On September 2, 2019, I had a dream like none I had ever had before. I normally sleep through the night, never even changing sleeping position. But on this night, things were different. The dream I had lasted all night long, even though I woke up five or six times during the night. Each time I went back to sleep, the same dream continued, in vivid color and detail. When I woke up, the dream was still with me…and I couldn’t shake it. All day long I found myself thinking, “I think I am supposed to do something with this.” It took me about a week to summon the courage to share the dream with my family…but when I did, they immediately said, “You have to do this.”
The dream I had was a simple one, but it was so real, so vivid in color and detail and feel. In the dream, I was placing rocks anonymously around towns and communities for other people to find. The rocks I was placing each had a statement written on them, You are Loved, or You are my masterpiece or I have big plans for you…and they were all signed XOXO, God. I never knew who found them…I just knew that I was supposed to be putting them out. I guess the rest was up to God.
I believe the dream I had was a nudge from God. It is filled with pieces of my life and experiences woven together, as most dreams are, but this one was different. It is as if my life and experiences were BUILDING TO THIS DREAM…not the other way around. Painted rocks: a favorite summer hobby I do each year with my kids on rainy days; signed “XOXO”: how I’ve signed lunch notes to my kids since they were in kindergarten; the uplifting messages, especially the “You are…”: a pivotal scene from a movie we had watched earlier in the summer, Overcomer. In the movie, a young girl who was abandoned by her parents due to addiction, struggles with her identity until her principal has her read Ephesians Chapter 1 and write down all of the things that it says she is. For a while, I wondered if these experiences subconsciously shaped my dream; if it was just the combination of things I had seen and done. But I have since come to believe that this dream was always God’s plan for me, and that my experiences in life were being shaped by the dream that I didn’t know He had planned for me.
THE INITIAL NUDGE
Something happened in January 2018. I can’t explain it other than I was “nudged.” At the time I was a fifth grade teacher in a wonderful school one mile from my house. I loved the kids, the teachers, the families. I remember walking to my room one day in January thinking, “I could do this job forever,” and exactly one week later, on that same walk to my room, I had the thought, “I need to leave…I am supposed to be doing something else, something Kingdom related.”
I am blessed to have the most wonderful, supportive, faith-filled husband in the world. When I told him about this thought, he looked at me and said, “Ok…if that is what you think you’re supposed to do.” And so 5 months later, at the end of the school year, I resigned my position and focused on “being still”…something I have never done in my life. For the next 15 months, I did just that. I joined a bible study, volunteered and tried to listen for what I was supposed to do next. But nothing came.
At the end of August 2019, being still was starting to not feel good any longer. In my mind, the world was willing to let you take some time off while you found your next focus…but it felt like after a year of that, people wouldn’t be as accepting of my “being still.” I worried that others might think I was doing nothing, that I was lazy or unproductive. I look back at these feelings with such sadness because I let what I assumed the world would think be more valuable to me than what God would think. So, I decided to stop being still…to take control again and spend the remaining months of 2019 getting fit and healthy and organized.
And then God sent me a dream. He let me know that He was in control, and that He had a purpose for me. He flicked me in the ear and let me know that I am not of this world, and what this world thinks doesn’t matter. He called me to be obedient…and I heard Him.
He asked me to spread His truths to those who might never hear them, to those who might never open His word. He needed them to know that they are loved, and important, and precious and His masterpieces. He wanted to share that He has big plans for us, and that He has our backs so we should be strong and courageous. He wanted to share that our lights were meant to shine brightly and that no matter how bleak the world appears, His plan for us ends well. And He wanted us to know that He hears our prayers…and that through Him, all things are possible.
And XOXO, God was born.
ROCKS AND MORE
XOXO, God started with rocks…and to this day, our rocks are the core of who XOXO, God is. The messages that are written on our rocks are like love notes from God. They are simple, but powerful. They are personal, signed XOXO as a parent would do on a child’s lunch note. They are biblical TRUTHS as found in His Word, and they are reminders of God’s unending love for us. We started anonymously leaving these rocks around our town to be found by others and gradually expanded to neighboring towns and communities. We took them whenever we traveled spreading them across states and even countries. We will mostly likely never know who finds a rock, but have faith in God’s will that they will end up with people who might need to hear those words at that time. On rare occasions we’ve seen postings on social media of our rocks that were found along with comments about the hope and encouragement that the finder received. It has been amazing to see the Holy Spirit at work, showing us connections and impacts and ripples that XOXO, God has had in just a short time. God is at work.
As an extension of the rock initiative, we developed coordinating apparel and merchandise to broaden the spreading of this Hope message. Our goal in merchandising the XOXO, God messages is to share these TRUTHS with as many people as we can. For some they are well known, for some they are reminders, for some they are the first time they are acknowledging the love and faithfulness of God. Wherever someone is on their journey, we hope that they find these messages uplifting and that they fill hearts with peace and joy.
We have committed to donating 100% of the net profits from all sales to faith-based charities and are working with numerous ministries to facilitate fundraising opportunities using the XOXO, God merchandise. This endeavor belongs to God. To Him goes the glory.
In the end, the goal of XOXO, God is simple: to spread HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT, to share BIBLICAL TRUTHS and to glorify GOD. In a world where so many people struggle to see hope and light, we set out to lift others up and proclaim the TRUTHS of our Heavenly Father.