Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Hopes And Dreams"

I am linking up with Eisy Morgan doing a post on Heart Therapy.
The "theme" for this week is HOPES AND DREAMS. Whoa. That's a pretty major thing for me to write about. At least trying to figure out where to start, because quite frankly, I feel like I haven't really had "hopes and dreams". I had my daughter at such a young age, so for the last almost 18 years, she has been my "hopes and dreams" in a sense.
Don't get me wrong, I've had big hopes and big dreams
But ya know what? Life has something different for us most of the time.Usually our plans, and expectations just don't work out the way we think they will or hope to.
I am not saying a dream can't be attained, and quite honestly, I think hopes are much different than dreams.
For some, for a lot, that's a hard pill to swallow. It's so easy to become attached to what we have "planned", or what we imagine we want. And when life doesn't happen the way we hoped, we can be left disappointed, bitter and cynical. I think it's a huge reason depression is so rampant. People feel so lost, confused, and hopeless due to life circumstances. I could write a novel about where I think that stems from, but maybe in a different Heart Therapy post. . . but to put it bluntly, I think it comes from poorly portrayed ideas of what life should look like. I think it comes from unrealistic expectations all across the board.

Moving on.
Another thing I will add is that I am probably one of the most unsuccessful people I know. And I don't mean that in a negative way at all. I mean if you look at my life, you'd see I have a house, a husband, a child, a car, clothing, food, a dog, family, friends and a lot of extra stuff I don't really need. So in that sense, yes I am successful. Personally, I think of the things I just listed as blessings and privileges.  
When I say I am one of the least successful people I know, I mean that in the sense of money making. Having a career. Moving up the ladder. Achievements. Holding a College degree. 
I have none of those things. 
Sure I started working at the age of 14, and worked up until 4 years ago, but it was never a career. I have been fighting like crazy to raise a great kid, so that is where my focus has been, it's where it's had to be. 
And that to me is utter success.

When life happens unexpectedly, like getting pregnant at 19, you move into survival mode, 
and all your "hopes and dreams" vanish. You are forced and faced to deal with a whole new world. 
Providing, parenting, disciplining, learning patience, taking time, self sacrifice, struggle, humor, laughter, bonding, frustration, sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, eviction, disease, humility, and a capacity to love someone beyond imagination.
You learn that your hopes and dreams are not what you thought they'd be, and that's ok.
You learn to accept that every aspect of life is not orchestrated by God, and that certain choices can lead us to where we are in life. And it might not be what you ever wanted, or hoped for, but you find a way to make peace with it. I've let God come in and show me new ways, new life, and new perspectives. I've seen Him turn my world upside down for the better. And I don't mean better by more comfortable, or easier, I mean better by showing me how to deal with my life.
 You know that you can move forward, making better choices along the way. Improving, year by year from all the mistakes you make. 
NO, I'm not blaming myself for these last 18 years, no. I don't blame my daughter for me "missing out" on some big dream. Because like a good friend reminded me today, 
"You haven't missed out. Your life was just different. It was just a different experience, it was your experience, but that doesn't mean you missed out."
I continued to learn through the years that even though my dreams had to move to the back burner, that was actually better this way, because now with my daughter going off to college in two years, I have new dreams
And maybe I'll be going off to college with her LOL, ok ok, maybe not the same college!
The dreams I had 20 years ago aren't the same ones I have today anyway. Hmmm, I think some ONE(cough cough) God is up to something for me. . .I think God's pretty cool at turning our mishaps, and unplanned circumstances into beautiful, unique, unexpected things, and I can't wait!

So for now, I continue my days not measuring my hopes and dreams by a success ruler of achievements in the most worldly way possible, but by holding on to some big dreams that may come to be down the road. . . a few I have in mind?
-opening up a shelter for teen girls who get kicked out of their homes after finding out they are pregnant
-going to college to be a teacher, a pastor or a counselor
-moving to Europe
-going on more mission trips
-opening up an organic food restaurant, named The Rustic Plate (hey now, we are talking about DREAMS, right?!)
-Running a coffee shop 

And "smaller dreams"?
-continue down a road toward wholeness (Parker Palmer wrote a great book called "A Hidden Wholeness" I strongly recommend that read)
-to ride my bike again (read this post to catch up here 
-to walk 5 miles
-to get my daughter off to college
-to stay relational
-to never stop seeking God and to be open to what He can teach me
-to find a pair of dusty blue pants
-to go to Italy
-to discover a new brand of coffee
-to make a difference everyday, every way, I know how

So you see, life isn't always the way we envision it. And it's a good thing to learn how to accept that, and embrace what it is. 
Be open to the fact that it might not go the way you plan, and that what you might think your hopes and dreams are are actually going to be quite different someday, or sometimes at least. 
If you are open to that, you will find that you will grow so much, and mature so much. You will go through a refining process that might not be very pleasant at first and it will be painful, and there could be losses along the way. But stay open, I promise you will find NEW HOPE, NEW DREAMS in the unexpected if you give it a chance.

I will leave you with a few lyrics from a song by Sara Groves titled "What I Thought I Wanted"

I passed understanding a long, long time ago
And the simple home of systems and answers we all know
What I thought I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting you to be fair
But that’s not what you said
I want certain answers to these prayers
But that’s not what you said

And BTW, I haven't even talked about hope yet!


Erin said...

This was a beautiful post! :) I admire your courage and your drive to meet these amazing new goals and hopes you have listed here. :)

Stephanie said...

So glad you found me so I could meet you! Love this post on many levels... I "get it".... I got pregnant with our oldest daughter at 16. My husband and i got married while we were seniors in high school. Our "dreams" shifted from there on! But our reality is greater than anything I could have wished for... Seriously! 23 years later and we're still married and even more in love. All because of God's grace in our lives!

Natalie said...

Wow. This is loaded with so much wisdom and advice. Thank You for sharing =)

Anonymous said...



hannah singer said...

gina, this is beautiful! THANK YOU! xo

Tamera Beardsley said...

oh my dear Gina...I think we may be indeed...kindred spirits....I adore YOU!

Your blog is such a soulful gift! Thank you so!

chambanachik said...

Thank you for this.