Somewhere between blowouts and binders, between soccer practice and science fair projects, between sleepless nights of feedings and early mornings of packing another. blessed. lunch…somehow, slowly, the dream suffocates as duty wraps around our hearts, a python of must do’s squeezing us tighter and tighter until even our greatest joys feel like heavy burdens.
Aron and I are dreamers. As 15 year olds drowning in puppy love, we talked long into the night tying up the only phone line in our homes as we crafted our future lives together. As 20 year olds, seasoned and far more mature than our high school selves, we’d spend our Saturday nights in IWU’s student center, leaning in close around two cups of coffee, playing our favorite game: Imagine If. We’d start by saying, “Imagine if…” taking turns finishing the sentence by dreaming up our happily ever after scenario by scenario. The future was our canvas, and we painted it in brilliant color, wild and and wonderful with all the naivety of two love-birds who had yet to buy our own groceries or pay rent.
At 21, both of us dressed in white and gold, Aron and I stepped into our dream come true. It was a storybook day, he my handsome prince and I his radiant bride. I’ll never forget the way he looked at me, the way his love overflowed in streaming tears, as I walked the aisle into his heart. We knelt in a grand old church packed with our people and surrendered our whole lives to the plans God had in store for us, consecrating ourselves to him and his purposes alone. We knew not what that would mean or how much it would cost, but we were convinced He was worth it. So much so, that from our first moments as man and wife, we wanted our Father to know, we were all His for all time, our entire future in His loving hands. We all lit up with glory, our entire reception literally golden as the sun kissed the Ohio River that evening; we’ve never seen a sunset quite like it since. The Spirit hovered over those holy moments, His delight so intense the atmosphere responded in heaven’s palette. I believe the Father delights to participate in our dreaming, and even more so, to share in every moment of the dream unfolding as we journey with Him.
The years have turned like pages, chapter after chapter of our happily ever after full of all the elements that make a story epic. Twists and turns in the journey, a calling bigger than ourselves, giving up, finding hope, risk and reward, intense battles within and without, love that is tested and prevails, children and friendships, dreams in the waiting. We are quite literally living our “imagine if’s” and dreams come true. However, like many of you, as we grow in authority and influence, so grow our responsibilities and workloads. Often times, we lose sight of the beauty of our story by the tyranny of the tasks in front of us.
The Lord has awakened my heart afresh to the wonder of the mundane, the seemingly ordinary moments that are passing before my eyes, in truth extradordinary and breathtaking. These babies, these messes, sink full of dishes and grass waiting to be mowed, they are gifts I deeply longed and prayed for, gifts God delighted to give. What if we asked the Lord to open our eyes to the wonder of it all again? What if our to-do list became worship and our children became tiny-wonders and our work became holy, every moment a privilege? What if we learned to be present in the moment and delight in what must be done until all our moments become gifts again?
God has a dream for you. It looks like today. Yes, He has more. He has good and wild plans for your future that are beautiful beyond your imagination. But so many of us are living for one day, all the while missing the extravagant gift of today.
As we embrace living fully in the gift of today, a really magical thing happens: we empower tomorrow’s dreams. Your heart fully alive is a flame that will illuminate your family’s present with wonder and fuel your future with destiny.
Aron and I don’t aim to raise good kids or obedient little ones or even happy children. These things are important, but they are far too low an ambition. We are setting our sights on raising kids whose hearts are a l i v e. Who lean into every moment as if God was really WITH us. Who know their Father’s voice and chase after His heart all their days. Who dream with Holy Spirit and have courage to believe the words he speaks over them. Who have eyes to see that today is God’s dream for them and who have trained their hearts to number their days aright. Who see that goodness is all that God is, and he is chasing them down with it all their days. That obedience is merely submitting to love; that God’s way is LIFE and the path to their greatest good. That happiness is the presence of the Lord, and in his presence is FULLNESS of joy; so no matter their circumstances, joy is always available. That they were created to step into promise, and God has equipped them with everything they need for life and godliness.
If we aim to rise to these heights of living with hearts fully alive for our children, we must first climb them in our own journeys. Imagine if we each walked wide eyed through today as if it is God’s dream for us, living fully in each moment as if we believed God is near and holy happens in our ordinary. Wonder awakens and miracles multiply for those who have eyes to see. “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:21
Psalm 90:12,14-17 (The Passion Translation)
Help us to remember that our days are numbered,
and help us to interpret our lives correctly.
Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts
so that we may accept your correction.
Let the sunrise of your love end our dark night.
Break through our clouded dawn again!
Only you can satisfy our hearts,
filling us with songs of joy to the end of our days.
We’ve been overwhelmed with grief;
come now and overwhelm us with gladness.
Replace our years of trouble with decades of delight.
Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation see the glorious wonders you’re famous for.
O Lord our God, let your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor.
Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do.