Unfulfilled Dreams - Jeff and Alyssa

Even the phrase makes my heart break a bit; brings a sorrow in my spirit. I mean, aren’t we raised being taught to dream? Growing up in school, you list dreams you have for your country, for your family, for yourself. From the time you’re 5 until you’re in college (and after, for a lot of us) we dream of what we want to be when we grow up. Policeman. Teacher. Doctor. Singer. Mom. Marine Biologist. U.S. Olympian. Chef.

When we get older we dream of who we want to be- whom we want to be like, what we want to be known for. We dream of who we’ll marry, our future children, where we’ll live. We list out bucket lists in the back of every journal we go through (okay, maybe that one was just me?).

Swim with dolphins. Go to an orphanage. Go to homecoming with ______. Get into this college. Travel through Europe. Learn to surf. Get married.

Some of us are born natural dreamers, where one day we want to be this and do that, and the other day it’s completely changed. Others of us are more realistic, but deep down you know you have a list of dreams that you are hoping will come to fruition- some things that you want to see, do, experience in your lifetime. You may not express them to others, but they are like hidden treasure, hidden deep in your heart.

Dreams. Longings. Desires. We all have them.

But what do you do when those dreams don’t come true? When you don’t get into the college you wanted? When you don’t have the guy trying to win your heart? When your marriage isn’t all that you hoped it would be? When your life isn’t all that you had dreamed of?

Or what about those dreams that you’re still waiting on? And you feel like you’ve been waiting f.o.r.e.v.e.r.? It may just be a silent hope, or maybe you’ve been praying desperately for years, and it seems as though it’s

just

not

going

to

happen?

Or if it does, it will be so far off. You just can’t wait any longer. This longing inside hurts. The wait is painful. You don’t want to wait any longer. And yet this desire won’t go away.

I really don’t know why some dreams happen, and others don’t. I don’t understand why perhaps the ONE dream you have is fulfilled for someone else or (it seems like) for everybody else, but not you- at least not yet.

I really don’t understand God’s ways.

And I know I can’t fully understand your hurt, or your disappointment or aching heart.

But, God does. God knows. God understands.

God sees you.

Hears you.

Knows you at the heart level.

He has not forgotten you.

And in fact, He is at work in you, and for you, at this very moment. Maybe not in the exact way you are hoping for, but rather, in the exact way that He knows is best for you.

I know the aching pain of waiting. The times I prayed and waited for girlfriends, feeling so lonely and longing for friendships. Graduating college, and suddenly having no idea what I was going to do with my life; I had never thought much past college. I thought I’d be married by the time I graduated. But I wasn’t, and in fact, I had never even had a boyfriend. I remember the pain of waiting to see what God had for me- where should I apply to work? Should I go to grad school? Waiting for a job. Waiting to see if God had something else in store for me. And then a couple of years later, after having lived out my Maui dream, suddenly realizing I need to get a “real” job, and having to wait on the Lord to provide, to lead, to show me where I should go and what I should do.

But the hardest wait for me  was waiting for a husband. I had always wanted to be married, and struggled with singleness for so many years. And then finally when I had dated a couple of guys and it hadn’t worked out (or so I thought!), walking through the healing process, but at the same time desperately longing for a relationship. Not to fill me. Not to be a rebound. But rather, because I so longed to do life with someone. To follow someone who loved Jesus and follow Him together. To laugh with someone at corny jokes only the two of you know, to share heart to heart talks, and to know that no matter what, the both of you were going to stay by your side through thick and thin by God’s grace.

Before Jeff and I got back together but were talking often, my heart was already taken. I knew I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life, but he was unsure about where he was going to live, or what he was going to do, having just graduated college. He wasn’t quite so ready to jump in as I was. I longed to be with him. Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t even breathe the waiting was so hard. I felt as though I couldn’t go one more minute.

But when I look back at those seasons, I cherish them. Oh they were hard, they were messy, and I was vulnerable. I needed Jesus desperately, and I needed people to help me have hope. To remind me of who God is and what He has done, when I couldn’t conjure up the truth on my own.

I remember spending nights on my bed with my bible open, journal wet with tears, crying out to the Lord. Resting in His arms because I couldn’t do anything else. Mornings spent running with my music blaring, talking to the Lord, and giving him my frail heart, yet again. Sitting with friends and mentors, and having them pray for me, asking for hope, for comfort, for faith. Getting emails from a dear friend saying, “I know your pain Alyssa. I know the pain of waiting. But God’s timing is perfect. He won’t go one second too long, or one second too short.”

“Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” || Isaiah 30:18 ESV

Perhaps this time of waiting, or this time of crushing pain at a loss of a dream, is a season, or opportunity, for the Lord to shower you with His grace and mercy. This may be a season for you to be so intimate with our Savior, where you truly know that there is nothing sweeter than Jesus Himself. He is your portion. He is your gift. And despite all the incredible dreams we have, there is no gift that is more precious than Him. And from Him flows out blessing.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Keep running, crawling, to Jesus. Give Him your deepest hopes, dreams and longings, your heartache, pain and disappointment, and wait and see how He works, in His perfect way, in His beautiful time. See how He showers you with His love, with His wisdom, with His comfort. He is drawing you close. Come before Him with hands open, and place your deepest dreams and longings in His strong hands. There’s no safer place for them to reside.

“ ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in Him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” || Lamentations 3:24-25