Burning Dreams to Ashes

When I was eight years old, I had my life all figured out. I was going to be the next Amy Carmichael, never mind my green eyes. I figured after a stint in missions, I would settle down and start a family. I’d stay home with my six kids, of course.

Well, life doesn’t exactly play out like it did in our eight-year-old minds. In a strange turn of events, my brother was the one who moved to India. I went there once and decided it wasn’t for me. And after two years of working with Advancing Native Missions, I realized there was another dream overtaking the one I had crafted and cradled from childhood.

It was terrifying to say goodbye to all I’d ever thought I wanted. Terrifying to place my life in God’s hands as I chased an impossible dream. Even more terrifying to realize that I’ve just been in transition all along. That maybe I’ll just be in transition all my life.

That’s what life is, isn’t it? A transition from this world into the next. God putting us on this earth for a purpose that is never clearly defined.

What am I to do? Where am I to go? Who am I to be?

A few days ago, I set fire to the remnants of my life in Virginia. That’s how it felt watching all my blank checks go up in flames—that a dream was burning to ashes. Because I never dreamed that I’d be moving back in with my parents a few days shy of my 23rd birthday, uncertain of what the future holds from here.

My missions stint didn’t end in marriage, six kids sounds like a crazy lot of work right now, and that’s not all I want out of life anymore. I want something a little crazier than that, even if I’m not 100% certain what that crazy thing is.

I’m learning it’s okay to burn our dreams to ashes if it means that a new one will rise in its place. And I think it’s all right to stand in those places where you have no idea what’s coming just around the river bend. After all, if God wanted us to live a predictable life, He would have given us a manual with step by step instructions. But He didn’t, so I guess He must just like holding our hands as He walks us through the ups and downs.

The honest truth (and perhaps the reason this blog has been so silent here of late) is that I don’t know where I’m going to be six months from now. I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing six weeks from now. And Control Freak Rebekah doesn’t like that, but Rebekah Who Lives By Faith is coming to terms with it.

The remains of my goals and plans my be resting in the corner of a fire pit in Afton, Virginia, but that’s okay. Because God led me here for this time and season. And God is leading me into a much greater future than I could ever dream for myself.

And though I am not certain of many things, I have absolute confidence that He will call forth beauty from the ashes of my dreams.

ashes

The In-Between Places

“Egypt’s prince became Israel’s deliverer – but somewhere in the middle he had to become Midian’s shepherd so he could learn how to lead in a godly way.” ~Shannon Primicerio

I’ve probably read those words about Moses a minimum of five times without ever really seeing them. This time, they jumped out at me. I’m going to blame it on the fact that I’m smack dab in the middle of the “Midian phase.”

Midian for Moses was an in-between place – a step away from where he didn’t want to remain, but not quite where he wanted to be. It’s a place most of us dread – a place of transition and change. Midian was a necessary tool in shaping Moses into the leader God desired for him to be, but he didn’t know that when he fled Egypt.

That’s the thing about in-between places. They never make sense while you’re in them. Sometimes you look around and ask, “God, why am I here?” But He never seems to answer, unless He gives you the occasional, “You’ll see.” But it would seem that you never “see” soon enough.

It’s frustrating to live in the in-between places. Sometimes all you can think about is how this isn’t where you want to be – even when you know it’s so much better than the place you left. Or worse, you turn out like the Israelites when they were waiting in the desert. You start to miss the place of bondage from which you fled. You start to think, “At least then I knew what was going on. I have no idea what’s happening here!”

But the thing is, God doesn’t want you to live in bondage. He doesn’t want you to merely exist; He wants you to thrive. So He takes you out of those places where you are slowly fading and He leads you into another place – the in-between place – because He knows the in-between places are necessary if you want to reach the other side.

So don’t dread the in-between places, even when they don’t seem to make sense. Don’t you know that God is making a deliverer out of you?

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” ~Job 23:10