• Paige Barker

Page 11: The God of Your Small Dreams

I turned twenty-five at the beginning of the month (I'm working on a post about the lessons I've learned this past year, so stay tuned!) and decided to celebrate in Nashville, Tennesee. It was by far the best way I've ever celebrated my birthday. We planned this trip for seven months. Clearly, I was excited. I don't know if it's possible to love a place you've never been, but I knew that my heart was already knitted to Nashville. For those of you who don't know me, I love country music. My heart beats for two types of music: worship and country. I grew up with country music and to say I love it is a total understatement, and God always speaks to me through it. So for that reason, Nashville has been a bucket list item for years, and this was the year I was going to turn that dream into a reality. Little did I know how God was going to show up during this trip. First, a little backstory before sharing what God did in Nashville.

My birthday has always been a bittersweet day for me. I love my birthday and love to be celebrated. However, more times than not I have walked away disappointed and hurt. Mainly because I've had too high expectations that I've never been able to communicate well. I'm complex in that I love to be celebrated, but I also don't like attention on me. So, I've had to learn how to communicate what I want, and I've also had to learn how to lower my expectations, but that's a different post for a different day. With that said, I approached this birthday with low expectations and boy did God show up like I've never experienced.

I've heard so many great things about Nashville and received many recommendations, but I wanted to arrive with an open mind ready to experience the heart of country music for the first time. I didn't know what to expect, but I guess that was a good thing. My friend and I had a variety of things planned for our time in Nashville (which I highly recommend planning your trip) including the Country Music Hall of Fame, an Ed Sheeran Concert, the Pancake Pantry, the Grand Ole Opry, and several others. It only makes sense to go to a country concert when in Nashville, but when we looked up concerts for the dates we were there, there were no country concerts. But there was PLENTY of country music every single night on Broadway. Walking down Broadway was such a thrilling experience listening to all the live music that was playing left and right.

Every day exceeded any expectation I could have had. Nashville was one of the most fabulous trips I've ever taken, if not the best. And all through the trip, God showered me with little love kisses making the trip EVEN BETTER. However, the highlight of my trip is definitely the Grand Ole Opry on our last night. Going to the Grand Ole Opry was a lifelong dream for me. It's hard to put into words what this experience was like, but I'll try my best. God being who He is, totally went above & beyond what I could have ever dreamed of for this experience.

I drove up to the venue and said to my friend, “Steven Curtis Chapman is cool, but it would be even better if we were seeing a country artist because of it being the Grand Ole Opry.” Well, God answered my prayer and then some.

Unknown to me, eight artists perform when there’s a concert at the Grand Ole Opry. The first two were artists performed, and they were fun to listen to, but I didn’t know their songs but they were country, and that was an answered prayer. BUT THEN the third artist came out, and I instantly looked at my friend with wide eyes (and I may or may not have hit her arm) and freaked out because it was a country artist I listen to frequently. I cried — not because I‘m one of those fangirls though. But the minute Morgan Evans stepped on the stage I heard God say, “You have no idea what I have in store for you this year. This is just a glimpse of what I’m going to do for you.” However, it doesn’t stop there.

Two more artists that I LOVE performed, and it was Heaven on earth for me. With each song, it was as if God smiled down on me that night saying, “This is just for you, babe. I am a dream-maker, and the dreams you have don’t compare to the dreams I have for you.” I cried during every performance, and I’ve never felt more loved by God before. It was the exact thing my spirit needed, and it was the perfect way to end this trip.

I say all of that to encourage those of you who are a little discouraged by the lack of movement about the dreams you have in your heart. Sometimes it can feel as if God doesn't care about the small desires in our hearts, but let me tell you something: God really does care about the smallest things that are important to you. Even if no one else does, HE CARES. And when He does show up, it will be better than you can ever think or imagine. I love this version of this passage in Ephesians:

And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.' Ephesians 3:16-20 TPT (emphasis added)

Keep believing for those dreams and desires that are in your heart - whether big or small. DO NOT GIVE UP! God is just getting started with you, and you haven't seen anything yet!