It was hard finding a title for this post. Dreaming is very important in the kingdom of God. He gives us the capacity to dream and imagine. But dreaming our own dreams and letting God give us dreams.. these are two different things. The reason I am writing about this today is because the Lord is dealing with some big issues in me that have to do with dreaming. For most of my life, I have let dreams be a way of escaping pain and suffering. It started in childhood. I was very unhappy with my family and there were many reasons why. I am not going to go into it here, but I needed a way out.. so I dreamed of this perfect life.. a perfect family. One very different from my own.
Unfortunately the path I took to get that perfect life failed. I had relationships with men that were unhealthy and eventually ended up marrying an abusive addict.. but when he passed away.. the dream of a better life was still alive and I married Steve. He was a wonderful man and I had many of the things in my life that I thought were lost forever. If you have been following my blog, then you know that Steve also passed away.. last summer. I lost everything when he got sick and I no longer had that wonderful life that I cherished. It was not a perfect life and for most of our marriage we had financial problems .. there was no real stability.. so I filled my head with dreams of the day when I would get that last piece and live happily every after. Instead Steve became ill with dementia and things became more and more difficult.
Now that he is gone, I am alone and sure enough.. the old dreams came back.. dreaming of another chance to have that life that would be close to perfect.. funny how that could sneak in even at my age! This time, the Lord has stopped me from dreaming.. Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t get another chance.. it just means that He is teaching me to be in the pain and suffering without trying to escape through dreaming. He is helping me to live in the present and be content with not knowing what the future holds. I believe that this is how He is teaching me to rely more deeply on Him. My old dreams are gone but He can give me new ones when it is time and more importantly He is enabling me to believe that everything He has prepared for me is going to be better than my dreams.. It is actually very freeing not to be dreaming and to realize that this season is teaching me so much about our Great God.
I have always loved this scripture.. but finally I feel as though I truly understand it
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.
The last few weeks have been a great reminder of the way God works in our lives. We often wait for things hoping that what we long for will happen. I am a great believer in “longing’. After all it is our longing that draws us near to the Lord and it was His longing for us that led to creation and all that followed. So..as we long for things..we may start to hear things that bring discouragement. We may believe that God has said no.. when in truth He has not. We may find ourselves tested.. when nothing is happening or even worse when things are all happening in the wrong way.. do we trust God? In my life I have seen this testing happen over and over again.. as though the enemy works overtime to bring discouragement while the Lord is working behind the scenes on our behalf. We have to make some pretty important choices.
Will we trust in the goodness of God when everything around us says that is not true? Will we believe that He knows the desire of our hearts when everything is taking way too long? Can we walk in faith when we have no sight? I believe the answer to all of these questions needs to be yes. If we are followers then we follow in His steps no matter what our circumstances and we trust that Romans 8:28 is true every single day of our lives. The older I get the more I have the more memories I have of God’s sovereignty over every difficult circumstance and the easier it is to believe that He will continue to provide and deliver as I wait on Him and do not give up.. That in itself is a huge!
I am thinking of you as I write this.. wondering if you are struggling the same way I do when I cannot see ahead… the uncertainty causes anxiety and worry. I doubt if I will ever totally overcome in this area, but I have memories and that is helping. I remember learning how people often give up right before the blessing.. so I won’t give up. I remember how the Bible talks about perseverance and how there are so many examples of God coming through at the last minute and rescuing His people. I have many memories of that in my own life..He has been there for me over and over again. So I want this post to bring you hope..we cannot live without hope and we cannot live the abundant life without our God. Trust in Him.. wait on Him..remind yourself of every single time He has come for you and know that He will do that again and again.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
Last month I wrote about the Romance.. the larger story of God’s continual display of love in our world. Rather than move on to another topic.. I wanted to stay with the Romance and keep reminding us of the truth that He is constantly pursuing us ..He keeps the desires of our hearts tucked in a safe place so that when it is time.. He will bring them to fulfillment.
The tough part is learning how to navigate the road of life when it seems as though those desires remained unfulfilled for too long. We tend to start doubting.. is He good? Has He forgotten me? Am I asking for too much? Should I give up? In my experience none of these questions really help.. they just tend to bring discouragement. So what do we do while we are waiting? Live fully.. trusting Him with His timing and affirming our desire to follow Him fully even we when we feel forgotten.
This enables Him to surprise us .. to come through long after we thought He would. We begin to truly understand that ” His thoughts are not ours.. His ways are not our ways.” The path is not a smooth one.. but along the way there is beauty and there are glimpses of the Romantic heart of God. He renews our strength as we call out to Him ..He fills us with hope.. we become more dependent upon Him and we start to trust His heart.. all things that He desires for us!
Yes, it is. While we are waiting, God is working deeply in us and preparing us for the next season. If we forget that, we may end up wasting the time wanting the season to be over.
When we wait..we pray and ask God for things that we desire and that is as it should be. We can’t be sure that everything we ask for will happen.. but we can be sure that He has heard. Knowing that this is true brings peace in the waiting if we trust Him to only bring those things that are good for us.
All of the above implies a deep faith and trust in the character of God and His goodness. It requires us to remember that we are not forgotten, that we are not being punished and that His love for us is underlying evrything.
I don’t know about you, but I get amnesia when I have to wait too long. I forget who brought me this far and I forget how much I have to be grateful for. God has His ways of bringing it all back to me. He brings to mind other seasons that were similar and the way He was working to prepare me for the life I have now. He cures me of the amnesia and brings hope and encouragement to my weary heart and mind.
So.. in the end I am thankful for His ways, for the trials and tests and for the wisdom He uses in not giving me everything I want when I want it. He loves me too much for that!
“But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.”
That is the message I keep getting. Stop trying to figure out the future and just be here now. Stay in the present.. allow it to be everything it is supposed to be. Sounds logical..doesn’t it? Then why is it difficult? Our desires can become demands that keep reminding us that things are not exactly the way we want them to be. God seems to be moving soooo slowly. The key is to remember that while we are waiting and praying and hoping..we are living..right here, right now. Are we living fully?
It is our choice. The thing that helps me the most is to pray and ask God to help me see what He is doing in me. He is up to something every minute of everyday..even when it seems like He is doing nothing. We may not be able to see what He is up to or glimpse His purposes, but we can be sure that He is working..both in us and around us.
I don’t know about you, but that is a great comfort to me. I may be totally confused..discouraged, or disappointed, but I can look to God and know that He is in control. My part is to live fully in the present..praying, seeking, longing for understanding and insight. God always answers prayers like that. He never keeps us in the dark longer than He needs to.
He us with you..shining His light on that next step..guiding you…your hand in His. He has surprises for you! He remembers every desire that you have hidden in your heart. You are not forgotten.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”