On Wednesdays we are thrilled to fling open the doors to all of YOU! We love hearing your dreaming stories…the lessons you’ve learned, the roads you’ve walked, the dreams He’s planted in your hearts! Today we are excited to welcome Celeste Barnard to God-sized Dreams. Her story is a reminder for all of us that sometimes our dreams don’t look like what we first think they might, but our job is to be faithful and follow Him in each step of the journey. Thanks for being here today, Celeste!
“God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them.”
We have been Children’s Pastors for the past 16 years. After about 2 ½ years of being the Children’s Pastors at the church we were at, God began to stir. He does that, doesn’t He? He began to prepare our hearts for change, but we had no idea exactly what He was doing.
My husband and I had been doing Vacation Bible Schools, Day Camps, Overnights Camps, Father/Son Camp-Outs, and Mother/Daughter Retreats for the past 16 years. God put it on our heart to start a non-profit ministry to be able to do year-round events for other families and churches in our community. We live in one of the poorest cities in America. There are some cities and states that have an abundance of camps and retreats to choose from. We do not.
We started a ministry called Big Red Ministries. With our Pastor walking through this with us, and after much counsel and prayer, we stepped down from our position as children’s pastors in December 2012.
We had a picture in our mind of what this dream would look like. Don’t we all?
We knew it was going to be a sacrifice but we also knew we were supposed to do it. (<====Tweet this.)
We sold our brand new house that we were so blessed to live in for a year, we moved in with my in-laws (thinking maybe for 6 months), we pulled all 3 kids out of private school and I started doing what I said I would never do, homeschool. It was our dream to get a particular piece of property and live there and run the ministry from there year-round (and by the way, that part still is our dream). But finances didn’t come through. We ended up living with my in-laws for a whole year, and what was off to an exciting start turned into, “What have we done?”
We may not be on our property yet to do what we would love to do in full scale, but God continues to provide and open doors. We have been blessed to have full access to a Christian Camp about an hour away from us. Instead of being discouraged about where we are not, I felt like God was saying, “Be faithful with what I’ve given you.” So we press on with what He’s placed in our hands.
See, when God gives you a God-sized Dream, it’s about you, but quite honestly, it’s never just about you. People’s lives are affected when it’s something God puts on your heart.
Sometimes it feels scary to step out. We’ve had friends tell us that we inspired them to leave the only hometown they had ever known, sell their business and pursue ministry. At first, we’re like, “Wait, don’t do it!” Because fear says, “What if it doesn’t work out and they blame us?” I even hesitate at times sharing our full story because I’m worried someone is going to pull all their kids out of school, sell all their possessions, buy a Winnebago, and drive off and travel the world and pursue a dream.
And then I think, well, that doesn’t sound so bad.
My only advice now is to just make sure it’s the Lord. If He’s put something on your heart, then it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, how many kids you have, where you live, what your background is, or your status. He is the giver of dreams. I would rather step out into something and risk failing than to never try and never know. (<====Tweet this.)
I’m telling you, friends, I am reminded every day that our time here is short and the days are getting dark. If we could realize the power that God has given us, we could step out and be a light in a dark place.
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.
John 14:12 (NLT)
He has given each of us gifts and talents to go out and make the world a better place, no matter how big or small your contribution; your dream- all are important in the Kingdom. We just have to do our part.
Be faithful in the little and ask yourself what He’s placed in your hands, and then go out and shine bright.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…
Zechariah 4:10a (NLT)
Photo Credit: Elliott Brown
Celeste Barnard is an extrovert by nature but secretly has some introvert tendencies. Originally from Northern California, she and her Texas husband have been in ministry and married for almost 17 years. Together, they have 3 kids and a fat, little Pug named Latte. She is a writer and a speaker who is passionate about sharing with others what God has done in her life. She believes God does not waste one ounce of our pain- our stories are redeemed for His glory. She also is passionate about women being brave, because when we’re brave we give others permission to be brave too. You can find her devotional, Reflections, and her latest project, the Be Your Best Brave Journal on Amazon. You can also connect with her at her blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or you can listen to her ‘Be Your Best Brave’ Podcasts on iTunes!
Do you have a God-sized Dream story to tell? We’d love to have you share your journey with us!
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