Have you got one of those dreams that you’ve held onto for a long time?
Maybe it’s something you’ve wanted to accomplish, or finish or even begin?
Maybe it’s something you’ve always wanted to do but have just never tried?
~That new career you want to pursue
~That degree you’d like to complete
~The friendship you’d like to pursue
~That ministry or business you’ve always wanted to start
~The mission trip you really wish you could take
~That 10 pounds you really want to lose
~The book you want to write
~The music you wish to produce
~The new hobby or skill you wish to learn
~That relationship you want to mend
~That thing that keeps you awake at night
~The thought you keep coming back to over and over~
It may be something huge, medium or really small.
It may be something you’ve always wanted to do but never told anyone about.
It may be something you just keep squashing down below the surface and ignoring.
Listen to the very wise words of my friend Holt Condren, who wrote the wonderful book Surfing the Woods:
“God gave you specific skills, abilities, and desires, and He wills to use those skills, abilities, and desires for His purposes. The great thing is, God’s purposes are extraordinary. They are the kind of purposes you dream about being involved in, ambitious purposes that most never have the courage to pursue. I call these ambitious purposes our God-inspired dreams.”
My dream started over 28 years ago.
I was a recent college graduate teaching in a small Christian school. And, I wanted to get my Masters in Education (A 36-hour program at the University of Memphis).
The school where I was teaching helped to defray some of the costs of the tuition, so I launched in and started pursuing the masters. I was well on my way when “life” began to happen.
Funding was cut…
Babies began arriving…
Life got too busy…
And, I had to let go of my dream – with only four (4) classes remaining to graduate.
Sometimes, we have to let go of our dreams – for a season.
However, we don’t have to give up on them completely.
Our dreams don’t have to die.
For so many people, the dreams do die.
But, they don’t have to!
About 4 years ago, the door opened for me to go back to school to finish that Masters in Education (25 years from the time I had stopped).
I applied to the program, got accepted, and started the challenging process.
- After reading over 100 books, textbooks and commentaries~
- Writing over 35 papers and lessons~
- Taking over 50 exams~
- Filling out thousands of index cards~
- Learning Greek and Hebrew~
- Sitting in class with students who are mostly “half” my age~
- Being in a predominantly male culture and student body (It’s a Baptist seminary)~
- Giving up ministry and work opportunities~
- Changing my minor in mid-course – which slowed things down considerably~
- Having to spend hours and hours studying, preparing and working like a dog~
- Having to take many more classes than I would have the first time around~
- My original program was only 36 hours; this one was 60 hours. I’m graduating with 87 masters credits!!~
But, I’m finished!
I did it!
Was it hard? (Absolutely!)
Did I want to quit many nights? (Yes!)
Was it worth it? (Yes!)
And I want to take this chance to shout loudly to all who are listening:
~~ Don’t you give up! ~~
Just as there was hope for my dreams, there is still hope for your dreams.
It’s NOT too late.
You are NOT too old.
If you are still breathing, you can pursue your dreams!
Consider the story of Nola Ochs:
Nola (Hill) Ochs (born November 22, 1911) is an American college graduate. On May 14, 2007 she became a Guinness World Record holder as the world’s oldest college graduate when she received her diploma at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Hays, Kansas. She earned a general studies degree with an emphasis in history, graduating alongside her granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs, who was 21 years old at the time.
A native of Jetmore, Kansas, Ochs was born in 1911 and took her first college class from FHSU in 1930 when the university was called the Kansas State College. Nola and her husband, Vernon Ochs, raised four sons (who have given her 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren) on the family farm. She took college courses again from Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kansas after her husband of 39 years died in 1972. After learning that she was only 30 hours shy of a bachelor’s degree, Nola moved 100 miles from the family farm to an FHSU university apartment in Hays to finish her degree. During her first year at Fort Hays, Ochs told news reporters that after she graduated, she wanted to be a storyteller on a cruise ship.
Among her accomplishments, Ochs was named the 2007 Kansas Woman Leader of the Year and was given her diploma by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Features on Ochs aired on The Early Show, MSNBC, and CBS News among others. She even earned a spot on The Tonight Show one week after she graduated, sharing a laugh with Jay Leno. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nola_Ochs)
And, how about these folks?
Betty Jane Allshouse got married for the first time in a nursing home to a fellow retiree.
She was 88 years old. (huffingtonpost.com)
Banana George took up barefoot water skiing at age 92 years old!
That’s him in the photo. (worldbarefootcenter.com)
(I love this one) Kimani Maruge enrolled in the first grade at 84 years old.
Check out his picture.
Smoky Dawson, was an Australian country music performer who at the age 92 years old released a collection of original songs in an album entitled “Homestead of My Dreams” making him the oldest person to release a new album.
You are never too old to dream!
I don’t know what your dream might be, but I want to implore, exhort you and even DARE you not to give up on it.
Keep praying and hoping.
You never know when God may open the door for you!
I close with one of my favorite passages that was written to the Philadelphia Church:
Write this to Philadelphia, to the Angel of the church. The Holy, the True—David’s key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
“I see what you’ve done. Now see what I’ve done. I’ve opened a door before you that no one can slam shut. You don’t have much strength, I know that; you used what you had to keep my Word. You didn’t deny me when times were rough. (Revelation 3:7-8, MSG)
May He open doors in your life today!
*Repost from my earlier post on Dec. 11, 2014
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Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?
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