I grew up with dreams.
And I am convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my dreams are from God. That He, the Author and Perfecter of my faith, planted these dreams in my heart long before I knew what the word “dream” meant, and He–and only He–is the One in charge of fulfilling them.
There are so many “itty bitty” dreams that my Creator has knowingly crafted and accomplished in my life, but here I want to reflect on four of the “big” ones. (Note: I must put the size of these dreams in quotes because really, is anything “big” or “small” for our God?! With a spoken word, every part of creation was crafted into being…I can’t think of a more simple “act” on God’s part and yet with that, he created the greatest of all complexities!)
Ever since I can remember remembering, I’ve always dreamed of being a teacher. Not sure where that came from…neither of my parents were teachers by trade, although they are both quite gifted in teaching. I remember sitting in school (as early as first grade) thinking, “Wow, my teacher is doing a great job of teaching me…I should write down everything she is doing so I can teach this well when I grow up.” Every grade I attended became my new favorite and thus the grade that I wanted to teach when I grew up.
Somewhere along the line, I became passionate about Mexico. And little Mexican children. Definitely not sure where that came from… But I knew I had to learn Spanish, and it wasn’t until my freshmen year of high school that I was finally able to take a course. And I immediately fell in love with the language that I apparently had a natural knack for. And meanwhile I dreamed of living in Mexico one day, doing mission work and teaching little kids how to speak English.
I went to college to pursue my teaching degree and finished with a bachelors in Education, endorsements in Spanish and Elementary Education and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Perfect set up to pursue my dream. Not long after graduating, I was offered a job teaching at a Language Immersion School in Tacoma…and I remember blinking several times as the job fell into my lap…Really? Really? Could this really be happening? So many parts of my dream are coming true…
Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of marrying a prince who would adore me and cherish me and love me forever. I remember when Brian led me by my hand to the boat that was supposed to take us to a job site he was called to in the middle of a date we were on, and saw the gorgeous pink flowers and the perfectly wrapped presents inside and suddenly there I was again…in my dream. I was floating through a dream, watching Brian lead me across the dock and down the steps into the boat. And I heard myself say, “Wait, was is this?” And I saw my brain ticking…It’s not quite my birthday yet, so this can’t be a birthday surprise…and we haven’t picked out a ring yet, so he can’t be proposing…and wait a minute, we’re supposed to be heading to his job site…What is this? And I watched the tender and knowing smile spread across Brian’s face as he told me to sit down while he started the engine… And the dream went on, as a ring was slipped on my finger, as my brother and sister-in-law (who live thousands of miles away) suddenly appeared on the dock of the restaurant where we were to eat lunch, as the woman gave me a beautiful french manicure, as we ate dinner with both sets of our parents, as we drove to Brian’s home where our closest friends were waiting for us and as every day after that passed and my ring was in constant view, secured in a permanent place on my left hand. Really? Really? Could this really be happening? My dream, my prince has finally come? The reality of this dream becoming a reality was almost too much for me to handle…I couldn’t even filter and sort the gazillion thoughts flooding through my head during our engagement season, the night before our wedding day, and as I walked down that aisle towards my prince.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of being a mom. I have just loved “little ones” ever since as I realized that there were “little ones” littler than me. I volunteered in our church’s nursery, read every book in The Babysitter’s Club series, and enrolled in courses to be a certified baby sitter while still in elementary school. I ordered books on fun craft projects with kids and I’d bring them with me when I landed babysitting jobs. About 5 seconds into my teaching career I was ready to apply for my foster care license because I just couldn’t handle the injustice that so many of my students lived under. I wanted to be their mom. I knew I could do a good job, by the grace of God, and I wanted to take them home with me… When Elliott was, after a long hard labor, placed in my arms that Sunday evening, I just wept and couldn’t believe this dream was being realized. Really? Really? Could this really be happening? I have a son…a most perfect son… And not a day has gone by since that I have not been overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord to give us this perfect baby boy.
Ever since about 2001, I have dreamed of being called and sent out by God. I have dreamed of being a missionary. I have dreamed of working in an orphanage or working with children and families who are in need. I would read about times when the Lord would call his people in Scripture, and I would beg Him to call me. “The Lord spoke to Joshua…saying, ‘…Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them–the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your lives; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them…” (Joshua 1). I would read things like that and pray, “Oh God! Would you call me in the same way? Would you give me the land for your Name? Would you be with me, not leave me, not forsake me?” I would read about the destitute in Scripture and the ways that the Lord asks us to take care of them. “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). And I would long to defend the rights of those who cannot speak up for themselves. I longed to be with the broken and the hurting. I longed to bring the love of Jesus to those who were suffering. The words in Isaiah 6 were the cry of my heart: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!'” I told the Lord over and over that I promised I would go if He would call. And He has called me various places over the last 10 years. I have been called to my students, I have been called to my colleagues, I have been called to my friends, I have been called “to the least of these,” I have been called to Africa, I have been called to the Eastside of Tacoma, I have been called to my husband, and I have been called to my son.
And then the Lord called us to Mexico. To do all of the above. All my dreams, colliding into one.
As is the reality of dreaming–dreams feel so surreal. So real, yet so unreal at the same time. You pinch yourself over and over, blink until there are tears streaming down your face, but again and again you wake up and realize that the dream is, indeed, reality. And so here we are, selling most everything that we own, because we’ve heard him say, “Whom shall I send? Who will go?”
And we, two children of God on our knees, have blinked and pinched ourselves to the point of realizing that yes, He is asking us to go. And though I think we’ve known in our hearts that this was our call since the moment we heard of the opportunity, we are finally able to audibly say, “Us, Lord! Yes, send us! We will go!”
And so we strap our little one our back, and we go…We go with the faith that “He who’s promised is faithful,” with the faith that “a longing fulfilled will bring life,” with the faith that, “God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne.”
Here am I, Lord. Awake, alert, and ready to be sent out into this dream that You have fostered in my heart. Send me, God!