Chasing God’s Dream
This is one of my favorite photos of my Mama. Wasn’t she beautiful? Oddly enough, I really don’t remember when she looked like this. This photo was taken when she was young, unmarried, and before I was ever in her thoughts or on her mind. There are other photos that I dearly love of Mama – photos of her smiling and laughing, enjoying times with family, and even some where I can still hear her daring us not to take her picture (I usually love those most). I remember the Mama in those pictures, the Mama who read to me, laughed with me, talked with me, played with me, and cared for me. I remember the Mama who washed clothes in an old wringer washing machine and hung them on a clothesline to dry. I remember the Mama who sewed and mended clothes, canned fruits and vegetables, yet still packed picnics and planned fun evenings near a little mountain stream. So, why is the above photo one of my favorites?
I am presently reading a book by Sharon Jaynes, “The 5 Dreams of Every Woman…and How God Wants to Fulfill Them.” Jaynes examines the basic childhood dreams of women and how God ultimately fulfills each one – though perhaps in surprising or unexpected ways. As I look at the above picture of Mama, I think and wonder about the dreams in her heart. Did she dream about the young man who would one day be her husband? Did she dream about having babies, perhaps two little girls – or did she really want a son? I wonder if she dreamed about doing something special, traveling to beautiful places, or having lots of money. Although I didn’t know Mama then, and I cannot ever recall talking about her dreams (perhaps mine, but not hers), I’m sure that Mama had her dreams, too. When I look at the above photo of Mama, I think about that beautiful young woman and wonder about the deepest dreams in her heart.
Although Mama never talked about her dreams, she did teach me something very important about dreams – not by what she said, but what she did. You see, I don’t think our dreams belong to us, but to God. He had a plan for Mama’s life and He has a plan for your life and mine. We can choose to seek God and follow His plan or we can try to do things our own way and chase after our own dreams. When we attempt to do the latter, our lives generally end up in a mess. When we seek God and His way, His plan or dream for us becomes our dream as well. And it is there, when we seek God and fully embrace His dream for us, that we find true contentment and peace. I think that’s what David was talking about when he penned Psalm 37. Verses 3-5 state: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” As I delight in my Lord, the wants and desires in my heart will become one with His.
God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah and said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). He called Jeremiah to be a prophet. Still today, He calls Mamas and Daddies, leaders and teachers, writers and speakers, pastors and missionaries, doctors and farmers, on and on. He chooses us, equips and establishes us, and fulfills His purposes in and through us as we commit our ways to Him.
God sees so much more in us than we see in ourselves. As I look back over my own life, I am so thankful for a God who doesn’t just use the qualified, the able, the ones who have it altogether. No, God also uses the unqualified, the insecure, the hurting and broken. God sees and uses the ones whose hearts are seeking and trusting in Him and He works in them and through them to accomplish His plan.
As I look at the above picture of Mama, and as I remember the Mama I knew and loved, I thank God for her. I thank Him for working out His plan in her life as she cared for her family, tended to the needs of others she knew, and who took the time to read Bible stories and listen to two little girls pray each night. I pray that I will embrace the plans He has for me with the same willingness and joy with which she accepted hers. And like King David, may I delight in my Lord, commit my way to Him, and trust Him to complete His work and purpose in my life.