I like to imagine the founding fathers of the United States of America were dreamers. They came here with no idea what they were getting into - and I know mistakes were made, but they always will be in any new endeavor. They came expecting to live in a new land, but to continue to be ruled by the King of England - and they were for a long time. Then, when things were not working out well for the people living here, they dreamed up a new form of government and how to make it work. And they believed in it so much they were willing to fight for it and to die if necessary. But in the end they were successful and they created a Constitution which has endured the test of time and allowed the nation to grow beyond what I think the founding fathers ever dreamed it could be.
I love to dream about big things. I love to dream things which are so huge there is no way a plain old person like me could make them happen. I was thinking about all the different dreams I have had through the years. The reality is even though I might have dreamed something big it didn’t necessarily mean I was able to make it happen, no matter how much I believed in it. Because the funny thing is quite often I have dreamed huge ideas and set lofty goals, yet suddenly doors sometimes would shut or open in different directions than the way my dreams were taking me. But that has never stopped me from dreaming.
Several years ago I was heavily involved with Awana at my local church. I attended an amazing conference which challenged and inspired me to approach children and family ministries in new ways. I got a vision for a new direction for the Awana club I led. I returned to the church I was attending rejuvenated and filled with huge dreams for building upon everything I had learned. I started a small group for moms and incorporated much of the new information I had learned into the teaching I did with the children on Wednesday nights. I even ended up writing a thesis paper for my Bachelor’s Degree about everything I was doing.
When I was at the height of moving forward in faith and watching the dream unfold - God stepped in and brought to me the realization it was time to find a new church and start over. Through a series of supernatural events I was hired to become the children and family ministries’ director for a different church. I entered that phase of my life with gusto and no shortage of dreams for what could be. I already had a completely developed philosophy for children’s ministry which included a curriculum for children from 2 through 18 years old. I dreamed of designs for an innovative and exciting children’s wing and of developing and training a group of volunteer leaders who would be firmly grounded in their faith and ready to help parents navigate through spiritual issues during their child-rearing years.
Co-founder of The Torch and then-youth-director for the church, Sarah, united with me as we set goals and dreamed about the possibilities for our children and youth departments. We dreamed up an idea called CT SCAN and together we started and facilitated that service program for the children and teens who attended our church.
A core group of young people worked together to make that dream happen, because dreams do not necessarily happen easily. We spent hours collecting pop cans for recycling; planning and executing a rummage sale; and participating in every fundraiser we could dream up and find to raise money for CT SCAN. The teens attended ServSafe classes to prepare them to work within health department guidelines in the kitchen.
We gathered donations, planned meals and spent hours training and praying to prepare spiritually to cook and serve a hot meal every Wednesday night to children and teens from the local neighborhood. As Sarah and I committed ourselves to networking within the local community, we began to see huge potential for the CT SCAN dream to have a significant impact.
Quite suddenly that door shut and it was over and I have to admit it took awhile for me to feel like there was a reason ever to dream again. I was emotionally, physically and mentally devastated and hurt and sometimes found it nearly impossible to push past the pain and dig up a dream or two.
But even at my lowest point - I realized God’s hand was on my life and He still wanted me to dream. So I would dare, once in awhile, to wonder what could have been if CT SCAN worked out as I had dreamed. Then, eventually, I started to wonder what the dream could look like if it took a different form. I wondered how it could grow if I found a building to rent and started a kitchen? I even started investigating potential buildings and locations. I never felt entirely comfortable with any of the buildings I saw. I wanted a building in a place where it was safe for children and teens to walk to and hang out at before and after.
It wasn’t until a few years had passed when Sarah dreamed up the idea to purchase a food truck, which became the foundation for The Torch. And the dream has grown - sometimes I stop and think about all the things we would like to do at The Torch and I am amazed as i watch the dream grow beyond anything Sarah and I can possibly do ourselves.
And I am fully confident we will see great things happen as The Torch becomes a reality and unfolds into all it can be. It is a lot of work already and we face a lot of work in the future - but dreams are worth it and we are willing to do the part we can do to make it happen. And we will keep on dreaming because God can handle anything that is too big for us. I look back now and see how all the dreams I have had through the years led me to this time and this place and these dreams. And I see God's hand in my life all along the way.
I think He created us to be dreamers, however, we get afraid along the way because failure can feel devastating. But we should never fear. If we trust His promises to bless us and dream dreams that ultimately glorify Him - they will happen and they will be bigger and last longer than we can imagine.