Pause and Ponder: Weekly Meditation

A few weeks ago, several TND staff were among the crowd at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville when Ben Rector sang these words:

Dream on
Dream on
Even when you’re afraid all your dreams may be gone
Just dream on
Dream on
When the world says you’re crazy
Just tell them they’re wrong and dream on


Individuals can dream, and so can groups of people. On the evening May 30, 2002, when a dozen wild praying women gathered at Andrea Overby’s house, we began to dream together about what God would have us do with an empty building located at the corner of 8th Avenue South and Demonbreun Street. Our dreams were accompanied with prayer as we asked God to guide our dreaming.


A handful of us spent that summer 20 years ago conducting a community needs assessment. We believed that God would guide our process of discernment as we talked with community leaders about the unmet needs in our city. By the end of the summer, our dreams had taken shape and our sense of calling was clear. Two years later, The Next Door was born.


During the two years that elapsed between the initial dreaming and the opening of our doors, some people thought our plans were crazy. We had no experience working with women who had been incarcerated. We had no training in how to provide services for women with a dual diagnosis. Yet we believed that God would continue to guide our dreams. We believed God would provide the resources and the personnel that the fulfillment of our dreams would require. And God did more than we could have ever asked or imagined.


Eighteen years into our shared work at The Next Door – in Nashville and in Chattanooga – we need to dream on. May God continue to guide our dreams, provide for our needs, and empower our service.

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