Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Growing Pains

I was doing some surfing on Pinterest, and came to the realization that I pin practically -- you know as opposed to pinning dreamy stuff that I find unrealistic, or unattainable.  The realization made me feel a little glass-half-empty-ISH, and it made me do some thinking.  Is it just because I am a practical personal at heart -- or is it something else?

I've also been thinking a lot about this:

Recently, a lady got up to speak in church.  Actually, the pastor knew her story.  Knew that she was a believer. Knew that her dreams had been... dashed.  Knew that life had become difficult for her.  So, he thoughtfully led her in telling her story.  Her dream looked like this:  a perfect family scene on a beach.  All of her children healthy and happy.  Her marriage secure.  Grandparents were there too, showing great support for their children and grandchildren.

And then the end of the idyllic scene.

Her father passed away suddenly.  Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  Their new home plans changed to include a "mother-in-law suite" -- so that her mother would always be close to them.  And then, she decided that her mother's car keys needed to be taken away.  Lots of hard life decisions in such a short period of time.

The death of a dream.

I'm sitting here on a glass-half-empty day, wondering if my dreams have died a little over the years.  In spite of the fact that we say for better or for worse and MEAN it... I don't think we ever really factor in the "worse." The job loss.  A lengthy period of no work.  Health issues.  They all take their toll, and steal the thunder (so to speak) of our dreams.  Somehow, things get re-prioritized, and dreams don't seem quite so attainable anymore.

Some final questions asked by the Pastor:
1.  Will you love God more or less when you have gotten through this trial?  I thought (as did the woman being interviewed) : Oh, of course more.  Even though I might have some doubts or anger along the way, ultimately, I know that it was HE who saw me through the trials.
2.  Do you think (when this trial is over) that you will have become a better person?  Again, agreement.  How could I not be a better person after God allows trials, and holds my hand through them?  Obviously, there have been lessons learned that make me a better person.

Then a hard question, and the one that brought the most emotion:
3.  Would you have kept your kids from these experiences if you could do it over -- or do you think they ultimately benefited as well?  The woman paused, and I choked up with her.  No, of course our children are better off with these experiences under their belt... knowing that God walked beside them (and our family) all the way, and we made it through the trials.  Again, I agreed with her.

And then she quoted a verse that took my breath away... because it is a verse that I have clung to in the really hard times.  It has been such a comfort to me, and yet -- I don't often hear it quoted.

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Of course the picture in my head as I read this verse is of God walking right beside me holding my hand. Sometimes I picture him leading.  Other times I picture him directly beside me, as a supportive friend would be.

So, what does the Bible say about dreams for the future?

Jeremiah 29:11 ~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

So, to me that means it's neither unrealistic nor unbiblical to dream, because God has great plans for us, and he wants us to have hope and a future!  That seems to indicate good things to come, right?

In fact, I DO dream -- and dream BIG. But -- as a defense mechanism (I guess), I don't publicize, I don't pin, I don't speak my dreams out loud too much -- as if by making them known they could be snatched away from me, as this woman's dreams were snatched from her.

And yet, she stood in front of the congregation and said she would go through it again.  She knew God knew what he was doing.  But, "the death of a dream?"  I get that.  Medical diagnosis, unemployment... these things changed how we live today, and have made some dreams seem unattainable.  I wrestle with that, and with leaving it all in God's omnipotent hands and believing Jeremiah 29:11.  Perhaps the most important part is to remember that "a hope and a future" doesn't mean that there won't be trials along the way to refine us.  My trials are different than yours, but we all go through them.

Would I erase my trials, given the chance?
No.  They have made me the person that I am today.
Still a sinner.  Still imperfect.  But growing.
And growth is good.


  1. I totally get that...I would not have chosen to go through some of the stuff I have had to go through but it is what has made me who I am today. My relationship with the Lord is different, my perspective on things is different, he worked all those things for my good in the end. It is a hard concept to embrace especially when you are in the midst of a trial

  2. A very thoughtful post... One thing is certain, there are always changes ahead and we need a Guide.

  3. Oh...a great post! How true that sometimes life gets in the way of our dreams, but we always come out stronger for it. It would be so hard to appreciate what you have if it all came easily. A great verse too!

  4. growth is good...the hurting occurring during it is so much the hard part. Praying to see the dreams God has for me.

  5. This is a beautiful post that really speaks to me right now. As you know, our dreams have been crushed in the past couple of months. I have to admit that I would be sorely tempted to erase my current trials. I'm waiting to see how God's plans will unfold.

  6. Wow, this hit me hard...I feel like that woman. The last several years around here were very similar to her story and yes, I have had to alter a lot of my plans, dreams. Faith has helped, it also helps to hear that others are confronting the same things. Thank you for sharing your optimism.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I read each and every one, and truly enjoy "conversations" with you! ~Sally

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