This Beautiful Inheritance: Dead Dreams {a guest post}

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dead Dreams {a guest post}

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Carol Spenst from The John and Carol Show. I recently started reading Carol's blog and just fell in love. Her authenticity and her way with words are so appealing to me! She and her husband live in Little Rock, where they own a restaurant and raise their four precious children: two biological daughters, ages 5 and 3, and a set of adopted twins -- a boy and a girl -- who are nine months old. I know you're going to fall in love with her heart and her family too.

As a high-schooler, I, like most girls I knew growing up, had a plan for my life. I was a Christian, and so it definitely included the Lord, but I pretty much knew how he was going to work it all out for me. I would go to college. I would meet a wonderful, Godly man. We would be madly in love and get married. We would have great, God-honoring jobs, possibly in ministry. We would have 3-4 children that I would stay home with who looked like us and were probably not athletic but could make up for it in social skills, because that's the way that we are. We would travel a lot and take our kiddos on cool trips. We would serve others, but always with balance - you know, there has to be plenty of family downtime as well.

I could see it all so clearly. Other, less-formed vague notions of dreams that I had included thinking that my life would generally come easily to me. I assumed that things would work out and make sense all the time. I mean - I love God, and he loves me, so good things would come, and life would work out. I really thought that I would go through life without having major brushes with hardship or experiencing seasons of extreme confusion. Those were for other people who weren't as blessed as I seemed to be.

I know all of that sounds a bit shallow and obviously unrealistic, but the reality is that my life through high school and half of college did make sense and come easily. I was set up to believe these things could be true, and after all - they had been true so far, so what would prevent the pattern from continuing?  Certainly not me. My dreams seemed so attainable and even probable to my immature, short-sighted self.

But, then my life took a dramatic turn for what I believed to be the worse when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer while I was in college. My entire world was rocked, and my faith was tested. I was brought into reality, and ultimately, I was brought into God's plans for me, instead of my own. Many dreams died forever the same day that my dad did. He would not be at my wedding. He would not meet my children. Nothing would ever be the same.

And while I do miss my dad every day, I know that his death must have brought more glory to God than his continued life on earth would have. That's why God allowed it. I know it has shaped my life in so many good ways to have had to go through something awful. I softened. I deepened. I changed forever and for the better, because of God's faithfulness and having reality enter my world.

That was the first time that I really learned that God's plans for me are bigger and better than the ones that I dream on my own. I needed that softening that comes with hardship - without it, I would never have ended up married to John, and I would be much the worse off for that.

This theme of God's plans being better than my dreams has continued with all of the most major things in my life. I wanted to go to Disney World and be a Disney Princess after college. Instead, I took a job managing a fast food restaurant, which is definitely not what I had in mind. Now that my family is supported by one of those amazing restaurants, I am so thankful that God knew better than I did.

And, the place that I can see that my dreaming was the most amiss - those were my dreams for our family. I didn't dream about little brown faces that I hadn't birthed, but oh my, I cannot fathom life without them now. Every step of God's plan took us farther outside of my comfort zone. Adoption - why would I want to complicate our family life so much?  Adopting two kids instead of one - that sounds absolutely crazy. Being open to special needs - are you sure, God?  That sounds really hard.

As our adoption continued to play out, we were essentially waiting on infant twins, which seemed a bizarre and unlikely thing to be hoping for. And then March 25th happened, and the mist seemed to clear just a bit. Never in my wildest dreams could I have concocted this God story that played out. Only God could have orchestrated it and made us ready and open for the precious twins that became ours in April of last year.

It's so humbling and overwhelming still - even 9 months out. My dreams of our little family looking and feeling a certain way had to die to make way for this bigger, better plan that God had. I'm so thankful that I didn't cling to those dreams and miss the much better plan. I know that is only God's grace, and I'm so very grateful.

Though it doesn't sound very inspiring to say, sometimes, dreams need to die. As God has continued to mold and shape my heart, he has shown me that his plans are better than mine. Always. And, they are always for my good and his glory. Always. I do not always get this right. I still try to dream my own dreams occasionally, but as I look back on the major things in my life, I can see how I would get it wrong. Thankfully, by God's enormous grace, I sometimes get the opportunity to see dead dreams make way for something infinitely more beautiful.

Are there dreams you are holding on to that God is asking you to give up?

When have your dreams been hijacked by God's better, though sometimes harder, plan?


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