I am sure I wasn't too different from many of you all who dreamed big as a little girl. I planned my wedding, I named my future kids, and envisioned my adult life revolving around a family, a significant other, and a little dog named "D.O. Gee." As we all know, life takes many twist and turns, sometimes it gets flipped upside down by our own doings and other times life just happens and dreams shift. I can tell you standing here thirty one years later; my life portrays a very different picture than what I originally dreamed up.
As a little girl my imaginary play always revolved around children. Whether it was pretending to be a Mommy to my baby dolls, the orphanage caretaker to my little brother, or a kindergarten school teacher, my mind rarely left the realm of children. Being the daughter of the church music director, we spent most Sundays at all of the morning services the church offered, and I could always be found spending the extra time loving on babies and entertaining the toddlers in the church nursery. Before I was old enough to get a real job, baby-sitting occupied my Friday and Saturday nights. And to be honest, it was less about the money and more about the opportunity to spend time loving on the children. My first job? You guessed it--child care! And college? Well my dream to be a stay at home mom wasn't anywhere close when college came around, so studying education seemed like a natural path until that vision for my life became the reality.
Close to my senior year of college, the reality of my dreams becoming alive seemed pretty hopeless, for various reasons. So, to numb the pain of that dying desire, I shifted my dreams. When asked, "Don't you want to be a mom?" I would respond, "heck no." I remember voicing ideas like "kids just grow up to hate their parents anyway, why bother” or “I’m too selfish," or "I am enough to handle on my own, “or "that's reason 7, 432 and not to have a kid," and so on and so forth. I still loved kids and even though I didn't realize it at the time, I was building up walls of self protection, and never let myself reenter that place of possibility. I continued to pursue a career where I could love the heck out of little ones, and told myself that would be enough.
In the years between there and here, a lot has happened. I helped build and became co-owner to a business where I got to tend to newborns, toddlers and teach preschoolers daily. Two precious kiddos became knit into my life, Location change to new parts of town. A closed business. Career shifts. Unexpected life changes. And an act of God that got me into the seat I am in now.
It is in this seat, that I have learned that no matter how I envision my life, it all falls short in comparison to the life He has called me to live. You see, I still have very natural desires, to be a wife, to be a mom, and so much more that I question if my reality will ever hold, but I am learning that those desires quickly fade when placed beside my passion to follow wherever He leads.
I have lived out my own will, my plan, and at times, He has given me exactly what I think I wanted, and I can tell you, the desire for more was always seemed to be lurking. As I have tried to walk in His will, He still blesses me with many desires of my heart, and some of those desires have changed, and some of those desire I do still struggle with releasing, but as a good friend says "Oh, the joy, the unspeakable joy" that comes from seeking His will over my own. I might not have all that I think I want, but the portion I do have, satisfies, when I keep my eyes focused on His plan and not mine.
I don't know what the next thirty one years of my life will look like. Maybe my desires will fall in line with the ones He wills over my life, maybe He will grant me the desires of my heart, or maybe I will find the desires I surrender to Him, will once again come as blessings that far exceed all I could ever imagine.
And lastly, it is in this chair, I too am learning, that I don't have to hide behind the walls I have built. Admitting my struggles, tearing down walls of self protection and taking a stab at v . . .vuln . . .vulner . . .vulnerability, is the path I know that leads to God's grace, freedom, joy. As I read this morning, "Although this is an uncomfortable position, it is actually a good place to be." It's a place I get to see Him work, to see the transformation of my will into His, whatever that may be. And it's here in this uncomfortable place of sharing my heart that I lean into the trust I have, the faith that reminds me, I serve a faithful God who will take care of me like nobody’s business.
So, perhaps one day you will see this "old" lady pulling out her hair chasing little ankle bitters, screaming, "What was I thinking?" Or maybe, we will all see the beautiful childless plan God laid out specifically for yours truly, but whatever is to come, it is the cry of my heart, "Oh, Lord, let it be Your will, not mine," and in the process of aligning the two, I pray I continue to break down walls vs. building them.