The Death of Dreams: Truly learning that God has a plan


“Just follow me.”  In the Bible, from Abraham to Jesus’ disciples, God continued to call people to follow him. Even today, God calls those who claim him as God and King to follow.  Rarely does God give those who follow a clear map to where he might be leading them. In fact, those who do follow God may sometimes feel as though a blindfold has covered their eyes. Jesus is notorious for clearly calling, but remaining fuzzy on the destination.

Minutes after we discovered the wreck had occurred, the Lord whispered into my heart that I would be required to follow very closely. In a single instant, every dream I had for my girls seemed to shatter into pieces. Like thick fog, pain clouded my view of life and I wondered how God could ever bring anything good from the shattered mess.

Sitting with Emma recently, we reflected on those dark days. I asked her, “what dreams seemed to fall apart for you?

I believed that I was going to attend one of two specific schools to play softball.  The wreck totally changed that. Life seemed to just stop and schools I dreamt of playing at moved on. That was so painful for me. The most difficult thing I had faced before the wreck was getting braces and starting high school. I was scared not knowing which direction life would take me. I wondered what God’s plan for my life would be.

Tragedy in this world was never God’s plan. Sin entered the world and in God’s loving kindness he works within the brokenness all around us. I never thought that God caused the wreck. I believe with every ounce of my being that he worked in and through it. The pain of these types of situations will often cause us to go in one of two directions, closer to or farther away from God. Everything in me wanted to understand “why” this gut wrenching event took place. I learned that when I am asking “why” I am asking a question that can rarely be answered. The question that I learned to ask is “what.” What is my next step in following you? Lord, help me to navigate this.

When I asked why, I was really asking, “God, would you justify to me why this terrible wreck has happened and why all the hopes and dreams I had for my daughters are now as deflated as the remnants of popped party balloons, scattered all over the floor?” I had to look in my heart and understand my question of “why” was really a demand for God to justify to me the brokenness of this world. As if God owes me some kind of answer.

Looking back, I remember feeling lost and far from God. The truth is, he was closer to me than ever. God was navigating us through an incredible storm. He had a plan and he knew where he was taking us. Part of his plan was to teach me a greater depth of his love and care. Incredible intimacy with God can be found in the most horrible storms.

I cannot imagine all the plans the disciples had before Jesus set foot into their world. For the rest of their lives they would follow Jesus literally or via the guidance of the Holy Spirit once Jesus ascended to heaven. They constantly grappled with Jesus altering their course.

In the midst of the most confusing course alterations, during the greatest tragedies, God will show you his greatest miracles. Those miracles come when we let go of our plans and follow him. Wow, that is so scary!

What can feel like the death of our dreams is transformed by God’s resurrection power when we surrender control and trust that God always has something better for us than we could have ever dreamt. The Lord walked Emma through that and I watched God replace her broken dream with something better that would lead to HIM fulfilling HIS purposes in her life. I had to learn the lesson that my earthly plans for my kids, no matter how well thought out, will never measure up to the eternal plan that God has for each of them. My job is to continue following Jesus and to encourage my kids to follow him closely as they navigate life’s hard turns.

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