The men climbed up on ladders yanking lights from the ceiling and making a very loud noise with no care for those about them.
Maybe it was the cake or the pie or all the extra turkey and avocado I had for dinner, but I “slept through” the night. That never happens. So being awakened by a plow truck and not a dream was somewhat unusual. But I had the dream.
The noise of the hammers was very loud. As I watched out through the large glass windows I could see the changes on the inside but in fact was challenged by the lack of activity on the outside. This store front had been mine at one point. For years I had tended it, run it and owned it. But I had moved on. They were very loud and did not seem to be rebuilding but just tearing things down.
I walked over to place on the floor and found the inlay of a ring that had been broken. Made out of shells (Lavender naiad, abalone and white nacre.) the small piece shimmered in my hand. (Years ago I owned 5 stores and one of my prime sellers was inlaid jewelry from Oaxaca.) A man came up and told me my equipment was ready. All the heavy machinery had been restored he said. All the equipment ran like a champ. He had arranged for everything to be packaged and moved on. He had packed all the equipment and all the merchandise. Whoever had been here had not “made” it and as the store had been mine I was responsible for getting everything out.
I had lots of memories flooding me in the dream. I saw all the people who had visited me, all the amazing merchandise and mostly the community.
I looked around as they took down displays and equipment haphazardly throwing it to the ground.
I walked with this man not dismayed about the move but about the people who were living in a place that had no care for their welfare. Not a child in the store for months.
And then I heard the plow!
While I was dusting my car off I was thinking about the dream. What did it mean? A few weeks I spoke of a mall that was “empty”. I immediately began to see the geographic location of the mall had changed and this store was across the street. The mall in fact had been a bank building, something I could not get my mind around then. This store front that was being redone was kitty cornered from it.
So here are my thoughts.
- Ring-The ring was indicative of broken promises. It had been colorful supplying much joy to the wearer, but somehow they had lost their ring, their promise and their hope.
- Store-The store represented a place of ministry, a place people came to be touched.
- Heavy equipment-Doing the labors of many, the equipment brought an ease to the work. The need for restoration was because the labors had been heavy here.
- Jewelry-was significant of the beauty that can be revealed.
- Lavender Naiad Shell-A purple mussel from fresh waters.
- White Nacre-The iridescent nacre inside a Nautilus shell.
- Abalone-A shimmering green shell. Contains amazing food.
The dream carried “weightiness” for me. In part it was “old history” in the world of ministry and community. In part it was a reminder of the need to move on. In part it was the “old” place before the “new” place.
So while I was sitting in my car waiting for the plow to move I was thinking. And I felt this nudge.
Many are dismayed. They climbed on a treadmill to get in shape but came to realize that it was going nowhere. They had good intentions but they are confined to the treadmill. They ultimately will wear out unless they get off the treadmill. They have labored but see nothing. They have cared but been forced out or walked away. I told you that not everyone gets to go to the same place at the same time. These people have right intentions who labored, but as you have seen they are scattered across the landscape. Their hearts broken, their families wounded and most of all they have come to the place of not caring because they cared too much. Their caring was not the problem. Their inability to walk without labor was their demise. You and others learned well to bring in equipment but those that did not have worn away. I will still be able to use them but they will first be found in places of repair and restoration. You questioned yesterday why a “new” body shop, while we talked. And you said “why a new body?” You were right that there was no need for a new body. Even as you saw the shells, I am in the process of removing the shells, restoring flexibility and yes, increasing vulnerability. For many wore their exterior as a sign of my love, but did not recognize the work on the inside. You have seen well, that the shells did not allow for loving or living but only gave cause for leaving. There is a body that I have given. Many will be equipped and be touched by the treasures of years gone by. You have watched the destruction of many as many sought a “new thing” failing to see the “now thing.” Many will be moved and many will come. You will see a need for those who have banked things away to leave the places they once saw near to embrace a call for the one they hold dear.
There is much else I am required to think about, but clearly God is bringing restoration (re-store-a-shun!). Not all will receive it. Not all will accept it. Not all know they need it. Many have walked away embittered by failed dreams and blown up lives. I get it. More than you may ever know.
God is working to change lives and open hearts.
Clearly there are a few things on the table.
- People are moving and going to be moved.
- Not all dreams are His and change is inevitable.
- You can disqualify yourself for a season.
- You can get back in.
- Not all treadmills are healthy.
- People are potential. AND people are people!
- The place IS important.
- The people ARE important.
- There are places of influence. (They are as important as the people.)
- Not all light remains. (Leaving a light on is cool but not if it draws moths!)
- Equipped is better than unequipped.
- You are His!
- Love is kind!
I am sure many will find other things in there.
Many years ago I had a 1965 Mustang. One day, I skipped school to visit a girlfriend at her home. While her mom and I were talking I looked out the window. A young man across the street backed all the way across the street and across the yard to hit my car. Right in the door. I flipped. I was supposed to be in school. I raced to the garage I worked at and they said “we cannot fix that right now.” I had to tell my parents the truth. Ultimately the car was restored. But I lost privileges, credibility and such. By being in the wrong place…
God can do anything anywhere. I get that. BUT, I long ago concluded that His plan may well indicate you or I need to be where He is getting ready to do something. You are welcome to hang on to your thought processes contrary to that. I am okay with that. But, what if you are geographically challenged? What if there is a connection He is trying to make and He needs you? There are certain things I believe God is sovereign in, but establishing heaven on earth is ours. And while being a Lone Ranger can be cool, He is into connections!
God moves people because of His plan and His purpose and because He loves you. You may move because you “want” to but ultimately you want to move because He wants you to.
All the lights (Various places and such.) are not necessarily going to stay on. Ultimately there will be a time for all the lights to be on. But we have not reached that place yet at least not in my thinking.
I know this. His yoke is easy. His burden is light. Look for it.