Turning of the Years



Some years come in with a smile and a wave – with lessons that you proclaim from rooftops and memories that you are eager to photograph and display on your walls in big, beautiful frames. This was not one of those years. Instead it was… sticky. The lessons I’ve learned have been rich, yet messy. It seems that everything I’ve touched has carried the marks of these messy lessons and all is connected; covered with a fine layer of sticky honey that binds them together. Sweet, but difficult to share.

Ultimately, there are stories that are not mine to tell. I will not try to explain it all away. I will not eloquently write to you about every lesson that is forming me into the woman I am and the woman who I will be. As important they are and as sentimental as I am, even I must realize when things need to be done. Acknowledge when you need to walk away and kiss something goodbye.

2013 was a year of oh so many things. Things that have past. Good and hard.

 Now welcome to 2014.

This is the year that is a blank slate, full of possibility and hope. Do you know what hope breeds? Joy. The Bible commands us to be joyful in hope. Hope gives birth to joy. So in the hope of what God has in store for 2014, I will rejoice and give thanks.

See, I think that New Years may be my favourite holiday. It’s bittersweet, horribly sentimental, and full of fresh beginnings. That’s about as Olivia Approved as you can get. I usually prefer to be alone as the clock turns, a cup of coffee in hand and a journal to scribble down all the introspectiveness that bubbles up inside of me. This year, I’ll be with two of my dearest friends from high school – my nerfighter, idealist, adventure prone girls – who are pros at reflecting and dreaming. However the evening is spent, there’s something about the turning of the years that just gets me.

And I think this year will be a crazy one. January itself is posing to hold a whole lot of fun and chaos, let alone the rest of the year ahead. You know, I could tell you all my goals and hopes and dreams for this year, but in the world of the internet, some things are meant to remain sacred. So this is what I will say: who I hope to be.

I hope to be brave – to have the courage to admit when I’m wrong and the feet firmly planted to stand up when I’m right.

I hope to listen – to ask more questions and to talk less about myself.

I hope to open up – about my story, my heart, and my dreams.

I hope to say no – to things and to people and to activities that don’t sit right in me or aren’t for the best.

I hope to be self aware – but not self conscious.

I hope to think more – about things that challenge me and cause me to grow.

I hope to feel deeper – and not be ashamed of the ENFP that I am.

I hope to try new things – not just the exciting ones, but the hard ones too.

I hope to build a firm foundation – in relationships, education, career, and for all things future related.

I hope to fall madly in love with Jesus – more and more each day like an overflowing well.

And I will be joyful in hope.


Dream Again

photo (4)Familiar words often fall on deft ears. They become so close that we cannot see them until they sneak out of nowhere and weasel their way to the forefront of our mind. “Feels like it’s time to dream again.” One line of a song I spent my last two years of high school singing excessively on the majority of Wednesday evenings was a line that God used to speak into my heart.

“You have my permission to dream.”

It hit me. It makes sense with several of the other things God has been teaching me lately. See, I feel like He’s been placing me in this amazing season of growth and joy. That growth and closeness with God has been resulting in a heart open to Him and a heart that’s open to this wild adventure of abundant life. He’s been overloading me with dreams. Dreams for what He is capable of. Dreams for all that is in store. Dreams for the person I want to be tomorrow and what that means for today. Dreams that are tied onto my heart tighter and tighter with every passing moment.

And the dreams are blessings.

In the stillness of my heart, truth is spoken into me. “It’s your time to dream. It’s the time for a multitude of dreams both big and small. You will not see the fulfillment of every dream, but I am the great Dream Keeper and I put dreams into your heart for a reason.”

And darling, if you are reading this and you are a dreamer too – know this: dance while you dream. Do not just sit still and dream of a day far away that you feel powerless to control. Dream big, beautiful, and powerful dreams while resting in the joys of today. Dance, darling. Dance while you dream.

Don’t be afraid of sparks in your soul. Don’t be afraid of contagious fire. Don’t be afraid to think of the crazy what ifs. Dig in deeper. Stretch out farther. Explore. Explore this world and explore yourself. Fall in love with the creator of dreams.

 As for me, it’s my time to dream. To dream and to live wildly. 

 I dream of North Dakota State University being radically changed by the gospel of Christ.

I dream of the markets of Mumbai and the faces of beautiful Indian women who are enslaved to a curse.

I dream of creating more art. Of paintings and photographs and words finding some way to make sense.

I dream of seeing myself be more in love with Jesus and more full of His joy each day than I have ever been before.

These are just the tip of the multitude. Dreams are welling up within my soul. They are overflowing from my mind to my mouth to my movements. How about you? Are you willing to dream with me? Do you have dreams that are welling up inside your soul? If so, let us dream together and I promise that it will be a beautiful adventure.