Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. ~Proverbs 16:3 I was reading a blog over at shaungroves.comthe other day where he finished with the question - What is your dream job? This question really got me thinking. I answered his question by commenting on the blog. I relayed my dream of owning a blog/website that truly shines the light of Jesus through it. Yes, that is a dream of mine at this time in my life, but I will admit it hasn't always been a dream I had in mind.
As a young girl, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always readily answered with - A mom. I always wanted to be a mom. Always. As far back as I can remember. I played with dolls well past the time when other girls my age had put them away and moved on to other pursuits. I practiced being a mom on my little brother, who was born when I was 8-1/2. I babysat a lot as a teenager. I just loved taking care of people, babies in particular and couldn't wait to be a mom someday. I wanted lots of kids; I couldn't wait to meet them all. I guess you could say it was my dream job.
That dream was fulfilled on January 30, 1995 when my beautiful daughter was born. Then again the following year and the year after that when two sons were born. I skipped a year and in 1999, my last son joined the family and it was complete. I was living the dream. Or so I had hoped.
I loved (and love) my kids dearly and lived solely for them for many years. They were my number one priority and focus. I don't regret for a moment the time and energy I sacrificed for them, but if I am being totally honest, I have to admit that it was a lot harder and a lot less idyllic than I dreamed it would be. I guess you could say my reality didn't quite measure up to my dream.
Maybe it was less grand than I dreamed becauseof this: I was diagnosed with a chronic, degenerative bone disease in my hips (avascular necrosis) the year my daughter was born. Three more pregnancies in the following few years, and the physical pain involved was certainly not the dream I had pictured for all those years. It was tough. Tougher than I ever thought possible. But, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to have the family I had always wanted. Only, once I had the family, I wasn't able to be the mommy I really wanted to be because my body was not cooperating with me. I felt frustrated a lot of the time. I did push through the pain and tried hard to do as much as I could. I didn't want my kids to feel cheated because their mom was 'disabled'. Sometimes I think I did a really good job, and other times I wonder if I did it well enough.
Perhaps reality didn't meet the expectations of my dream because I had my kids too close together. Maybe they didn't have enough time being babied. My husband and I didn't have enough time to leisurely focus on meeting the needs of one baby at a time. I know from seeing other families with kids more spread out, that parenting closely spaced children is a far different animal than most people realize, myself included in the beginning. A lot of the child-rearing advice one receives is not as practical as one might think when you are dealing with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 23 month old and a newborn, which was the scenario in my family. There is absolutely no 'How To' book out there on dealing the complexities of those family dynamics; not one that I ran across, anyway. It certainly was different than I expected it to be, and pre-Internet, there wasn't a whole lot of helpful information about parenting these all-needy-in-their-own-way individuals I was charged with raising. I have no idea if I did it right. Now that they are (mostly) teenagers, I doubt myself on a daily basis.
Either one of the scenarios I mentioned previously, alone or in combination with one another, could very well be the reason for my dream not being fully realized, of me not feeling completely fulfilled. Or, there just might be another reason. It is possible that my dream was out of proportion with reality because I put too much stock in it. I expected it to complete me, to make all the broken pieces fit together like a solved puzzle. How naive I was to think that. Dreams fulfilled do not make broken people whole. It took me many years to come to this realization. I believe only hard work, lots of prayer and sheer determination make all the pieces fit together neatly. And even when they do fit together, the finished product rarely looks like we envisioned it would.
I am still working on fitting together some of the pieces. It is a bit rough around the edges. The middle is coming together nicely, however, as I discover new ways to make it work. The picture is becoming increasingly clear and it looks nothing like I thought it would. I have found pieces of myself I had discarded years ago because I thought they didn't fit. Come to find out, it was the voice of discouragement that told me a lie about those pieces. It said my life puzzle didn't have any bold colors in the forefront. The voice said I should stick to the background color, so as to blend in with my surroundings. I believed that voice for many years, refused to allow myself to stand out, this was to my own detriment.
Luckily for me, I have a heavenly Father whose dreams for me are far bigger, bolder and brighter than my own dreams for myself. I am learning not to box myself in with my own limited imagination, but yet, to open myself up to His limitless one. How freeing this notion has been. I do feel I have fulfilled a tremendous purpose and dream in being a mom to four of the most wonderful children ever conceived, but I no longer feel the dream ends there. There is still more to do. More lives to touch. More people to encourage. And miles to go before I sleep. Oh, the possibilities...
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him... ~Psalm 37:5-7