Take a minute and think about something that you are hoping for in life…a dream, so to speak. Let yourself stay here for a minute. Chances are that if you are looking forward to something or if you have a goal you are looking to meet that you have imagined it in your mind… chances are that you have a vision of how it will turn out…chances are you see in your mind an end to hard work and a full enjoyment of what has been accomplished.
Now let me mess with your expectations for a little bit. The longer that I am alive, the more I realize that dreams are just that…dreams. Our minds have a way of convincing us that if we can just get to this end goal or that end goal…if we can just get our child home, move into that bigger house, recieve that promotion, finish this project… life will be beauty and butterflies and sweet music. Maybe our dreams are a little more sinister… if I could have married this person, if that person didn’t exist, if I had those people’s life. All dreams have this in common… they are not reality. There is no way for you to picture in your head the reality of the outcome you are hoping to obtain.
Adoption is a dream in the beginning… one that ends in your head with bringing your child home. Getting them here is your life’s goal for the year or two or three or ten that you are working toward that end. You work hard, you pray hard, you imagine holding them in your arms, and often you forget that there is life after the dream. That the most challenging part is not paperwork or waiting or traveling… the most challenging part is parenting… for years and years and years.
David and I saw God move mountains during this process. We watched as He did things that we could never have imagined. We were so focused on getting to the end of this process that we did little imagining of how it would be afterward and the imagining that we did do was not very realistic.
What am I trying to say? This is hard… maybe the most challenging thing that I have ever done…rewarding in many moments YES!… but hard in the rest of them. Today I am tired… exhausted even. I am juggling soooo many things right now… by myself. And every time I get a moment to rest, I am bombarded in my mind with problems that I have not solved, things that are not done, issues that are on the horizon. These are things that I had never imagined in my dream of adding two more to this family.
God has been gracious and He has been faithful, and I am not complaining. I would not change things if I could. I know this is God’s plan for us. I know that I was created for this. I don’t think that we are to shun the hard. It is part of the work that God is doing, not only in our children, but in us. I just think that we should heed a warning. There is a reality to the choices that you make in life, to the things that you pursue, to the call that you follow. Dreaming is the best part, the reality is the walking it out. So if God has not fulfilled a certain dream in your life, or if you find yourself imagining life like a Hollywood romance, or if you are tempted to escape places the Lord has put you for the life you’ve always wanted, just know that reality is going to hit hard behind that choice. Even when you are walking in obedience to a call, it is dangerous to stake your hopes on dreams. A root of bitterness can easily creep up when you are walking on the other side on rocky road.
I know people today with great plans for life that have been derailed or postponed by things that they cannot control. I have seen them walk in this place either becoming bitter or becoming more surrendered to the plan of God. You see, our dreams are not as important as our focus. Even when God places a dream in your heart, if the focus becomes that dream you can count on the fact that you will not be prepared for the reality. If I had this process to do all over again, I would have spent more time at the feet of the Saviour being prepared for the reality than I did in imagination land with my dream. I would have spent more time recognizing and repenting of my sin than I did mourning the fact that I couldn’t get to my girls faster. I would have walked wiser while I was in the day.
We are surviving. We are hopefully taking baby steps forward. There are many things that are frustrating, there are many things that are painful, there are many things that are beautiful. It is a roller coaster every day. I know that things will get better. I know that time will help us get used to the 5 kid norm. I am just living the reality on the other side of a dream…and mourning the dream a little bit.
The sure fire way to never have to mourn your dreams is to recognize in the beginning that they are not reality. You don’t just need the strength of the Lord to get there, you will need it more once you have arrived. If the Lord is giving you preparation time, don’t waste it away by wishing you did not have to wait… use it to draw close, to let Him fill you, to let Him teach you. Appreciate the journey to your goal, because many times it is where you become the person you need to be once you get to that destination. Life doesn’t end when your dream is accomplished…many times the work is just beginning. And if you will take one last moment to look back over your life, I think I can get an “Amen”.