Last week, I had the privilege of sharing my life story, my dreams and my new book with a group of beautiful teen girls. It caused me to reflect on my life thus far (always an eye-opening experience!) and look back at the dreams I had as a teenager. I was amazed to discover after many, many, MANY years- they have ALL come true!
I had four biggies. My teen dreams were the following:
1. To marry my boyfriend!
2. To live abroad some day…
3. To be a teacher.
4. To write a book.
Looking back, they were fairly lofty dreams for a little girl living in a little Welsh village. But that’s the idea- dream big! No point in dreaming of going grocery shopping or borrowing a library book. Dreams have to stretch you, make you want to stand on tippy-toes, take a courageous leap. So I did…
1. I married my boyfriend the day after my 20th birthday! I started dating Lyndon when I was 14 years old and knew he was “the one”. (I did point out to my youthful audience last week that 14 is WAY too young to be dating, and everything was very different back in the olden days!) 24 years later I have absolutely no regrets- I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
2. To live in a foreign land. This was a joint dream with Lyndon- something we spent hours cooking up over the years. It took a lot of soul-searching and a huge risk, but in 1995 we packed up our things and our 2 year-old daughter and waved farewell to the U.K. and landed in Canada, jobless and somewhat clueless. But it was the adventure of our lives, and we know for sure this is where God wanted us to put our roots down and raise a family.
3. Teaching. At the age of 16 I had to make a big decision- as my family were relocating, should I continue my education and pursue my desire to be a teacher, or dive into the world of banking and earn some cash right away, enabling me to see my boyfriend every weekend? I was in love- what can I say? But I believe God blessed me later in life when I had the joy of homeschooling my own children for 13 years. There’s nothing quite like teaching your little one how to actually read and write- I’ll always be grateful for having the opportunity to be a teacher after all.
4. To write a book. Well most of you know how I fell into this, but in a nutshell I took a daunting plunge, even though I was sure I didn’t have the necessary time or talent. In 2006, Lyndon asked me what my dreams were- I remembered my writing dream from so long ago, and he urged me to follow it. So I did. And now, after learning how to grow as a writer, accept rejection, and be VERY patient, I have numerous short stories and articles in magazines and online, but best of all TEARS TO DANCING is a real, published book!
Please don’t get me wrong- I’m not writing this to blow my own trumpet and do the “look at me and my dreamy life!” dance. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses! But I’m talking about the highlights, and I see God intricately woven into the details of every single one. None of them came true because of ME, it is all because of Him. He handpicked my man, opened every door to immigrate, provided the support, direction and sanity (!) to home school, and gave me the words to write-especially the message of hope in my book. All in His perfect timing.
If you had told me at age 13 I would have to wait 30 years until I had a book published, I may have thrown a hissy fit and given up completely. Yeah, I would have. My favorite verses back then as a new Christian (and even now) are Proverbs 3: 5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
I can see now how the Lord had to wait until I was ready to “acknowledge Him” in every area of my life and trust Him fully before He could take my dreams and make them a reality for His glory. Of course, it’s a daily battle to trust Him in everything, and there’s always the pull to lean on my “own understanding”. God taught me back in the day, and continues to teach me even now the value of patience and resting in Proverbs 3:5-6. I really do want Him to direct my paths, because when He does, they are exciting and I see my dreams come true His way. And that’s the best way.
Don’t be afraid to dream big, my friends! When you place those dreams in God’s hands, He can use them in more amazing ways than you can possibly imagine- for His glory.