From the Ashes, New Dreams

2014-12-04 06.27.10

 

A few weeks ago I reflected on the death of my dream of bearing or having children of my own.

(See http://carolshope.com/2015/05/motherhood-when-the-dream-dies/)

God didn’t just say no.  Over time, and through the pain, He replaced my desire to bear children with other hopes. He changed my dreams.

Ministry: I lived and ministered with a team in the inner city of Los Angeles for ten years, where I saw and experienced things that had not been part of my sheltered life growing up. Some, like knowing young girls who earned money the only way they knew–through prostitution–were heartbreaking. But watching God at work in the lives of teens and adults who committed themselves to Christ and walked in His paths, was thrilling.

My husband and I serve with a missions team in Mexico annually, and have the joy of sharing our home with missionaries, pastors, family and friends. God has brought a few women into my life to love and disciple. Little can compare to the joy of seeing their faith deepen, watching Jesus change their hearts, behaviors, relationships. I can say with the apostle Paul, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:3-6, NIV) And when one turns away from surrender, it is painful.

Travel: Don and I have had the delight of visiting many parts of the world, seeing God’s handiwork and meeting believers along the way.

Family: My mother, siblings and their spouses are all still with us. Nieces and nephews are a significant part of my life, and are adding precious grand-nephews and nieces to the family.

Fulfilling Marriages: I’ve been married to two wonderful men. While my dream of a long life with Jerry turned to ashes with his death ten years ago, God later brought Don into my life. I feel great joy in this second opportunity to love, serve, and enjoy life with an amazing, gracious man who has five children and ten grandchildren. Someone once said a good marriage is the hardest, and the best, thing one can do.

So, do I regret seeing the death of my dream of bearing children?

No. While on occasion I think what a delight it would be to have a terrific son or daughter, my life is full, sometimes difficult, fascinating, and fulfilling. With a few relatively minor health challenges, I tire easily. God has known what is best for me all along, and has given me new dreams and purpose. I wouldn’t trade it. THIS is where God has me and I am grateful.

How have your dreams changed over the years? Is there something you’re still asking God to do in and through you?

8 Responses

  1. Columba Smith says:

    That has to be one of the hardest dreams to relinquish, Carol. It’s beautiful to read about your genuine love for God and others, and your trust in Him. I too have grieved over not having a lifelong marriage. In a way, it’s tragic to go through life alone. But recently I realized that the real tragedy would be to go through life without Jesus!

    • carolnl says:

      Columba, I love your last statement – the real tragedy would be to go through life without Jesus! Amen to that. Thanks for your comment.

  2. MarJean Peters says:

    Oh Carol, I rejoice in this victory in your life. Sometimes God uses children to conform us into His image, sometimes He uses other means but the conforming comes either way. I love Hebrews 12:1b “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. . .” I would not have chosen my path either but now you and I know God chose our paths for us in all love and wisdom. I’m sending you hugs!

  3. Karen O'Connor says:

    Carol, your blog is aptly titled as you always express so much hope and encouragement in your weekly posts. Thank you for that. My dream was to be married to my first husband for the rest of my life, to grow old together. That was not to be as he left our family after twenty years. But God restored hope when I met and married Charles and we had 35 wonderful years together, filled with joy, challenge, love, and commitment. But now he has gone to heaven and I’m on my own–with God. I’ve learned to turn my dreams over to the Lord rather than fixating on how I want them to be fulfilled. Life is the best when I surrender my will to His. “My purpose is to give you life in all it fullness.” John 10:10

    • carolnl says:

      John 10:10 is such a meaningful promise. As we have both learned, our ways are not always His ways, but His ways are best. I love you.

  4. Charise says:

    This is a very powerful post. I am grateful for my children and yet grieve that a long lasting and joyful marriage is not part of my life. I don’t know if that will change. But you’ve given me something to think about.

    • carolnl says:

      Thank you, Charise. Your comment is meaningful to me. I also appreciate the dreams for writing God has planted in you. Blessings!

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