I have a Dream Catcher.

A year ago, in April, I had a dream ripped away from me by an unexpected source.  It devastated me … not just losing the dream, but the way that it happened, the feelings of betrayal that came with it, and the vaporization of security and self-worth that were already so fragile.  As a result, I had to go away … and where do you go when you’re crushed (besides God)?  To Mom and Dad in California!

So I embarked on a 2500 mile trip in 3 days, driving.  I started out on April 15.  I remember because it’s my daughter’s birthday and also because my Dad is a CPA.  That particular April 15, there was a pretty bad tornado … and I needed to drive in Tornado Alley.  It was a blessing, though, as the winds felt so familiar.  It felt like my dreams had been snatched away in a whirlwind as well, and the sense of fear and danger from the tornado helped me work through the fears and the lack of security I now felt.
Driving south on 32, when I’d stop for gas or a restroom, I could barely get my door open. The wind was so strong, but cleansing, as it blew the tears off my face.  I felt like, fighting the wind as I drove and as I’d step out of my car helped work off some of the pain I was feeling.  I’d step into the station and there was a crowd gathered around the TV, checking to see if the next leg of their trip was predicted to be safe, something I also needed to consider:  Am I safe?  Are the people I trust with my heart really worthy of my confidence?
By that evening, I was in Kansas: Home of Dorothy and Toto’s tornado.  As I left Wichita and headed west, tornado sirens were screaming alongside me and the sky was low and green.  I wondered what I should do, driving out in the country while the sirens yelled at me to get to safety.  Where do you go when you have endless fields on both sides?  What do you do when your dreams are crushed and your heart has been shattered?  Do you ignore the sirens of betrayal?  Do you take cover or keep pushing on?  I drove on.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t have a choice.
Finally, I got far enough west that I was out of harm’s way.  Just a normal wind that night, as I slept in my car in a WalMart parking lot.  I know some of my friends didn’t feel good about me sleeping in my car and I had never done it before.  But I found I felt very comfortable in a cocoon of blankets, and safe with the security truck going by every 15 minutes.  I started to snuggle into God’s love, too, and in that safety, started being able to look at what I had done over the years that laid the foundation for this snatching of dreams.  The ways I had failed, which were many.
The following day, I had sunny skies as I headed through Oklahoma and Texas into New Mexico.  After the storm, the sun shines more amazingly than ever, doesn’t it?
I love the colors of the desert.  I don’t enjoy heat, but in April, even the desert isn’t too hot, and the still air was a relief after the constant banging of the winds in Iowa and Kansas and Oklahoma.  I relished the time alone with God and listened to sermon CDs to make it into sort of a retreat.
I needed to make at least 900 miles that day, but I had time to dilly-dally somewhat … and I remembered how much I had loved turquoise as a kid.  Driving through the dessert, my dream of having a turquoise ring rose again from the ashes of other deserted and crushed dreams.  Getting a turquoise ring made me feel like I could still hold onto a small, if silly dream.  I saw a tourist trap and decided to check it out.

As I paid the $13 for my new ring (on sale, but yeah, it was cheap to begin with, tiny pieces of turquoise, but that’s all I needed), I spotted a small, aqua “dream catcher.”  Feathers and beads are a weakness for my Boho heart.  I liked the colors and the delicateness of the piece, and that, combined with my ring, didn’t quite come up to what I had told myself I could spend on a bit of turquoise, so I bought it.

I hung it in my car from the passenger visor (a green teddy bear with his own Facebook page was my only traveling companion) … and God began to talk to me about dreams.

He told me that He catches my dreams when they fall.  He hides them safely in His heart.  Not only that, but He puts the really good dreams in my heart Himself, and He puts them there because He wants them to come true.  Those that seem to be shattered, but are retrieved and kept safe by His hand are the ones that are the most valuable.  As God and I conversed about this, I realized again how important it was to turn even (especially!) this part of my life over to Him.  My dreams need to be His dreams.  My hopes and desires need to be the ones that He’s dreamed for me since before He wove me in my mother’s womb.  He knows the beginning and the end of my story, of His story, of the world’s story, of the story of every person I come in contact with in any way.  He knows how those all weave together and He loves me exceedingly, so I can trust Him to have the best dreams for me.  The dreams He puts in my heart are infinitely better than anything I can dream up.

I kept the dream catcher hanging on the passenger visor for months.  Occasionally, after someone else had borrowed my car, I’d find it stuffed away somewhere.  They had found it distracting or it had just annoyed them (which could be a valid concern for safe driving).  The analogy, however, wasn’t lost on me.  My dreams from God, while annoying or distracting to others, or when others simply don’t think they’re worthwhile, or when they think they’re wrong … the ones that are really from God can be put back together.  He holds them in His heart, while we make room for them again in ours.  If they are truly His dreams, nothing and no one can take them away from us.  When they seem to be crushed, they are put together stronger, like a muscle that gets little tears from a good workout becomes stronger than before.

That dream catcher is now hanging in my home.  I change its location occasionally so that I don’t just get used to seeing it.  Right now, it’s hanging from a transom where I can swat at the feathers each time I pass under it.  When I do that, the prayer in my heart is something like this:  “Thanks so much, Lord, for being my Dream Catcher.  Oh, Jesus, I want the only dreams in my heart to be Your dreams, the ones You’ve put there.  Fashion Your dreams to fit in my heart.  Could You please just remove anything in my collection of dreams that wasn’t from Your heart?  Help me to recognize Your dreams in others, too, so I can encourage them.  Thank You for holding my heart with such love and care.  Thank You for sharing Your dreams with me.”

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this.  Psalm 37:3-5

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