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The dream and the wait: On being born, put to death, and resurrected

Sometimes the unanswered is an invitation to be born again.

My younger self would shake her head in pity and wonder how so many years could slip by with dreams still unfulfilled.

That won’t be me I resolved when I heard middle-aged adults lamenting vision not yet realized. I’ll pursue my dreams and be true to myself and Make Things Happen.

And now I find myself on the other end of the dreaming. I hold hopes in my heart that are eighteen years old and counting. Others that are twelve. Others that are five. Others that are so fresh they don’t even have a number yet.

Many of those dreams sit shelved, collecting dust, and I’m tempted to put them behind a closed door so that the unread chapters wouldn’t be so obvious. (Because that’s what closets are for right – things that we cling to that feel safer behind closed doors?)

But instead of the regret that I imagined once upon a time there is a type of sadness worn by hope deferred in that tender place of waiting that is neither pursuit nor neglect.

I do not concede defeat. I do not blame circumstances or myself or someone else. I do not shake my fist at God.

This is not the end of the story and for that I am certain.

I’ll turn thirty-six in a month and it’s all still so fresh in my mind – the hope and anticipation of twenty-six and sixteen. Dreams born and put to death and resurrected more times than I ever imagined my fragile heart could handle.

I’ve begun to understand that dreams of substance have longevity. The roots of belief grow down deep and conviction can wane or strengthen through the years depending on perspective and how we choose to ascribe credit to a God who is all-knowing, all-caring, and yet easily misunderstood.

I realize now that the unanswered isn’t always a matter of laziness or selling out or compromise or settling for second best as my younger self would have been quick to conclude.

Sometimes the unanswered is an invitation to be born again. Born again into trust, baptized into faith, and confirmed into maturity.

Most days I still think of myself as a young woman, and yet I’m not as fearless, not as invincible, not as spontaneous as I once was. The crows feet on my eyes have been earned by many years of squinting through a mirror dimly and only seeing part of the picture. And the truth is I’m still in the elementary days of my adulthood. I’m learning how to count and spell all over again with grown-up responsibilities and tiny people depending on me to choose them for my team and a mate for my soul who is so much more than “best friends forever” and playground promises.

In important ways I’m slower to judge, slower to anger, slower to jump onto fast moving trains. But in other ways I’m quicker to judge, quicker to anger, and quicker to stake my claim among the various camps I’ve long claimed as “right”. And wait – is that really a good idea? (I think, no.)

I’ll turn thirty-six in a month and it’s all still so fresh in my mind – the hope and anticipation of twenty-six and sixteen. Dreams born and put to death and resurrected more times than I ever imagined my fragile heart could handle.

But it has – handled – and I’m stronger for it. I’m stronger for it, more broken for it, more sure and more unsure all at once.

Out of the heart the mouth speaks and, if I’m honest, sometimes my mouth is swearing (which makes me afraid of what must be in my own heart). But mostly I’m giving thanks. I’m letting go and closing my eyes and remembering the goodness that saturates so much of what surrounds me.

There’s a whole lot I don’t know (and as I get older that list just keeps growing). And there’s another list that’s shorter—but perhaps more important—the list I do know. I sometimes forget what’s even on that list, but one I never forget: God is good.

Some would say the cliché is tired, but I’d say it’s not a cliché. It’s a truth – hard and solid and unwavering – and I’d stake my whole life on it.

God is good. He actually, really, truly is.

And so in the deferring of hope I give thanks, too. Because that’s where the backbone grows. That waiting gives my smile lines a chance to settle in and my tears a chance to wash the dust away. And in those moments where my heart feels weak and my mind wanders far I lean into a promise that something good is being woven together. For me. For the ones I love. (Even for the ones I have to choose and work to love.)

Time is no respecter of woman. It stands still and it rushes by. And still He’s there with arms stretched open and invitation still standing and heart still beating. For me. Always for me.

So I wait. And I know. And I trust. And I hope.

I’ll turn thirty-six in a month and it’s all still so fresh in my mind – the hope and anticipation of twenty-six and sixteen. Dreams born and put to death and resurrected more times than I ever imagined my fragile heart could handle.

Dear friends, does life look anything like you imagined it would ten years ago? Twenty? How do you grapple with your own dreams yet unfulfilled?

Love,
Adriel

p.s. I wrote this about three months ago, but was reminded of it today and decided to share it.

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About Adriel

Adriel Booker is a writer, speaker, and difference-maker living Down Under with her Aussie love and littles where they serve in full-time ministry (and full-time parenting) together. She writes about celebrating motherhood, building families, strengthening faith, enjoying life, empowering women, changing the world, and telling the story.

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6 Responses to The dream and the wait: On being born, put to death, and resurrected

  1. Mekenzie Stearns November 27, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Adriel- this is beautiful and the exact words my heart needed to hear today & I didn’t even know it.

    Thank you

  2. Dana December 4, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Well said.

  3. Michaela December 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    “…sadness worn by hope deferred in that tender place of waiting that is neither pursuit nor neglect.”
    Oh yes. Just what I needed to read this long night.

  4. azadpranto3 February 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

    The post is rely awesome. Hope i will found some good post like this in future. till then best of luck.

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