It was one of those moments when you are completely overwhelmed by the finality of your decision. Every last thing that we owned was out, stuffed into an overflowing, homemade travel trailer that my husband had masterfully fashioned in the prior weeks. The doors to the house were locked with the keys inside. It was no longer ours. We anticipated all that lay ahead, knowing nothing of what it might look like.
That was six months ago.
I could have never known it then. I could not have imagined just what chasing your dreams actually looks like. For years I had thought about those mountains the man had introduced me to on a vacation. For months I had longed for them, knowing we would be there soon. The idea was dreamy, romantic, and exhilarating.
And then it came true. The evening we pulled into the house we would rent for a few months, while looking for one to call our own, it was late. The sky was dark. But as we pulled onto our street, I looked up to catch a shooting star confirming in my heart—our dream was here. We were here. It was happening, finally, this dream in my heart taking form in front of my weary eyes.
Little did I know just how arduous and painful dream chasing can be.
You see, the thing is that chasing our dreams, as romantic as it is, is difficult. Very, very difficult. And sometimes even in the brilliance of those dreams becoming realty, there is a whole lot of pain.
That night as we unpacked our belongings into an empty and unfamiliar house, I could not have known all that laid ahead of us in the next six months.
I only know now, looking back. Dreams are funny like that. They have to be, because perhaps if we had any idea how hard dream chasing can be, we would never try. And we need to try, because they are our dreams. And when those dreams are the very things that God has placed in our hearts; what He has created our souls to yearn for—then they must be chased after.
These past six months were marked by the richest of rewards and the deepest of sorrows. The early days were lonely. Very lonely. In a new and unfamiliar place I felt vulnerable and raw. Yes, I sensed the opportunity and excitement of starting fresh, but there was so much uncertainty. And my boys—I watched them mourn what we’d left, wishing to see old friends and visit old places. I saw them struggle with the loneliness that I myself was suffocating under.
Sometimes pursuing our dreams takes us through achy, lonely places.
With time running out at our rental, we hunted vigorously for a house to call our own. We were all feeling unsettled under the temporal, transient state of our life; boxes half unpacked in the garage. Time and again we placed offers and hope, only to be let down. We eventually stopped taking the boys, it was too much for their little hearts to fall in love with a house, a bedroom, a backyard, only to never to step foot there again. They were longing for home.
We spent sunday mornings trying churches, hoping to find one to call ours. We spent every spare moment exploring the mountains we had come all this way for. And there we found peace, respite, wonder, and confirmation. We were right where we needed to be. We sat at the foot of waterfalls and atop the peaks of mountains. We missed friends, and we made friends. Our hearts began to feel at home.
And then a shocking burst of hope. There was a baby! And then there wasn’t. I felt numb, unable to move; paralyzed by the throbbing, empty ache in my womb, and the even emptier ache in my heart. We went back to looking for three bedrooms, not four.
Sometimes our dreams look very different than how we imagined them. And yet, sometimes they are even more stunning than we ever could have pictured. Because God’s grace is the same in the good and the bad, in the simple and the hard, in the lonely and the abundant, in the mourning and the rejoicing. If we never take that chance on our dreams, we’ll never go anywhere. And God calls us to great places, so we focus on the one step ahead of us, and we move forward, trusting Him to make sense of the path before us. And we wait with bated breath to see Him create something beautiful of this life we have. And He does.
My heart stopped within my chest at the sight of the subject line. It was incomplete, but I knew before I ever opened the email. “Hurray! and Hip Hip Hurray!” my agent wrote.
We had done it.
God had done it!
Within weeks we had a hard copy of the contract. “THIS BOOK PUBLISHING AGREEMENT….” I signed my name. And with that, another dream materialized; one assembled of nearly two years of hard work and even harder prayers.
I had pictured that moment in my mind so many times, wondering if it would ever come. And when it did, the tears fell down my face just as I had imagined. The shock, the joy, the gratitude, the disbelief. And then—the fear. After all, the hard work was just beginning. And where would God take us in this?
The thing about dreams—both the chasing and the arrival— is that they contain such an intense array of emotions. They hold our greatest desires and our deepest fears. And often, their beauty is found in their hardship.
In the past six months we witnessed dreams come true. And with it came the birth of new dreams. When we find on the path to our dreams many obstacles, hurts, surprises, and fears, our faith comes out stronger on the other side. When we make plans, and in faith move forward all the while acknowledging that God is the establisher of our steps, and He is the One paving the way before us, we find renewed confidence to pursue the dreams He lays on our hearts.
What is that dream for you today? The one thing that just. won’t. let. you. go. The one you’ve prayed about, asked others’ their opinions on, and believe God to be saying, “Go ahead” on?
What is your next step towards that dream?
Can I venture to tell you that it will be hard? That perhaps it will look nothing at all like how you are envisioning it now? But that’s ok. Because God’s dreams are a whole lot grander than ours.
It’s been six months. Six months of beauty and hope and wonder and thrill. Six months of ache and lonely and grief and uncertainty. It’s been six months of seeing God clearly at work. And so yes—chasing our dream has been a beautiful, worthwhile pursuit. Because God never lays a dream on our hearts without reason.