Category Archives: God Sized Dream Team

Finding Beauty in the Abandoned Dream

Abandoned Home

In late July my family and I took a road trip out to the Black Hills of South Dakota. As we were driving I noticed several abandoned homes scattered throughout the landscape.

High on a hill the house stood, windows broken, door weathered. The once straight roof was wavy with time and wear. Gaps between the boards in the walls were visible. Clearly this place had been long since abandoned.

And I couldn’t help but wonder who had graced the spaces of that home?

A newly married husband and wife, seeking to start a new adventure on the plains? Did children run in the adjacent fields? Young men eager to farm the land and provide for their families?

Dreams start that way don’t they?

We feel the trill of a new start, we anticipate all of the positives and try not to focus on any of the negatives. We push forward in faith, maybe with a little fear, but filled with hope and the promise of what’s to come.

And if we are lucky all those hopes, those dreams and ideas are fulfilled. But it doesn’t always end that way does it?

I am sharing more over at the God-sized Dreams website – will you come and join me there?!

Shared by: Kristin Smith

Photo Credit: sub35089  (If using sunset pic it is Kadek Susanto)Ka

A Call to Fast

Fruits of the Spirit 1

On Sunday our pastor preached about “Knowing our Enemy”. Whether we like to admit it or not, the reality of this world is that we live in constant attack of the enemy. He seeks to rob us of joy, to ruin our marriages and friendships…to steal all of the blessings that God has given us.

Friends THIS is a battle.

Ephesians 6:12:  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Our pastor told us that Lucifer’s name means light. He was originally described as the most beautiful angel and was created by God to bring light into the world. But he got selfish and prideful. He wanted to live independent of God not dependent on God.

Thus the fall. Lucifer and other angels that followed him were cast down to earth to rein here. Satan is our adversary,  opponent. He is powerful and wise, crafty and cunning.

He masquerades as the truth with just enough falsehood to get us to doubt. When I heard my pastor say that on Sunday it just hit home.

That is exactly what I have experienced and what I have seen my dearest friends experience recently.

10 of us came home from Houston and one by one have been under attack. There was some pretty powerful work for the Kingdom being done in Houston, so it shouldn’t surprise us that the attacks came.

But they did, and for many of us, they caught us off guard.

What I love more than anything about our website team is that while it may be easier to cave in and walk away defeated, we are standing with Christ, arming ourselves with Him, for battle.

Delonna posted this morning that she felt called to a fast. She invited us to all participate, to encourage one another, and to use this time to pray over one another.

I will be honest, I haven’t ever done a fast. I really like food, and chocolate, and snacking…all things that don’t really fit with a fast.

But I believe that when people of God unite for His glory, in His name, in His power and authority…well Satan better just run and hide. ahem and Amen!

Some of us will be starting at sundown tonight and others tomorrow morning….but we will be fasting and praying together. And let me clarify…we are doing the Daniel Fast so we can have fruits and vegetables but no meats, dairy, processed foods or chocolate. 🙂

Delonna sent us a copy of the printable above to have and reference during this time. Our prayer for one another will be to ask God to break any strongholds we have, prayers for protection over our families, our children and our marriages.

Through the power of prayer and this fast we have hope for the mighty things that God will accomplish through us.

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

It isn’t about us and what we can do.

As my pastor said “The only way I stand is when I stand IN Him.”

So we stand, confident in the Christ that is in us, the One who gives us strength. The One who can break any stronghold. God will be fighting for us in the next 24 hours, we are standing willing and ready, armored in His Truth.

If anyone would like to join us over the next 24 hours, we would love to pray with you as well. And I’d love to hear if you have ever done a fast…what did God teach you through it all?!

Laughter is Good for the Soul

Laughter. Well laughter, talking and chocolate, would be a good way to sum up the most amazing weekend that I just spent in Houston. 😉

From the moment we arrived there was a hum of voices over the house. Sisters gathering for learning, planning and soul feeding. All of that and more happened in the matter of a few short days.

Retreat 1

When Dominic asked what we did on Friday, I said we laughed and talked. Because really that is what we did. Gathered around Gindi’s table we share stories, and tears…we got “real” almost immediately. We shared past hurts and current struggles. We found that while each of us are different, there is something so very common binding us together.

We are a community. A sisterhood of women. (<====Click to Tweet)

When I woke up on Saturday morning I had a calendar reminder that it was Karlena’s birthday. While I will always feel sadness that she isn’t here with me…it was such a gift that I woke to these amazing women surrounding me.

Retreat 2

We spent the majority of the day on Saturday getting down to the business of the God-sized Dream site. I learned so much that day. From editing tips (which I obviously am still learning…ahem) 😉 to planning for the future direction and leadership of the site. Every woman brought so much to the table, it is quite amazing that God has brought such a diverse group of women together!

Then we had some fun when Gindi let us all raid her necklace stash and purse collection as we got ourselves all dolled up for a fancy dinner at the Galleria in Houston.

Retreat 3

This weekend was such a gift to me. And to add to that God gave me a couple of blog posts to write when I was flying home. (yay for getting my words back!!) Look for those in the next few months over at GSD.com.  🙂

I walked away from this weekend away grateful.

Grateful that God brought us all together. Grateful that so many of us were able to gather together on that specific weekend. Grateful for Gindi’s hospitality and how wonderfully that her home worked for all of us!  Grateful for all of the families that supported us as they were left behind so we could gather together.

The future is exciting. I am blessed to be a part of this team and can’t wait to see what God is going to do next! Thank you friends for loving me and blessing me in so many ways this weekend!

Retreat 7

Seeking to be the Light

candle flame

Sometimes the darkness in this world can be overwhelming.

I don’t even watch the news much anymore because I rarely find anything encouraging. Maybe that is hiding my head in the sand a bit…or maybe it is protecting my heart.

I easily gravitate towards the negative.

It isn’t something that I like about myself, but it is a part of who I am.

I have to fight it. To not get caught up in the “drama” and go down that dark path.

Recently I, and many of my dreamer sisters, were told “no” to an opportunity that seemed like such an amazing God-sized dream.

I will be honest with you and tell you that I really thought this time might be “it”. My spirit was crushed a little when the “no” came….the lies that I wasn’t good enough started creeping in again.

And I felt without words.

Have you ever been there? Chasing after what you thought was your God-sized dream only to discover it wasn’t in the cards for you. At least not now, not this time.

So I had to ask myself if this one thing was going to define me?

As writers, dreamers, want-to-be-speakers….we are bound to hear “no” from time to time. In fact we may actually hear “no” more than we hear “yes”!

But that doesn’t mean that our words aren’t important!

In fact it is the very reason that we must keep moving forward, keep offering hope to others!

As followers of Christ we are called to be a Light here.

Matthew 5: 14-16:  14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

I love these verses in Matthew. Such a reminder that I need to be letting my light shine everywhere I go.

Why?

So that men and women everywhere may see creation at its fullest, may see my devotion to God and turn and praise God because of it.

We are called to be a light, ultimately, so that God can receive praise and glory!

This world isn’t about  me (I know big shocker right?!) 😉

I am here to be a light in the darkness. (<==== Click to Tweet)

I can use this space for my glory…or for His.

I hope that I am always choosing the latter. That the words that spill on to these pages are ones of hope and encouragement and ultimately point you to Jesus.

So while the “no” stings, it doesn’t need to define me. My life has been a series of “no’s” that have eventually opened doors to some amazing “yes” opportunities!

I am called to be a light here, in all seasons.  The good and the difficult because none of this life would be possible without Him.

I can’t ever forget that!

It is always an honor to link up with my fellow God-sized Dreamers. Want to join in on the fun? Jump over here to read more!

GSD Link Up Picture

Photo Credit: Identity Photogr@phy

The Proper Armor

Scale-armor2Last week I shared some of the story of David and Goliath. David’s faith in God is so encouraging to me. He willingly went into battle to face a giant because he knew it wasn’t his battle to face.

When David first approached Saul to volunteer, Saul insisted that David wear his battle armor.

1 Samuel 17: 38 “Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off.”

David knew that he didn’t have the proper armor.

Can you imagine entering into battle without the proper armor?!

But God gave David JUST what he needed.

As a shepherd, David often used a slingshot to ward off animals seeking to hurt his sheep. I imagine that he was quite proficient with that slingshot…a weapon he practiced with often.

He may not have been able to wield a sword like the top warriors, but he didn’t need the best fitting armor or the sharpest sword. David had the perfect weapon and God had given him plenty of opportunities to prepare to use it.

40 “Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.”

God has been preparing me as well.

Preparing me to chase my dreams, preparing me to stand in the battles that will come at me.

It seems that the more I chase my God-sized dreams, I find myself in the front lines of battle with the enemy.  A friend once told me that the enemy attacks those that he considers a threat…so consider an attack a compliment that you are doing God’s work!  🙂

The attacks can come in many forms.

Discouragement that I won’t be good enough….

Lies telling me that because I am failure so often, with my husband…my kids…how can I possibly share about my relationship with God here?

But God has surrounded me with His Truth.

He has shown me that my best “voice” is one that is proclaiming the truth that I AM a hypocrite – every day! But because of God’s AMAZING grace…I have the opportunity to share about His redeeming love.

As I chase these dreams, big and scary dreams…..dreams that feel out of reach and impossible, I am reminded that just like David, God is equipping me.

We are in training, can you see that?!

Maybe our “weapon” will be the stories that bring light to a dark world. (<==== Click to Tweet)

If we have God’s word on our heart, in our minds…if we have His plans in our focus…..we have the right armor on and we have nothing to fear!

In Holley’s Devotional she says this: “People may not understand. What you have in your hands or heart may seem small or even strange to them. But that’s exactly what creates the opportunity for God to do the unexpected. It sets the scene for giants to fall. For battles to be won. For God-sized dreams to come scandalously, miraculously true.”

Are you allowing God to do the unexpected in your life? If not – what is holding you back? Please leave a comment and allow me the honor of praying over those things with you…..we are in this battle together friends!

 

I am sharing stories of chasing dreams with my sisters over at God-sized Dreams…join us?!

GSD Link Up Picture

Photo Credit

Better Than I Imagined….

Tree with Lights

Photo Credit: Felix Montino

It still amazes me that 2013 has come to an end. How quickly this year seems to have gone! And as I sit down to reflect on my God Sized Dreams for 2013 I just want to start by thanking God for the many blessings He gave me this year.

I started 2013 on a journey to discovering what a “God Sized Dream” might be and more specifically what I thought that dream was in my own life.

I thought I had it all figured out. After starting this blog space in late December 2012, I was certain that God wanted me to have a place of encouragement and hope for others here in 2013. If I am being honest I would tell you that I was secretly hoping that maybe my blog would go big, that I would write that “it” post and it would go viral….or that I would start writing a book proposal. All big dreams for sure.

While I still believe that this place of encouragement is a part of my God Sized Dream, I am convinced that God had different and even better things planned for me that I was unable to see in the beginning.

The biggest blessing that I received this past year is the gift of Community. 

A community in which I was accepted and loved, a community where I was able to stop always thinking about me and what I wanted to do – and start focusing on developing a skill of encouraging others in their dreams.

THIS has been the biggest unexpected and beautiful gift in my life this past year.

Women who were just faces on a computer screen became IRL friends when several of us met in person for the first time at Allume.  Community was embraced and celebrated. Tears were shed and laughter welled from the depths of me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. It was God-filled for sure!

And while 2013 has also been filled with personal failures big and small, I have learned that God is in all the details. He is with me through everything that I do well and everything I fail at.  He loves me regardless and having a greater understanding of that gift was worth the journey.

The GSD team led me specifically to a group of women that all believed in something greater than themselves. A place where we could take what we have learned from this year and give back to other women seeking the same path.

Under Christine’s  leading we have come together and as announced yesterday started this amazing God-sized Dreams website. Something like this was NOT on my radar at all. And that is what I love the most about it.

It is all God’s!

It wasn’t “My” idea or plan, it was His. So I can look back on 2013 and see in all the places where God deserves the glory.  Just as He should have.

2013 was never about me. (I know this is not a surprise to most of you….but it is at times a surprise to me!) 🙂

While I learned some wonderful lessons and received so many gifts in this community…..ultimately none of it would have been possible without God’s leading and direction in the first place.

So while 2013 ends differently than I had anticipated it might, it ends more beautifully than I could have ever expected and each moment was worth it!

Did 2013 end as you had hoped?? I’d love to hear how God exceeded you expectations too! And if you blog why don’t you link up with us today over at God-sized Dreams and share your 2013 recap!

GSD Link Up Picture

An Introduction and a Thank You – Meet Holley Gerth!

Holley and I!

It is my huge honor to share with you a woman that is largely responsible for this space here. Holley Gerth is a writer and best-selling author and founder/creator of the God Sized Dream team that I have had the privilege to be a part of.

When I was chosen to be a part of the God Sized Dream Team (exactly 1 year ago today!!) I felt called to start this space here devoted to writing and sharing about my faith.  I have been blessed in abundance as a result of this GSD team and just thank Holley for allowing me to be a part of her dream chasers team.

At Allume Holley spoke at one of the breakout sessions about finding “Brand You”. She did an amazing job despite the sound difficulties they were having! There were a couple of things she said that really stuck with me….

“God doesn’t want the next “anybody”….He wants the uniquely created you!”

And “Our brands are NEVER about us. First God, then those we serve, then us”.

Don’t you just love that?!

In a world where the focus seems to be “What’s in it for me”, Holley reminds us that we need to be seeking what God’s plan for us is and how we can use our unique gifts for His glory!

She has such a heart for women, of encouragement, and I really wanted to share more of who she is with my readers because I know you are going to love her as well! So I asked her if I could do a little interview of sorts and she said yes!!

So grab yourself a cup of coffee, or hot chocolate if you are like me, find a comfy place to rest and get to know my dear friend and mentor.

To start tell us a little about yourself, your family, your favorite flavor of coffee!

Thanks so much for inviting me to hang out on your place today, Kristin! I’m a God-sized dreams girl who loves encouraging the hearts of women through words. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Mark, for thirteen years. The closest thing we’ve got to a kid is a beagle-basset named Katie {aka “The Beast”}. I drink my coffee without any cream or sugar and just about any flavor will do! A cupcake on the side is always a bonus.

Encouragement seems to be your super power – has this always come naturally or is it something that has developed over time?

I think the answer is “both.” Even back in Junior High I remember writing little notes to my friends like, “10 Things I Like About You.” My grandparents had a Christian bookstore and I would always come home from visiting them with cards and other kind of encouragement to share with my friends. As the years have gone by, God has helped me grow that gift and I’m so glad I get to use it to write books, blog, and serve as a life coach.

What led you to dream chasing?

A few years ago my friend Stephanie Bryant and I started (in)courage, a web site we said was like God’s beach house for women. We were both at DaySpring at the time and long story short, we watched God do the impossible. After experiencing that kind of adventure, I wanted more. There’s no better place to be than going where God wants you.

How has your vision of a God Sized Dream changed?

My husband and I have a verse sitting in our office that says “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life” (1 Thess. 4:11). I’ve realized that God-sized dreams are just as often found in the ordinary, unknown, and everyday as the moments when you may be in a position that’s more public. Ultimately all God-sized dreams are about this: loving Jesus, loving others, and loving yourself.

What is one piece of advice you would give to the dreamer that feels discouraged?

You don’t have to prove yourself. I spent years trying to gain approval and acceptance. No matter how much I did or what I accomplished, it never felt like enough. And God let it be that way for a purpose because he wanted me to come to a place of knowing I could never earn love—I could only receive it. Your dream is not about a destination. It’s about a relationship. And that’s just as real today as it will be on the day your dream comes true.

Tell me about becoming a life coach and what is one benefit that could be gained by working with a life coach?

I have a masters degree in counseling and worked briefly as a private practice counselor. While counseling is about the past and healing, life coaching is about the future and growth. I realized that was more of my sweet spot and became certified. Now I coach women all over the world. Life coaching is about moving forward and seeing tangible results in your life. But it also makes sure those results come from a place of encouragement, strength, and taking hold of who you really are and what God has for you.

Finally what’s next on the horizon for you and how can we be praying for you?!

What a sweet question! I have another book releasing next Spring called You’re Going to Be Okay. And I’m writing another one that will come out a year later. So I would appreciate prayers for the words I’m supposed to put on those pages. Also, no one has it all together and I struggle with days of discouragement, doubt, and feeling a bit drained just like everyone else. I’d love to have prayers that as I continue pouring out, God would also continue to fill me back up. And friends like you, Kristin, are a big part of that! Thank you!

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Isn’t she just awesome?? Holley has to be one of the most humble and caring people that I know. And today is an extra special day because it is her birthday!! So would you please stop on over at her place and give her some birthday love?! 🙂 Holley you are a blessing in so many ways – I am praying that God fills your cup to overflowing this year!

Holley-pic-4-01

Find Yourself Some Quality Peeps!

I am not talking about the marshmallow chicks here – I am talking about people that you can surround yourself with.

Community – we all need it. And yet, if you are anything like me, while I long for it – I shy away from true community.

Why? Because it can be scary!!

Because behind the mask of perfection that I like to wear is a broken, messy, desperate-at-times woman. And if I get involved in true community – you all might just see the “real” me….and that is scary!

What if the truth makes you all not like me. Then I find myself back in the 6th grade, sitting at home alone on a Friday night the only girl not invited to the best boy-girl party of the year….not that something like that happened to me – but if it did it would be terrible! 😉

But I have found something amazing as I have stepped lightly into the pool of “community”….there are some awesome, real, honest women out there that are just like me. Well maybe not JUST like me – but who “get” me – the real me AND want to invite me to the party of the year too!

Specifically, I have been involved with a small group of women that I have met as a part of this God Sized Dream Team. We have created a place where we can encourage one another, share burdens and prayer requests…it has been such a blessing!

These ladies are my peeps.

And they are lovely. And while I have a hard time sharing ;), I wanted to introduce you to these beautiful women. They each blog and I know that if you get to know them, you will love them like I do!!

Click on their links below and leave them some love. (None of them asked me to do this….I just am so blessed I needed to share the love!)

Alecia, a wonderful encourager, blogs at There’s Something Different.

Elise’s beautiful heart can be found at Our Stories God’s Glory.

Christine, a true sister at heart, shares her life at Living Joel 2:25.

Kristin, a sweet friend, with an (i) no less!!!, blogs at 152 Insights to My Soul.

Lisa has an incredible story and can be found at Life after the Shore.

Mel, my future BFF and Allume roommate, writes at A Barefoot Life.

Elizabeth Anne has some very funny stories to share over at Seasons with Soul.

Chelle lifts us up with encouragement and prayer and writes at Treat Me To A Feast.

and last – but certainly not least…

Gindi, has a loving and caring heart and blogs at Gindi’s – A Refreshing Spot for Working Women of Faith.

Over the next several months you may see these ladies here in this space.  We will be doing some “guest posts” and I know that you will be blessed by each of them.

While my peeps don’t live in my same community – we have found ways to lift one another up, offer prayer and encouragement. If you don’t have a group of people that can do this for you….pray about it and then open your heart to finding community.

And get ready for an amazing ride!!

Dream-God-sized-Dreams

 

 

Why your dream is worth it!

Today I am linking up again with Holley and the rest of the God-sized dream team to talk about “Why is your dream worth pursuing, fighting for and seeing through no matter what happens?”

Chasing our dreams can be tough. Often there are roadblocks and it can feel like fighting for our dreams is just too much.

If you are anything like me some of my biggest roadblocks are those lies that I have chosen to believe over time. Lies that keep me “stuck” and not moving forward.

Have you heard those whispers?

“You can’t do this”, “It will never work”, “You aren’t smart enough, or good enough, or valuable enough”…

But you know what I am learning?

That I am enough!

I can do this!

I do have something to offer….

And guess what friend?

SO DO YOU!

You want to know why your dream is worth it?

Because God designed it just for you! He has a plan and a purpose for your life. And He loves you so much! In Him and through Him ALL things are possible!

Even those dreams that feel out of reach!

We have to stop believing the lies that we aren’t valuable to God. That our “past” can’t be overcome.

This weekend we celebrated the Resurrection of Christ – and if there is one thing we should remember about Easter is that our past was overcome LONG ago. At the cross our “past”, our sin and our shame were wiped clean.

Don’t believe the lies that your dream isn’t worth it.

Move forward in full confidence that God has you right where you are, at this moment, for a specific purpose.

Give yourself the freedom to dream.

Trust in God’s perfect timing and believe in yourself!

YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Dream-God-sized-Dreams

The Desires of Our Hearts

Linking up today again with Holley to discuss this topic – “What do you really want more of in your life? Will you dare to say it out loud?”

When I think of what might be missing at the very core of any of my dreams and plans it is focus. If I am honest, I have a difficult time being intentional. This is unfortunately true in many areas of my life.

I have good plans, good ideas….things that I would like to see completed. I am great at starting something and not always so great at following through. Especially if the follow through requires time, or patience.

Here is just one example – Slowly over the past year I have been painting several rooms in our home.  I love finding deals in the clearance paint center at our local Menards and seeing how a little thing like paint can transform a space.

But it is hard work, and isn’t a “quick” job. The last room I painted was our master bedroom. It is 99.3% completed. I started one Saturday morning and painted all day non stop – took me almost 6 hours. At the end I had 1 wall with maybe a 1/4 inch edge that needs to be trimmed out. I was too lazy to tape off the baseboard so I had to leave a space. My brush was soaked with paint at this point and no small line was happening.

So I picked everything up and promised myself that I would finish the edge later that week. That was at least 3 weeks ago. 🙁 The paint cans still sit on our dresser mocking me.

And I realize that this “unfinished” business carries over into other areas as well. Especially in my relationship with God and my relationship with my family.

I am not good about setting a dedicated time to read and study God’s Word. I am trying little things to change that – one being the Hello Mornings Group – we read a set of specific Bible verses each morning and then share a little about their impact with a group of other people.

But I know it isn’t enough. And when I started I was all over the journaling, getting up early, diving in….and somewhere in there “life” happened and the alarm got set back a 1/2 hour and my quiet time is cut short.

And I am convicted of the fact that if I want this space to be God-filled and God-inspired….I have to be spending time with the “filler”. If I want to see the desires of my heart filled – I have to be available to God’s leading FIRST…and how can I hear His leading if I am filling up all of my time with busyness?

And I know that I am not “hearing” my children like I should. I was challenged by my favorite blogger Angie this week when she posted about this very topic. Last night instead of spending time at the computer – Elijah, Karlena and I baked a cake. I had visions of it being this wonderful experience….and it didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. BUT they laughed, and they were made to feel important. THAT is what matters!

When Holley asked us to share what we wanted more of in our lives, I wasn’t initially sure what I should write….but over the past few days the common theme of being intentional has flooded my heart…so I feel THAT is my starting point.

While I have big dreams for this space….I think that God has even bigger plans for my heart, my family and my relationships. How are you more intentional about your time – especially when it comes to your time and your family?

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Holley’s book yet and would like to join us – you can do so here! And please consider joining in our weekly link-ups – it is a great way to do a little writing and meet some fellow dreamers along the way!

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