Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Do you remember what you dreamed of being when you were a child? Do you recall what you thought your life would be like once you were all grown up?

I was a real daydreamer as kid and on into my teen years. I am an only child so I had lots of time to fantasize about what my life was going to be like when I was finally an adult, living on my own. In fact, I had such detailed daydreams that I would fall asleep in the midst of one and pick up right where I left off the next night!

I can remember seeing this house in a magazine, the House of Angles, it was called. I thought that was the most beautiful house in the world. I cut it out, houseplans and all....that was my dream house. And in my daydreams that is the house I lived in.

Did I ever build that house? Of course not. In fact, very little of what I dreamed actually ever materialized.

Our pastor began a series last week on marriage as part of a Wednesday night study. To make a point of how we all bring different expectations to our marriage, he had his wife to share what her dreams and expectations had been prior to marriage...what she thought marriage would be like. Then he shared his. Of course they were worlds apart. For the most part, their expectations did not become reality.

I think many of us get our ideas of what life will be like from the movies. No matter how difficult the pursuit, the guy always gets the girl in the end, and they live blissfully happy for the rest of their lives. If you think about it, most good movies end with a tender embrace or two people who have found each other at last, but it does not show the aftermath. The movie doesn't go on to show the hardships they face, the struggles they endure, the heartache they encounter along the way. That would sort of ruin the movie, wouldn't it? But that is exactly how life is.

I think we all strive for the "happily ever after", yet our great expectations usually fall far short. As I look around, I know of very few people who are not struggling in one way or another.

I began leading a new Bible study last week. As the ladies in my group introduced themselves, I asked each to share about a journey she had taken. Most did not tell stories of a favorite vacation, but rather a journey they were on in their personal lives. Journeys filled with health problems, broken marriages, the loss of a parent and financial crisises. I seriously doubt if a single one of them ever dreamed of those circumstances as young girls.

As I was thinking about this yesterday, I realized that our mistake is not that we dream, but that our dreams are about what WE want in life, not about what God wants for us. I can vaguely remember telling my kids they could be anything they wanted to be, but more than that I distinctly remember telling them that the most important thing in the world was for them to find what GOD wanted them to do with their life and follow Him.

I think what I want to tell my granddaughters is this: Give your dreams to God. Don't "pre-plan" how your life will be. God's plans for each of you is different. Be open to whatever He puts before you, realizing that it will include good times and bad, storms and rainbows.

I saw a TV show last night about a family who found they were about to give birth to a baby with Downs Syndrome. The dad was devastated and didn't want "damaged goods". Someone explained to him that his baby was a gift from God and each package comes wrapped differently.

Our lives are gifts from God, too. And each of them comes wrapped differently, with different instructions for the journey He has mapped out us personally.

We may have dreamed of a blissful life, but the reality is that life is hard. But, it is in the storms of life that we really connect with God, and we understand ultimately that it was never about US! When we received Christ as our Savior, we gave our lives to Him and along with our lives should have gone our expectations!

Eric and Leslie Ludy wrote a wonderful book, When God Writes Your Love Story. I highly recommend it to young people who are searching for their life's mate. But the premise of this book leads me to think of what our true mindset about life should be. We should hand God the pen of our lives...our total lives, not just our love lives.... and let Him write our story just the way He wants to do, understanding that HIS plans are best for us even as twisted and chaotic as they may sometimes be, because as HIS child, He desires nothing but the best for us.

Something beautiful
Something good
All my confusion
He understood
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife
But He made something
Beautiful of my life.
--Bill and Gloria Gaither

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