My lifelong dream has come true. Our lives have changed dramatically and beautifully in the last month. Since marrying my husband in 2013, I’ve been a “bonus” mom to two sweet, energetic, loving little girls. And now, God has seen fit to expand our family with a beautiful baby boy we’ve been privileged to adopt! That’s right. I’ve become a mommy.
If you’ve read my books or followed me for a while, you know this has been a dream deferred, but I have never given up on the vision I’ve sensed deep in my spirit for marriage and family. At times, I have felt frustrated, helpless, and discouraged, but I refused to give up hope. I could not. To give up hope would be to give up on God. As I stand in the midst of this vision of love that has unfolded, I feel led to share my lessons learned so I can encourage you to persevere towards your own vision – whatever that vision might be:
1. Keep hoping.
Without hope, there is no vision. When you stop hoping, you start settling. Be relentless and focused. At times, it may even appear you are delusional to keep hoping. So what! Keep believing in your vision and make decisions, whether about relationships, finances, career, that honor your ultimate goal.
2. Don’t let disappointments become your destination.
Separation and divorce. Navigating the tumultuous dating landscape of Atlanta. Trying to conceive over 40. Miscarrying twins. All have been my reality in the last seven years. Each could have become a bitter destination, except for this: I refused to see my disappointments as a permanent destination. Some were devastating detours. I had to stop journeying for a while and recover. But I made a decision to be better and not bitter after each one. I made a decision not to get stuck staring at the obstacles before me, but to look up and remember the vision in my heart. That vision compelled me to keep hoping and keep moving forward.
3. Be open to a path that looks different than you expected.
It is easy to be rigid about how your dream must come together. Don’t. Be open to divine orchestration. Let go of your need to control the “how” of your vision so you can stay focused on the “why” – which leads me to this last point …
4. Stay focused on the PURPOSE of your vision more than the excitement of it.
At points, I began to doubt whether I would ever become a mother, and before that, whether I would ever find the kind of love I believe in. A transformational message emerged from my doubt, though. I asked myself, “What if you never marry?” “What if you never have a child?” And I answered my “What if” questions. Here’s what I realized: The world would not come to an end, so I better learn to be happy regardless of the outcome! If I didn’t get married or have children, I would live my life single without children and I would choose to have an incredible life. There are many women I greatly admire who are single without children – and happy, purposeful, loved and loving. So then, what would be the purpose of marriage and family in my life? That is the question I needed to answer for myself. I don’t believe that having a child is about me becoming a mom. I believe it is about having the blessed opportunity to nurture and grow a child I have been entrusted to raise. What an honor. It is about him, not me. And perhaps that is the shift in thinking that shifted my life and brought us this amazing, perfect little boy for us.
My challenge to you this week:
Persevere! Stay focused on your vision. Don’t give up.
What is the vision that you’ve yet to realize, but still hope to see unfold? What is the PURPOSE behind your vision? In what way(s) do you need to open yourself to a path that looks different than you expected? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!