Willing to Walk on Water by Caroline Barnett
Caroline Barnett's new book Willing to Walk on Water has inspired me to think about my passions. She has convinced me that God gave me those passions to use in service to others. For those who are afraid to say "use me" to God because He might send them to Africa, this book will show you that the abundant life God has for you when you say yes to Him is when you are doing the good works He prepared for YOU. You will be filled with joy, confidant with purpose and content in His will.
About the Author . . . Caroline Barnett has a passion for inspiring women of the church to find their God-given cause. In her role at The Dream Center, Caroline has changed people’s lives through a wide range of outreach ministries—from starting a food truck ministry that currently feeds over 50,000 people each month, to founding Project Prevention, a foster care intervention program designed to assist families facing the threat of separation due to issues of poverty. Caroline is married to Dream Center founder and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Barnett; they live with their two children in Los Angeles.
1. What is your hope for this book, Willing to Walk on Water?
My hope for this book is that those who read it will be inspired to take their place as God’s children and fix our world. My hope is that they would experience the joy and fulfillment that comes through acting as His ambassador and the thrill of having such a powerful impact.
2. Tell me about the personal experience(s) which prompted you to write such a book.
Nine years into being a part of The Dream Center—a ministry that helps to heal and restore broken lives, broken homes, and broken communities through outreach and live-in programs, and through providing other social needs—God, through different revelations, changed my perspective of what we were really capable of. Before the revelations I had assumed even with our best efforts we could only scratch the surface of the pain and suffering that we see all around the world and in our communities. As you read through what God revealed to me you will see that all He needs is your willingness and you can be a part of His miracles
3. How did you recognize God’s call and direction for your life?
At the end of my senior year in high school, I started seeking God for answers about life, and as I read the words of Jesus I felt a strong passion that I wanted to do what He was doing and what He was asking us to do. Suddenly every other dream I had in my heart seemed empty by comparison.
4. You talk about "triggers" within your book. What exactly do you mean by a "trigger?" Can you give me an example of a pivotal trigger in your life?
As Christians filled with His love, there are a lot of injustices in our world that bring us to tears. However, that does not necessarily mean that this will lead us to action. I believe all Christians are meant to be a part of healing an injustice. Our levels of commitment will look different, but it is meant to be an element of our walk with Him in this life. Our trigger is that injustice that doesn’t just bring us to tears but will ignite a passion so deep within us that we can’t know of its existence without doing something about it.
5. When did you realize what your “trigger” is? Can you share that story?
Sometimes in order to find our trigger we have to smell the smells, feel the fear, hear the cries, and be in the middle of the elements to know how passionate we are. That’s how I found my trigger. One day I was volunteering in the reception office of The Dream Center when we received a call from a social worker who told us of a family in need of food. What I saw that day changed my life. When we arrived at the dilapidated apartment building one mile away, we were shocked to find a mother of about twenty-five years old with eight kids who were only dressed in their diapers or underwear. There was no furniture in the home other than some couch cushions on the floor that were being used as beds. As soon as we walked in, the kids jumped into our arms and started eating some of the raw zucchini we had brought. I couldn’t believe how hungry these kids were. When I saw what life was like for a hungry child, my trigger was pulled and I determined then that I could not know about this and not do something about it. That’s when I went back to The Dream Center and asked permission to start a mobile food bank, because the reality is that the people who are really in need of food have no way of getting to us for help. Throughout my whole life, I have seen commercials of children starving around the world, and while those commercials brought me to tears, they did not prompt me to act. I didn’t truly understand my passion until I was face to face with a hungry child.
6. You have changed countless lives through your work at The Dream Center. How has this work changed you?
It has changed me in every way—what I value, my priorities, my view of this world, and the view of my life. It has changed me in every good way. There is no greater feeling than ending your day knowing you were used to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
7. What encouragement would you provide to those who feel the call from God to step out of their comfort zone to answer His call?
God wants you accomplishing and doing things you never thought you were capable of doing, for His purpose and to show off His glory, but also to make your life fun, exciting, and adventurous. You’re not fully living until you have moments when God pulls you through fears and challenges and you can look back in amazement at what you have accomplished in His name. My encouragement to you is to try it once and see if the adrenaline rush and satisfaction don’t addict you to wanting to live your entire life this way.
8. What response would you give to those who think they are too busy to take on one more role in life—despite God’s call and leading?
God does not ask us to do what He has not fully intended to enable us to do. If He asks you to take on another role, it will be for your benefit as much as for those whom you will help. He will give you the strength and energy. I once heard an incredible volunteer at The Dream Center say that she could take on five tasks God was not asking her to do and feel burned out, and take on twenty-five that He was asking and have excitement and energy to spare. Answering God’s call in this one area will positively affect every other area of your life. We feel overwhelmed when we assume we will have to do the task in our own strength.
9. You and your husband are very dedicated to The Dream Center. How does this impact your family life and raising children?
In our life no two weeks look the same. We are constantly trying to stay balanced. My seasons of involvement are always adjusting to assure that our kids are our priority. Matthew travels all year long for The Dream Center, so when he is gone I am not as available. We all love the work of The Dream Center, and our kids have a great compassion for people and they are very generous. Our kids enjoy doing outreaches and giving their toys to kids out on food truck sites. I want them to grow up and view outreach as a normal part of life, no matter where their dreams lead them.
10. You say in your book that by living out your own unique, God-given purpose, you will experience a reignited passion for life and true fulfillment. Has this been the case for you? How so?
When God designed us, He had these purposes in mind, so of course He knows that people accomplish more when they feel they are at their best and their talents and gifts are being used and refined. This will be work that doesn’t feel like work. What I have experienced in serving is that God multiplies our every effort—which makes it feel like I am running on a people mover instead of a treadmill. Also, as I see God’s hand move in the miracles of provision and in the lives of people, I can’t wait to get up in the morning to see what is going to happen next.
11. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
My father-in-law, Tommy Barnett, always says, “It is okay to want to quit, as long as you never quit.” You see, we all have days when our flesh gets tired or in the way of our work, and we want to quit. However, when you stay steady and faithful, God then has a foundation to build something massive and strong. This applies to every area of your life, even you! Don’t quit on yourself—in growing, learning, and accomplishing, you have no idea the powerful impact God wants to make with your life!
This is a link to Chapter One: http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/FirstChapters/978-1-4143-7229-7.pdf
To schedule an interview with Caroline Barnett, please contact: Katie Dodillet, firstname.lastname@example.org, 630.784.5275