One Thing We Need to Reach Our Dreams

by | Feb 6, 2013 | Uncategorized


“Hey, I was just listening to NPR and they were talking about the power of story,” H says excitedly when I answer the phone.

Cocooned in bed with my Kindle and a cup of tea steaming on the night stand, H is chasing pavement for five hours on his way to a conference where I’ll join him in a few days. He’s an hour into the trip when he calls.

“I was thinking about the stories you write, the name of your blog and how you are giving life to people through what you write, “ he encourages.

He often does this. Makes me hold my breath in awe over the way he believes in me. 

My man, who fields hundreds of emails a day, runs the day-to-day operations of a church planting movement, drives to a conference he is organizing with more on his mind than I can comprehend and  thinks about my writing. Because he loves me. And what matters to me, matters to him.


People often ask me the same question when they hear stories about the hardships I faced growing up, “How did you turn out so well?”.

While my first answer is always that I found Christ at a young age and He redeems the hard places, I also say that I am fortunate to have significant people in my life who believe in me. People who show me, not just tell me they love me. Like my husband.

During childhood, my grandparents drove two hours each way on weekends to spend time with me. They stocked their refrigerator with my favorite food, ran after me on a bike until I could balance, held me on top of water until I floated on my own, taught me the Lord’s Prayer and introduced me to Jesus. As I grew older, they phoned me faithfully, every single weekend. Not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

My grandpa told me I was the best friend they ever had. The feeling was mutual.

After they passed away, God graciously sent more people who love me tirelessly. My best friend LuAnn, who is ceaseless in her encouragement, my mother-in-law who never expects me to be more than who I am, my aunt who believes in me even after we lived together during the teen years and my husband who never gives up pulling me into perspective on days of self-doubt.

And many of you crown me with your golden words that lift my eyes toward heaven.


Today I’m thinking about how I want to be that person for you. Because if we have just one person who believes in us, more than we believe in ourselves, despite circumstance, we can achieve our dreams. We need people to call out those beautiful places buried beneath the elaborate walls we create that blind us from seeing the truth.

And if you don’t have someone in your life telling you how wonderful you are on days when you want to curl up in a dark room of self-doubt, I want to be that person. Not because I think I possess something you don’t. Because I know Jesus, how much He loves you, and the way reminding you of that truth will change you. 

So how can I help you realize your dreams? Let’s do this together.

Linking with Imperfect Prose with the one word prompt: Believe.

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  1. Sis

    That is so encouraging, it’s nice to have someone on my side.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I have a passion to help people find the fulfillment of their calling. So glad to link arms with you. Thank you for the follow too!

  2. Deborah

    I don’t have great dreams except to please and serve my Heavenly Father and if doing these will greatly fulfill me Shelly. I’d love to be a brighter witness to his LOVE ~thank you. Deborah

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I’m sure you are Deborah, shining bright for Him through the gift of who you are.

  3. Lynn Morrissey

    I believe in you, Shelly! It’s as simple and as much of a privilege as that!

    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Me, too! Loved this!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know you do Lynn and I’m so grateful. Thank you.

  4. Sandra Heska King

    Is that your front door? Cuz if it is, I’m seriously jealous.

    Love the bikes. Love you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      No, not my front door. One of those charming houses in Charleston I make up stories in my mind about. Love you too.

  5. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    Love this post, love the photos… I love how God has blessed you since those hard days.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Pam, appreciate all your love and support.

  6. Sharon O

    Awesome writing and encouraging too and Oh I love that red door.

  7. Lisa Easterling

    You already are one of those people for me, my friend. And my husband is always there, cheering and celebrating me unswervingly and reminding me that he is always, always in my corner. I am grateful to both of you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lisa, I’m humbled, really. Thanking God for your kind words.

  8. Dolly@Soulstops

    Dear Shelly,

    A very belated “thank you” for your uber-kind and encouraging words on my blog when I shared then unshared a vulnerable post….I was so touched. And here you are again, encouraging others with this post…so happy to know your H is so supportive of you, and that God provided others to love and cheer you along the way.

    Keep writing and sharing your gift 🙂


    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you sweet Dolly, its always a privilege to hear from you.

  9. Dea

    Tell me to be brave… oh, you do that! Tell me to that what I am waiting for will come if I keep circling in prayer…you do that too! Tell me if God can take your life and use it, then he can take mine and use it too..yep, you do that! Just keep doing what you do, and always know I believe in you. Thanks for letting me hang out here 🙂 Love this post for a lot of reasons. God is good–all the time.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      thanks for reminding me of what I don’t often see myself Dea. I’m so grateful for the way you tirelessly believe in me. God truly put you in my life.

  10. Jennifer Camp

    Shelly, oh, those ripples of love from His children who pour themselves out for us. Yes, it keeps us going. Such a beautiful post. Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I love that analogy of the ripples Jennifer, beautiful.

  11. Michelle DeRusha

    This is so beautiful and heartfelt, Shelly. I am grateful for my husband who, like yours, encourages me every day. And grateful, too, for friends like you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      We’re so blessed with our husbands aren’t we Michelle? I’m so grateful. And I’m thankful for your friendship too.

  12. Danelle

    Thank you for believing in me even when I desperately struggle to believe in myself sometimes. You are a treasure to me Shelly. xoxo

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh yes, I do believe in you Danelle. I love you tons.

  13. ro elliott

    What a beautiful of God’s unfailing love and your life gives testimony to…He never leaves us or forsakes us . Oh yes…like His love….call forth things that are not as though they were.

    • ro elliott

      Oops ….that would be*picture*

  14. Jillie

    I believe in you too, Shelly! What you are doing here with your words and your gorgeous photos, always encourages me. I’m touched by the tribute to your wonderful grandparents…how they cared so much for you as you were growing up. And that you have such a kind and generous encourager in H. My husband used to encourage me much more than he does now. I’m sure that’s my fault, as I never really believed I could do anything of significance, other than raising our 2 children. I don’t put much faith in me. I guess that’s why I live so vicariously through others, like you. I hope my often strange comments bring a smile to your face. I am a clown at heart.

    • Lynn Morrissey

      Oh my! Raising two children sounds like just about the most significant thing on the planet, and now there is that darling little Brielle! And think of your beautiful gift for writing and all the encouragement you spread over the Internet and via email, and *handwritten* letters……t his is just a start to what I *could* say, Jillie. May the Lord also show you *His* particular dreams for your life, and may He enable you to realize them! I think He has more than vicarious living in store!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jillie, you truly give so much by just being exactly who you are and you have so much to offer beyond being a mother. I hope you know that. I hear you growing into that as we connect here. I’m so thankful for you my lovely friend.

  15. consolationofmirth

    Shelley, your words brought tears to my eyes. Just what I needed today, more than you know. Thanks, you!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So thankful Heather. Let me know how I can pray for you anytime. You know how to message me. 🙂

  16. Jessica Swisher

    Shelly – Once again, your encouragement was so divinely timely. In a moment of frustration, my 11-year-old son lashed out this morning, “You’re not doing a very good job!” A black cloud spewing bolts of searing pain and loud rumbles of disapproval has hung over my head today, soaking me with cold, damp thoughts of doubt. Reading your post, the Son began to shine through the darkness.

    Choosing to bask in the Light – Jessica


    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jessica, I’m so glad to hear from you. I can’t remember if I actually emailed you but you’ve been on my mind. I know I started to and might have gotten distracted. And I’ve had those mornings too, they hurt the heart. I’m so glad you found some peace here, what a gift that you let me know that. thank you.

  17. kelliwoodford

    you know that “pastoral” comment i made to you one time . . .

    well, i meant it.

    you, my friend are the realest deal. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Kelli, that blesses me in ways you just can’t imagine.

  18. Diane W. Bailey

    And, can we ever have too many people in our lives encouraging us? The best part being, that as others pour into us, filling our pitcher full, we turn and pour into others filling their pitcher…and on and on; generation to generation, neighbor to neighbor, heart to heart.

    • Shelly Miller

      Passing it on, its one of the best gifts we can give isn’t it Diane? I know you get this.

  19. Megan Willome

    Sign me up. I need some encouragement.

    And just to say, I’ve known a lot of people like you, from tough family situations, who turned out great. I’ve also know a lot of people from great family situations who turned out not so great.

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Megan. You are signed up, now we need to be intentional about what that might look like.

  20. Nancy Ruegg

    I had the same reaction as consolationofmirth–tears burning in my eyes. As many people as read your blog, Shelley, you’d spend 24/7 helping each one realize his/her dream. But just knowing you have that desire is an encouragement in itself. And, of course, each post you write contains truth. When applied, it will surely help us achieve our God-given dreams.

    God bless you, Shelley, as you seek to bless all of us!

    • Shelly Miller

      I don’t want to be all things to all people, but I do hurt for those who don’t have that voice in their lives that says I believe in you because God lives in you. Thank you for your kindness Nancy.

  21. Debbie G

    This is, without a doubt, one of the most touching posts you have written. I so wish you were still here!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Aw, thanks Debbie. I missed seeing you at the conference.

  22. dramaticelegance

    so beautiful! so wonderful and marvelous and life that oozes from the words into my soul.

    I dream a lot. it’s something I’ve always…struggled with, in a way. my dreams have changed so much, from wanting to change the world to being content with changing my corner of the world instead. from rocking political boats to rocking my baby to sleep each night. but I still dream. it’s just different now.

    • Shelly Miller

      I can relate to that, my dreams have changed over time as well. And maybe that comes with experience and perspective. But the main thing is that we dream and never stop.

  23. Alyssa Santos

    What an awesome gift it is to be that significant person in another’s life, too. I have had amazing supporters along the way and I’ve learned to look for ways to be supportive and spiritually encouraging to others, too. Because I realized, they need it as much as I do.

    • Shelly Miller

      So thankful you have had those people in your life Alyssa. It’s a gift I don’t take for granted anymore.

  24. Brenna D (@chicagomama)

    “We need people to call out those beautiful places buried beneath the elaborate walls we create that blind us from seeing the truth.” I have been continuously challenged to this in the past 24 hours and it makes me think God is up to something. Thank you for your encouragement! I feel a shifting!

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I Iove sacred echoes and ears to hear them. It does indeed sound like God is up to something with you Brenna.

  25. pastordt

    Can I just tell you how happy it made me to learn that your grandparents invested in you the way they did?? As Nana to 8, I hope they will each have something similar to say about me and my husband someday. However, our work will be in addition to what they’ve each been blessed to receive from their parents – something you did not enjoy. So I am doubly grateful to them, and to every other person on your list, for believing in you all along the way.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Diana. You are one of those people in my life, encouraging me to be who I am in Christ and believing in me. Thank you. And I know your grandkids will think of you in the way I think of my grandparents. When we invest in people it is noticed by them, not always in the moment but in the moment God reveals the influence and how it changed us.

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