How To Dream (In Color Again)

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – C. S. Lewis

*scribble scribble* “ALLLMOOOST…” The sound of a little girl coloring snapped me out of my daze. I had been staring out the window of my airplane seat and dozed off into thought and prayer. Long plane rides tend to have this effect on me. Repositioning myself, I looked down to my right to see a 4-year-old girl sticking out her tongue in determination as she wiggled a tiny, purple crayon back and forth on paper.

“THEEERE!” With a definite, final swipe of color, she lifted her crayon and paused to examine her colorful Disney princess masterpiece. Much to my surprise, she actually did an amazing job of coloring inside of the lines. “Wow, that’s pretty good for someone your age,” I said looking over her shoulder. She shyly looked up at me, then smiled wide with a toothy smile, minus one tooth in the very middle. “You like it?!” “I love it! Where did you learn to color like that?” With excitement, she turned and flung her tiny right hand into her mother’s left hand. “Mommy taught me! Isn’t she the best?!”

Her mom looked at me and smiled. She, however, did not seem to be the type to make small talk, so she looked straight ahead and leaned back to take a nap. Her daughter was quite the opposite. The little girl reached forward to grab her stash of crayons, and then she slowly looked up at me with puppy dog eyes. “Would you color with me?” I laughed. “Pshh! Yes! It’s been forever!” Her eyes lit up as she had found a new friend to join in her creativity. She handed me a pink crayon and sloppily flipped to the next page. I couldn’t tell which princess was on this new page. Growing up with only brothers has apparently robbed me of the joys of princess movies. Nonetheless! I have attained enough life wisdom to not tell this to little girls. “OH! I love this princess!” I said as she replied, “ME TOO! She’s my favorite!”

And so we got to work. With a coloring book between us, we alternated between ferociously scribbling away at the blotches of white within the lines and carefully tracing the bold edges. Coloring was actually very fun, but it could only go so far. I decided to carry on some more small talk. “So, tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Her head shot up! “A princess! But not when I grow up, silly! I am a princess!” “Ah! Of course, your Highness, kind of like this one, right here?” She looked down at our artwork. “No, no, no… Much better! Daddy said I was the best princess there ever was! He gave me this for my birthday! He said,

Sweetie, you are a princess! You’re the best and most beautiful princess this world has ever seen. And every princess needs to color like a princess and learn from princesses before her, so be very careful to choose the right colors and color inside the lines! Don’t be afraid to go slow. Take your time. I can’t wait to see what you’ve done when I see you again!

“And where’s your dad?” “Oh, you know, fighting bad guys!” She nonchalantly looked back down to keep on coloring. Her quick scribbles, however, grew slower and slower as she added, “Yeah, bad guys… they sure take a long time to beat…” My attention was stolen by her mother taking a deep breath, sitting straight up again. Her closed eyes twitched, and I could tell that tension was building. Yet somehow this little girl had a way about turning this around. “It’s okay, though! Daddy promised he’d come back! And I have this to show him how I’ve been learning to be a better princess!” She glanced up at me with a reassuring childish smile and looked back down to keep on coloring. The best deduction I could make was that her father is in the military.

I proceeded to aid her in her coloring venture for a good while longer. Every now and then, she would give me direction on how I ought to be coloring. “NO, no, NO! Like this!” “Oh, forgive me, your Highness!” “YEAHHH – just like that!” It was quite the humorous plane ride to be sure. In fact, it was one of the best plane rides I’ve ever been on. There’s something refreshing about delving into children’s imaginations and taking part in their take on life.

Eventually, the plane dropped altitude and arrived at its terminal. The air pressure released from the cabin and the relief of all the passengers could be heard as everyone began to stand and grab their belongings from the above compartments. We were going to be standing up soon, so I handed the pink crayon back to the little girl. She put it into her crayon case. She then looked at me with a dignified look (as dignified as a 4-year-old can look), looked down at our finished product, then proudly said, “This is yours!” She attempted to rip the princess coloring out but failed at first try, so she put more leverage into the action, and managed to tear it out. I took it from her and said, “Ah thank you very much, your Highness!” as I received her prized possession, folding it and sliding it into my pocket.

As we stood up to leave the airplane, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. The little girl followed her mom down the aisle with a subtle limp. How could I have missed it? The little girl had a prosthetic leg! I grabbed my luggage from the compartment above me and then quickly followed after this little girl and her mom. I caught up to them before we walked into the main terminal, but I would have never expected the following scene. The mother and little girl came to a sudden halt at the entrance of the waiting lobby, and the other impatient travelers streamed around them. Confused, I looked over the mother’s shoulder and saw something in the distance: something strong, something brave, something… camouflage!

A tall soldier stepped forward in the oddest way. A small step, a big step, a small step, a big step. The little girl began slowly stumbling forward in likewise fashion. A small step, a big step, a small step, a big step. “Daddy!” “Princess!” The distance between them diminished in the most irregular, picturesque way as he swept her off her feet and swung her in a circle. In the excitement of swinging her around, he almost fell. He wasn’t quite used to his new prosthetic leg.

Tears of joy. Tears of relief. The little girl, being held in her father’s arms, kept on saying, “You’re here! You’re really here!” The mother joined them and the three linked arms and held each other for a good while. “Darling, what happened?” asked the wife, as she looked at his mechanical leg. He paused and then choked out the words. “There was a good friend… who – well, a grenade that got thrown into our bunker, and he pushed me out of the way before he threw himself on top of it.” “Daddy…” said the little girl with her arms still wrapped around her dad’s neck. “Yes, Princess?” “Is that why you’re back with mommy and me? Because of him?” The father held his daughter in front of him, taking in the blessing of seeing her again.  Then pulling her back in close he said, “Yes, because of him...”

It was getting more difficult to maintain my own composure. I could barely pull myself away from the scene. So gripping the straps on my backpack, I tried to walk by as if nothing was happening. Then I heard a little voice from behind me shout, “Wait!” I kept on walking. “WAIIIT!” This time my feet couldn’t go any farther, and I turned around to see this little girl stumbling towards me. Before I could react, she flung her arms around me and hugged me tightly! I let my arms wrap around her in return as I looked up to see her father smiling with his wife clinging to his side. He didn’t know who I was, but he knew that I somehow carried a significance in his daughter’s heart.

The little girl whispered into the hem of my coat, “Thank you.” I looked down in confusion. “For what?” Her little head raised as she smiled that same childish smile from before.

For helping color in my dreams, silly…

My vision began to blur together as the little girl became distant. The back of my head suddenly took on a weight which I couldn’t explain. “Huh? What’s going on?” It got heavier and heavier until I felt myself tipping backward in the strangest way. I let go of the little girl, reaching for something to keep my upright, but instead, I actually fell straight back into my bed!

“NO!…” I said under my breath staring up at my bedroom ceiling with wide eyes. “Was that really?!…” My eyes scrunched and my hands smeared my face up and down in frustration. “It just had to be…” So with a deep breath and a moan, I rolled over, then picked up my phone from my bedstand to check the time: 2:45 a.m. Ugh. The dream was detailed enough that I couldn’t fall back asleep. My mind kept on chewing over the nuances of everything about it. The more I did this, the more something began to unfold.

Over time, God gives each of us a “coloring book” detailing our hopes, goals, visions, and dreams in life. To begin, it is a step of faith to believe and trust in God’s love, sovereignty, and omniscience that He knows what is best for us. As we believe what He has revealed to us, we slowly but surely color in our future destinies.

However, we all have very different coloring books! To some God reveals the end goal of one’s life in the first picture, whereas some color in hundreds of pictures before anything seems to culminate. In either case, it is the duty of both to color with childlike faith in God’s Holy Word.

Everyone experiences difficulties or setbacks to their dreams. The ultimate foe is sin. This is of no problem to the Master’s plan. As we draw nearer and nearer to our Lord Jesus Christ, we continuously reckon more and more that He became sin and died with its very essence intertwined with His being. Through this process, via His resurrection and indwelling spirit, He endows us with the blessing of not only giving us dreams, but He lives inside of us to aid in their fulfillment to extents which would have never been dreamed possible.

So bathe in God’s presence and let Him draw the story which will provide the most impossible canvas you could ever imagine. And as you color, remember to have fun and enjoy every detail.

After all, you never know who will sit beside you and also learn to color again!

All is Yours, All is Well

God, my dreams are wholly Yours.
My future is not mine.
My hopes and fears with all my tears
Are Yours as well, not mine.

God, my laugh is wholly Yours.
My smile is not my own.
My teeth and tongue, while I’m still young
Are Yours and not my own.

God, my past is wholly Yours:
My jumps and falls and more.
My highs and lows with the hard blows
Are Yours then much more.

God, it’s true this world is Yours.
My world is Yours as well.
My past, my now, my fate, and brow
Are Yours, so all is well.

A Prayer

God, you remember this journal! You remember all of those wonderful things which You posted through me. You remember the words that were shared and the heart that was poured out! You remember it all much better than I do.

Make this journal a public testament to Your grace. Remake and reboot this according to what You are doing in my life. I pray that the world would see nothing short of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. May they see what is possible if we lay our lives before You and let You call all the shots.

Give me poems that I never thought I could conjure…
Give me stories that reflect the dreams I’ve forgotten…
Give me music that I thought had altogether left my veins…
Give me testimonials that drop jaws and reveal Your power…

May the overflow of my heart encourage others in their travels as well.

Thank You, Lord.


Face-planting a Garden

Proverbs 24:16, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”

My RA told me a few weeks ago,

“In the Hebrew language, the number seven is symbolically the number of completion. So when Proverbs 24:16 says a just man falls seven times and gets up again, It’s saying that even though a just man completely and utterly fails beyond all hope, he’ll still get back up.”

The summer is beginning to come to a close, and this has caused me to take inventory of everything that has occurred this summer and come to conclusions. So then the question hanging is, “What conclusions have I come to?” Well, that’s why I’m sitting on my dorm room bed on a Saturday afternoon, typing about life.

Summed up: I fell a lot! I mean… it’s almost comical (hence the title of this post).

But instead of going in depth on all of my failures, I would like to focus on Jesus.

I can honestly say that I never quit spending time with Him. I have learned that of all the disciplines in life that must be kept up no matter what, it’s time with God. If that slips, everything slips. That being said, in everything that happened over the summer, God always had ammunition to keep me keeping on.

God was faithful all the way through, and no matter how badly I face-planted life, His Word always reminded me, “Don’t give up! There is hope in Me!” And even when I was down in the mud, He continuously reminded me that He answers prayer, both big prayers as well as small prayers.

Hindsight is always hilarious because you can sometimes see God’s sense of humor a whole lot better when you’re not being dragged through the dirt on the back of a metaphorical four-wheeler. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it, and He’ll do whatever it takes to do what’s best for us because He loves us. And in the context of everything that He has done for us, you can’t help but laugh at the situations He’s brought along in our lives.

It’s true. This summer I face-planted a garden. But I find it a very beautiful garden if you ask me. It smells of God’s grace and portrays His love. I look back and laugh because He knew that I needed this summer to show me many things about myself as well as other people. How that will come into play in the future, I don’t know, but I do look forward to seeing Jesus prove Himself more and more faithful with each passing day.

Fare Thee Well

Simply put, I will not have time to post as I finish up this college semester, and I will not have time to post this summer as I will be traveling on a summer drama team. These things being said, what will I write about considering this will be my final post for maybe four months?

I will write about Jesus.

One of the most basic facts about the Word of God is that it reveals His love. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the centerpiece of all Scripture. Why His crucifixion? Because it sets the context of His love! He loved us such much that the Father sent His only begotten Son to bear His wrath towards our sin! He loves you, and He loves me. It’s simple, but it’s true. Yet somehow, this is something that I have struggled with..

I am never good enough! I am never smart enough! I am never disciplined enough! I could have done this more excellent! I could have said that more plain! I could have been more kind! I could love Jesus more! I must sacrifice more!

I am a child of God, and Jesus Christ, as weird as it is to say, is my spiritual brother. Therefore, Christ’s Father is my Father. He has given me commands on how to live my life, beginning with, “Love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength!” Honestly, that’s a hefty command, and without obeying that command first, none of the other commandments will follow. Yet because I have fallen short..

God, I am a failure!

It’s sad as I type that, because even though that statement reflects my heart before God worked in my life, I am still tempted to believe it. Here’s the thing, this is why we must understand that everything in life comes back to Jesus and His Word! Why?! Because our success is not determined by our track record, but by Jesus’ track record! We will all fail time and time again! We will all fall short! Yet every day when the Father looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son!

This is the beauty of the Christian life: we do not obey to earn the Father’s approval; we obey because Christ has earned the Father’s approval. We may be chastened, but we will never be destroyed. We may be rebuked, but we will never be cast away! We may fall, but we will never be forced to stay down!

Yes, we will all stand before the judgement throne and everything we have ever said or done will be brought into account, but as my track record is listed off, my eyes will be fixed on the scars in my Lord’s wrists.

This is why we must strive every day to pursue God with complete abandon! Christ is worthy! He deserves it! The most incredible fact is that He doesn’t force us! He let’s us! He woos us! He longs for us! And when we trip and stumble when running after Him, we will not be remembered by our trips and falls!

I was dying in the prayer closet around a week ago, arguing that statement with God, “I am a failure!” “No, you are not.” “Hah! Yeah, right! Remember my laziness this past week?! Remember that comment I said?! Remember that person I neglected?! Tell me how I am not a failure!” Instantly a picture came to my mind of Jesus showing me the holes in His hands were nails went through. “This is why you are not a failure..”

I have one desire for these next four months: more of Jesus. In spite of how weird C. J. Murray is, Jesus is faithful. I am thankful for my Lord and Savior. I can never love Him too much, and when my love for Him falls short, His love for me never falls short.

What a wonderful thought!

Fare thee well, all.