Not long ago I heard those words in a song, and I started thinking about dreams in my life that have died. Career dreams, ministry dreams, relationship dreams. Dreams for my loved ones. So many issues turned out in ways different than I had in mind—in worse ways, lasting-too-long ways, seemingly impossible-to-deal-with ways.
Recently after hearing someone else who had had a dream fulfilled—one I had prayed and hoped for–I got so caught up in mourning over broken dreams that I started to lose my joy. Self-pity, shame, fear, and bitterness threatened to take over. My faith began to waver as I thought about how God knew what my godly dreams were, I prayed for fulfillment of these dreams, and yet He didn’t fulfill them. And for some of these dreams it’s too late. They must be buried, and I must walk away from obsessive grieving and move on.
Psalm 23 comes to mind when I think of the death of dreams “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (death of my dreams) I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” (verse 4)
The good news is that God is with me and longs to minister to me in times of grieving over broken dreams. He reminds me that although what I dreamed was not fulfilled, He has His dreams for me that are being fulfilled and are a reason for celebration. He has others that have not yet been fulfilled—awesome dreams that will change my world and the world of those around me and will bring much glory to Him.
The enemy wants me to stay in the place of mourning over the death of dreams and just settle for trying to survive the rest of my life. But God has a different plan. Despite the death of certain dreams, He wants me not to just survive but to thrive.
Years ago I had the thought Do I just want to survive, or do I want to thrive? in regard to hard times in our marriage. Thriving is the course I chose, and although resurrection of certain dreams for my marriage haven’t taken place, resurrection of my love and my passion for being a godly wife has. I made it to the other side of certain hard times and am stronger and closer to the Lord—because of triumphing over trials, traumas, and tragedies.
I’ve met many wives proclaiming to be Christians who have divorced their husbands for not being godly enough, sweet enough, or even financially successful enough. They allowed the death of their marital dreams to lead them to divorce and looking for a new spouse whom they imagined was the key to thriving and to making all their dreams come true.
This is not God’s path for when it seems our dreams have died. Drawing close to Him and laying our broken dreams at His feet is the better way.
Today I wrote down the dreams that have died in my life.
As I looked over the list, I saw that some of them could not be “rewritten” because of the death of a person or the passage of time. Others I saw were still possible if I would take out a few words and give those dreams back to the Lord. Here is one about a prodigal:
I dreamed she would remain strong in the Lord and would use her giftedness to minister to many and bring glory to God.
Although she hasn’t remained strong in the Lord but instead has said she’s an atheist, I can pray, “Lord, help this precious one to return to You, so she can use her giftedness to minister to many and bring glory to You.”
I can hold on to that dream and choose to let go of mourning over the fact of her wandering away and her renouncing her allegiance to the Lord.
God encouraged me recently when I took a photo of this individual, and in the background there appeared a cross. Where did that come from? I wondered as I studied the photo. The cross was formed by the window frame, but only certain parts of the frame showed up and were lit up. The image of that cross is at the beginning of this blog.
Today I’m determined to let go of grieving over the death of dreams. Instead I choose to celebrate dreams that have come true, to thrive and not just survive, to be grateful for what I have rather than focusing on what I don’t have, and to rejoice for all the ways God has blessed me.
I truly have a wonderful life, and God has given me amazing opportunities to bless people with writing and music. He has given me the gift of speaking words of encouragement as I minister to others who have broken dreams. The bonus is I can speak from knowing how they feel.
I can’t help but think of what my friend said to me years ago as I was back then grieving over some broken dreams: “God never wastes our pain.” How true I have seen that to be as I bring my pain to Him and ask Him to use it for His glory.
How about you? Are you mourning over broken dreams? Does it seem impossible for your joy to be restored? Bring it all to the Lord, and He will restore and show you the dreams He has for you and for your life. He isn’t finished with any of us yet.
The song for today is “Thrive” by Casting Crowns