Over the last few weeks, it has felt as if I have been living in a dream. After an incredibly crazy five months of living in Paris, I arrived back home in Gaborone a few weeks ago and the more I have tried to process that season, the more I keep wondering if it wasn’t all a dream! The “How was Paris?” question keeps coming up and for all my years in school, I somehow can’t seem to find the right words to string together to give an answer that goes beyond “Yah, it was good.” As I think about it, I realise that for me, this simple question begs more than just an answer that speaks to the actual lived experience of being in Paris, but it compels me to unpack stories and testimonies of dreaming, of taking risks, of embracing places of discomfort and unfamiliarity, of believing the Father’s goodness, of seeing the faithfulness of the Lord and of learning to live as a carrier of hope. (And lezbehonest, I can’t begin to unpack all that in a casual conversation). For a couple of years now, I have known that the Lord would send me to Paris for a season of my life and as I look back on my time there, it can’t help but feel like a dream because it was literally birthed from a season of embracing courage and vulnerability to dream with the Lord.
Two years ago, in the middle of what was undoubtedly one of the hardest and most testing seasons of my life, I found myself married to hopelessness and sitting miserably in the seat of despair and disappointment. The wise counsel of James to “consider it all joy” when going through testing tasted like bitter medicine that I was struggling to swallow and somehow even the promise of a refined faith worth more than gold didn’t seem to be able to ease my frustration, needless to say I hardly felt like rejoicing. You see, during that season, I had been wrestling with disappointment. I had been trusting the Lord for some specific things and as the days and months went by, it seemed more and more that I was watching everything that I had hoped for simply fall away – and with that, it felt like every seed of hope I had in me was falling to the ground and being buried by the soil of disappointment. In the middle of this place, I clearly remember the Lord speaking to me about the choice that I had – I could either choose to partner with disappointment and hopelessness or I could choose to believe in His unwavering goodness and allow Him to walk through the doubt and confusion of it all with me. I chose the latter and that has made all the difference! As I allowed the Lord to come into the broken places of my heart, I felt Him invite me to dream with Him and to embrace hope again. In the midst of that messy season (and through many many tears), the Holy Spirit began to breathe life and hope over me again and I found myself slowly embracing the adventure of dreaming with Jesus. I allowed myself to become vulnerable enough with the Lord to put words to the dreams I’d only felt somewhere deep in my soul but had been too afraid to lay bare. I started dreaming about everything – from the biggest things to the seemingly small and somewhere in the midst of all that, I laid out the Paris dream before the Lord.
Two years later, I sit here, looking back in awe at how I have literally watched the Lord breathe life into my barren and hopeless places and cause a season of dreaming to become reality. My time in Paris was packed with many lessons and experiences that I will carry with me forever, but if anything, it has taught me more than any other season of my life that hope does not disappoint. I have come to learn about the healing power of hope because the One who is Hope loves to restore and make all things new. I think that the Paris adventure was actually about more than the Lord making a dream come true – but it was about the Lord teaching me to step into deeper intimacy and vulnerability with Him.
He really is a good Father who loves and delights in His children – and in their dreams too, because He has put vision and hope and life and dreams and joy and courage into our very DNA as His image bearers. I love that more than just having a crazy five months in an amazing city, I can write this season down in my history with the Father as another record of His goodness and faithfulness. It is indeed just like God to turn our disappointments into a dance floor. He causes our feet to dance on disappointment and fills our mouths with joy. Even when we endure hardships, these are but only for a while and there is a greater reward in coming out of the wilderness with our trophies of war – with fresh revelations of the Father’s nature that become like weapons we can use in the next battle to silence the lies of the enemy. He really is that good. HALLELUJAH!