Have you ever had gone to church and heard a sermon preached just for your benefit? I felt that way about Jo Saxton’s book, The Dream Of You. As I turned from one page to the next her voice empathized with my experiences, exhorted me to reclaim God’s purpose for me, and empowered me to step away from who’ve I been and embrace who God designed me to be.
I am absolutely thrilled to have been granted the opportunity to interview Jo, glean even more wisdom from this powerful woman of God, and share her insights with you:
Alida: I loved the Wonder Woman story that you told at the beginning of the book. Recently, I was in Australia visiting my son’s family. My two & a half year old granddaughter has a Wonder Woman outfit that she wore to the park one evening. I marveled at her sense of adventure as she ran down the hill singing at the top of her lungs, “And no one knows how far it goes!” I realize that the Wonder Woman she is at 2 may not stay with her for the rest of her life. How do I as a long distance grandmother continue to nurture and empower her to always be true to the dream she has of herself?
Jo: If only we were all as free as your granddaughter to run into the unknown adventures of life with such curiosity and passion! It’s a wonderful image and I’m reminded that in the bible Timothy’s grandmother Lois (2ndTimothy 1:5) is commended with cultivating his faith and the man and leader he would ultimately become. I think even though it a long distance relationship – you have a great opportunity to be an empowering voice. Your words, your notes, your gifts, your time together can keep reminding her of who she is and cultivate her potential. You can affirm and invest in her talents and dreams, and use your voice to call out hers. Most of all, even from afar you remain a role model; you can be a living example of a woman embracing her identity and purpose.
Alida: Reading this book truly impacted how I look at different aspects my life. I’m still processing what I read and plan to read it again with a group of women later this month. How did the writing process for this book impact your view of yourself?
Jo: It reminded me of how far the Lord has brought me over the years, the big and the small things he has done in my life. It reminded me that God has not finished writing the stories of our lives, that he is a persistent and powerful redeemer. At times it was hard to explore previous chapters of my story, but ultimately, I felt hope and purpose. The Lord who has brought me this far, still sees me, is still for me, and is still moving in and through my life. It encouraged me to keep walking closely with Him, to keep inviting Him to work in the deepest part of my being. It’s given me greater faith for the impossible
Alida: There’s a story in your book about ‘The Talk’ that resonated with me. I can hear my grandmother and my aunties echoing what you were told as I recall the words spoken to me. How do mothers today raising children of color or biracial children find the balance between not giving a talk that leads to perfectionism but still gives a child the strength they need to face the world?
Jo: I think this is very hard, but its also very necessary. How can we effectively prepare the next generation for life in a broken world if we do not acknowledge how that brokenness impacts the reality of our daily existence? And how do we not add another layer of brokenness?
When I look back on The Talk I grew up with (which to this day I am thankful for), there’s only one thing now as a grown woman I wish I knew earlier: I wish I knew what it costs us to live that way. I wish I knew earlier what it would cost to spend so long trying to be twice/3 x as good in order to get a “fair” shot. The cost to my body when I worked harder and made no room for self-care; the cost emotionally and mentally of always proving, always over achieving and regardless of acknowledgement, or never arriving…The cost of knowing that Life isn’t fair and feeling powerless about it at times.
As I have realized the cost I’ve learned to take care of myself better, be firmer about what my values are, establish what my definition of success is, explore more fully what it means to walk with Jesus in this. I can’t afford to keep proving myself for a place at the table. Since I’m already worthy, I’ve got to explore other ways of living – including building my own tables, creating my own opportunities.
So, as for my children, we definitely have The Talk and will continue to do so as they reach milestones in their lives, but I also seek to help them embrace the value of their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health – in relation to the Talk but also to life in general. Furthermore, I seek to continually affirm and celebrate their strength and beauty, their talents and potential in alignment with how God sees them. And I encourage and invest their passionate ideas and creativity.
Alida: I felt empowered to take a deeper look at myself as I was reading your book. What do you want your readers to walk away with after completing your book?
Jo: Sometimes life is so full and demanding that we don’t have the time or the opportunity to process it. Before we know it we’re no longer living into our identity and purpose, we’re existing, just getting by. We somehow believe that the moment to discover the life we were made for has passed, as though redemption is only for the young, or those with time on their hands. I want readers to know that God sees them and loves them, and that it’s not too late for a new beginning. And then I hope that they begin to recover and reclaim God’s dream for their identity and purpose.
If you would like the opportunity to read The Dream of You simply click here to order your copy. Believe me, you will not be disappointed as you recover God’s dream for you!