experienced His faithfulness as intensely as I did that night – a new and ready thought would pop into my head 3 seconds before I finished the topic I was on, over and over and over – feeling His weight on speaking about His heart to holistically heal those who had been violated without their consent or beyond their control, something I wasn’t planning on speaking to at all – feeling physically weak, shaking and sweating through 45 minutes of my talk before realizing that I was hungry . . . and yet had felt no anxiety or fear as I usually do when it’s been too long since I’ve eaten.
He sustained me, mentally – spiritually – physically.
He loved on me. As only He can.
He reminded me, in countless ways, dozens of times each day, that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.
I fell more in love with Jesus this week. I expected to pour out and minister to others, and of course that happened . . . but I was not expecting to be fulfilled with HIS PRESENCE in me. What a gift. What a gift to discover that the dream He has placed in my heart is not only mine, not only His, but OURS . . . and living it out together is the greatest delight.
To the campers from Jump-In High School Camp 2K15 . . . you are the first listeners I’ve ever had as a “speaker”. Thanks for laughing at my jokes and shouting your amens and sharing my love of coconut water. I will never forget your beautiful stories, your beautiful hearts and faces, your beautiful giftings, and your incredible words of encouragement to me. Thank you for being willing to listen and brave in your vulnerability. YOU WILL CHANGE THE WORLD.