Tuesday, April 01, 2008

When Dreams Must Wait

The longing is very great. It's been my dream since childhood. Sometimes the desire to be a wife and mother is so strong, all I can do is cry and pray. It's not a bad dream - it's a God-given dream to girls - but right now, it must wait.

What do you do with such a dream - one that you've had are your life yet are powerless to make come true? You give it to God. Yes, I know, it sounds so easy! In reality, it's not. The surrender of something so precious in your eyes, so right and good, is extremely painful. We know that God will take good care of our dream; we know that it is safe in His hands; yet we're still tempted to keep a firm hold on it. What if He decides that our dream must wait years, even decades before it comes to pass? What if He decides that our dream is not in His plan for our lives? Even in the midst of these hard questions, we must trust Him and release the dream completely into His care. As much as I long to be a wife and mother, if He decides that I am not to be one, I must learn to be content. If He decides He'd rather use me as a single lady for years - five, ten, twenty - I must follow where He leads. I'd rather be in the center of His will for my life then have my dreams fulfilled. His will is ultimately a safer and more joyful place. Not to say that it's easy or that at times it won't be full of pain! But even int he midst of pain or unfulfilled longing, there can be joy by being where God has placed you.

Sometimes dreams must die before they can gloriously live. They must be surrendered fully to God before He can make His dreams for us come true. And you know what? His dreams are infinitely greater than all we could ask or even imagine! My dreams of wifehood and motherhood are wonderful - images of love and fulfillment. Yet it's through surrendering them to God, saying "I'll still serve You even if I remain single my entire life" - hard as that would be - that God can begin to use me as He deems best. It may be through giving me my heart's desire. It may not. Whatever it may be, I still trust Him.

Do I have it all together? Is it easy? Definitely not! This reminder is as much for me as it is for you! I have moments of doubt and discouragement, wondering whether my life will really turn out right. I am often tempted to try to grab back my dreams, saying, "God, I know You know best, but don't you think I should be doing this?" Ultimately, He indeed knows what is best.

It doesn't mean that I never dream because I've surrendered them. God made us maidens with beautiful dreams and it's not wrong to have them! It's when we hold on to them tightly, unwilling to give them up even to our Father, or when we try to take matters into our own hands, that they become idols.

So, we just wait for God to show us what to do? Yes - but we practice active waiting. For example, if you want to be an accomplished musician, you don't just wait around for a chance to play on stage. You practice active waiting, practicing hard and preparing well for such an opportunity. I want to get married, but I don't lounge around the house waiting for my knight-in-shining-armor to come dashing up on his gallant steed! I practice active waiting by learning the skills that will be necessary for me to know as a wife. I prepare physically - learning to eat and exercise healthily and prepare nourishing meals - emotionally - learning to interact with a wide range of ages and abilities- and spiritually - praying for guidance and strength, and asking that God will help mold me into His woman. It is definitely worthwhile to prepare for this high calling! Even if it turns out that I never marry, this preparation will not go to waste.

It's likely that I will marry and become a mother one day - after all, most of the female population eventually experiences it! But for now, this dream must wait. I wonder sometimes, when it will happen, how, where, and to whom (what girl doesn't?!), but I must live in the present. Today I am a maiden; today I must actively wait. As 18 approaches, I realize that for the first time, the possibility is that marriage could be around the bend. However, I also remember that I am yet young, and a husband won't miraculously appear right when I think I'm ready! =)

Today is a precious gift. Tomorrow, it will be gone. Live in the present, not the future. We are not guaranteed another day. Definitely prepare for tomorrow - it's wise! - but don't be stuck in it, unable to cherish the joys of today.

Give God your dreams. Pray for His will for your life. Don't be afraid of the future. He is a loving Father, and He knows what's best for His children. He doesn't promise that it will be easy, but He promises that He'll be with us through it all.

I can't wait to see what He has in store!

15 comments:

eliasboudinotismyfriend said...

Thank you SO much, Anna, for sharing your heart!

Luke said...

Anna,
I have shared with you in the struggles you have with wondering if the desires you have will ever come to fruition. God has granted my desires to become a wife and mother. But He also used the waiting time to teach me to truly trust Him and to know that He IS in control of all things, has ordained all things, has a purpose for all things and knows what He's doing. I would love to give you further detail sometime about how God answered my prayers. It would take me a long time to write it all out!
Psalm 84:11 "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor.No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly."
James 1:17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."
Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"

Love you! Enjoy this very precious time in your life when it is a lot easier to focus on your First Love with all your heart, soul, and mind. Be His Maiden and you will be blessed!

Michele

Bethany said...

Thanks, Anna, for sharing this with us. It was super encouraging to know there are other young ladies around with the same struggles, desires, and heart. Keep on keeping on, sister in Christ!

~Bethany of Something Greater

Anna Naomi said...

Thank you all for your encouragemetn!

Michele, you are a huge example to me - thank you for the encouragement you are in my life! Those 3 are some of my favorites as well - especially the last one... "be strong and take heart, and wait..." is what I need to hear so often.

Miriam Rebekah said...

This was something that I needed to read. I've had a lot of dreams or wishes close to my heart that I've had to give to God and let Him bring them to pass in His time.

The scriptures are wonderful, Michele!

Lover of Beauty said...

Dear Anna,

I can well understand your feelings! I recently had my 19th Birthday, and it occurred to me for the first time that marriage could truly be the next season, if that's the Lords will for me. It was an exciting yet very sobering thought. It is so easy to 'play God' and read more into circumstances than God intends. Over the last year, the Lord has given me a real desire to have my own home and family to care for, and taught me so much through various books, articles and people, that I kept thinking 'maybe God is preparing me for marriage soon'. This desire of mine grew until I thought of little else, looking at every event from the perspective of what 'marriage/homemaking' skill I learned from it. I really had to throw myself at the mercy of the Lord, asking Him to keep my heart for me, and commit all the desires of my heart to him. As you mention in your article, we must each be prepared to accept the will of the Lord, even if it is singleness for a season, or for life. I remember reading someone say that they could wait oh-so-patiently if only they knew that they *were* actually going to marry. I know of at least 3 women in their 30's and early 40's who haven't married so far, despite wanting to, and it is a reminder to me that a desire to marry doesn't neccessarily mean a fulflilment straight away (or ever). Thank you for sharing your heart, it is always encouraging to find that I'm not alone!

SJ

New Zealand

Claire said...

Anna, this is one of if not the most wonderful post I've ever read from you. Thank you for such beautiful encouragement and tender Faith. I needed to be reminded of this today!

Blessings!
Claire

Mardi said...

Anna,
I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your article and needed to read it. It really hit home with me. You beautifully put into words what I have thought and felt for a while now. At 21 it is easy for me to get impatient wondering when God will send Mr. Right to my door. I have cried and complained to God more times than I can remember to count. It's in those times God has always whispered to my soul, "Patience," "Trust Me," "In My Time." He reminds me His plan for me is greater than my plans for me, and that in His timing the desires He has placed inside my heart will be fulfilled, but in the meantime I must trust Him. Just like you said. I do not know how many times God has told me, my dreams will come to pass sooner than I think, to have patience and trust in Him. I am very encouraged by your article. I've read it twice. It is nice to know that I am not alone in my thoughts, desires and emotions about getting married and having a family, but it is also inspiring to read your story and know that if someone else can hang in there and have the courage to trust God, so can I! My hope, my trust and my patience have been renewed. I know God has great plans in store for the lives of His children. We must remember to give them to Him like you said. I to have also had to remember that I am still young and the man God has for me to marry won't appear around the next corner just because I think I am ready. But when God says I am ready.
Some verses God has used to strengthen and encourage me time and time again, are, Psalm 37, Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28.
I will be praying for you. And thank you again for sharing your heart. I truly needed to read it and be reminded of God's love and God's will for my life, not my own.

Anna Naomi said...

I am so glad and thankful that it ministered to you girls! It was a hard one for me to write, and I at first wondered if I should post something so honest and hard. After all, I'm in no way perfect in the area of always trusting!

I'm glad that God used it to encourage you, and I thank you all for your heart-felt comments! It's encouraging to know that I'm not the only one out there!

Elijah Lofgren said...

I'll be praying for you Anna! God will work everything out! Don't worry! :)

[begin attempt at humor]
:: runs off to where he's not so outnumbered :: Just kidding! ;) I have five sisters so I'm used to it. Plus I'm @ LETU which has like a 3 to 1 guy-girl ratio so I'm not outnumbered here. ;)
[/end attempt at humor]

Annissa said...

Anna,

This was just what I needed to hear. Having patience and total trust in God is something that is sometimes very difficult for me. My dream has always been to be a wife, mother, and homemaker and it's what I always thought would've happened by now. But I'm 26....and I'm still waiting. I think I'll print your article so I can read it whenever my hopes need a lift. :) You said some very wise and positive things - thank you! I pray that our dreams will be fulfilled in His perfect timing and with His perfect plan!

Ann

Maria Pauline said...

Amen! I have seen this so much in my life the last few months- when I give my desires to God, he gives them to me in a way even better than I wanted to begin with. Trusting God is definitely an adventure!

Anna Naomi said...

Elijah: Thank you for your encouragement. I know God will work everything out - and it helps to know you're praying! You're such a wonderful brother! Thanks for sticking around on my website amongst mostly girls. ;-)

Anissa: Thanks for the comment - I enjoy hearing from those who read our blog! I'm glad this was an encouragement!

Maria Pauline: Indeed! Trusting God is a big adventure! It's so wonderful to see how God works things out, in my life and in other's lives!

Darelina said...

Hi Anna. Yes, it is very hard sometimes to let go of a dream that you want so desperately. But, that's often when it will come true. Once you've relinquished it completely to God.

I wanted a child for a very long, long time and was told for a long, long time that I might never have one. It wasn't until I let go and let God that He filled my arms with my precious daughter. It took nearly twenty years to see that dream realized, but God is good always and knows us.

He has the perfect setting in mind for you. God will answer your prayers Anna in His time. And it will be the PERFECT answer. God bless!

Anonymous said...

That was very encouraging.I also feel that the Lord wants me to be a wife and mother.God wants your all though before He may give you your desire. Mom of 9's place has a post called waiting on God.
Thank you Anne for sharing your thoughts and your heart. I love looking at your blog and will always remember you in my prayers.
A Sister in Christ,
Jessica