All my life I looked forward to the day I would become a mother. Like many young girls, I practiced my parenting skills on my Cabbage Patch dolls, my Barbies got pregnant and had babies (all within about 30 minutes! Ha!), and I dreamed of the day I would meet my Prince Charming and start a family of my own. So imagine my surprise when I sat holding my month old baby girl, fresh from heaven, and thought to myself, “Is this it? Now what? I raise my kids and then I die?”
I have to say, having your first baby and experiencing postpartum hormones can play some serious games with your emotions. But at the ripe, old age of 24 I had been married for three years and had my first child. My life was no longer just about me and my dreams for my future. As much as I wanted to be a parent and as much as I loved my precious baby, I couldn’t help but feel like a part of me was slipping away.
I have now been a mother for seven years and cannot believe how time has flown from that vivid day as a new mom. God is teaching me about the dreams I thought might be lost as I continue to walk through the trenches of motherhood.
I have been reminded that God is the Dream-giver and the dreams He gives us are not just for our own benefit. I believe God gives each of us certain passions, skills, and desires in order to turn around and use them for His glory and in service to others. The thing we may not always get right, however, is the timing and the way we go about pursuing them.
Just as the seasons change around us each year, the seasons of motherhood change and the seasons of living out our dreams change. There are times when a newborn may require all of our attention. But in a few years, that child can spend an hour or two entertaining himself (when the stars align!). My oldest is entering a brand new stage, and I have to say I am loving it! The baby that used to cry for hours on end will now read book after book up in her room, helps me clean the house, and takes care of her little brother so I can get ready for church. And I know there are more changes to come.
In each season of parenting, and in life generally, our God-given dreams may manifest themselves differently, but I believe they do not have to completely disappear.
My mother is such a wonderful example for me in this area. When she was a young girl she felt a calling on her life to missions. When she met my father, who wanted to be a preacher, she wasn’t sure what was to become of her childhood dream, but she trusted the Lord.
I remember many times going with my mother to churches for her to share truth from God’s Word with the women there. Her dream to reach others for Christ may not have taken her to a foreign country at that time, but she walked through the doors set before her and took us along! What an incredible opportunity for me and my siblings to see her following the Lord’s leading in her life and using her gifts to honor Him and encourage others.
When I was in grade school, the Lord opened a door for my mom to begin working with organizations in Romania and India to do women’s conferences and Bible training. Her heart for missions was not forgotten by the Lord. In fact, it was given to her by Him! When I was in the ninth grade I was able to attend one of the women’s conferences in Romania along with her and it was life-changing for me!
Now, as an empty nester, the Lord is using her background in education and her heart for missions to reach “the least of these” in the inner city of Memphis, TN. The Lord gave her a new dream to reach her city, starting with the children in the most impoverished parts of town. From that dream, a non-profit ministry, Arise to Read, was born and has expanded beyond Memphis into 17 other states! Her ministry has looked differently from year to year, but I am amazed to see how God has honored my mother’s willingness to wait on His timing and to follow His leading in her life.
If you have a God-given dream that you have yet to see come to fruition in your life, I encourage you to pray about what it might look like in your current season, be willing to wait on God’s perfect timing, and take your children along for the ride!
But, we must be careful not to allow our dreams to become our idols. It is my prayer that I am found faithfully seeking the Lord above all else. The Bible says when we seek Him first, “all of these things” will be added unto us. There is no limit to what God can do through a woman who is abandoned completely to Him. When we surrender our dreams and desires to Him, they have never been in better hands. He honors surrendered obedience.
And these sweet children He has given us the privilege to raise are part of the dream He has for us. Motherhood is a high calling, not the end as I so naively thought to myself seven years ago.
What dreams have you laid aside? Maybe it is time to lay them at His feet instead. He just might surprise you when He gives them back to you in great abundance!
Lindsey Wingo is the founder and editor of the Missional Motherhood blog. She is the wife of Worship Pastor, Ryan Wingo, and stay-at-home mother of three sweet kiddos—Ivey, Ruthie, and Charlie. It is her prayer and vision that Missional Motherhood would unite mothers from around the globe with the common purpose of raising up a mighty generation of Christ-followers in an increasingly dark world. Lindsey loves to connect with other women and to study and teach God's Word. She also enjoys coffee and chocolate (YUM), sewing, game nights with her family, days on the lake or at the beach, and her current idea of the perfect date night is cuddling in the bed with her hubby while watching one of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover DVDs! (That is, if a night at the Cinebistro is out of the question...) She is an imperfect mother who has to continually remind herself of the hope found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.