June 7, 2017

Letting Go of Dreams and Creating New Ones

I grew up in a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My family would often visit my grandparents who lived a few hours north in the Shenandoah Valley. And while my family traveled to different states each summer, that little area of Virginia was always my favorite.

My grandparents inherited an old farmhouse which was the homeplace of my great-grandmother. This old white house sat next to a barn and fields upon fields of rolling hill-y farmland. It was so picturesque and beautiful. As a child I dreamed of living there. Of having cattle and gardens and living a simple life in the country. I have no idea what really prompted this dream as I loved cities and considered myself a “city girl” well into my teens. Going to college, I learned quickly that I was not a “city girl” but I also was not a “country girl” and was just my own type of “girl” haha. But still, that dream persisted.

With time and age, the realities of my life changed. I graduated from college, married Matt, and pursued dreams of business and service through church and being a seminary wife. And as things changed with me, things changed with my grandparents. Now in their late 80s, they just aren’t able to keep up two properties, especially with one of them have 33 acres of land to upkeep, so they are looking to sell the farmhouse.

At first, that news made me sad. My dream of living in that 100+ year old home with the barn and farmland in the valley surrounded by rounded, blue mountains vanished. But it took me only a few moments to realize that that dream had already faded even from the moment it started. It wasn’t ever really feasible. Sure I like growing things, but that’s only a few plants here and there that are easy to keep alive not entire fields of crops that need intensive labor. Yes, I love that little town in the Shenandoah Valley, but I also want to be within 30 minutes of a Trader Joes, Target, and shopping mall. And yes, I love the idea of having a husband who loves to work the land and spend time outside in a barn, but I married Matt, my absolute best friend and a better husband than I ever could have imagined, and his interests couldn’t be further from those associated with that “dream.”

But just because that dream faded doesn’t mean anything negative or sad. It just means that I’ve grown and changed and the Lord has directed my path in other ways. Ways to new, better, bigger dreams that He sees best. I have dreams now of business and service and hospitality and motherhood and life. Dreams that aren’t extraordinary or lavish, but are fulfilling in the Lord. And while living in a 100+ year old farm house, working the land with my husband, soaking in the beauty of the valley can absolutely be a fulfilling dream and life the Lord provides. It’s just not our dream. And that’s ok.  Someone else will be able to have that dream of living in that old, white farmhouse working the 33 arces of land, working in the old white barn, and soaking in the beauty of those mountains day after day. And that’s exactly where the Lord wants them and I’m exactly where the Lord wants me.

So instead of being sad about having different dreams, I choose to look forward to what the Lord has in store. I’m excited for the new dreams the Lord has placed on our hearts. Immediate dreams of buying a home, growing a business, Matt continuing his education, intermingled with spurts of travel and long term dreams of M-Divs and doctorates, growing a family, other places to call home, and more travels and friends and communities and opportunities.

Life is full of seasons and changes and just because dreams and aspirations change doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you’ve grown.