Apparently I dream small. I didn’t really realize this until the “bucket list” movement really took off following the movie with the same title. While I’ve never seen the movie, the buzz it garnered was hard to ignore. One day, I spent an afternoon thinking about the dreams of my life and came to the conclusion that my whole life had been in pursuit of two childhood dreams: to become a momma and a teacher. Looking back, every moment of my life had been spent in hopes of attaining those goals. As a little girl, I “practiced” being a momma every day with my dollies, and as I grew up I practiced with other people’s babies as a babysitter and later as a nanny. My focus was singular: Someday I would have babies of my own.

The same phenomena occurred with becoming a teacher. If I wasn’t playing house in my imagination, I was playing school. Driven to succeed in school, every class and assignment was just one step closer to the day when my name was on the door of a classroom full of children.

When I examined my pursuit of these goals, I realized how often I would hear friends and family talking about their dreams. They would speak of dream vacations, bigger houses, no debt, children to leave home, children to come home, and better jobs. They also dreamed of places to serve, friends to come into their lives, relationships to be repaired, and more time to accomplish their dreams. Suddenly I realized that I must dream really small because I had only ever dreamed of two things and had accomplished them both in my 20’s, living out the rest of my days content with those accomplishments.

One day I came to the conclusion that while I was content, perhaps God wasn’t. Maybe he had different plans for me and my dreams. And I began to ponder what God’s dreams for my life might look like. The proverb of being careful what you wish for was definitely true in my case.

God had BIG dreams for me and my life, and even though none were dreams I had imagined, he equipped me with all I needed to reach them. Through much prayer and support of all number of people who love me, this little momma and teacher began to write her family’s story of God’s faithfulness in the midst of life storm’s (including the death of one of her children). The writing led to speaking engagements, which led to more writing. And while this might seem like a natural progression for a teacher, I am NOT an English teacher (AND it was my worst subject in all my years of schooling). Actually, as a science and math teacher, I dreaded all things to do with writing growing up, and I honestly began to write our story as a way to help me heal.  God, however, has used that writing to help others heal, which is way outside the realm of my capabilities.

Now, I am beginning to see that a little prayer of asking God about his dreams for my life has been a huge leap of faith. This prayer has led me to places I never thought possible because it showed me areas of my life where I needed to conquer fears as well as areas where I needed to stretch and not settle for complacency. There have definitely been pinch-me moments as I realized I am working toward goals I never believed possible – like writing a book and pursuing a doctorate.

In my previous contentment, my identity was completely wrapped up in the lives of other people (my children and other people’s children), and I forgot that I was a child of God, for whom he would have dreams.

So how about you? Have you asked God what his dreams are for your life? Trust me, his answers might surprise you, but they are definitely worth it!