“You have to believe it to see it.”
– from the film “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”
I was born somewhere I’ve never seen. I was born in the invisible realm of heaven, before I ever materialized on earth in a hospital room in Livermore, California at 10:54am on Tuesday, October 16 1979. I was a dream of God, a seedling dropped from the tree of destiny and God’s love. And so I was born to Jim and Shirley Richardson. And so I was/am/will be ME. ME. An individual fully loaded in destiny, dreams, and the life-giving power of Jesus. A person full of purpose, like every person – and a person with a unique place in God’s beautiful plans of redemption. There will never be another me. There will never be another YOU.
Isn’t that lovely?
And so, fully-employed in ME-ness in the great factory of love, by my generous Creator King,
I get to write a book.
As a child I read voraciously, I was the kid tucked under her covers with a flashlight after being put to bed, reading books late into the night. I always won the “most pages read” award in school without even making an effort, I simply read and read and read. In the midst of my reading, I wrote – in my little blue and pink journal with the brown plastic bear tied onto the key. And for school, I wrote. Teachers said I was gifted. I should pursue writing. So, I talked to God about it. Yeah, I felt like I was supposed to write books one day. And so, I told God I would wait until He specifically told me to do so to begin writing a book. That was one of several covenants with God I made as a kid.
Fantastically, in fourth grade I won a writing contest sponsored by a radio station. The prize was an all expense-paid trip for four to Yosemite for three days, including ski lessons (thus began years of skiing together as a family); and an all-expense trip for my teacher and her husband! haha! It was a sweet experience in the potential to be rewarded for writing. And as I stood on a chair in the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel’s restaurant that weekend reading my work to the gathered 100 or so people, I felt supremely in my element – it was a glimmer of “I was made for this.”
Well, I grew up, went to college, and then backpacked Europe with a friend for 7 weeks. I made an email list of friends and family so I could send updates as I journeyed. That was in 2001. A lot of people relished the updates. “You should write!” they said. “Thank you. Yes, one day…” I would reply, mentally trailing off into those childhood moments when I covenanted with God.
In fact, a lot of those people are still on my regular email update list. They continue to journey with me through life – through seminary; through starting a ministry house in Salem, MA; through teaching at a community college; through three years in Israel; and now through a year of ministry school. And others have joined the update mailing list along the way. It’s a pleasure to journey with people. A high honor. And often, in response to email updates, there is the response, “you have a gift with words. you should write.”
This is glorious affirmation, confirmation, and a forward investment into the invisible realm of heaven that’s a treasure chest for all God’s kids. Even with those words people were investing in my destiny. Hooray!
And so, plunk plink plunk. Encouragement, prayer, and dreams have been dropped like gold coins into the wooden box of my life.
And then about two years ago God began speaking to me about beginning to write a book about Bethlehem, where I was living at the time. Soon thereafter I started receiving prophetic words about writing a book, Holy Spirit sync was in motion. I asked God to make it very clear by the end of the year that I was to begin. The tick-tock happened over Mexican food with some friends of mine on December 30, 2008. One friend, suddenly spurted out, “you’re supposed to be writing a book!” I laughed, “Yes, I know.” “No, reeeeeeally. You need to begin” he added. “Yes, I will. Actually, this is just the confirmation I was asking God for – something before the year’s end, which is tomorrow, so that settles it. I will begin very soon.”
And technically, I did. I began writing down stories from life in Bethlehem and keeping my heart attuned to testimonies that really stood out. However, it didn’t feel like there was much fire on the writing commission until this spring (2010). Someone gave me a prophetic word about writing a book and a domino effect took place: every few days someone came up to me and said they felt like God showed them I was supposed to be writing a book. I was giving in to the next step in my calling. I was getting excited about FINALLY really doing it – with devotion, His Presence, and hot n’ spicy cups of Promised Land milk & honey.
Of course, I had no idea what that diving in looked like or when the season of diving in would officially BEGIN. And then I was lying on the grass one day, hanging out with Holy Spirit and my small group. Instead of our usual day of BSSM school, we had an “encounter day.” We met with our small groups and simply set aside time to meet with Holy Spirit. For my group that looked like laying down on the grass in the sunshine and asking Holy Spirit to come. God began to speak to me about the summer. As I lay there, I knew I was to focus on writing this book.
Wow, He’s so sweet. I’m tearing up just thinking on it. His goodness! The robe of His goodness that He dresses us with!
You know, there are times when you walk through your day and you are really quite satisfied in the abundance you live in, the radiance on your face, and the environment you are blessed to be flourishing in – you’re just happy. And then, things get BETTER. hahahaha! Quiet dreams of your heart are stirred. Genesis stirs in your spirit and you feel nothing being called in to SOMETHING.
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
And this is altogether thrilling. You remember that to live with God is to always live on the brink of sweet surprise and quickened blessings.
You remember that God knows you better than anyone, loves you more than anyone, and is He is always drawing you into fulfillment. And as you pause in meditation, you become drunk on His love. Just as the thought, “could it get any better than this?” enters your head, you interrupt yourself with, “yes.” haha.
God lucidly invited me to step into my destiny. To not be intimidated. And to WRITE.
I know His plans are best and it is time to stare down the dogs of doom that stand at the door to my destiny (Kris Vallotton).
And so, onward I go. And I must say, I am ridiculously excited!
This book is very important. Not only will it release the many testimonies of my time in Bethlehem, and therein activate more faith to believe for miracles in the Middle East, but it is crucial to agree with Bethlehem’s prophetic destiny! Bethlehem is a city of birth. It’s name means “house of bread.” It’s a place of global supply!! Jesus was born there; and there are many more things to be born there that are critical for global revival!!! It’s not a coincidence that Bethlehem has become a crib for suicide bombers and a culture of death. Cities are often overtaken by the opposite of their heavenly identity. It’s time to stand up and take Bethlehem’s hand, like a toddler’s, and help her learn to walk again!!!! This is part of the message of the book, the revelation God has given me about Bethlehem.
For example, a couple years ago I was praying for Bethlehem with some friends and as I was pacing in the room I had a vision of myself walking into a spiritual wall in the city. I saw exactly where it was, across a major road. It struck me as strange – I typically thought of spiritual oppression being more like a dark cloud, not like a boundary wall. I asked God about it and He said, “it’s an inverted prophet, priest, and king.” “Whaaat?!” I replied. He explained, “the mosque on one side is the priest, the government/city hall building is the king, and behind that is a large limestone memorial to four terrorists who were killed in that intersection – that’s the prophet.” Whoa. My spirit quaked. A deep reality became apparent in the value system and spiritual strongholds in the city. Those three entities represented where the people invested their allegiance and their hope. I saw why that place was a boundary line. And that revelation altered and strengthened the way I prayed and prayer-walked the city. These truths and more are to be put into writing and distributed throughout the universe! haha!
Ironically, two days before my planned full-time writing start date of June 1, 2010 my laptop died! Stupid dogs of doom, thinking I will be daunted by technological difficulty. Noooo sirreeeeeee. So after a couple weeks of back-and-forth with a friend who repairs computers, we discovered the fan needs to be replaced and it’s a common problem so Sony will replace it at no charge!!! Hooray! Now to send my laptop off this week and then welcome it back: whole and happy.
In the meantime, about two weeks ago I was concerned about finances and one evening said to God, “maybe I should find a babysitting job, should I?…” thinking that I needed a miracle to make it through the month, well… God is always ON time. Amazingly, I was in a “praying with Muslims” one day seminar the following day and at one point I was going to go out of the seminar to the restroom, and I felt like I was supposed to wait twice and I knew there was specific timing to when I was going to the restroom. haha. Well, lo and behold, I saw a friend in the restroom and she immediately asked me if I was free the next week and would be interested in taking care of her friend’s kids!!! HAHAHAHA!!!! So, I’m presently looking after five kids for eight days. And celebrating, not only miraculous provision, but the golden opportunity to wholeheartedly invest in several families all at once. These six days have been a great practical exercise in REAL love, really being present, really seeing people from God’s perspective and championing them to their own destinies.
Amazingly, it is great preparation for the writing endeavor ahead. A book is like a child. And championing Bethlehem’s destiny is a bit like raising a child.
A number of friends call me “Mama Dawn” because I remind them of Heidi Baker and she is often called “Mama Heidi.” haha. And I do feel very much a mom to this book, as well as to the city of Bethlehem as a whole. That place is deep, deep in my heart. And I long for its flourishing and for it to vibrantly live in the fullness of its identity! I can hardly wait for Bethlehem to graduate from high school. haha.
So, here we go! I’m don’t know what I’m in for, but I know WHO I’m in it for!
<God YOU, YOU, YOU it’s all for You! You will receive every drop of praise and glory in my life! hahaha! This book is for Your renown! You are the Author of Life. You are the model author. We will write, and laugh and spin throughout the nations, drawing them in and up into heaven! Thanks for taking the lead and dancing in this splendid ballroom of life with me!>
whoooooooooosh! and LOVE to all of you!
Also, my book is available for pre-purchasing. In fact, I need to raise money to pre-purchase my own books from the publisher. Every $20 contribution you make reserves you a copy!
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