Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stone Pillows and The Dream Stretch

Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. Genesis 28:9-11

For two years now I have been practicing a gentle art that I call Dream Stretching. What you are reading, this small blog with its limited readership, is a stretch mark.

When I was a little girl I used to sit on the sink in my grandmother's bathroom and address the United Nations. I would wax eloquent on a variety of topics. I loved hearing the sound of my own voice. (Sounds awful but true.) In high school I took speech, joined the team, debated and recited and sometimes won.

When I fell in love with the magnificent Son of God I really had something worth talking about.

Ten years ago this month we had paid off any debt we owed, padded our savings and I took a leap of faith and cut my hours to half. If you know my workaholic leanings you will get my resolve. I did all this while putting together a study for mothers of problem kids and drafting several classes so I could teach more in the church where John had been serving and partner with the Women's Ministry.

There were books on the drawing board. I had even gone to see an orthodontist to have some teeth strengthened so I would look better when I represented Him more widely. John encouraged me. My dream was wearing track shoes.

I was at the jumping off place when John returned home from burying his father out of state to find he had lost his job and that all changed. I returned to full time (and overtime) employment while we struggled to recover emotionally and financially.

My teeth are still crooked but my outlook is straight and so is my faith. "I know whom I have believed in." (Did I mention our only child went to war twice during that time?) I sometimes think I should have just kept writing no matter what but it seemed easier at the time to go down to Egypt.

In a moment of personal revelation, Christ spoke wisdom to me, "Time and accomplishment are in my hand." So they are. Christ is the wild card in all of our lives. Age, woundedness, the faithlessness of friends or relatives, our troubles, issues with our children, lack of resources, our mistakes or hesitation are not limiting factors for the Owner of the treasures of the snow, the cattle on a thousand hills. His own existence and good intentions toward us weighs out on the full side of the scales.

Jacob was getting out of Dodge. He had picked his brother's pocket for the last time and his mother was sending him to safety and a wife. He lays down to rest, a stone his only pillow, he dreams. God promises him the land he occupies. He sees angels and a ladder to Heaven. He had to go years in the strength of that dream. As life unfolds there is love, betrayal and disappointment, also faith and recovery but time passes and passes and passes. Jacob is on God-Time and that can be an exasperatingly long time to wait.

Waiting is often bitter and frustrating for us or just plain forgetful. Sometimes our dreams gestate over-long it seems and sometimes they die. Sometimes they are just set aside for a greater good or a bigger dream. Like the talent that steps out of the limelight when a hand lays a paint brush down to rock a cradle.

The nice thing about dreams is that they often reoccur or can be triggered by memory. One day I picked up a pomegranate and after 40 years of drawing nothing, I snatched up a pencil and began to peel open ripe fruit in short strokes across the white surface of the stiff cardboard that came in a new shirt I bought for John. Seeds of hope burst out all over the 8X10 dreamscape.

I bought paper and fresh colored pencils by day and slept on stone pillows by night. I brought things to life and God whispering into the work. Soon words followed the colors and cards were birthed. No great Pulitzer prize winning works. Not yet. There was a scent of rain and joy spun for friends and family, ripe fruit dropping, nourishing...LIFE!

I learned that I can work within my limitations while I wait on God for full recovery or for all the pieces to be rediscovered. I can Dream Stretch. Having it "all" doesn't have to come this minute or even at 9AM tomorrow but that does not mean I can't have something now. So I am having it.

I blog when my cup runs over. I draw when friends need to celebrate. I blow on the embers of fellow dreamers and bless their dreams. Sometimes I throw gas on their fires and dance around the flames! I bought a wonderful treasure box and John is helping me save for a trip to France. My dreams went wounded and silent to a place of forgetting but they did not die. Maybe yours have not either.

All they need is a little stretching like unused muscles need before race training. If you can't do it all, do what you can. Do it now and do it a little but often. Do it for the One who dreamed it first for you. With Jacob's head on a stone pillow, God swore to him, "I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."

You may be someone with dreams all dented, someone with dreams denied out of obligation or someone with dreams happily delayed out of love. Are you looking for a second career? Time is in His hand. It is not too late for a do or a do-over.

Have you stayed too long in Egypt? Have you tried to outrun a hurt? Have your other talents waited for children to be raised or sick parents tended to? Stone pillows are hard times but also dream times. Open your heart and create the beauty you were born for, the glory seeded into you for just this very lifetime. Small starts are OK.

I have a friend who is moving due to retirement but is beginning to help an evangelist. She just took her first trip out of the country a few months ago. She has wanted to plant on a grand scale and that desire just grew legs. Another friend is making jewelry and praise items after a full career as a musician and educator. Yet another friend rediscovered her artistic and literary voice while drawing with her daughter.

A son home from war studies to be a healer. A dear friend follows her dream of pouring grace into the lives of the dying and being His hand extended. Not to be forgotten, still another friend and mother is following the stars with a new camera. Dreamers all and they have made a discovery...dreams wake up hungry.

No fear. Christ will do everything He promised. He works wonders with bread and fish and wine. He will feed your dreams and maybe even multiply them.

"The seed cast on good earth is the person who hears and takes in the News, and then produces a harvest beyond his wildest dreams." Matthew 13:22-24


Raven Necklace by Alma Krause @ Prayzworks

Sunset at the Confluence by Kimberly Lorentzen @ Ambushed by God

Rev. Janice Collins ministering in Kuala Lumpur with David Newberry Ministries

Rebecca's Warbler by Rebecca Jeter marathon runner ADN June 2011

Rev. Cheryl Haley, Director of Spiritual Care @ A Servant's Heart Hospice

Faith Hope and Figs by Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia, Dream Stretcher

Are you a dreamer? Then join us. Try Dream Stretching and may the Glory be His!

Be inspired:


  1. Oh, now I am stretching with all my might! I have had one stone pillow after another for a long time but never saw any good in it until now. Thank you. Thank you. I am buying clay and wire and an apron! God is going to love what I make for him!


  2. Just when I start to be more aware of the stone pillow than of the dream - here comes "Faith Hope and Figs". This post was #3 of 4 times today God "fed" me this message. I am listening now. :) And JW (comment just before this one), I don't know who you are, but I'm so happy you're making God something! -K

  3. I love both of these comments. For me the goodness spilled into my day with the imaginary song of Rebecca's lovely little bird perched on the fence around my heart, singing of hope. Blessings. Kat

  4. I'm reminded of the words in a song "Ah,I dream I but dream." The stone pillow helps us to go from just "but" dreaming to having the desires of our heart fulfilled. Thank-you for sharing such inspirational thoughts! Rhonda (PS: I live just south of "K" so no I'm not someplace warmer :))

  5. dreamers wake up hungry...yes!

  6. I had never read this one until tonight. . .I guess God knew when I needed it most. . .I wonder if its too late. . .

    1. I have dropped the words, "too late" from my vocabulary except to say it is NEVER too late :)

  7. Thank you so much for this, for your offering. It touched parts of me that I can't yet put words to.

    Amy (KL's friend in SE AK) :o)

    1. Hello, Amy. I will pray over dreams. Any friend of Kim's....Kathy

      Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does. Give yourselves to the gifts God gives you. 1 Corinthians 14:1

  8. I'm a firm believer in dream stretching. I wasn't always. But after years of not dream stretching, feeling so dead, and having a dead faith, I kinda felt like I could have a relationship with God and NOT dream stretch. Is that crazy?

    But anyhow, living on one income with three kids I homeschool, paycheck to paycheck, and no "platform" to share my thoughts... Made writing a book feel far away... So I decided to blog. I feel God's pleasure when I write and when I run and I decided I will do both whether anyone else sees it or not. God knows.

    And I've encouraged all my friends to blog, whether they are writers or not, because I believe everyone's story is important and worth learning. Even if it's photography or art, crafting or poetry. Share it!