The Dreams I Never Dreamed

A Guest Post by Barbara Snyder…

When my dreamer daughter asked if I would be interested in writing a guest post about dreams on her blog, my first thought was, “What do I believe about dreaming now that I have seen so many dreams fulfilled in ways so unlike the ways I first anticipated they would play out?” As I began reminiscing over the years of my life, I came to the realization that most of the dreams that have come into existence are the dreams I never dreamed. At least not directly.

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of being a wife… but I never dreamed that I would not marry my high school sweetheart.

I dreamed of singing… but never at a funeral for someone’s baby girl who blessed their lives for only a few short months.

I dreamed of having children of my own… but I never dreamed of experiencing a miscarriage.

I dreamed of being a faithful friend… but never dreamed I’d stand beside my friend as she unexpectedly buried her teenage son.

I dreamed that my children would be scattered across the world for God’s glory… but I never dreamed of the heartache that would come with the physical separation from my son who fulfills that dream on the other side of the globe.

I dreamed of writing a book… not authoring curriculum for a missions organization.

I dreamed of watching my mom grow old as she watched my children grow up… but I never dreamed of cancer or death, or that my youngest child would barely remember her.

I dreamed of impacting lives through missions… but I never dreamed God would add to my family by grafting in young missionaries who call me “Mom.”

So many dreams that I dreamed were limited by my own small perspective.

Looking back, it’s easy to see that many of my dreams were selfish and self-motivated. Dreams to draw attention to myself instead of to bring glory to God. In hindsight, I can honestly say that the best dreams that have ever been fulfilled in my life have occurred when God has asked me to sacrifice my dreams upon the altar of His will. To lay my desires before Him and trust that He would resurrect them into something far better than my own.

Recently, a friend of mine asked me for prayer as she prepared to sacrifice a longstanding dream that involved more than twenty years in a particular ministry. In her words, she was “going to Mt. Moriah with a knife in one hand and fire in the other.” And while she was unsure as to whether God would provide a “ram in the thicket” as He did for Abraham, she was going nonetheless.  And while I know that it will be hard for my friend to climb that mountain and put this particular dream to death, I’m excited for her. I’m excited because I’ve seen how God resurrects dreams. Even those that are placed before Him with gut-wrenching agony and tears, or maybe I should say especially those.

Yielding my dreams into God’s keeping has been a continual challenge throughout the years. But as I’ve opened my hands and allowed God to steer my heart and redirect His purposes in me, I’ve experienced the joy of His presence in miraculous ways.  And I’ve come to understand that my dreams are not just meant for me. My dreams, the ones that God has given, are always meant to be shared with others. The greatest dreams of all are the ones I can’t make happen – the dreams that depend upon God working through me to complete the vision that He has given. The vision that encompasses far more than my earthly eyes can see.

So with this thought in mind, I encourage you to keep dreaming. Dream those dreams that are bigger than you. Dream outside the limits of this world. Dream beyond the practical and realistic. After all, if your dreams are realistic, then they won’t require God to do the impossible. But most of all, dream the dreams that God has already dreamed for you – dreams that will bring Him glory and touch the world with the light of His love in powerful ways. For those are the dreams of eternity.

And one day when I meet you in heaven, I can’t help but imagine that we will stand together before our Savior and in awe proclaim, “Lord, I never dreamed…”

Barbara Snyder, like her daughter, still believes in dreams. She is married to her favorite person in the world and is mother to five incredible kids with a family that continues to grow as God grafts missionary sons and daughters into her life. She strives to live the moments with her eyes looking for God’s presence and hands open to His leading as she presses toward the culmination of all dreams – eternity with her King. She blogs at

The Life I Never Planned

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I can’t even count the number of times that question has been asked of me. I was never one of those kids who struggled with an answer. I had my entire life figured out by the time I was eight. I was going to be a missionary and a mother. Eventually my writing dream slipped in there too, and by the time I left home, I was set in my plans.

It’s funny how plans change. How the life I once dreamed of is not the life I am currently living. Right now, I’m a missionary drop-out, soon-to-be-published author of the kind of books I never wanted to write with no husband in the foreseeable future. Sometimes I roll my eyes and say that God mocks me, but honestly… Honestly I’m coming to terms with the fact that God knows best.

That He sees the dreams I never dreamed.

That His dreams are better than my dreams.

If you look at people throughout history – people who are famous for doing extraordinary things – I’m willing to bet they didn’t set out to accomplish those things in the beginning. I’m willing to bet that God interrupted their lives with a purpose that was greater than their imaginings.

Take Mary in the Bible, for instance. I’ll bet all Mary really wanted was to marry Joseph and live happily ever after in her comfortable little life. Then came the angel that declared she would give birth to the Son of God. Say what?

God gave Mary a task that was way, WAY beyond anything she could have ever asked or imagined. And it wasn’t easy. Her community scorned her for what they assumed to be an illegitimate pregnancy, her fiance nearly kicked her to the curb (and who could blame him?), and the last Mary sighting in the Bible is at the foot of the cross where she watched her son suffer a horrible death.

Following God’s call on her life cost Mary everything. It hurt. It hurt so much worse than her comfortable dreams of happily ever after ever could. But I’m willing to bet that if you asked Mary if she wished she had done things differently, she would say no. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She had traded her old dreams for a new promise.

And the miracle was worth the price she paid.

As I find myself thinking things like, “This isn’t how I thought my life would turn out,” and “I never asked for this ~ wouldn’t have chosen this,” I think of Mary. And I ask myself if this miracle will be worth the price I paid. Though sometimes it’s hard to imagine, I trust that my final answer will be yes. Yes, it was so worth it. I’m trading my old dreams for a new promise.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Interrupted, Redirected, and Fulfilled

I finished a book the other night – a book I never even wanted to write. The book that started this blog. When God called me to this Beyond Waiting journey, I fiercely resisted. In case you don’t know, this girl wanted to be a novelist. Still does want to be a novelist. And here God was asking me to set that aside and pursue a different dream. His dream.

There was arguing, and praying, and begging, and crying, but God won in the end (He always does). Now here I am, a year later, staring at the full manuscript of a book. No gaps, no holes, but a completed (albeit rough) draft of Beyond Waiting. And I’m amazed. I’m amazed that I feel so much pride over something I had no desire to be a part of. I’m amazed that this journey I avoided has become one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. (I’m finding that this tends to happen a lot – the things I spend the most time resisting are the things that become most dear to my heart.)

I sit at the feet of the God who interrupts, redirects, and fulfills my wildest dreams and I weep with the wonder of it all. He has taken this dream I was sure didn’t exist and moved it to the forefront of my life, and now I see that it has been there all along – hidden within the deepest crevices of my heart.

I think that God does this with our lives more often than we care to admit. He sees the dreams we overlook, and He calls them out of His children. I truly believe that God wants to expand your boundaries as He has mine this past year. I believe He is presenting opportunities in your life. Doors for you to step through. Trails for you to blaze. Don’t be afraid to follow wherever the Father calls you. Let Him expand your vision. Allow Him to be the God who interrupts, redirects, and fulfills your wildest dreams. I promise you, you won’t regret it.