Good morning, friend! Posts have been few and far between lately, but I hope this one meets you wherever you are today. I turned 27 last week, and these words have been coming together slowly but surely. Grab your favorite cup of something good and pull up a comfy seat across the table.
"Not my dreams, O Lord, not my dreams, but Yours, be done." This prayer from Every Moment Holy app (100% recommend!) put words to a prayer my heart has been forming over the past several months. It's a prayer not only of release, but for grasping onto something far greater than a dream itself.
As my 27th birthday had been ever-faster approaching (and now has passed by 10 days!), I found myself asking God to show me the dream. Maybe it's not completely new; maybe it's what He's been waiting for me to see more clearly all along. Refined, specific, renewed. I recently read Proverbs 29:18 in my favorite devotional book, Streams in the Desert, and it felt extra fitting. Here it is in The Passion Translation: "When there is no clear prophetic vision, people quickly wander astray. But when you follow the revelation of the Word, heaven's bliss fills your soul." I love the footnote for verse 18, "The Hebrew word used here can refer to a "vision of the night" or "dream." His Word is a light that illuminates our trajectory of the very vision and "dreams" we have not only for this life, but for eternity. The lens shift here zooms out to a wide angle view, a glimpse into what is unseen.
Beatrix Potter exhibit in Nashville - a favorite children's book author & illustrator of mine!
This year rounds out 10 (ten!) years since I felt the Lord first whisper this calling to to share His Word with others through my small business. It's like a crossroads; a directional fork with the very best path marked out, even if I don't see it completely. Bind my wandering heart to thee rings true more and more as I look ahead to the next 10 to come. Maybe you relate? There's something good and I think even life-giving to reflecting on seasons, and the last 10 years have held quite a few! In 2013, when I first started my business with a few greeting cards and then a calendar, I was a junior in high school. Since then, I graduated high school, moved 8 hours from home for college, met my now husband, re-branded to Winnefred Austin, expanded product lines with books and purses, graduated from Samford, got married (at Samford!), moved to Tennessee, went to trade shows, and so many, many things in between. The overarching theme? Grace colored ink writing this promise over and over again: in every season, the Lord is faithful. Just as my annual Seasons of Faith calendar has shared for 10 editions, it could not be more true for my own story. I hope you might find this promise to be true for yourself, too. Through every circumstance - the joyful and the hard and the everything in between - His faithfulness is steadfast. His presence is unwavering.
Each year around my birthday for the last several, I've read the Psalm of my new age.
Psalm 27 is full of good nuggets -- here are a few parts that feel right on for this season. Whatever age you are, read your "age Psalm"!
Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light and my salvation -- so why should I be afraid?" This light dwells uniquely and fully in the Trinity, flooding every corner of our lives with life-giving light. Perfect light is also perfect love, which Scripture tells us casts out fear (1 John 14:18). By His Word, we have light to guide us day and night; the "prophetic vision" we need to step into the wonder and mystery (Psalm 119:105). By the power of the Holy Spirit, this light too lives in us to share with others! Could it be He shares His dreams for us through His Word and when we spend time with Him? I think that's a big yes!
Psalm 27:4 says, "The one thing I ask of the Lord -- the thing I seek most -- is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in His temple." And a few verses later Psalm 27: 8 says, "My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me. And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."
Seeking and spending time with the Lord opens our hearts to receive that Holy Spirit nudge, a whisper from the Lord to come and see. Isn't that the dream? Could that be the vision? To live in the house of the Lord forever. All things, all work, all relationships on this side of heaven are glimpses pointing toward the sweetest promise of what's to come! That promise made flesh is Jesus Himself. He's prepared a place for us, and calls us to come, see, and bring friends. Our part is this: to respond all in to His wholehearted invitation.
So right here is where I find myself: "Here is raise my Ebenezer, Here by Thy great help I've come, And I hope by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home." An Ebenezer means "stone of help." It is a marker proclaiming the Lord's provision and help for His people. What am I working towards? Where am I fixing my eyes? What is taking my time and where is it taking me? Am I surrendering my own strength and depending on the Lord? And how can I trace the Lord's provision in these things? It's really the best kind of conviction. Jesus is the cornerstone (Ephesians 2), so He too must be the source of every Ebenezer, every stone of help.
Why am I sharing all of this? Well of course, in hopes to encourage you wherever you find yourself today. To "wait patiently for the Lord" and "be brave and courageous" (Psalm 27:14). And also? To trust that still small voice who is calling you to something greater than perhaps you imagined. All the while, drawing from and trusting in His abundant provision every step.
And that's what makes me so excited about this new age for me and for my company. We really have grown up together, Winnefred gal and me. I can't wait to share more about where I feel like the winds of the Spirit are leading, and I hope you'll come along. New stories, more Scripture sharing, Spirit-tuned dreams, and another blog post because this one is quite long enough.
May our Lord who gives us light, illuminate eternal realities of the dream dwelling within Himself, and show us the path that always leads back home. May it be so.