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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Publication Date: 2018
Is this the life you were meant to live?
As the child of Nigerian immigrants in the UK, author and speaker Jo Saxton knows firsthand how quickly the world can cause us to doubt our dreams and question who we are. She understands how easily we can exchange our true child-of-God selves for an identity built on lies, guilt, and brokenness.
In this powerful book, Jo examines Biblical figures and shares her personal story as she invites you to turn to the One who knows you intimately and loves you deeply. He sees all youve struggled to hide. He hears the voice inside you that others have silenced. He knows the potential and purpose that no one valued. He longs to redeem the story of your life and set you on the path to reclaim The Dream of You. Are you ready?
Foreword by Ann Voskamp▼▲
There’s a brilliant family of people in Africa, called the Himba. When a Himba woman is expecting a child, she goes out into the wilderness with a few of her sisters, and together they wait till they hear in their hearts the song of the coming child.
Himba women wait as long as they need to; they wait under stars; they wait until the dream of the child begins to beat like a singular rhythm under their hearts. Because these sisters know that every heart has its own unique beat—its own wild and blazing purpose. And when the Himba women attune to the song of the coming child, they circle around and together they sing the miraculous refrain of the expected child.
Then they return to the gathering of their people and teach this child’s unique song to the waiting community.
When the anticipated child is finally born and taken into arms, the Himba family enfolds her with their presence, and their voices rise, singing the child’s own song to her breathing in first air of this earth.
Later, when the child begins her schooling, the villagers gather and boldly chant the child’s song. And then when the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the Himba again circle round and sing hopefully and bravely. At the time of marriage, the young woman again hears the assuring notes of her very own song, carrying her forward to meet her hopes.
But there is one more occasion upon which the Himba villagers sing to a child.
If at any time during her life the sister loses her way, falls short, forgets who she really is, or lets anything steal the dream of who she is meant to be, she is gently beckoned to the center of the village. And there she stands, her people forming a safe, ringing circle around her, like her own galaxy of stars.
Then the villagers sing, letting the beat of her drum, the rhythm of her own being rouse her to wake to the dream of her soul again. They sing her own soul song to her because Himba sisters believe that change happens most when we remember who we are and Whose we are.
This is what every woman must know: the first tactic of the enemy is always to distort your identity. Genuine serenity is found only when you know your genuine identity. And you can find your true destiny only when you find your true identity.
Do you know who you really are under the false facades and the piles of work and the relentless exhaustion and the suffocating masks?
Maybe for too long you can’t seem to wake from the nightmare of feeling like “not enough” —not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, trendy enough, accomplished enough—and this is what keeps you from waking to the abundantly more than enough God has for you.
Maybe your heart has thickened into this long, scared callus and you’ve numbed yourself to getting wounded ever again. You smile, you laugh, you nod—but when you look in the mirror, you can’t even remember who you really are or who you were bravely meant to be. But these pages you hold in your hand are your song sheets to wake you to “the dream of you.”
These pages will sing your beauty when you see yourself ugly.
This symphony will sing your worth when you see yourself worn out.
These lyrics will sing hope when you feel deeply hurt.
This song will sing of you as His Beloved when you struggle to believe.
Your uncommonly wise sister Jo Saxton intimately knows the song of you because she listens in rare and luminous ways to the heartbeat of your Father. She has written a symphony for your soul, a movement of song that will find you and remind you, because you are not defined by the blind or the unkind or mankind, but only by the Conductor of the Cosmos who sang the dream of you into glorious light.
Your Father knows the beat of your heart when you have forgotten how to be. He knows the rhythm of your return when you don’t know the road back. He knows the lyrics of why you are loved,when you can’t remember quite how to live. He won’t let you lose your way.
And when you have forgotten the words to His Word—to yourself—Jo will sing your Father’s song for you and you will be forever changed, undone, and remade. Jo takes your broken heart longing to break free, and she cups the dream of you close, and she whispers the words to you, so you can remember the refrain of you again and sing the song that was always meant to be yours before the beginning of time:
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” (Psalm 139)
I am completely God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am completely forgiven. (Eph. 1:7)
I am completely a new creature. (II Cor. 5:17)
I am completely strong in the Lord. (Eph. 6:10)
I am completely accepted in Christ. (Eph. 1:6)
I am completely loved with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3)
I am completely overtaken with blessings. (Deut. 28:2)
And your Father and your sisters will sing it soft and strong and certain, of the dream of who you are, until you find your way again. Until you remember the notes of your song — one that awakes all of you to everything you ever dreamed of.
Find your realest identity — and you find how to be really free.
Lean into these soul-stirring pages that will just keep singing your song.
Tuning you to what grace is, awaking you to your soul’s Lover
who rejoices over you with gladness, who never stops singing the Belovedness of you,
until every single one of your fears is quieted with His love,
and the dream of you comes true.
—Ann Voskamp, New York Times best-selling author of The Broken Way and One Thousand Gifts
Shauna Niequist, New York Times best-selling author of Present Over Perfect
"In these pages, Jos trademark wisdom is on display and accessible to everyone who settles in for the ride. Through her gift of delivering essential messaging with wit and wonder, Jo rekindles the desires of your heart and reintroduces you to the life you were meant to live. If you and this book have found your way to each other, I have just two words to share: lucky you!"
Deidra Riggs, national speaker and author of One: Unity in a Divided World
"We live in a noisy culture. It feels as if nearly everyone is screaming about who we ought to be, creating a heightened sense of anxiety and confusion. Jo Saxton, in The Dream of You, speaks prophetically, pastorally, and practically to this crisis of identity, because if our identity is not in Christ, well struggle with deep insecurity. Well pursue everything, trying to fill our lives with meaning. With her own personal vulnerability, Jo invites us to relinquish our broken identities and return once more to the One who created us."
Rev. Eugene Cho, senior pastor, Quest Church, and author of Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World?
"Jo is a friend of ours. Shes a lot of fun, but shes also filled to the brim with guts and grit and Jesus. This isnt a book about Jo; its about leaving behind who you thought you were and becoming who God made you to be. Youll be captivated by her stories and swept away by Gods love."
Maria and Bob Goff, authors and Jos friends
"Who do you see when you look in the mirror or take a selfie? Maybe you see blemishes, pudgy cheeks, imperfection, emptiness, and a lost identity of yourself. The Dream of You is a reality check for many who have gotten lost in what society requires and what others desire of you. These false identities have created a sunken silo, sometimes unrecognizable to us. Jo brilliantly calls us to remember our true identities, discovering the people God created us to be. Jo takes us on a personal discovery of ourselves, interwoven through personal and biblical stories of broken identity that keep us from living the lives we were created to live. She invites you to be brave, bold, and courageous, whether you were told you had to work harder than everyone else or that youre not good enough and will never be enough. God wants to redeem our stories and capture our hearts. God wants to restore your name and purpose. He wants you to embrace His redeeming love."
Latasha Morrison, founder and president of Be the Bridge
"Absolutely hands down, Jo is one of my most trusted voices in Christian leadership. When she teaches us about our identity in Christ, being deeply known and loved and purposed by God in The Dream of You, the greatest testament I can offer toward her credibility is that she texts me some version of that message every single week. She leads auditoriums full of people, and she leads me one-on-one. She is the real deal, and every word of this book is the gospel truth."
Jen Hatmaker, New York Times best-selling author of Of Mess and Moxie
"In The Dream of You, Jo Saxton takes her readers by the hand as she walks us through the many broken identities she once claimed and has now relinquished in order to retain the only One who is necessary. She does so by inviting us into the most painful touchpoints in her life while describing what it has meant for her to navigate her intersectional identities as a black woman who is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. External voices scream incessantly, telling us who we ought to be. Even heroines like Wonder Woman become cruel taskmasters whose images reminds us that we will never measure up. Jo Saxton calls us to give up the ever-elusive chase to be everything but what God has called us to be and we are all the better for it."
Ekemini Uwan, public theologian
"The thing I admire most about the words Jo writes is the way in which she lives them. She carries this message like a jug and passes out cups of cool water to those who have been running faster, harder, and longer. If you have lost sight of where you are going, The Dream of You is a guidebook to help you get back on track."
Bianca Juarez Olthoff, speaker, advocate, and best-selling author of Play with Fire
"Henri Nouwen wrote, One of the great tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are. Jo Saxtons The Dream of You carries the antidote to this universal problema book that calls us to remember who we really are. It is a primal, human book, crackling with life and wind and Spirit. The Dream of You doesnt just speak about our shared human condition, but into it with revelatory clarity, like the prophet Ezekiel speaking to the valley of dry bones. To truly hear these words is for your soul to come to life. The dream Jo Saxton writes about will actually be your awakening."
Jonathan Martin, author of How to Survive a Shipwreck and Prototype
"Jo writes like she teaches. With a deeply rooted foundation in Scripture, Jo fills the pages of The Dream of You with biblical meat along with challenging, grace-filled application. Most of this beautiful balance of truth and grace unfolds in her personal, and sometimes painful, journey. Authentic, funny, relatable, poignant, and tender, this book is packed with practical direction for each of us to discover and embrace our true identity in the unchanging character of God. I am excited for how lives will be impacted as a result of reading the truths found in the pages of this wonderful book."
Vivian Mabuni, speaker and author of Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community, and the God Who Comforts
"Jo writes with the same gusto with which she speaks, from a life lived fiercely and faithfully. Without an understanding of our core identity, we will squander the short time we have here on earth and miss out on the story the God of the universe has written for each of us, one of meaning and intimacy. Jo challenges us to live as we were meant to, with power and purpose."
Jennie Allen, author of Nothing to Prove; founder and visionary of the IF:Gathering
"In reading Jos book, I wondered if she had been reading my journals or eavesdropping on my conversations. Her writing finds us where we are, whether we are broken, surviving, healing, or desperate for a change. This book is not only Jos letter to her readers, but it is a great reminder of the letter God is writing to all of us. Let this book serve as your loving wake-up call to Gods dream of you."
Amena Brown, spoken word poet and author of How to Fix a Broken Record
"Jo Saxton didnt just give us a book. She gave us an invitation to dig into Scripture, to listen to her journey, and to be honest with ourselves and with God. She walks us through her story as a Nigerian Brit now in the US. You can almost hear her laugh and sip her tea as she tells us about her childhood hurts and dreams, and she weaves it all together with a reminder that God sees us and knows our dreams. What a needed reminder!"
Kathy Khang, author of the forthcoming book Raise Your Voice and coauthor of More Than Serving Tea
"Careful. Youre about to have an encounter with Jo Saxton here in this book, and life may never be the same! Every time I am with Jo, I am challenged, refocused, inspired, and a bit more free to rise to my full capacity as a woman of God. With her trademark boldness and authenticity, Jo will empower you, embolden you, and send you out with purpose and hope to become who God always intended for you to be all along."
Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts