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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Childhood Dreams vs. Adult Realities

Photo by: Matt Banks

When I was young—it probably started in junior high school—I used to dream. I had some silly dreams, like:
  • Having a bronzed lifeguard for a boyfriend.
  • I wanted a purple metallic dune buggy with lime green daisy decals on it. (It was the end of the ‘60s.)
  • I actually thought I wanted a house like a zoo—with cuddly lions and tigers, monkeys . . . . (I told you my dreams were crazy!)

Then, my dreams grew up a little bit:
  • I wanted to travel, especially to Paris.
  • In art class, I designed my dream home. It was round, and in the middle, was an atrium with a pool and surrounding patio filled with tropical plants. (Oh yes, Frank Lloyd Wright would have swooned!)
  • I wanted to be a missionary to Africa.
  • I thought it would be great to speak beautiful French. (It would’ve served me well in Paris.)

In college, because of circumstances and growing up a little more, my dreams changed drastically:
  • I truly believed I would be forever single, and it was fine with me.
  • I asked God to “send me.” (As in Isaiah’s prayer, “Here am I, send me.”)
  • I met my husband, and it was the proverbial lightning flash and bells ringing. (It had to be, I’m guessing, since I had already determined to be single.)
  • I then dreamed of marrying a particular doctor. (My boyfriend was studying science with eyes toward medicine. This wasn’t exactly what I thought would happen, but I knew he was the Right One.)

After college, we married, and our dreams were now “together dreams.” My husband had been called to preach, prepared, and now we were looking for a foreign mission field together. We asked the Lord to guide us while pursuing every open door. Some of them shut in our faces, and some of them swung wide open. And then, we saw the direct leading of God.

We came to Spain. As we settled in, I looked back on my youthful dreams. Some of them came true, and some ended up being better than I could have dreamt. Let me share with you:
  • My junior high dreams were crazy! Not a one came true.
  • I have been to Paris three times. Each was an adventure. (Never go to Paris in April!)
  • My house is square, not round. No pool, except when it rains. No tropical plants. (I planted a palm tree, and it died in the snows.)
  • I wanted to go to Africa, but Africa came to me. About a third of the people in our church are Africans. 

Here comes the “exceeding abundantly” part:
  • I was an art major. I now live in the middle of one of the most amazing art collections in Europe. All of Spain is full of priceless, amazing art. I live a little more than an hour from the Gugghenheim Museum in Bilbao. I have seen shows from all over, including St. Petersburg, a “Rubens and friends” show, and one from the 16th century, featuring a Vermeer. All the time I studied art, I only dreamed of one day seeing maybe a fraction of the artworks I have actually seen.
  • With my art background, the churches, basilicas, cathedrals, monasteries, castles, and the amazing differences in architecture from region to region in Spain make me appreciate how God took a little girl from Virginia and planted her in a place that would keep her eyes open in awe and wonder for the rest of her life. I think God delighted in that detail.
  • I grew up a nature lover. The Lord put me where it’s green year round. We have mountains that slide down to the sea. It is beautiful! As you cross Spain, almost every curve holds a surprise. It’s a varied landscape. I drink it in, and I am thankful.
  • I love history. Every town center goes back centuries. There is nothing like living in a land where culture and history blend themselves like this. The Basque people have been in this region for thousands of years. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself, because there’s a timelessness here that almost makes you believe that nothing has ever changed.
  • I enjoy cooking and trying new things. The Basques are known the world over for their cuisine, both the traditional (which is the only kind I attempt) and the new (which is totally above and beyond). I love watching others cook and listening to them describe every step. Then, I try it at home.
  • I’ve never learned to speak French beautifully, but I get by, and we’ve traveled much of that wonderful country on our family vacations.

So you see, some of my dreams came true. And, to be honest, the sillier ones didn’t.

God knew my heart. When I asked Him, in full surrender, to “send me,” He did. And He sent me to a place that was “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” God let me go with the man I love—leading Him separately. (I had never told my boyfriend about my asking to be sent or any inclination about missions.)

More than thirty years later, I can only praise God for His goodness . . . and for making a young lady’s dreams come true.


  1. That is precious, Lou Ann. It's funny, you were happy to remain single, while my dearest desire all thru you and teen years was to get married and be a mother. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams as well. Words are insufficient to describe how amazing He is!! Love to you, dear sister

    1. Yes, I we are blessed. I am so thankful for God's goodness in my life--in every way. Thank you, Sandra, for your kind comments. God bless!

  2. Enjoyed reading about your dreams. I had a few when I was young. It is so much better to live in the center of God's will and let Him do the guiding. I am content to live my life with God making my path straight, my not having to strive for happiness, because gives it daily as I walk with Him. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It is a blessing that God guides us much better than we could ever do it ourselves! Thank you for your comment, Margaret. God bless!

  3. What a neat post! Had to smile at the purple dune buggy with lime green daisy decals. :-) I thought "the 60s!" before I got to that part of your sentence. :-)

    I'll have to think through and try to recall some of my childhood and young adult dreams. I know I am very thankful for how the Lord has ordered my life.

    1. The Lord ordering a life . . . . How wonderful is that! Thank you for commenting, Barbara.

  4. Se que he soñado cosas cuando era pequeña, pero el único que yo recuerde que se ha cumplido, se a cumplido parcialmente, era el vivir con mi padre. Y este se cumplió este verano. Tengo otro sueño pero tengo muy claro que no se hará realidad, aunque solo Dios puede saberlo. El ha ordenado mi vida.


    1. Thank you, Tere, for your thoughtful comment. I am glad you could be with your dad this summer.


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