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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


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I’ve been entertaining this question for the past ten days. The days between Nils’ birthday and mine – days we set aside to “be still, and watch God fight.”

The night before last Kyle and I went for a walk after dark, enjoying the baffling warm temps of mid-November. And as an aside I have to ask – when have we ever enjoyed such a long stretch of gorgeous in Minnesota? Since March, I think, and here we are, November and still in awe of this weather. (Not a bad way to introduce boys with South American blood to our climate. And not a bad way to infuse a long shot of encouragement into this mom, either.)

So we were walking, and talking. Kyle had something to say, but with reservation. I’m afraid I might jinx it, he starts. No, say it! I’m adamant. We can’t be afraid to hope.

“I think we’ve had a breakthrough.”

I’d been thinking it, too. Something’s changed. The mood. The humor. Optimism. Yes, that’s it. Ours, and theirs. More sweet, less edge.

This morning I got a birthday hug. A real one. My favorite b-day gift.

So there’s this question I’ve been mulling over. It first crossed my mind on day two of our ten days of stillness. Why did you stop dreaming? I knew it was Him asking. And I knew what it meant.

It’s been His Gift. Dreaming. The special something He planted in me all those years ago. A little girl dreaming, and a mom noticing. You live in a world of fantasy. True enough.

Of course, it’s not fantasy He asks of me, but something better. I wrote a paper about it at the seminary. Imagination and Hope. How imagining God stirs our hope, and makes it possible to dream God’s dreams.

Why did you stop dreaming? He whispered the question sweetly into my prayer, and I’ve been mulling it over since. Asking a question back. What do you want me to dream?

This morning, on my birthday, I open a book I’m reading to the next chapter, and guess what it’s about? God-dreams, more or less. But not just that. There’s a story about a woman, and the story is the answer to my question.

There was this woman named Henrietta Mears, no longer living, who changed the world with a dream. A Sunday school teacher. Not more. But the children she taught – this list of names. Billy Graham. Bill Bright. Jim Rayburn. Dawson Trotman. Richard Halverson. Google, if you don’t know who they are. Kingdom changers extraordinaire, every one. Their ripples endless, infinite. No counting the impact. One thing in common. A woman. A teacher.

Then the author says this: You may not influence millions of people, but you may influence one person who influences millions. You might be parenting or coaching or teaching or mentoring the next Henrietta Mears, the next Billy Graham, the next Bill Bright.*

Not a bad dream.

So this morning is my birthday, and I sit again with the window cracked open, enjoying the sun and the birds. Dreaming.

I wrote another paper at the seminary. Shalom: The Dream of God.

And shalom WAS the dream. The dream that got us to where we are today. Nothing missing, nothing broken.

I think we’ve had a breakthrough.

Thanks for the birthday hug.

*If by Mark Batterson

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