A Fuller Life than I could Dream
I am not living my dream. No, my dream consisted of being a homemaker and mom with well-behaved kids who started “preschool” at home by a year old. My dream kids knew their numbers, colors, and alphabet by the time they were two. In my dream life, my house was clean, I read my Bible daily, I showered and put on makeup each morning, and I made tasty snacks for playdates with the many friends I had. In my dream life, I was wearing clean clothes and my hair was curled when I greeted my husband at the door with a kiss each day. My husband and I rarely fought, because communication was our strong point and deep conversation was our favorite way to spend time together.
It seemed like a realistic dream. I read blogs on how to achieve this balanced, tidy life. I read books on how to raise children to behave. I read numerous marriage books that made it look easy. I PRAYED for crying out loud. I did all the things. Yet when I got the stay at home mom “job” that I had always wanted, it was nothing like how I imagined it would be.
No, I’m not living my dream. Instead I’m living in a house that’s messy more often than it’s clean. I have kids that fight, bite, spit, kick, and throw epic tantrums at the most inconvenient of times. I’m living with my best friend but we rarely find time to even talk about our day in the midst of the chaos of kids, housework, bills, cooking, and all of the other stressful tasks of motherhood and marriage that no one prepared me for. Instead of snack-filled playdates, I spend most of my days lonely and longing for adult conversation but too tired to even make friends. Instead of showering and putting myself together each day, I usually have greasy hair in a ponytail and I often don’t brush my teeth till 10:00 AM (or even later on a bad day). I forget to greet my husband with a kiss because I’m frantically trying to juggle hungry kids while cooking dinner when he gets home each night.
My husband asked me the other day if I was living my dream.
No. No, THIS is not my dream. BUT, this is God’s plan—God’s dream for my life. And this REAL life is so much more incredible than the unrealistic dream life I had always planned for myself.
My dream life left no room for Jesus. There was no room for trials which left no room to learn perseverance. There was no room for quarreling which left no room for learning conflict resolution. There was no room for feeling out of control, which left no room for learning to give God control. See, in my dream life I didn’t need God. I didn’t need humility or help. In my real life though, God breaks down my pride daily and encourages me to seek other Christians for wisdom and encouragement.
I’ve spent several years now wondering where I went wrong—how my life got so far off course, how my kids got to be so stubborn and unruly. But today, I’m sitting her reflecting and asking instead—what if this is the exact course God wants me on? What if this is the path that will allow God to teach me patience, kindness, true love? What if the purpose of this challenging, exhausting, and often frustrating journey is to shape me into the image of God—the Perfect Father, Authority, and Role Model?
No, this isn’t my dream life. But, I am so thankful that this is my life. I’m so thankful that God’s plans are above my plans. I’m thankful that stubbornness in children can be channeled into determination, that emotional communication can be learned through tantrums, and that each and every hug, kiss, and praise that I give to my children and husband despite their flaws teaches both them and myself a little more about God’s grace and the fullness of his love.
Yes, I am so thankful that God has allowed struggles in my life and that he did not allow me to live my dream. Because in doing so, he opened the door for me to walk away from lonely self-sufficiency into an intimate relationship with him—A relationship that allows me to love my imperfect family out of the abundance of love that he’s poured into me, a relationship that helps me to see the good in life even when I’m anxious and overwhelmed, a relationship that boosts my energy and confidence because finally I’m not relying on my own strength anymore.
Yes, for all of these things I am grateful. This is not my dream life—It’s better. It’s fuller. It’s more purposeful. And it’s all because of Jesus.