My heart and mind felt dead. Life was mundane. I wondered if I’d ever had dreams and vision for my life. I wondered where all my aspirations and goals went. It’s like they all disappeared.
Motherhood engulfed me. Being a good mom controlled me. I felt this enormous pressure to be present, yet the depression and anxiety pushed me low, into deep, dark crevices. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Nothing was working. I wasn’t doing anything right. My mind and heart and soul felt crushed, powdered, squashed.
You know that feeling?
I think my identity was just wrapped up in being a mom and when I let it overtake me, I forgot how to be anything to anyone. I became unhealthy in my mind, heart and soul. I forgot how to pray. I forgot how to dream. I forgot how to ask God to guide my every step. But the last week or so, something shifted. Actually it was maybe 2 or 3 weeks ago that I felt a shift in the atmosphere of my heart. I felt something change, click, move…renew. I suddenly had an inkling of a dream. I suddenly felt like vision and passion were being revived. It was like watching a flower, wilted and dehydrated by the sun and lack of water. It was like watching it slowly pick it’s petals up and reach toward the sun. Like the roots were sucking up the water and filling the stem with nutrients. It felt like life was coming back and the drained, tired, exhausted body was pinking up and starting to breathe again.
Depression has shown its face in numerous ways with me. One of the biggest ones for me was never being able to put down my phone. Bouncing from app to app,. checking emails, notifications on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Checking the weather, checking the news, checking emails again and over, and over and over again. The feeling of panic would come over me if I realized I hadn’t checked in the last 15 minutes. I’d have to turn on a podcast or book on tape, or tv show, put my headphones on and listen while doing things. Anything to occupy by very busy, depressed, sad and anxious brain. Anything to distract me from the struggles and fears that brewed in my heart. Anything to move me into a fantasy world of non-reality so my brain could stop thinking about all the bad things that *might* happen.
But I felt the sun starting to shine again. I felt something lift. I felt God leading me to read my Bible more and not being scared of hearing my past yelling at me, tearing apart each word of the Bible. I could finally read without hearing voices in my head and interpretations from my growing up years. I could finally breathe. I could finally read it like a normal person and glean from His word.
Peace. Joy. Renewing. Refreshing.
It all started to bloom in my dark, cold, tired, exhausted, confused, worried, anxious heart. It’s what I’ve wanted, but the corn maze of my brain somehow kept pushing me from my goals. God let me be in the wilderness for a while, but even in the midst of the desert, His love sustained me. His grace upheld me. His arms comforted me. He carried me through each wave and each storm. He never left my side.
Last year, I started praying with my husband, consistently at night before bed. We’d list our prayer requests. We were bold. We prayed big, giant, insurmountable prayers. We believed for miracles. We trusted. We prayed with faith. But somewhere along the way, we lost ourselves. What happened, ashamedly so, is that we got the miracles we asked for and thanked God for it, and left Him in the dust. (So sorry, Jesus!) You know what’s amazing though? Even though we stopped praying big prayers and asking for His guidance and grace, He still walked beside us. We never rejected Him. I’m not going to speak for my husband, but for me, I felt two things.
- I felt like I’d gotten my big miracle. Why would God want to do more for me? I wasn’t deserving of the first one. I’d never be worthy of more.
- I just wasn’t sure how to pray anymore. I didn’t feel deserving, so I’d just pray small prayers, thanking Him for the food, or for protection for my kids, etc. I didn’t pray anything that required faith. I didn’t pray anything that required me to exert myself beyond the mundane. It felt comfortable there.
But being comfortable means there isn’t change. Let me say, I HATE change. I capitalize that because it is one of my biggest pet peeves. Don’t change on me. Don’t change times we’re supposed to get together. Don’t change a recipe. Don’t change payment dates. Don’t change curriculum. Don’t change hair styles. Don’t change what time the kids go to bed. Don’t move me. Don’t wash clothes differently. Load the dishwasher the way it’s supposed to *clears throat…do it my way, please*. Don’t go a different route to work. Be on time or early. You get me? I’m the worst for hating change.
One thing I’ve learned in life is being stagnant causes problems. It’s when we are on the move, in the ever changing atmosphere of what God might have for us, that life is refreshed and renewed and changed. It’s when I give everything to Him and let Him do what He wants with my heart and mind that I find purpose and meaning in life. When I let Him change my seasons, then I find beauty in the new.
So, I say all that (while you’re thinking, Courtney, get to the point! I get it!), too say, I’m learning to dream again. I’ve finally relaxed. I’ve given in to the new schedules and the new things in life. I’m finding joy in cheering at my son’s soccer team. I’m finding joy in the girls dressed up in ballet outfits and learning how to tap dance. I’m finding joy in the early mornings that we have to rush around and get out the door and drive in traffic. I get to see the blue sky and the mountains near our home. I get to see the ocean while I drive around during dance class (the beach is only 5 minutes away from the dance studio, so why not?!) I am finding joy in homeschooling in the afternoons instead of the mornings. I’m finding joy in the new. I’m finding joy in the change. I’m finding peace, knowing that this season only lasts for a while. This season of motherhood and being a taxi driver, cook, maid and housekeeper only lasts for a season. I’m learning how to lean into the change instead of fighting it.
And through all of that, I am learning to dream again. I am learning to pray again. I am learning to sit humbly at His feet, and boldly asking for his guidance and blessings. I am reminding myself that I am a Daughter of the Most High King and that He loves to bless His children….He loves to bless me!! He loves to give guidance and because He has a plan for my life before the dawn of time, He loves leaning in and planting seeds of vision, hope, faith and guidance. He loves when I’m ready to listen. He loves when I’m ready to lean into the season He wants to bring me into.
I heard the words, “Go back.” I wondered for a while what God was trying to tell me. But last night, I felt prompted to play Alabaster Jar and Healer by Kari Jobe and it took me back. It took me back to Christ for the Nations where I learned about God, learned about myself and learned about dreaming. And there, I had the dream placed in my heart to go to India. I finally voiced the dream to my husband last night and he said, “I want to, too! I want to go and do that as well. I’ve been thinking about at it for a while.”
The story is kind of long, but I had plans to go to India and then I left Christ for the Nations early and thus cancelled my India Missions trip. I felt gutted. But it was the right thing to do for me at the time.
But I haven’t dared dream about that again, until now. I haven’t dared voice my vision for Prison Ministry or helping the homeless. I haven’t dared to put a voice to my dream of having a safe place for women, men and children to gather, feel at home and be at peace. I haven’t dared voice how I wanted to go to Africa and serve in an orphanage or help with disasters, like when the Bahamas got hit by Hurricane Dorian.
You see, God has placed a lot of little things in my heart. But the path to those dreams are big. Right now, financially and physically, they’re impossible. Right now may not be the season for it, but the season I am in is preparation for the season ahead. Each season has purpose. Each season has a place. God doesn’t move me beyond a season until I’ve learned what He has for me in the present season.
So, dream again, Dreamer. It’s not a bad thing to get lost in thought, and in prayer, to find what God has for you. Lean in. Ask Him to speak. Ask Him to show you the next step. That’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to stop thinking I’m not worthy of the dreams He’s placed in my heart. I’m going to stop discounting the call He has on my life just because I feel unqualified. I’m going to stop putting a stop on the payment He made for me to be able to live a life to the full. I’m going to stop thinking I’m not worthy of His love, His grace, His blessings and His miracles. I’m going to start believing, with faith *mustard seed size or not* that He is going to go before me to open doors. I am going to believe with faith that He is going to break chains, and put me in line with the people He wants me to talk to. I believe that leaders and countries that are typically inaccessible will become accessible. I believe that finances will bloom and come in. I believe that God isn’t going to plant something in my heart and not bring it to fruition.
I am going to pray that I line my heart up with His heartbeat. I’m going to pray that my prayers line up with His dreams. I’m going to pray that He gives me wisdom and grace to steward the dreams and visions He’s placed in my heart and carry them well. I’m going to pray that my fear and anxiety of “missing Him and His will” dissipate and that I become confident in His voice. I am His child. It says in the Bible that His sheep knows His voice. I am one of His sheep. I’m praying my ear deafens all clamoring, confusing voices and that my ear is tuned in to His voice only.
I’m going to keep dreaming. I am going to keep pressing on. I am going to fight and pray and believe and trust.
What about you?