Living the Dream
Ten years ago, my dream was to stay in Midlothian, Texas for the rest of my life.
I love Midlothian. We moved there in 1999 when my oldest daughter was just six months old. Dave, my husband, had no job, we had no place to live, knew no one. It was the most gigantic leap of faith we had taken in our lives. Dave was confident that God wanted him to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. I wasn’t so sure, but I chose to trust God – and my husband – even though I made sure they both knew how unhappy I was about leaving everybody and everything I knew back in Florida.
But within weeks, Dave found a job, we found an apartment, and we joined a church – Midlothian Bible Church. This church became my home-away-from-home. I had surrogate sisters there, surrogate parents, godly older women who taught me what it meant to be a woman of God. There are no words to adequately express the impact the people in that amazing church made on me, my husband, and our kids (my younger two were both born in Dallas).
So ten years ago, when Dave was just months away from graduating from seminary, we wanted nothing more than to stay right there in Midlothian forever. Dave had worked as a middle school intern for most our time there, and we were hoping they’d hire him on for that job full-time. But, honestly, I think we would have worked there as the janitor – anything that would allow us to stay with the people we loved so dearly.
But just about ten years ago exactly, we had what, at the time, was the most heartbreaking conversation of our lives. The youth pastor, Dave’s boss and mentor, sat him down to tell him the church wouldn’t be hiring him. Not because Dave wasn’t a great guy, didn’t work hard, wasn’t respected, but because the pastors and elders knew Dave. They had watched him those four years. And, though he did a great job with the youth, it was clear that being a youth pastor wasn’t his passion.
Tim, Dave’s boss, went on to affirm that God doesn’t desire that we simply “settle” with a career because it is comfortable. God has something greater for us. He created us with passions to be used for his glory, to build up the body of Christ. He made us to love what he has called us to do – not that his calling is always easy. Far from it! But there is joy in doing what God has made you to do.
Proverbs says that the wounds of a friend are faithful. We experienced the truth of that Proverb. Initially, we were terribly wounded. We felt rejected by our family. But, as the wound healed, we saw that Tim was right. Dave’s passions weren’t in youth ministry. Dave is passionate about teaching the Bible to adults. He is amazingly gifted to do that, and he finds immense joy in that calling.
In the decade that has followed that conversation, Dave and I have searched for and found our vocational “sweet spots.” That search led us overseas and back again. It led us to meet even more great friends, great mentors, and great churches. The search has been full of incredible joys and terrible heartaches. But we have learned so much from the physical and spiritual journeys we have gone on. Lessons that we are so thankful to have learned. We never would have experienced any of that if the leaders of our church in Midlothian had loved us less, if they had kept the truth from us for fear of hurting our feelings. Their wounds were faithful. And I am so grateful for their integrity and friendship.
I still miss Midlothian, and I am so grateful for our time there. God knew we needed those years at MBC. We needed those friends, those pastors, those mentors, to help prepare us for the places he would take us next. But in order to find the path God wanted us to take, we had to let go of our own dreams, to trust him even when nothing made sense, even when we felt like we knew better than God what was best for us.
When I read that God works all things together for our good, I don’t just know it in my head, I know it in my heart. I have experienced it in my life. I have seen God’s goodness over and over again – and so often, I see it after what at first seems like a tragedy, a dream denied.
But God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our dreams – He gave them to us. And he will allow us to live those dreams – if we are willing to take a risk, wait for Him, and live the dream that HE has for us.