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Lynna Clark: Dream big, pray bigger

Have you ever had a big dream?

Not one of those nightmares where you can’t find a bathroom; or worse, you forgot your Aldi quarter.

No, this would be a dream that sets your heart on fire with hope.

I used to dream of opening a bakery slash coffee shop. It would be a place where friends would meet to enjoy homemade baked goods with a hot cup of comfort. Everybody would know everyone else’s name… kind of a Cheers without beers.

Someone approached me about opening such a place in my home town. The building and finances were available. I was so excited! David and I drew up a floor plan and included a private room off the back where folks could have Life Group meetings. Often we pulled into the parking lot of my future coffee shop and prayed together that the Lord would work out the details.

I began collecting recipes and trying out new desserts on friends and family. Someone gave me a huge industrial mixer. Another friend who owns a coffee shop in Lexington spent time sharing advice on managing such a place. He even had a very expensive industrial cappuccino maker that he gave me to try out at home for a while. With his help and the help of my daughter who had previously owned a bakery, I drew up a business plan. We tossed around names for the shop and searched the internet for ideas. I talked with city officials as well as the health department so we would do things in the correct order.

We continued to pray for God’s blessing and guidance. I dreamed about that place night and day. Our goal was to have it up and running in the fall of 2010.

Then the wheels fell off.

Finances for the coffee shop fell through. Plans were pushed to the back burner. But it no longer mattered as my health deteriorated. I had quit my job of twenty years at the front desk in a small school to pursue my big dream. Suddenly I couldn’t work at all. In fact, I could barely function or do stuff around the house without being in a great deal of pain. Though we still pulled into the parking lot of the empty building to pray, it no longer seemed right. We had our answer. Like a dump truck load of reality, the wisdom we asked God for came. It was not His will for us to pursue the dream.

I have to say, I was sad for a while. It’s hard to hear the word no. My idea notebook was tossed aside. Little by little I gained peace of mind regarding the project. Red flags popped up here and there causing me to give thanks that the plan fell through. On the days when I hurt too much to get out of bed, I praised God that no one was counting on me for their cuppa joe. That could’ve gotten ugly!

Eventually we pulled into that parking lot one last time and said a prayer of thanks as we let the dream go. Praise God He is wiser than our big ideas, even when our best intention is to glorify Him.

I was reminded of that difficult time in our lives the other morning. A squirrel had dreamed of how wonderful it would be if he could get the top off our bird feeder and crawl inside.

So he did.

Then the lid snapped shut and he couldn’t get out.

I hate to admit how hard I laughed. Finally he was able to poke his head through the top and scamper out.

One of the mantras going around right now is “Dream Big.”

It’s fine to dream. But it’s wise to pray bigger. God might save us from crawling into something where the lid snaps shut and we can’t get out.

Only by looking back can I see that He saved me from a world of grief.

Praise God! He is wiser than our dreams.

Lynna Clark lives in Salisbury. Read more at Lynna’s Wonderful Life at wordpress.com

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