My Dreams Were too Small
When I was a young girl, my dreams weren’t much different than most girls of my generation: To get married, have children and keep a lovely yard. But through a unique and exciting series of events, the Lord graciously showed me that my dreams were too small. Of course He wanted to give me these precious gifts, but God wanted to give me much more:
An opportunity to help change the world
The Lord began speaking to me about this many years ago while I was dusting our bedroom dresser. I noticed a brochure lying amongst the other items and glanced through it to see if I should throw it away or file it. As I did, a phrase caught my attention: “Learn how to live the abundant Christian life.”
The brochure was advertising a conference by an organization I had never heard of before – Campus Crusade for Christ
What is the abundant Christian life?
But even though I had set the brochure aside, the phrase, “Learn how to live the abundant Christian life,” kept coming to my mind throughout the rest of the day. I had been a Christian since age 12, but in the last few years I sensed I was missing something. Outwardly, I had everything I had ever dreamed of: A wonderful husband, four healthy children, several businesses, and to top it all off, we had just moved into our dream home.
One thing that was missing, however, was my mother. She had died that May and I missed her very much. But God used this time of mourning to help me think seriously about eternity. I knew I wanted to see my mother again, but I wasn’t sure I would go to heaven when I died, and that’s where I assumed she was.
A few days after I read the brochure, my brother-in-law Ed Goerzen dropped in and asked if Marvin had mentioned the conference to me. I told him he hadn’t, but I was very interested. When he encouraged us to go, I listened, because Ed had changed a lot in the past few months. Even though he had always had a pleasing personality, he now radiated the joy of Christ. I really wanted that joy too.
In fact, when my brother-in-law left, I prayed,
“God, how can I have this kind of joy?”
The thought, “total commitment” crossed my mind, but I quickly pushed it aside. After all, I was already involved in many leadership roles in my church and community and I certainly didn’t want more things to do. But a quiet voice inside of me said,
“I want you, not your work.”
I chose to ignore this voice, but I didn’t forget it.
Off to the conference
Several respected friends had also encouraged us to attend this conference, so we eventually decided to go and as an added incentive, it was raining in BC where we lived and very sunny in California where the conference was being held! A few weeks later we were on our way to California for the conference that would change our lives.
During one of the messages, the speaker asked us to write a list of our acts and attitudes we knew were displeasing to God. I have to admit my list was much longer than I thought it would be. Then I claimed the promise in 1 John 1:9,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
I felt so clean inside when I was done.
The next morning we heard a message on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the moment of decision. To experience the abundant life I wanted, I needed to give control of my life completely to God. This was the total commitment He had told me about and I had rejected weeks earlier. However, this time I had no hesitation in giving it to Him. My prayer went something like this:
Dear God, I need You. I know that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Immediately, I was filled with such joy and love, I couldn’t contain myself. For a reserved person like me, this was definitely a supernatural experience.
I realized I also had to make the Bible my authority from that day onward. Anything that did not agree with God’s Word would be disregarded.
The great commission
That weekend, Marvin and I both committed our lives to help fulfill our Lord’s Great Commission. Thus, our priorities – and our lives – began to undergo a radical change. As hard as we had worked in our businesses and our home, now we began to pour all of our efforts into reaching our neighbourhood, our country and the world with the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.
Marvin had to travel a lot during those years as he established Campus Crusade for Christ in Canada and I often felt lonely. One incident in particular stands out in my mind. Marvin had been gone for two weeks and came home for the weekend because we were hosting a conference. We were both tied up with responsibilities all weekend. After the conference, I drove him to the airport – the was car full of people. We hadn’t had any time to ourselves for nearly three weeks. On the way back from the airport, I was ready for a major pity party. I prayed, “Lord, you have to help me.”
But as I read my Bible that night, the words of Isaiah 40 comforted me.
“You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Through those words, it was as though God put His arms around me and loved me. It was during those lonely, difficult times that God became dearer and nearer to me.
“Did I hear you correctly, Lord?”
Even though I have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who promises to act as my teacher and guide, there have been times when I have doubted if I have heard God correctly. Several years ago, I was certain God wanted me to put my energies into creating an evangelistic magazine on the Internet. I had ideas and content but kept running into roadblocks (namely, a lack of qualified people) to get the content online. It seemed that every time I tried a new avenue, it turned into another dead end. Desperate, I consulted the Lord again. Had I really heard Him or was it just my imagination?
Soon after that, I received an e-mail from a young man named Brent. He said, “I saw your websites and could do a lot better than what you are doing.” So I asked him what he would do differently and he listed 20 things. To make a long story short, a month later, he became our web designer – and a very good one at that. A month later, a talented young woman applied to be our writer and editor. As time went by, God continued to answer my cry for help by adding talent to our team.
Another obstacle we faced was that evangelistic web sites don’t generate funds, so raising money became part of my job description. Once again, the Lord provided two couples who saw the possibilities of reaching into countries, offices and hearts through the Internet.
“Yes, Katherine, I am in control”
Through experiences like these, God has shown me so many times that He is in control and He will provide. All I need to do is listen, trust and obey. And if I do, He will bless me beyond my wildest imagination. Who would have thought that a woman who wanted nothing more than “the American dream” would one day play a key role in reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world through over half a dozen Internet ministries? Not me, that’s for sure. But as I said, my dreams were too small. It was only when I let go of those dreams and totally committed my life to God that He truly began to pour out His blessings on my life.
Do you sometimes feel as if your dreams are too small? Are you looking for a more satisfying relationship with God, an opportunity to make a truly significant impact on the world? If so, I encourage you to commit your life totally to God, to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you completely. If you already believe in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit?
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.