Visions and Dreams

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…

No, I’m not even going there except to say thank you to an icon who’s recently passed away. Thank you for a lifetime of sharing yourself with the world, and for leaving your vision of art and sound for generations to enjoy. From childhood I was captivated by Prince’s prolific songwriting and phenomenal musicianship. If you’ve ever seen him live in concert then you understand he wasn’t so much a skilled musician, but the guitar and piano OBEYED him, producing classical, jazz, or R & B scores at his command. Social media’s exploded with dedication tributes, and I’d like to share my all-time, favorite song from the album Around The World In A Day. At 13 year’s old I thought hard about the chorus, and where I was in life:

Everybody’s looking 4 the ladder
Everybody wants salvation of the soul
The steps U take are no easy road
But the reward is great
4 those who want 2 go

Everybody’s looking for the answers
How the story started and how it will end
What’s the use in half a story, half a dream
U have 2 climb all of the steps in between

-Prince, The Ladder

You wouldn’t be exaggerating if you called that period of my life a “hot ghetto mess.”  My family was literally falling apart at the seams with my parent’s separation, added to that we lost our home, and I had to leave my church, school and all my friends to start over in a new city. Crying hot, angry tears at my last bible study, our youth leader asked to pray with me. We bowed our heads as he quietly asked the Lord to keep me, bless me and shower me with His love all my days.  I still remember that prayer because of its simple sincerity. Afterwards I felt calmly reassured, and had what’s now a reoccurring vision where I’m speaking to and encouraging millions of people.  Even then God began to reveal His plan for me!

If you knew me then you’re laughing because in school I was the LAST ONE picked for anything involving public speaking.  Math club, yes. Chess club, double yes. We moved around alot, and in first grade alone I attended three schools! With a horrible lisp that made it hard to pronounce complex words, and really crooked teeth that stuck out even when I tried to close my mouth, teachers rarely coaxed me to read aloud in class. International public speaker…um, no thanks Lord.

Grandma Chelle and Crys
A Rare Smile…11 years old with my Grandma and Baby Sister.

Fast forward ten years. I played hard, and lived as self-destructively as possible. Braces fixed my visible issues, but only God’s love and forgiveness could pierce my heart and fix my spiritual brokenness. Through all of life’s ups and downs the Lord has never left me, He’s kept me and continues to bless me, just as the young bible teacher asked long ago!

CED Promotion Norfolk
Promotion Day! Tearfully Celebrating with Parents:)

If you’re wondering “but what about the vision?” I not only travel the world speaking and teaching, but also use those hard experiences from the early years to mentor and encourage other women through a local non-profit organization. Nothing is a wasted experience when we give it to God.  It seems that my tears, relationships, and embarrassments have become useful learning experiences to prepare others for GREAT success!  In the last five years God has added the most wonderful dreams to my vision, and I recount the verse:

 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams;  Acts 2:17 (ESV)

Today would you consider this next question? What great thing do you dream about for your future?  Is it help overcoming personal struggles from your past, or do you dream of having your own business where you control your financial legacy, or perhaps you want to have healthier and happier personal relationships? Maybe you seek a deeper spiritual relationship, and want a sense of purpose and connectedness.  I believe that’s what Prince sang about in The Ladder!

When I was a child my problems seemed unsolvable. They loomed as big as a harvest moon on a clear night sky. Growing older certainly put things in perspective. Troubles didn’t go away, but my response to them changed dramatically. One night while sailing on the South Pacific, I looked up and there a full moon.  It was magnificent and as I stared at it intently, I imagined I was holding it between my pointer finger and thumb.

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A Full Moon on the Pacific Ocean!

My shipmates thought this was hilarious, but this is my perspective in life. Yes, it’s a fact that the moon is enormous, but from earth it’s so small it fits between my two fingers. In life even your biggest obstacle don’t stand a chance against a great God and His plan for your life when He says Amen.  It is finished!

 

  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (ESV)

Blessings, CED

The Bejeweled Crown

In my dream I knelt before Your throne

You placed a bejeweled crown upon my head

In awe I marveled at my precious gift and You instructed me on its care

More valuable than any earthly possession

Each gem perfection, shining brightly before the King of Glory.

As brilliant as the sun was jewel number oneV__6FD7

Beautifully graced with a heart and mind attuned to God.

Her destiny written in the heaven’s above

She paints the moon and stars in masterful worship.

It is well with my soul.

Mel

My love for you precious jewel number two

Endless, infinite, never-ending

Sealed in prayer and consecrated at your very first breath.

Your life a miracle for the world to see, and melody for ears to hear

Teaching and spreading the good news.

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Jewel number three looked as a mirror of me

Alike on its surface, but brilliantly clear in breadth and depth within

Racing after God in complete abandon

To the ends of the earth seeking broken hearts and weary minds.

Mercy and favor ever-flowing before her.

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Magnificient to behold was stunning jewel number four

Gloriously singing in high praise

She stuns the world with untold gifts

Her hands dancing across the strings and keys

And the people sing, “Hosanna in the highest!”

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And behold! At the centerpiece I gazed in wonder as you were set in place, the crown jewel number five

With an exclamation point you arrived, a delightful aria to my symphony

Both long answered prayer and covered by the Holy One

She is a joyful masterpiece

His promise of a hope and a future.

Most only see the outward shell of me

Smiling, singing, giving, living

With wisdom and understanding

I care for my most precious legacy

A crown more valuable than any earthly possession

The revealed pieces of the whole.

 

Blessings, CED

Where Would I Be?

True confession:  I ADORE music in all forms. Jazz, classical, even movie soundtracks have earned their way into my eclectic listening collection over the years.

When asked to describe my love of music, the closest pictures I come up with are lit fireworks spilling from my spirit as instruments pour out their harmony, or the vastness of the open ocean at sunset as beautiful voices swell together in an a cappella performance. The ability to give our deepest, raw emotions “life” through song is such a great mystery (and joy) to me!  As a musician and writer, I created songs for my children as I carried them in my womb and soothed them with lullabies as fussy infants.  When they grew older I taught them their names by singing the letters and clapping their hands to the rhythm. What a great testimony that they’ve  ALL picked up instruments and sing as well. Here’s #4 at a local talent show…

After returning to my faith as an adult, and fully accepting God’s gift of salvation, I clearly remember promising for the rest of my days to give my song only to Him. Why do that, you ask?  I choose to praise and worship God for His amazing grace towards me, and for His everlasting love which covers all my imperfections. Where would I be Father, if not for Your grace?

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. Psalm 104:33 (NIV)

 Blessings,

CED