May 12, 2010

A New Heart

Then you will know that I am the LORD. Those who hope in me will not be disappointed. ~Isaiah 49:23

Last week I had the incredible gift of being in El Salvador with Compassion International ( How do I describe it in black and white?

Brilliant, life changing, grace-filled, abundant joy…that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Amazing, huh? But if I’m honest, I was hesitant of going. Because going across the world meant going to a place in my heart I feared. A place a dream was buried. A dream I was afraid to re-awaken for the amount of grief it would cause should it die again. When this dream is surrendered to the Lord, it ruthlessly, tenderly breaks me in a thousand ways. Good ways. But it’s not been surrendered. It’s been locked up and covered with the dust and debris of hurt, mistrust and disappointment.

Disappointment not in the dream. Rather, in the dream Giver. The Giver of all things…life, faith, trust, desire, dreams. I know this is Truth. I really do. But my reality had shifted from this Truth to a lie in which the Giver was the Taunter…dangling the proverbial carrot, always in sight; always out of reach.

He’d been trying to talk with me about this for some time. But you know, home and life are superb sound barriers. I didn’t want to hear about it anymore and retorted, “If this dream isn’t going to come true by yesterday, don’t mention it again.” And as the day to leave for El Salvador drew closer, I quietly, but desperately buried deeper the place my heart dreaded. Disdained. Hated even. I admit I wasn’t fond of who I’d become in this part of my heart. It was ugly. Seriously filthy. But I was so angry/resentful, I held onto it.

The first night in El Salvador we broke off in groups. Our leader Ryan asked each to share how we could be praying for one another throughout the week.

It was then I heard the knock. My bygone dream rapping on the door of it’s cavity in my heart. “Let me out. Talk about me. Be accountable.” And so I did. And I cried. Blah. I didn’t want to, but dead dreams have that effect on me. Plus, I didn't want the trip to be about me. Pride and humility wrestled it out.

And through tears, I told of my love for missions, particularly foreign missions. And the grand temptation to turn my heart off…detach…withdraw, from loving the one in front of me well. Because I was given that dream when I was just a little girl and I carefully tended it for two decades. I was convinced it had been shut down and I had been deceived.

It’s scary to trust again. To open your heart once more. To greet the edge of a dark cliff and risk jumping takes quite a measure of faith. The possibility that maybe {holding breath here} maybe… the dream isn’t really dead, perhaps it’s just on hiatus… hibernating… germinating… cultivating…well, sometimes that feels like too much to bear. Is a twist on the old adage true? “It’s better to have dreamt and lost, than never to have dreamt at all.” I’m beginning to believe so.

Reality and Truth held my hand in El Salvador and gently eased me away from the lies, hurt, mistrust. How? Being with team members who wholly loved. Dared to fellowship with the severe ache of poverty. Embraced the pain and ministered through shared tears. Lingered in the presence of God a little longer. Being with El Salvadorian children who laid their tiny hands on my head in prayer. Radiated joy though they know more pain in their 6 years than I will ever know in 86 years. Proclaimed the goodness of our God with no reserve.

An open heart gives way to open ears. So many threw me a lifeline of life-giving affirming words without even knowing about my dreams. I catch myself still holding my breath at times. I’m still jumping gingerly. But last week a miracle happened that I can’t ignore. A dead dream came back to life; and hope was resurrected. And every day there and since, the Holy Spirit has gently tapped me on the shoulder and now I’m listening. He reminds me that yes, indeed, He is the Giver of all things. Life, faith, trust, desires, dreams. And Truth. For this I am grateful.

~Does this resonate with you too? I'd love to dialogue.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. ~Ezekiel 36


Jacob Allen said...

Amen. Amen. A thousand times Amen. It resonates so deeply that I find myself a little freaked out. It's like you said, "The Holy Spirit has gently tapped me on the shoulder."

You mentioned how it's scary to trust again. That hit me like a ton of bricks. I've been having such a hard time processing everything. It was easier having friends like you around seeing and hearing the same things. This week I've felt alone and raw. I'm so used to keeping God an arms length away, but more than ever before I feel the Spirit demanding my thought and attention. It's scary. Maybe that's what it means to fear God–to trust him in all his mysterious, wonderful, omniscient, omnipotent ways.

Thank you for blogs. They've really helped me starting thinking through our experiences, and they've been a continued source of encouragement and insight.

Fields of gold said...

I hear you brother. Me too...feeling alone and raw. The brokenness of loving the country and it's people is seeping out and makes it almost impossible to continue keeping the Lord at bay. It's like I have to talk to someone and He's the omnipresent one, you know? You're is scary and demands much.

It sure would have been nice to have an additional week to stay together and debrief. I'm needing that too. I hope you find time and friends to flush our trip out with. And that you keep dialoging on your blog. Your words are powerful and it strikes me that your vulnerability can change a generation. What you have to share is needed. Your comment above seriously causes me to reconsider my version of "fear of the Lord." Thank you for that…I needed it.

p.s. have you heard Jars of Clay's Worlds Apart?

Elizabeth said...


Your blog has hit home with me in so many ways. I almost started to cry because your words are exactly mine. The fear, unassurance, worry every emotion I have been feeling because my dreams were shattered too and I dont want to open that door again because the fear is too great. I just wanted to thank you for writing this blog and all your other ones, your words are truly inspirational and breathtaking and Im very glad I found your blog through Proverbs 31 minestry and she seeks. I hope that we could talk more about life and God because you seem to understand exactly what I feel. May God Bless you and your words!

Feel free to email me if you like to , Im not a member on the blogs here. But my email is

Thanks, Liz

Shannon Primicerio said...

Sam: This was so timely for me to read right before leaving for Bogota. Thank you for sharing the link with me. I would love to talk with you about dreams we once thought were dead when I get back. Thank you for sharing this post with me. You don't even know how much I needed it!

Melissa said...

..."So many threw me a lifeline of life-giving affirming words without even knowing about my dreams. I catch myself still holding my breath at times. I’m still jumping gingerly. But last week a miracle happened that I can’t ignore. A dead dream came back to life; and hope was resurrected."

It is your own penned words from a year ago that have reached into a new year and brought someone who is a complete stranger to you confirmation that what I once thought was dead, has in fact, His time...hallelujah