The voice was small from the back seat but determined:
"I want that bird in my hand."
My three-year-old, the baby and last of an excitable line of girls, watched the common robin splash around the parking lot in a cloud of ordinary dust. I had pointed out the bird to my daughter the way you do with young kids: "Oh, look! Look at that bird play!"
But she had taken much more note of the bird than I. It thrilled her. She yearned to be out of her car seat, in the dust, touching the bird and dancing alongside it. To her young, blue eyes, the bird was magical but also, out of reach. It saddened her.
We drove off, and I thought of the things that "I want in my hand." There are dreams that I can see as clearly as a dusty bird in a parking lot. But they don't come. Not yet.
I used to wrestle with God about these dreams. I am sure I will again, but for now, I am in a kind of pleasant waiting-that's-not-waiting. I think I used to imagine my dreams as something that would show up any day now because, well, I wanted them to.
But sometimes, those dreams just don't appear. They change. They sag. They boogie. And this is what I know:
Maybe their absence still aches but if you are open to seeing new things, the ground shifts and a new dream appears. That's the way God tends to work in my life, anyway.
For me, a funny thing happened as I waited for the dreams to land in my hand. I could almost curl my fingers around the dream's feathers and feel the flutter of its heart. I wanted those dreams so badly. But seriously, where where they?
And then it turned out, my dreams really were in my hands after all. They were born from a God who creates everything and delights to give you the Kingdom.
This doesn't mean, of course, that everything you want immediately comes true. I now believe that some dreams are meant to be discussed with God. Meant to be cried over. Designed to be something of a conversation with Jesus and not a to-do list. These dreams are on the slow train. You have to get to know them with the One who made them.
In my life, my dreams have changed over the years but they are coming from a place that's known to my Creator. What may have been my highest and best dream at 25 now looks painfully thin in my 40's. The prayers I whisper now over my husband's career have deepened with the passage of nearly 18 years. What I dream now for my oldest baby, now 9 and suddenly developing into a young woman, are rapidly becoming urgent prayers: please-show-me-how-to-be-the-mother-she-needs.
Nothing surprises the God who created everything the eye can see and can't see. God is not surprised when one day I want to loom a line of handcrafted wool rugs; publish a best-selling middle grade novel series; and bake fresh muffins for my girls when they get home from school because then I'll feel like an awesome mom who is capable, and not an unshowered loser.
Sweet friend, God is the original creator and Jesus knows the number of hairs on our glossy heads. So, if we are known so well, our dreams are too.
This is how I look at my dreams today: I have decided to hold that bird, and I curl my fingers around it. It doesn't fly. It nestles close and we turn our heads together for another dream, another scheme, another chance to let our souls fly way up high where the sun and wind whirl and leave us poor humans to what we will. This is how we will make our dreams live one more day.
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