loving with abandon, and other things worth the “ouch”

I’m 9 days from beginning my journey to Baghdad, via England. This takes me away from dear friends and family for 2 months. The imminent goodbyes are pinching my heart. Ouch. I really love people, individually and generally.

It isn’t merely the 2 month separation, but the fact that I know this is the short-term goodbye for what is about to become a more long-term goodbye when I begin to work overseas next year. Tonight the tide of sadness slid onto my sandy shore. Tears stood on their tippy toes and waved their hands over my eyelids’ banks. My apartmentmate said, “It’s because you have loved with abandon.” I smiled and my mind began to walk a wooded path: paved, but picturesque.

I admit the last few weeks I haven’t wanted to love with abandon. I’ve wanted to distance myself to diminish the pain of the unavoidable goodbyes. Then love kicks in more fully; and I want to hug everyone – strangers included.

Then curiosity sets in: what will my life look like a year from now? Who will be my circle of friends where I live next? I remember the stretching of life in Bethlehem: the culture gap, the language delay, and the trails of loneliness that often drifted to my doorstep in the still of night. The idea of saying, “It was worth it” does not do it justice. To be in the center of one’s destiny is a fire and a storm, a hope and a vision, the likes of which nothing can compare. It’s peace and it’s fury. It’s wizened confidence and youthful learning. It’s life: in the very best, most LIFE-giving sense of the word (not the contrary way people often say, “Oh WELL, that’s LIFE!”).

Life is about living. It’s about breathing. It’s saddling every day with adventure and a romantic ride into the sunset. It’s about being present, engaged, committed, and alive. It’s about faith, hope, and love. It’s about the risks of loving well. It’s about jumping up and down when you’re excited and letting tears scramble down your eyes’ fire escape when you’re sad.

It must be about loving with abandon. It simply must.

In the sacrifice of love is an ecstasy of love. In the tremor of a goodbye is the value for love, for life , for friends. A friend of mine recently said,

“Dawn, fulfilling your destiny is the best thing you could do for all your relationships.” 

This thought devastates me, in a good and glorious way. To acknowledge that in the positioning of God, in following His leading, even when it navigates the turns of painful goodbyes, is the best path, is both liberating and catalytic. I am most loving my friends and family by being every iota of who God desires me to be- though it takes me far away, sometimes made further by cultural differences and the space of time zones. Yet, in this faithfulness to follow my beloved Jesus, I am blessing those closest to me, even as I leave their side. In fact, I am stirring the Holy Spirit’s movements in their own lives as well; that they would be similarly stirred to beautifully walk into their own destinies.

This is glorious. As we love God with abandon, we love people with abandon. It should be a natural continuum.

And on top of all of this, God is always with us. We never have to say “goodbye” to our biggest fan and closest friend.

On that note, breathe Him in. Wherever you are, whatever transition you are walking out, whomever you are bidding farewell to,

fear not. Simply BREATHE HIM IN.

(This song is from my friends’ Katie and Bryan’s new album.)

Baghdad, THERE I come!!! (hee hee hee!)

Sometimes I feel I’ve been pregnant for 15 years. Other times I am sure of it.

The child is a vision, a passion, a calling. The vision is for the Middle East: to thrive, to be at peace, to be madly in love with the Savior.

Much of that vision centers on Iraq.

In 2001 I had a dream I was in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in Iraq. I was leading a secret church meeting. I knew Saddam’s regime had fallen and he was dead. I knew it was a prophetic picture of a scene which would be fulfilled.

In 2003 Saddam’s regime fell. In 2006 he was killed. In 2008 I was told about a man named Canon Andrew White who was leading church meetings in one of Saddam’s former palaces, a mutual friend told him about me. We began emailing. On March 23, 2011 Andrew was in Redding and we had dinner. He invited me to work with him in Baghdad.

In 2012 I plan to semi-move to Baghdad to be part of rebuilding and transforming the nation.

For preparation and vision-casting, I’m going to visit Baghdad this November. I’ll spend 2 weeks in England and visit FRRME’s home office; then 2 weeks in Baghdad where I will get to know the land, the people at St George’s Church, the folks at FRRME’s medical clinic, the Tigris River. I will also deliver paintings to high-profile leaders in Iraq. 

To say I am excited would be to say the sun is handy or shoes are helpful for hiking; it is decidedly an understatement. Setting my feet upon Iraq is a moment I’ve burned for, lived for, prayed for with a zeal and a compassion that still electrifies my heart and beckons my soul. Iraq and I are a match made in heaven.

For my trip this fall I need $4,000.

If you’d like to contribute toward transforming this nation, do so here:

http://dawnrichardson.chipin.com/dawns-trip-to-baghdad                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

THANK YOU! / ! شكر

Keep Hoping, Saint Francis

Tomorrow I am going to San Francisco, California to see a friend visiting from England. As my river-y thoughts slide the city’s streets in my memory, this song ripples through my spirit. I adore San Francisco, partially because I was born 44 miles beyond its fingertips and grew up with it as a convenient day trip location dotted in street performers, cable cars, and the ocean. San Francisco is full of gold and glory. It will flourish and know its KING!!!!! Yay!

Also, this song is great inspiration for prophetic songs for OTHER cities. Maybe you should write one for yours. If you do, let me know because I collect prophetic songs for cities and nations. I love vision for cities and nations. <More, GOD!>

Here are some songs by my friend Steve: http://highway19.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/prophetic-songs/

Meanwhile, hop into the hope boat and enjoy this one: