We’re standing in front of the computer screen when H turns to me and asks if I still feel good about the decision we just made to buy the couch. I tell him I have a knot in my stomach and that while he was talking to the salesman about protective sprays, I was trying to self-diagnose my feelings.

Not the answer he hoped to hear.

We’ve had “if we win the lottery conversations” about re-modeling our hodge-podge family room for years. Now that we’re finally moving forward, I realize that I can’t change my mind like returning a pair of shoes that don’t fit right. The weight of it sobers me.

I’m thinking about how the money we’re spending on a couch will feed some friends in Rwanda for months. How this seemingly small decision will lead to more seemingly small decisions, about paint color and window treatments and more thoughts about how we could be helping people that sit on cardboard boxes and use magazine pages for toilet paper. My stomach hurts.

The couch decision, it’s a small portal into a new season of God asking me to dream big and trust Him for the outcome. To stand on the high dive and jump off when I can’t see to the bottom of the pool. I like to know what I’m getting myself into before I take the leap. Can anyone relate?

But this isn’t just about a couch or new paint color, it’s about wandering through a wintering of the soul long enough that you can’t imagine what spring feels like anymore. It’s like snow falling in the middle of summer and Jesus sitting on the edge coaxing me to dive in.

My dreams lay stretched out asleep on the diving board of circumstance. Fingers let go of clenched hope somewhere in the midst of waiting for everyone else to dive off first. Hope about friendships and community, ministry and belonging.

Standing up and bouncing on the end of the board, buying a couch, calling a friend, walking into a new church when you wish you didn’t have to, it all starts with commitment. A commitment to risk and feel and fail and succeed.

And sometimes all He’s looking for is commitment. He doesn’t need my preparedness to deliver a dream.

A friend calls to say that she knows someone who can use my old couch. When she comes with a family to pick it up, they step over boxes and bags waiting at the door. I open one of them to reveal the load of crayons, markers and pencils inside. Their faces light up like a candelabra flaming on an opera stage.

She tells me about how they were just talking in the car about all the kids that still need school supplies. How they intend to sew backpacks for some that use plastic bags to hold their books.

I walk over to the pile, hold up another bag to show them it’s full of fabric scraps. We high-five each other in the surprise of it all and load everything in the back of their truck.

Because sometimes when you take a leap into the deep end of your dreams, the water splashes on to the ones standing at the edge with Jesus.

Counting gifts with Ann:

  • My son’s impromptu comedic monologues that make me laugh – every day.
  • Picking out paint colors, easier than expected.
  • Cards and e-messages from friends holding me up in prayer over the loss of my brother last week.
  • The way God answered every question I pondered on the way to church in the sermon from Ezekiel, to remind me He hasn’t forgotten.
  • A phone call from a friend, like no time passed in between.
  • No class changes or surprises on the first week back to school (except for the forgotten lunch on the counter.)

Also linking with Playdates With God, Hear it, Use it, Miscellany Monday, Into the Beautiful and Soli Deo Gloria, Faith Barista Jam.