Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.
-Hebrews 11:13-16 (MSG)
I find I am standing in the strangest season currently. I hold in my hands a dream of accomplishing the impossible: becoming a published author. The dream has asked much of me, it has placed me squarely in front of a mountain that I’m not sure I can climb.
Hold your dreams, face your fears, girl.
My children’s eyes are on me, and I want to live this story of mine well so they will be brave enough someday to hold their dreams and face their fears. They say you can’t be what you can’t see, and gosh, I want to be show them how to succeed in life.
Every time a setback comes, I tell them about it. If my dream does come true, I want them to know it wasn’t instantaneous and easy. I want them to see me fight for my dreams.
Monday I baked a cake because I hit a bit of a wall, and I decided to celebrate choosing joy in the midst of the struggle. The truth is that my kids help me to choose joy, because that’s what kids do: make jokes, find a way, make the best of things. Kids are awesome.
Everyone in our family seems to be shooting for stars far off in the distance in one way or another. I have my book, Morgan is in grad school, the boys dream of playing baseball for forever and working as Lego designers, and Finley wants to dance for the rest of her life. I don’t know if any of us will achieve our goals. Especially since in the quotidian moments of our days, we seem to be drowning a little bit in the chaos.
These are the kinds of conversations that happen in my home:
Me: Why are you wearing your brother’s underwear?
Boy: There’s no clean underwear. I’ve been wearing these for three days.
Me: You’ve been wearing dirty underwear that doesn’t fit you for THREE DAYS?
Morgan: What’s for dinner?
Me: I don’t know. I have no plan. Too many baseball, ballet, gymnastics, and church meetings. We are practically nomads who rely on the kindness of fast food establishments for sustenance.
Me: I can’t find my phone. Maybe I left it at the wedding Sunday?
Morgan: No, I think you left it at the restaurant.
Me: I didn’t even have it out at the restaurant. We were on a date, so I left it in my purse.
Morgan: Yes, you did. Remember? We were synching schedules while we ate.
Me: We are so romantic.
I keep telling myself this chaos is only a season. Except, I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying that for the past five years. If this is only a season, then it’s a long season that may last until Jesus carries me home, phoneless and full of Whataburger after one final baseball game.
Joy has required me to choose to see our inability to keep up with our life as a grace. I used to feel like a failure when there was no clean underwear in my children’s drawers. Now I just see it as a situation.
Life is not a schedule to keep. It’s not a dream that either succeeds or fails. It is an altar at which we offer our worship. If I’m going down as the woman who never made it to her goal, then I’m going down with my hands raised high, singing praise to Jesus.
Voices from my past whisper in my ear, like old time snake oil vendors, selling me fear and complacency in bottles marked “reality”. Whose dreams really ever end up coming true? You’ve never been able to pull anything like this off before, why would you even try now? Just sit down already and be a mom, a wife, living out the rest of your life in peace. Don’t climb. Don’t fight. Just rest.
I set these voices at the altar of God’s presence, and I watch as He absorbs them into the shadow of His will for me. God did not make us to achieve anything except faithfulness to Him and His word. Choosing joy and trusting Him with whatever outcome He brings me is the beginning and the end of all He’s called me to be.
In the center of faithfulness is a peace that the world does not know exists. This peace is the comfort and reward for all those who persevere and dream of a Kingdom unlike any we have been able to build on our own.
Whatever our lives becomes, whether we climb the mountain before us or it is thrown in to the sea, God is proud of us and He has a city waiting for us.
Keep choosing joy, my friends. All our dreams are leading us home.