Dreams and Purpose

I want to remember that no one is going to make my dreams come true for me … it is my job to get up every day and work toward the things that are deepest in my heart … and to enjoy every step of the journey rather than wishing I was already where I want to end up. — Anonymous

Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears. — Anonymous

God is so good. A few years ago, I would have never guessed I’d be where I’m at today, but He has blessed me so abundantly.

I met Max on an employer-sponsored trip to Australia. We sat next to each other on the flight over. He was so funny. We started talking, and I felt like I had known him forever. During our trip, we spent the majority of our time together. We found we had so much in common, having lived in many of the same places over the years.

Max is much more outgoing and adventurous than I am, which I absolutely love. He brings me out of my shell and makes life fun; but he isn’t too adventurous … he doesn’t take unnecessary risks.

Max and I enjoy being in each other’s company, but we also enjoy doing our own thing. We love to travel (the majority of the time together) and have gone to such exciting places as Iceland and Bora Bora. When I’m busy working on a book, he is usually busy putting together a business deal. He’s taught me so much. I’ve always wanted to do philanthropic work, and now I have the chance. Max is a venture capitalist, who does a lot of work with nonprofits.

Last year, Max and I flew to New York in September to kick of a gala for The Jazz Gallery. This past August, we flew out to Napa Valley to attend the V Foundation’s fundraiser to help support brain cancer research. We try to get involved in two major events per year and are hoping to create our own foundation next year to help end human trafficking. We’re in the process of lining up a trip to India in May to meet with our associates there.

It will be a busy year. My next book is due out in August, so I will have to make the most of every opportunity and use my time wisely. Luckily, Max and I will be in New York again in December (we go every year to see Chris Botti play at The Blue Note on New Year’s Eve), so I’ll be able to meet with my publisher then as well.

Once the foundation is off to a good start, I’m thinking about going on the speaking circuit. God has laid on my heart a desire to minister to lonely, hurting, brokenhearted people who, because of poor choices they’ve made, find life isn’t going quite like they expected it would go. Through my writing and my speaking, I hope to inspire and encourage them to find their way to a better place … a place of hope and purpose, a place of love and fulfillment.

I am so grateful for Max. He has inspired me, loved me, and helped me to blossom into the person God created me to be. He makes me laugh, he values my opinion, and he encourages me to pursue my hopes and dreams. He has helped me to see that I am a person worth loving, a person with a lot to offer to others. He’s the mentor I’ve been searching for forever and my very best friend. We can sit and chat for hours, or we can spend hours together not saying a word, just enjoying being in each other’s presence. I think what makes it work so well is that we appreciate one another. We spend so much time apart—Max with his business and me with my writing—that when we are together, we fully value that time.

We enjoy doing lots of things … we especially love cooking. Most Saturday mornings, you will find us at the local farmer’s market or the local fish market. We then go home and do our own thing until midafternoon, when we meet in the kitchen, turn on some jazz, pour a glass of wine, and create our dinner. Sometimes we go out to see a movie afterwards or curl up on the couch and see what’s showing on Netflix.

I never used to get outside much, and I missed it desperately (having grown up in the country). Since meeting Max, I now spend a lot of time outdoors. We hike, bike, go kayaking enjoy picnics in the park, or go rowing. We both love sailing, and Max is slowly teaching me about cat paws and rigging. I may never be the captain, but I sure do enjoy the wind in the sails! There’s just something about blue skies and water that does a soul good.

My kids love Max. They appreciate his sense of humor as much as I do, and they are thrilled that he takes an interest in what is going on in their lives at any given moment. I’ve noticed that they often seek Max out for advice and use him as a sounding board for ideas they are contemplating.

Arianna has settled in Virginia and has taken a teaching job at a private school in the DC area. Josh is finishing his PhD in Economics at MIT. He did an internship at the UN last summer and is hoping to get a permanent job there after he graduates. Lexie is finishing up her Master’s at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to continue to pursue a career in forensics pathology or pursue her writing. The writing won out, but it’s interesting to see that a lot of her stories deal with medical issues and hospitals. Nothing much has changed there.

I have learned that God really does use all things for good, and He does restore souls. He has restored mine. He has redeemed my life, and He has redeemed my children. Healing has come, and it is good.

Lori Lynn

Author’s Note: Max is not real, but he is based on a dear man I fell in love with in my 20s. This story is based on a writing assignment I was given a year ago where we were told, if you were to write your own ideal story, what would your story look like. This was my story. 🙂

Discover Your God-Given Purpose

I have often felt, since I was a young child, that God has a special purpose for me.  It hasn’t been until the last few years that I have started to understand better what that purpose might be.

I’ve come to realize that my favorite moments are quiet moments spent in deep, reflective solitude, for it is then that I get a sense of God’s Presence, a moment to actually hear His voice.  As a mother, those moments are rare.  As a perfectionist, driven to busyness, they are extremely rare.

 It finally occurred to me one day how much Satan loves to keep us from fulfilling our God-given purpose.  By using an arsenal of distraction and overcommitment, messed-up priorities and maintaining the status quo, he prevents us from being all God designed us to be.  How do I know this?  Because I have lived it.  It is the story of my life.

Because God realizes that I am a little slow sometimes, and because He wants me to get my act together and start making a difference for Him in this world, He has been sending me two messages consistently over the past few years:

  1. be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind; and
  2. simplify.

I need to get rid of excess and start focusing on what He is calling me to do.  I need to re-think my priorities.  I need to stop caring about what other people think and start caring about what God thinks (and what I think about myself).

Wondering what your God-given purpose is?  It’s different for each one of us.  One way you can figure it out is to stop trying to be like everyone else around you.  Stop trying to maintain the status quo.  Dare to think differently!

Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  I like the way The Message Bible states it:

Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Our culture teaches us to be self-centered.  It teaches us to raise our children in such a way that they grow up thinking the world revolves around them.  As a culture, we mock moral standards, we no longer recognize common sense, and we dismiss God as a non-entity.  We, as Christians, are challenged to re-think this way of living, but we cannot do it on our own.  We are called to focus our attention on God.  He will change us from the inside out.  Ask Him to help you.  Ask Him what He wants you to do.  Above all, be open to hearing His reply.  Sometimes we think it will come like a bolt of lightning but, oftentimes, it is more subtle than that.

I love the passage in 1 Kings 19:5 where the LORD appears to Elijah.  God tells Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.  And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

If we have conformed to the culture around us, we are so busy and so distracted that we cannot hear that gentle whisper.  We run the risk of missing God’s voice and, by missing God’s voice, we run the risk of living our lives without ever having fulfilled the purpose for which He specifically created us.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss my God-given purpose.

God has also called us for a shared purpose.  Our shared purpose in life is to glorify God… to reflect His light to the world around us.  If we are too busy to be involved in our church, we are too busy!  If we have adopted the attitude, “I’ve done my share,” we may as well ask God to call us home.  If every spare moment we have is spent shuffling our kids to and from sporting events and other extracurricular activities, our priorities are totally messed up.  Our children need to learn about servanthood and compassion just as much as they need to learn academics and athletic skills.

Our youth need to know that what they do makes a difference in their world.  Our shut-ins and the elderly need to know that someone cares about them.  We need young and middle-aged adults volunteering to bring these two groups together.  God doesn’t want to hear that you are too busy.  He doesn’t want to hear that you’ve done your time.  He wants you to get your act together and think about what is really important.

Ever since my parents took me to see the movie The Hiding Place when I was 10 years old, I have often felt that, at some point during my lifetime, Christians are going to be treated like the Jews were during WWII.  If that were to happen, if we were to lose our freedom to express our Christian views and own a Bible, be put in concentration camps, see our family members wrenched away from us and find out later that they had been annihilated, what would be important then?  Think about it…

Dare to make a difference in your world.  Do not be conformed; be transformed!  Simplify.  Make God your #1 priority.  It’s the beginning of a new year.  Let’s get back to basics.  Get to know God more intimately over the next few months so you can discover your God-given purpose and live life to its utmost fulfilling that purpose!

May God bless you in the coming year with knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and understanding as you seek to discover what He has purposed for you

Lori Lynn

LORD, transform me from the inside out.  Help me to get my priorities straight.  Teach me how to listen for Your gentle whisper.  Help me to strengthen my defenses against Satan’s army by immersing myself in Your Word, by communicating daily with You in prayer, and by really understanding my identity as Your child.