Life can be ironic. The story you painted for your life, the one that started from when you were a little girl playing make-believe, tends to take on way more twists and turns than you originally gave permission for. The direction we received in childhood was to adventure, to dream, to give life to the most incredible stories, including aspirations of our own. In adolescence, those adventures and dreams seem to meet a constant war against responsibility and expectation. And the child-like faith begins to fade. As a Youth Pastor's wife, I have witnessed the struggle of youth chasing dreams and fulfilling expectations. I have seen teenagers war within themselves for the things that satisfied their soul vs. provide financially for their future. As adults, our life experiences, dreams and passions, pain and trauma, have served to build who we are, what we believe and how we identify with self, with God and with the world around us.
Life can be ironic. It almost never looks the way you thought it would and always takes on experiences you wish you could have lived without. And sometimes that can be overwhelming. And sometimes that can shake you to the core. And sometimes you walk through dark valleys. And sometimes you question the goodness of God. Yet, in every moment, God is ever present.
The only thing I ever wanted to be in my entire life was a mother. My make believe time as a child included creating meals for my “children” utilizing creative (often inedible) recipes in my easy-bake-oven, caring for my water baby and preparing the home which was of course sectioned off by pillows and blankets. I would travel out to the store in my power wheels Barbie jeep and bring home fresh flowers which were conveniently provided by my neighbor’s bushes. I knew the amount of children I would have. I knew their names. It was never a conceivable thought that I might never attain my greatest aspiration.
I remember the numb sensation that invaded my body when the doctors told me my husband and I had unexplained infertility. Hearing those words for the first time, was one of those defining moments I will never forget. The pain and the question and the mourning of that season of my life was the hardest season I have ever experienced. In that moment, I didn’t want to hear that “God had a plan”, I didn’t want to think about “other options.” In that moment, I grieved my dream. In that moment, my ability to hope and believe were somewhere deep below my anger and sorrow. Little did I know how God would use the pain of my new-reality to launch me into His redemptive purpose. Years later, I accepted a position as Executive Director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center, a life-affirming Christ centered non profit that seeks to provide thorough pregnancy and parenting support to women and couples facing an unwanted pregnancy. God called the infertile woman to lead a Crisis Pregnancy Center, ironic. Everything in my flesh was telling me this was going to be the hardest “yes” I would ever commit to, but God has used it to be one of the biggest unforeseen healing agents in my life.
A few weeks ago I was asked a question. This question was more than just a question, it was a Holy Spirit moment of restored hope. This woman looked at me from across the table and said, “What kind of mother do you want to be?” I smiled. I paused. Memories flooding back of those years of make believe and easy bake ovens and water babies and paying house. Years of happy memories I had suppressed in order to protect my heart. I responded, “Hmmm, no one has ever asked me that question before.” I smiled. I paused. I cried. And in that moment I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, “Its time to start dreaming again.”
I don’t know what you are facing right now. I don’t know what your deepest God-given dreams and adventures are or where you are in your journey to accomplishing them. My hope, is that if you have forgotten those dreams or even dismissed them, that today you might pause long enough to dust off those dreams of yours, the ones you created long ago, and that you would allow God to speak to you about them again. If there is one thing I have learned through my journey, it’s that God is present and He sees me. Through the waves of pain and mourning, peace and hope; God is present. I pray that hope would be stirred up in your soul today.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.