(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 11, Diamonds in the Desert, of The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. Therefore, we encourage you to share your thoughts and what you've learned in the comments section below each post. We're sure you'll lift someone's spirit.)
In Chapter 11 of The Dream Giver, we are taken back to the story of Ordinary. At this point in his journey, he has entered the Wasteland. Ordinary can't see his Dream any more and he blames the Dream Giver for this in saying that he took his Dream from him and left him in the Wasteland.
Our Dream Coach, Bruce Wilkinson, begins to open our eyes as to the importance of the Wasteland. What may seem like the biggest, longest waste of our lives is actually the moments when we learn the most. On page 117, Bruce says "it is the place where God transforms you into the person who can do your Dream." He continues on saying on page 119 "God's motive and plan in the WasteLand is to prepare you to become the person who can succeed at your Dream. But the outcome of His actions is up to you." We are then provided with two very important questions to help us.
1. How much do you want your Dream to come true?
2. Do you believe in the Dream Giver enough to trust His purpose and accept His plan of preparation, even if you don't understand or agree with it?
We are then given five things that we can do while we are in the WasteLand. Identify if you are actually in the WasteLand. Isolate the main areas where you need to grow in your trust with God. Install safety nets to encourage you. Increase the amount of time you spend with the Dream Giver. Instill the commitment in your heart so that you don't turn back.
I can't tell you how often I have been in the WasteLand. How long I've been in the WasteLand. Not even realizing the blessings I could be experiencing. You see, my Dream is quite simple, I dream of the day that my son is healed from autism and becomes a world changer for God. I want him to be a healthy, successful, God loving, world changing young man. I was given this Dream about 4 years ago when my son was first diagnosed. I expected this Dream to come true with in a year at the most. Then, I met my Border Bullies when he was 3 and 4. When he turned 5, I reached my WasteLand. After all, this was the age that I was told by so many people (Border Bullies we can say) that if they don't recover by 5 we've missed that "Window of Opportunity." I was in this Wasteland for a very long dark time. I prayed to God as often as possible to show me if this isn't my Dream. He always showed me very strongly that it was. I struggled with what therapies, supplements and schools to try. I was angry that my son had autism and I wasn't seeing the improvement that I wanted to see. I was scared for his future, my future and worse yet why my Dream wasn't coming true. Maybe I hadn't heard from God like I thought I did. Then slowly, Border Busters began to open my eyes to all of the blessings that I have been given. During our WasteLand we experienced numerous amount of blessings. I can truly say that God has transformed me and is preparing me for my Dream. The most important transformation is my faith in God. Growing up I was always a believer. I knew what the Bible said and I believed it. But I didn't feel it. I didn't have the relationship with God like I do now. I didn't truly know who Jesus is and what He did for me in the past and is doing for me now. My husband likes to say "we knew it in our heads but not in our hearts." During my WasteLand, I was baptized again as new believer in Christ. I also realized that during my journey to find my Dream, it was my job to reach out to other moms who were hurting like me and to show them how awesome our God is. My marriage grew stronger. Yes there were moments when I wanted to give up. Yes there were disagreements, ok I'll be honest, there where full blown fights. It's a stressful WasteLand. But our God is so awesome that He showed me what to do and how to reach out to my husband. Now our marriage is that much stronger. I think of all of the friends I have made since my son's diagnosis. Therapists who went the extra mile to be there for us. "Autism moms" who have become my closest friends and strongest Border Buddies. I look at my children and how strong their love is for God. They are seven and they know Jesus better than I do now. I also look back and realize that my son has made more strides since he turned seven then he has his whole entire life.
So now I can not say that my WasteLand was a waste. I am very thankful and blessed by my WasteLand. I honestly can tell you my faith would not be as strong as it is now if God would have healed my son right away. Sure that first year or so would have been. But my faith wasn't strong enough at that moment for it to stay for eternity. God already knew this. God knew that I needed to grow. I still do. My walk with Christ is getting better and better.
The funny thing about our WasteLand is that we have no idea how long we will be there. I would have never thought I needed this much time in the WasteLand. However, only God knows how much transforming I need. When I realized that I was in the WasteLand, I dove right into His Word. I opened the Bible as much as possible. Attended church every Sunday. Joined Bible Study groups. Reached out to others who may also be in a WasteLand. I continued to spend as much time as possible with my Dream Giver so that if He was trying to tell me something, it didn't take me so long to recognize his voice. I continued to reach out to others who don't know Jesus in hopes that their lives can be transformed as well. To me, if during my years in the WasteLand I could introduce one lost person to Jesus and help change their lives, then the WasteLand is well worth it.
I am hopeful that my time in my WasteLand is coming to an end. I can actually see my Dream slowly coming true. I'm also noticing that my Dream, like Ordinary's, is a little different now. Yes, I still dream about my son being healed, but I'm also dreaming of all of the new Believers that we're reaching along the way. I believe that my Dream has changed because God has changed me into the Dreamer He needs me to be so that we can accomplish this Dream together.
When it is time for our Dream to come true, it will. We just have to embrace our life as it is now. Do what we can to help God, our family, and each other. Spend as much as time possible with the Dream Giver. Let God change us into the Dreamer we need to be. If you are currently in your WasteLand, I highly recommend that you spend as much time as possible in God's Word. Find out what He needs for you to do during this time. Let Him transform you.
God is transforming us. Can you feel it?
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7-8
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh, is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry saying "what shall we eat?" or "what shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all of these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6: 8b, 31-34
By his light, I walked through darkness. Job 29:3