Category Archive: Connections

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?

Meeting at Eye Level

Paigey, our beautiful five-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, couldn’t stop panting. Her tongue had turned blue, indicating lack of oxygen. It was time to take her to specialists to determine the reason for her restricted breathing and limited oxygen supply.

Paigey

Paigey

The nurse put us into a room to wait for the heart specialist. Paige and I were both nervous, and I talked softly, stroking her in an attempt to reassure her. Then Dr. Burtch entered the room, introduced herself, and … sat down on the floor! She began asking questions. What were we doing immediately before Paige’s distress began? What had I noticed before Paige began having difficulty? Any changes in her mood or activity level? And she listened, really listened, to my answers.

As the vet spoke, she reached out to Paigey, inviting her to come closer.

After about three minutes I blurted, “I like you.”

She looked up, surprised.

“I like that you got down on the floor, on her level.”

What a difference it makes when someone meets us where we are, whether that’s on the floor, or in tears, or in pain. One of my bridesmaids had an auto accident five weeks before my wedding. She had a hard time breathing with three broken ribs, which were pushing into her lungs. She also broke her clavicle and two places in her collarbone. A stranger came to her car and asked how he could help. She asked him to hold her hand. That connection, his meeting her where she was, helped her hold on until more help arrived.

When have you experienced someone meeting you where you were in the midst of your need? How did that minister to you? I’d love to hear about it.

PS Paigey is on medication and on a diet to reduce the 30% tracheal collapse she had. She is improving already. And my friend Lois stood up through our entire wedding and is doing well!