About the Author

Deidra is a national speaker and the author of Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are, and One: Unity in a Divided World. Follow Deidra on Instagram @deidrariggs

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  1. In 5th grade God placed on my heart a dream to be able to create with crochet…I’m still not very good and a pattern might as well be written in Latin because I have no idea what those mean, but I did manage to learn to make very simple shapes, which I am going to attempt to sell in May…I guess I’ll find out whether anyone actually likes them or just pretends they do when I show them my stuff…

  2. This is such a beautiful thought: When God puts something in your heart, you have to follow! I love that line–and then I got to the bottom of the post and then saw the comment “theme” to be considered an entry!

    I came out of a meeting two days ago in one of our little neighborhoods. Like everywhere else, we are hit hard by the recession. It was a rainy day and the houses were looking particularly down at the heels. But I felt my heart uplifted all the same. It is Home, it is where I Belong. And I thought “thank you, God, for leading me back here (my hometown). Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

    The dream He placed in my heart was to serve my community here, quietly, in little ways. Follow your best prayers to where they take you (a beautiful line from Frederick Buechner)–and mine brought me back home.

  3. I’m followed a dream God put on my heart 17 years ago when my daughter was five. I asked a friend to teach me to sew from a pattern so I could create outfits for my daughter. Before then I had a friend make them. It was so rewarding to do it myself. Just this past November I began sewing again to help a friend with her embroidery business. It’s a dream come true! To be able to create beautiful things for others is a wonderful feeling.

  4. This is a beautiful post! I just appreciate Jen’s style and heart so much. I can see it in every piece she creates. I love that she doesn’t have to look for inspiration as it is always around her. She is a true artist!

  5. My husband and I are following the dream of having a slow paced, intentional life. The path isn’t always clear, but we are seeking His will.

  6. Great interview! I love living in the country. It isn’t as flat here as Nebraska, but I love seeing vast expanses of rolling hills and farmland and the mountains and trees in the changing seasons, too.
    I followed my dream when I went to college. I was a young wife and mother and had a huge uphill battle. People thought I wouldn’t make it and I knew that if I didn’t I would regret it forever. I graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry 3 1/2 years later! One day, I will start teaching, but right now, I am staying home and raising a big family- a totally different dream, but I know this is where I need to be right now.

  7. When I was a child I heard a missionary speak in my Sunday School class, and my heart said, “One day, I will be a missionary.” That dream lay dormant for years, until as a young married couple my husband and I served for a year as missionaries in Russia. From that experience came the dream to live a life of ministry as a family when we had children.

    Again life intervened. Years battling clinical depression, followed by several applications with ministries that didn’t pan out. But God saw the dream to fulfillment and now, 16 years after our ministry in Russia, with children 14, 8, and 6 and a marriage nearing years, we are working as church planting missionaries with a team in Uruguay, South America.

    When the dream in your heart is planted by God, it doesn’t die! He is so good!

  8. God put the dream in my heart about getting married and having children. I never thought I would have either of these but he sent me my husband when I was 35 yrs old and marriage 4 months later then he gave us a beautiful baby girl 9 months later. I keep dreaming and he keeps blessing and I am so glad I finally got this 6 years ago. I dreamed of being forgiven of all my mistakes and never knew I could be but I was save when I was 39. We are never too old for dreams!!

  9. I am in the midst of following the dream, after having had my heart broke numerous times dating the world’s way, I have met a man with a heart for God and we are committed to putting God first in our relationship and honoring him and each other. It is amazing the blessings that have come about in our relationship with God and with each other.

  10. Can I just say that I love and appreciate Jennifer! This was an amazing look into her life and I appreciate it so much!

    I’m not sure what dreams I’ve fulfilled just yet. There are things that God placed in my heart that have happened…such as becoming a wife and mother. I’ve also always loved sewing…and have been able to do that more the past 5 years…my thought now is to use my giftings for His glory…and Jennifer, as well as others, have inspired this thought.

    There are also things I know He has planned for me that have yet to come to pass…so I am waiting on Him for those things.

    Thanks for a chance to win one of her lovely pieces. I’m so excited…my chance is better, since you’re giving away five!!! =)

  11. I dreamed of living back in the country, living a simpler life. That dream continues to unfold…. I also dream to write…to share with others. I dream that one day God will have me on a stage, speaking. It makes me nervous, but it is exciting too.

  12. Sometimes one dream has to die to begin another dream that is even better. God’s ways are always better than our ways, we’ve just got to remember that.

  13. What beautiful photography (and artwork!) I grew up in KS and NE and that photo of the dirt road just brought a huge smile to my face. Nothing like a good back road with a trail of dust following you into town…

    I’ve had so many dreams, the one that’s been the very bestest is when I married my best friend. I know without a doubt that God strung us together, each day is a dream come true. Happy Easter, He has risen!

  14. how appropriate for me to see this post about jennifer. God has given me a dream of writing since the time i was a little girl. about a year and a half ago he put the dream of writing a blog on my heart. a couple of weeks ago i started “the gift of mondays” blog and the very first comment i received was from a total stranger…jennifer. when i read this interview and saw her response to her very first show and the comment “people can be so kind” it made me smile. the fact that she took the time out of her day to comment on something i wrote was great. thanks for doing this interview so i could learn more about her!!!

  15. Beautiful pictures, as usual, Jennifer! I love reading about how your parents encouraged you ~ we try to encourage Elly in her endeavors, & I look forward to seeing what she becomes! I am living my dream of being a mom & ministering to young women! <3

  16. I love Jennifer’s work and I appreciate her lovely words about Nebraska, since that is where God has led us recently to live and work! Following my husband and my dreams have brought me to new territory…a new home, friends and Nebraska!

  17. I dream of writing a book to help other women in the healing process. I’ve finally taken that leap of faith and my book is unfolding chapter by chapter! I’m also starting to produce art for sale. I’ve always been a creative person, now God is giving me wings to soar and use my creativity for His glory. It’s SO EXCITING.

  18. Following my dreams led me to my husband, children, and yes, Nebraska!!! Being the wife of a rancher, mother to children, and living in the country are all dreams fulfilled. Now to follow the dream of blessing others through writing and art.

  19. As a little girl I remember always inviting other girls over to my house and I was forever brushing their hair, braiding, or even curling their hair! I felt strongly I was suppose to do “hair” but as I got older the “dream” seemed to be farther and farther away. Then I turned 30, had two kids and a VERY SUPPORTIVE Husband and family. My Dad offered to send me to cosmetology school. Could It Be? My Dream come true? I received my degree and began my Ministry. I knew it was sooo clearly Gods plan for my life as I was able to listen and pray with so many who sat in my chair ~ (held captive LOL) I named my business HIS Hands Haircare, for it truly was His Hand working through me!

  20. Beautiful photos and a heart to match…I really enjoyed reading this interview…I am so glad to already have won a Wings of Dawn block, still the focal point of the mantel!

    Blessings dear blog friend!

  21. I am following a couple right now. I’m about to start leading a women’s ministry AND learning to allow my creativity to flow through art and writing. It’s a time of transitioning for sure, but God is in it, so I’ll know that good things will come of it!

    Prayers and blessings,
    Rebecca

  22. I love how Jennifer’s family supported and encouraged her in art. I always loved to draw and stepped into architectural design. I knew I was made for this job. I think if we listen, God has a plan for all of us.

  23. Lovely interview! I followed my dream when I met my now husband. In the beginning it was not easy…for three years we struggled with blended families and lots of baggage. But I refused to listen to anyone else when they were negative…even my family and friends. I knew deep down that it was meant to be and that even if it didn’t work out that we’d be together, I’d always love him. That is what God’s plan is for all of us…to love one another no matter what…with pure faith that things are working out the way they are suppose to. Once you surrender and give up any ideas you have of controlling any situation then you can find happiness even in the scary times.

  24. I am currently following a dream God put on my heart… getting ready to head overseas with my husband to be missionaries, spreading the Gospel!

  25. I’m still there holding out and trusting God for what He’s put on my heart…another child for our family. This is a heart cry that I believe He placed there and that He will fulfill in His due time. In the mean time, He wants me to fully life in today and not lust after tomorrow…truly knowing that *today* is a part of tomorrow’s story.

  26. I have a dream to grow our family through adoption, and we are currently involved in foster care. Hoping to adopt the children we have, but needed God’s guiding hand in the middle of the pain and uncertainty of this process.

  27. I have really loved following Jennifer’s blog recently and love her words on encouraging our children’s creativity. I have been on an amazing creative and dreaming process with God. Last year I had a dream to travel the world telling the stories through photography. Last month I went to India to do just that! God is so good to allow our dreams to come true!

  28. A dream that God has put in my heart (as well as my husband’s) is to adopt a sibling group from the foster care system. We are following that dream and working towards it each day!

  29. One dream of my heart, from my youth was to be a mother and teacher. God has blessed me with four precious children, whom I home educate. He has shown me what a high calling it is to raise children for His glory. I could never thank Him enough for giving me the desires of my heart.

  30. I’m following a dream this summer that has been in my heart for quite some time. I’m travelling to Uganda to meet and love on the children of the schools we support…I’ll get to meet the two little ones that we sponsor. Pure joy to my heart.

  31. I hope I am following dreams God has placed on my heart (and not dreams of my own creation)… These dreams include staying home with my children to focus their raising on living for God and intentionally, gratefully spend the time I have with them. Also, writing to serve, encourage, praise, and share His goodness.

    Thank you for this kind opportunity. Her artwork is gorgeous!

  32. I am in the process of following that dream right now! I felt as if God has put this into my heart recently and I am beginning to take steps of faith to see where he will open doors… it feels a little scary but I am excited to see what God has in store!

    and Jennifer, your pictures are stunning!! 🙂

  33. 15 yrs ago this month my son who was 14 yrs old at the time died after a sudden illness.
    I feel that God’s hand guided me thru this time of loss and opened up new pathways for me.
    I was working in a factory at the time of Joshua’s death. I quit my job shortly after his death and became somewhat of a recluse. It was during this time God guided me to a job in which I could comfort and care for terminally ill people, and be there as a sholder for their families to depend and lean on.
    Even thou some people would say that my job is depressing, I find great joy and comfort in it. I believe I am following a dream that God handed to me in my time of need.

  34. When I was 10 God placed adoption on my heart. I listened and filed it away. After marriage and 2 lovely girls we found that we were unable to have more children – and suddenly that still small dream came back in full force. We listened, prayed, and are following my dream that started so long ago 🙂

  35. i have a creative streak as well and love having been encouraged by many around me to keep going with it. i mostly just do stuff for myself, to give as gifts and for a few friends, but i love being created!
    thanks for the giveaway!
    shana

  36. After college, I traveled to South Africa for an internship with World Vision, where I worked for two months. On holiday in Cape Town during my stay, I took the tram up Table Mountain (a must for a tourist, according to every South African I met:) There, I distinctly heard God’s voice for the first time in my life.

    When I returned from Africa, and after eight long weeks feeling lonely and miserable there, I still couldn’t get the image of me playing on the ground with African children out of my head. I wanted to put it to rest, but soon met my future husband (who had very similar visions for work in Africa), and between us, God didn’t let us lay those thoughts down for more than a second.

    We were married in March of 2007 and moved to Africa together three months later. We worked for a year among local communities surrounding Johannesburg, SA, and although it was one of the most trying experiences of our lives, we returned home changed. Africa has not left our hearts, and we know that it won’t any time soon. We hope to go back again someday as God leads, and when we do, we know we’ll have new direction for what He has for us there in ministry.

    From my first visit to the continent, God turned beauty out of ashes and grew a place in my spirit that has only gotten stronger. We can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in Africa in the years to come!

  37. When my son was born, I tried to balance working and being a mom, but it just became too much so my husband and I worked hard to pay off some bills so I could stay home full-time. Biggest blessing ever!

  38. I love taking pictures. It makes me so happy when I do so I followed God’s voice and joined the photography team at church.

  39. I didn’t know the Lord when I was younger but He knew me. (came a believer at 19) I always wanted to publish an article and 2 years ago, I started that journey. I now write parenting articles for regional parenting publications.

    He seems to unfold more dreams as we get older, too.

  40. I dreamed of being a published writer my whole life–interviewing bands and authors. I even started a little zine when I was a teenager and interviewed Christian bands. But then I got my first paid writing gig for a music magazine at 18–before I went to college for journalism–I thought that was pretty amazing and totally God. It has definitely shaped my writing life.

  41. I love Jennifer’s work and love that you have taken time to share a little piece of her heart here with each of us!

    I’m so blessed to be able to say that I am following the dream God has laid on my heart right this very moment…writing/speaking and sharing God’s love and grace with women through words, through teaching, through my ministry, through my church, and now through LeadHer. It’s a crazy, scary and incredibly awesome adventure! I’m buckled up, holding on and smiling all the way through it!

    ~ Melissa

  42. God put having a family in my heart from an early age!! We have grown our family just as I had dreamed about it and hope to grow it more by adoption soon!! We are blessed

  43. I love Jennifer’s art …. wanna have it and will someday …

    I finished up on one dream I had for years last May. I dreamed of having a college degree after years of living with learning disabilities. it was a long, hard, but worthwhile road and I graduated at the age of 57 with a 4 year degree in educational studies from Crown College

    My current dream I am living is to teach to read and write and to read and write to teach! Also living the dream to train up disciples to encouter Christ through the word, silence, solitude and prayer.

    Easter Blessings to all!

  44. The seed He planted in my heart went ignored for a little over 20 years. I fought to do what I wanted to do, my way, turning my back on Him and His ways and what I knew He wanted for my life…

    2 years ago, my life of “happiness” and doing everything my way, blew up all around me. Everything I believed in was gone and after the smoke had cleared, He was the one standing by my side.

    He never left my side and has been the only source of comfort for me, so now, I choose to no longer ignore that seed planted so long ago.

    I am enrolled in Seminary school to become a Pastor.

    So much had to be lost to get to this place, yet so much more has been won.

  45. I had a dream to work with kids and do music. God allowed me to work in the inner city and teach musical theater and choir to kids there through a ministry. He has moved me on since that time, and I still do those things in a different capacity, but I will always reflect on my time in the city as the closest I came to having a dream and see it be fulfilled.

  46. What a great interview, Deidra! And Jennifer has clearly been gifted by God.

    In 2004, I sought and achieved a commission from the Air Force, surprising all of my family and friends. Matt and I packed up and moved from Georgia to Oklahoma, and for the first time, I truly loved a career. Then, 1 1/2 years later, I moved back to Georgia with a newborn in my arms, taking on the very first dream God gave me. The timing was definitely not what we had wanted, but God has since blessed us with two more beautiful children and a wonderful family.

  47. When I was pregnant with my daughter who is now 4, I began to dream that I would be able to stay home with my kids. At first it seemed impossible. My husband wasn’t supportive and we didn’t think we could afford it. Eventually my husband came around and thanks to God we have been able to make it work.

  48. I’m adopted. My family, and when I say family I mean my adopted family because they ARE my family, is a family of singers. My mom plays piano, my 4 older brothers and sisters grew up singing in churches all over the south east, two brothers actually were in a group that traveled nationwide several years ago. I always listened to them and was envious, because I wanted to sing too! I am a basically shy person, and anytime I had tried to sing in church even in the choir, I would literally pass out from nerves. But my dream was to sing. I prayed for years to be able to sing, it was in my heart, it was in my soul that I had to sing. But I was too shy, and too backwards to actually do it, or even tell anyone my dream to sing. Then one day my oldest sister asked if I would help her out with a song she was practicing, I was shocked! I was terrified and that first time I got up in front of people you couldn’t hear me even with a microphone. But God got me passed my fear. That was roughly 20 years ago, and I have been singing ever since, even to the point of filling in when our choir director was out, and singing solos at church!

  49. The dream that God put in my heart was to have a family. I always thought when I was growing up I would never marry and wouldn’t have any children. I met someone that I believe God put in my life for me and helped me have faith that I was not suppose to be by myself. I have been so blessed!

  50. These words are particularly relevant to a move that God brought my husband and I through 5 years ago now. We left jobs, friends, church, proximity to family to pursue a new job for my husband trusting that God had all of the above waiting for us. He has absolutely delivered!

  51. I grew up in a very artistic and creative family. It seemed as if everyone was talented but me. But when I got older, I decided I would use the gifts God gave me and I discovered He gave me very special gifts and I had the confidence to use it.

  52. Interesting interview…beautiful artwork! From the time I was in 3rd grade or so, I’d always dreamed of becoming a librarian. I worked in our public library as a “helper”..shelving, cleaning, etc. But after high school I married and began our family and so the dream seemed something that would never be. I was working as a secretary in our local school system when I received a call one day from a library mentor from my elementary school days. She was on the library board and offered me the job as librarian at our local public library. I was ecstatic. I know God’s hand was in this. I took the job, worked there as head librarian for 23 yrs, and retired from that wonderful job 3 yrs ago. It was truly a dream come true!

  53. I was doing my dream of occupational therapy prior to having children. Then my “job” became caring for them. Now that they are all teens, I have been pursuing reactivating my license. It seems that everything I needed to do to achieve this has ended up with a closed door and a frustrated heart. I could’ve completed this process last Christmas. However, since that time, my grandfather passed away; my 9yo nephew was diagnosed w/ brain cancer and is undergoing radiation/chemo; I had rotator cuff surgery and am off work longer than typical; and my oldest is undergoing much testing for neuro symptoms and mayo clinic is the next stop. Still trusting in Him, I believe that God’s dream for me is to continue w/ OT. The exam is complete and many of the questions were referenced to the physical challenges that I have been exposed to recently…only God could’ve known how much that it helped me.

  54. My dream is to stay home and entertain, lead home bible studies, be a home where teen-agers are welcomed, encourage teens and be a mom. All of this hasn’t happened yet, but some has and I am very thankful for that. I have been blessed. This morning in my devotions I read from John 1:16 “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” What a great reminder, that even though life has its struggles, we still receive blessing,, on after another. Love the paintings.

  55. definitely moving overseas to live with another family and study language..fresh out of college with a new boyfriend (now husband) I wouldn’t see for 4 months!!

  56. Following a calling God gave me to write for Him. I am new to this, but it is all Him and that makes it amazing! Thank you for this contest. Blessings to you! Would love to be a winner for sure!

  57. Wow – I can think of several time… most recently, my husband and I decided he should leave his job and go back to PA school – it’s been an interesting ride, but we’ve seen God at work in it.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway – Jennifer’s work is beautiful – I’m a big fan of her blog too!

  58. At 16 I visited the campus of a large, private Christian university in SoCal. My family had struggled with finances all my life and we were there due to the kindness of friends. In my heart God whispered “You’re going to go here”, I thought he was crazy. 😛 My freshman year, my parents had to declare bankruptcy.
    In May of 2007, in that ugly black robe, I walked across the stage, accepted my degree and shook the hand of Clyde Cook, a proud recipient of a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Biola University. The dream God planted back then is still developing today, but that was a huge step and it only came to be by God’s grace and provision.

  59. I answered that question many years ago by saying that my dreams were to be a mom and travel the world. I’ve been to many places and seen many things, but now I’m just content being where I am….with my husband and children, dreaming new dreams! I feel very blessed.

  60. God put the dream of being a Keeper of the Home in my heart when I was just a young girl. I fought against that dream for a long time (so much so that I was considered a feminist by many standards!), but when I finally accepted God’s dream for my life, I truly felt comfortable in my own skin. I can’t imagine life any other way. He has blessed my marriage, my family, and continually blesses me with drawing me closer to Him.

  61. I love Jennifer’s work and am sooo inspired by her. This interview was such a lovely peek into her creative life and her beautiful surroundings.

    The dream that God put on my heart, was to honor the artistic gifts he’s given me, by using them for others. An interesting little story- I have boxes and boxes of craft projects that I had created while working with 2nd-3rd grade bible classes some years ago. I held onto those boxes for so long, and every time I thought of throwing them away, a little small “voice” inside told me to save them.

    A year ago, we decided we really needed to clear those boxes out. I was looking for places to give them to, when a dear friend of mine asked me, randomly, if I had any coloring sheets for a Homeless Program at our church that she was involved in. I told her what I had, and she smiled saying how they had been talking about trying to put craft program together for the kids- so when the families come in for their meals, there would be something for the children to do. Long story short- I brought a craft to the Free Meals program, and have ever since, been blessed to be part of a ministry that fills my heart more than I can give!!! We have about 20 or more children each week that look forward to “doing art” and being filled up with food. We have so many volunteers at our table, and families that are being blessed, and are continually blessing us all with their beautiful and creative kids. This was “God” dream that I didn’t even know was going to be~ and I am thankful for all, that it has blessed me with.

  62. I’m following that dream now as we prepare to become a foster family. It certainly isn’t anything I ever dreamed for myself or for our family. Isn’t that the way God is, though? He takes your desires and molds them into His desires.

    Anyway, as we grow more and more excited about our upcoming journey as a foster family, we realize He must be the center of it all and it must be for His glory. We look forward to what He’s going to do for His name through us! Wow…that He would choose to use us. Isn’t it a blessing?

  63. The single most important dream that God put on my heart and that I followed was being a stay-at-home-mom with our two boys. They are 17 and 22 now, but I had the absolute joy and privilege of being home with them the entire time they were young. I was able to delight in the everyday blessings as they grew and I shared in the moment-by-moment joys and trials that they experienced in their younger years. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything! Now they are well on their way to adulthood as wonderful, responsible, faith-filled young men! What a blessing!

  64. Oooo…I love that Nebraska picture! It reminds me of my growing up years on the Oklahoma prairie. I still can’t get enough of wide open skies!

    My biggest dream followed is probably saying “YES!” when my man proposed. Even though that “YES” meant saying “NO!” to all that was previously familiar (leaving all family and friends behind as we lived the military lifestyle), marrying him and having babies with him has been a dream come true!

  65. I find beauty in raindrops, flowers in full bloom, newborn babies, elderly people with wrinkles, little babies with chubby hands, puppies and kittens…I find that everywhere I go, there’s beauty around me.

    I love the artwork! It’s beautiful!

  66. God pulled me to teach community health in Nicaragua, and I followed Him in spite of delay, lack of funds, illness and eventually love. Totally worth it!!

  67. God placed a dream in my heart to return to Him and to attend a small church near our home. So at the beginning of this year that is what I did. I felt very drawn to this church specifically, so that is where I took my two toddlers and my husband. We have been going there ever since and have found a real since of family there. I was baptized, something I have wanted to do for many many years, on Palm Sunday. I have a renewed spiritual life and feel much more at peace with God and know that my family is moving in the right direction. I am eager to continue on the path that God is moving me.

  68. I am following a dream of mine by being a mother! Now, in my dream I had no idea I would have three boys, but I couldn’t be happier! I feel very blessed to be home with them, and now homeschool them.