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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When a door closes on your dreams

2015-01-27 14.19.49I've been working hard to make the dream home I found at the end of last year a reality. Unfortunately, we received bad news. We were outbid on the house we wanted. To say I was heartbroken to come so close to my dreams, only to have it fall apart was an understatement. It was pretty devastating. Even my husband, who is not known for his demonstration of emotion, was crushed. I remember sitting here, sobbing, crying the big fat ugly tears that make your face swell, your eyes hurt, and your nose too stuffed up to breathe.

I poured out my heart in my journal, and one of the lines I wrote really sticks with me. "I feel like Jacob, working so hard for Rachel, only to be presented with Leah. My faith is so small right now- I want to believe and trust, and honestly, I don't know how."

Betrayed. That's how I imagine Jacob must have felt, and that is how I felt. If you don't know the story, it's found in Genesis 29:16-30. Basically, Jacob fell in love with Rachel, worked seven years to get her, and instead, was given Leah, a woman he did not love. He had to work another seven years to get Rachel. It doesn't really say what Jacob went through in terms of his anger and betrayal, but it's easy to imagine how hard it would have been to be so close to the woman of your dreams only to have it ripped away.

And there I was, so close to the house of my dreams, and we got outbid, and frankly, the whole thing was just kind of stupid, the way it was with Jacob being forced to marry Leah on a technicality. Yes, I realize that a house and a wife are not necessarily the equivalent, but for us, this is something we've wanted since we met. We've dreamed of this for seventeen years, and it all seemed so perfect. We had so many miracles leading up to this point that it made no sense that the door shut when it did. I can imagine Jacob felt the same way- he was there, at the finish line, and WHAM! The door closed.

People told me things like, "God has something better," and honestly, in the midst of my grief, I wanted to smack them. We've waited SEVENTEEN YEARS for an opportunity like this, and haven't seen anything come even close. There hasn't been anything better in that time. It reminded me of all the things I've waited for that never came. That will never come. Every piece of grief that I thought had been healed opened up again, and I just wanted to know why. Why, when I was doing all the right things, did this, too, have to be taken from me?

But see, there is another piece to Jacob's story. He got over the betrayal, and he worked another seven years, and he got to marry Rachel. I read a bunch of articles and things speculating on why Jacob had to do the Leah/Rachel thing. Why it couldn't have been simpler? We really don't know, and we won't know until we meet God face to face. Sometimes you get to know why, and sometimes you don't. Will I know we why lost that house? Maybe. Is there another, more wonderful, house waiting for us? Maybe. I'd like to think so.

So here I am, the grief over my house loss subsided, and a new plan in place. We are selling our house, a house I love, because our dreams are bigger than staying where we are. Currently, there are no houses out there in our price range that even come close to being what we want. But I'm choosing to step out in faith that when the time comes, there will be a house for us. My daughter asked me what happens if there isn't. I told her we'd live in my van. Which would be weird, considering we have a dog and three chickens, and I'm seriously anti-poop in regards to my living conditions. But I'm choosing to believe that we'll be okay.

I went for a walk at a nature preserve yesterday with my friend Kay, and I took a great photo of the sun through the trees. Only when I looked at the photo after, I saw these fun blue and red spots in my picture. I don't know what they are, but I felt so much peace sitting there, that to me, those were my confirmation that everything is going to be okay.

What do you do when a door closes on your dreams?

I think it's okay, and even necessary, to take the time to grieve. But then you have to figure out a way to move on. To know that there is something good waiting for you, even if you can't see it. You have to find the strength and courage to go forward, even if your faith is so small. Even when you don't know how. I have no idea where this journey is taking us, and yes, I'm scared. But I suppose, if we had all the answers, there'd be no reason to have faith.

Have you had a door close on your dreams? What did you do? And if you're like me, blindly stepping out on faith, let me know how I can encourage you.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Letting God in on your dreams

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI just got done taking a bath and reading a book. This may well be the first book I've actually read this year. Sometimes I get so single minded in pursuing my dreams that I have a tendency to forget to slow down and take time for me. Yes, I have a lot of work to do before our house hits the market on Thursday. But I also have to remember that part of pursuing a dream is also allowing God the grace to move and act in that space as well. Which means slowing down, spending some quiet time and nurturing yourself. If I trust God, this house thing will still happen without me killing myself with overwork.

The past three weeks have been nonstop- getting up earlier than usual, doing my regular job, then performing a lot more physical labor than this body is used to until I finally fall into bed. Some nights, I toss and turn worrying over everything I still have to do. One night, I even got out of bed at midnight and worked for two hours on a project that was bothering me. And yes, in the midst of this, I turned in some book ideas to my editor.

If you think it's crazy, it is. But that's me when I'm consumed with something important to me. And this afternoon, as I was listening to a devotional on audio in my car, I realized that all-consuming passion leaves no room for God.

If a dream really is of God, then you have to give him room to work.

I think it's a tough balance- on one hand, I do believe you have to do the work to make your dreams come true. I don't believe God is a magical fairy who goes around with his wand to make things happen. But I also know that God does want to be involved in your dreams. I think he wants to be able to work miracles in your plans. If you're too busy working and not taking the time to notice, you might miss the miracles that happen along the way.

We do not have the house yet. Our house goes on the market next week, then we will get the other house. So far, I've counted at least ten things that have been miraculous in this situation. TEN! And probably dozens more prayers answered. So why am I killing myself to make this happen?

Over the next few days, I have a lot more work to do. And I'll get it done. But after my relaxing evening in the bath, realizing how much I've failed to take care of myself, I'm going to be more mindful of the fact that part of pursuing your dreams is taking time to enjoy the journey.

Monday, January 05, 2015

My Dream Home... Maybe!

my books getting ready for my dream homeWhen I sat down to do my 2015 goal planning and dreaming, an unexpected event interrupted my plans. I found a listing for my almost dream home. I say almost, because the house itself is a bit of a fixer upper. Um, okay, it's A LOT of a fixer upper. :) But the location (and view!) is amazing!

The catch is, we have to sell our house first. And that house still has to be available when our house sells. But hey, those are all minor details and we are acting on faith that it's going to happen!

You don't get your dream home sitting around doing nothing.

In order to sell our house, we need to get a lot of stuff cleared out and in storage. Namely, my books and hubby's man junk. I don't know what it is, and I don't want to know. :) What I do know is that all of this is going to take a lot of work, packing, painting, and all that. And that's just to get the house sold! Our goal is to have our house on the market by the end of the week. Crazy, but hey... I'm hoping that my current house is someone else's dream home.

A funny thing happened as I started packing my books. I found ONE copy of my book, Rocky Mountain Dreams, that has no home. So... I'm giving it away.

Tell me your moving tips, and I'll choose a winner from everyone who shares.