As a child I remember having a recurring dream about a little black boy with bright green eyes. When I awoke I always assumed this would be the child I would adopt someday. As I think back, I wonder why my assumption was such. I do have four adopted cousins, or maybe it's just that God placed in my heart a desire for adoption from the time I was a little girl. Regardless, my dreams have always been vivid and seemingly prophetic.
I have been having a lot of dreams since our adoption. Dreams of death. Psychologists claim that dreams involving death represent loss. It seems to be true in my case. We have experienced much loss. Loss of ourselves, friends, anticipated support, understanding, sanity and...dreams.
However, we have also gained. In the midst of both, I have truly learned to appreciate the blessings bestowed in the midst of the heartache. I have realized true friendship, uncovered a grounded, solid marriage tied together by three strands which can never be broken, and grown to deeply appreciate God's sovereignty, power, comfort and His will for us, which more often than not brings significant trials for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. (Just read any book of the Bible.)
Today our Pastor talked about two couples he once counseled simultaneously. One was a middle-aged couple who had been married 20 plus years. They accomplished the American Dream, but were left feeling empty and lonely. The other was a pre-marital couple, young and energetic and ready to embark on the same adventure as the older couple and to follow similar dreams.
Rick and I never had pre-marital counseling because we lived 1,500 miles apart, but I remember those days prior to marriage when we dreamed about what our life would be. Rick's dream included 10 kids and mine only 2, neither of us knowing that God had plans for 4. We dreamed of a life where we placed God at the center of our home, raised children who were successful in God's eyes, served His people here and abroad and fell in love more and more deeply each year of our marriage.
As I listened to the sermon, I realized that our anniversary places us dead in the middle of those two couples. I realized we are far from the "bliss" that comes during those pre-marital months. I also happily realized that I don't think Rick and I will be that older couple sitting in the Pastor's office wondering where our life went and what we really accomplished. We are holding on to our dream, and while many things have taken an unintended turn, we are staying the course God chose for us. We have taken risks for God. We have followed him into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, or so it feels right now. Yet, we know our life is full of purpose and meaning. We are opposing the American Dream and while that doesn't feel comfy and cozy right now, nor does it provide much support even within the Church, one day we are confident we will reap the rewards.
It is my prayer that ten years from now, we will be a couple deeply in love, ONE, probably very wrinkled and gray, but also content and full. Not content because we remained married, our kids all went to college, got great jobs, found lovely wives and had the cutest kids ever. Not even content because our dream turned out almost precisely as we intended. Content because 20 years earlier, God called and we said "Here we are Lord. Send us."
Lord, give us the strength to continue...and continue to give us the dreams.