Dreams, Reality, and Working Hard No Matter What

When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to grow up and be a wife and mommy.  And I also wanted to be a teacher.  And a hairdresser.  And a baker.  And a writer.

I had visions of what this dream life would be like, even though I wasn’t sure how I could really “have it all”.  After all, I always really, really wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  But I also wanted to be a teacher or maybe I would do hair or have a bakery.  Writing?  Well, I just really enjoyed it.  Maybe, I thought, I would write a children’s book someday.

I certainly never considered the hard work it would take to achieve each dream.  As I dreamed of what my life would be like when I grew up, I always pictured the end result.   The handsome, hard working daddy.  The adorable, clean, well fed children.  The spotless, organized home (surrounded by a picket fence and pretty flowers).  The beautiful cakes and cookies seen from my bakery window.  My perfectly managed classroom full of happy, smart students.  Finished manuscripts sitting neatly in a stack beside my typewriter (yes, I’m old).  And me.  I would be the smiling, rested, relaxed grown up lady.

Fastforward to 2013. 

I am 39 years old with a handsome, hard working husband. 

I am a mom.  I’ve got four amazing kids.  All boys.  Who knew?!

I am a teacher.  My classroom is our kitchen table or our sofa. 

I am a baker.  My oven is often filled with breads, muffins, casseroles, cookies, and much more – all of which are scarfed up before anyone has much chance or desire to admire them. 

Giant Breakfast Cookies, 2 loaves of Cinnamon Swirl Bread,
2 loaves of Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Homemade Poptarts

I am a hairdresser.  About once a month, we cycle through everyone from Dad to teenager to ten year old, then sweep up all the blond hairs that have fallen in the process.

I am a writer.  There are no children’s books, but there is a blog and there are books.  Now there is even an eCourse that combines my love of teaching with my love of writing.

How could I have ever imagined that living my dreams as a wife, a mom, a teacher, a baker, and a writer could be so amazing, fulfilling, rewarding, and enjoyable? I couldn’t know – until I began living the dream. I’m so thankful and joyful! Recognizing this is what makes me the smiling, rested, relaxed grown up lady.

But often, I am the tired, worn out, overwhelmed lady – trying to get a meal on the table, the writing deadline met, and the kids to stop arguing.

Dreaming big?  We need to do it.  God has given us all gifts – we need to dream and plan for how we can use them for His purposes! 

As a child, I simply had…dreams.  I now realize that living my dream means that I must be a very hard worker.  I must be wise with my time, careful with my choices, and intentional about my relationships.

Clean houses, happy children, pretty baked goods, writing projects, healthy relationships – they don’t just happen.  We can’t just dream them into reality.  We can’t just desire something into existence.

We have to work hard.  We have to persevere.  We have to take leaps of faith.  We have to make sacrifices.   And we have to trust the Creator. 

Will all of our dreams then come true?  Likely not all of them.  I’ve endured shattered dreams.  It’s devastating.  We have to trust the Creator on this one too.

Here’s what I’ve realized:  God’s reality is much better than any of my dreams – even the dreams that have “come true”.  He can use us to fulfill His purposes, to glorify Him, and to minister to others in ways we never could ever think or dream, or in ways that we can think or dream.  And He always gives us everything we need to make it happen.

Now that’s a reality I’d like to hold onto. 

Please share in the comments:  Do you feel like you’re living many of your dreams?  (Does it take a little more work than you initially figured it might?!)  Have you been frustrated to see some of your dreams unfulfilled?  How have you seen God work through those times?

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Comments

  1. Tara H says

    Wow, Laura, this post is wonderful! I’m trying to think of other words to describe it, but that’s all I need, I think.
    When I was little I wanted to be a teacher. As I got older I wanted to just be a wife and mother, a homemaker. (Which is quite humorous since I could barely boil water when I got married at 18 twelve years ago on the 27th.)
    Now I’m married to a wonderful, hard working, loving, devoted, caring, sweet man! I have 5 boys that I get to teach at home every day. We have made some bad choices financially therefore we don’t have our own house, but that’s where some of the hard work that you were talking about is going to come in this year! We have made it our goal to change our family tree this year! I don’t know that we’ll knock out all of our debt by the end of the year, but we should be close!
    Failures don’t have to be the end…they can be the beginning of something greater!

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    T.R. Reply:

    I wish you and your family the best with your goal this year and your dream of your own home. :O)

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  2. says

    and all the things we do as a wife, a mom, a teacher, a baker,doctor, judge and a writer we don’t get payed in money just in love with them people around us we work hard but it all worth it in love

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  3. joanna says

    so encouraging to hear my thoughts from someone else! yes, now i’m married to the love of my life, have my own house, &enjoy this most days, but there are days i wish i had more…some children under foot to give hugs & to snuggle w/, more talent w/ decorating our home, more of a defined purpose in life. however, God is using me in this season of life, & just as you said, His plans are so much better than mine! thanks for the reminder; i’m pinning this for another time i need a timely & gentle reminder! =)

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  4. says

    I like how you have looked at it. I was really surprised to find I had the same dreams you did. Funny! I too wanted to be a teacher, but quit after seeing the struggle my mom went through when teaching. I also wanted that beautiful home with white picket fence and flowers.

    I am now the mom to almost six (five of which will be girls), I cut hair probably once a month, I baked goodies (though my oldest loves to do it as well), I also write and took a class for it after passing an aptitude test. It didn’t take me anywhere, but it was interesting.

    It’s all in perspective. And, it it’s all in His hands.

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  5. says

    Laura,

    You are so encouraging and I praise God every day for leading me to your blog. By just being a daughter of the Kingdom you have given me more inspiration than I could say. I have recently been led to leave my job (of over 18 years) and focus more on my family. I could not be happier. I worry much but am constantly reminded that the Lord will provide, as long as I continue to listen to Him and walk in His light. Blessings to you and your family.

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  6. Katie E says

    I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mommy, and God has more than answered my prayers. I have an amazing husband and 3 beautiful babies, with the hopes of more one day. I have also always wanted to be a writer. I have tried to fit writing into my life at times, but God has told me to wait. To wait until my kids are a bit older. Trying to find time to write while also taking care of 3 littles was causing us all stress. God showed me that I need to give my all to one dream right now. There is such comfort in the peace that answer brings. I’m still young. God hasn’t yet shown me how to use my writing to minister to others. I will wait and trust my Lord.

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  7. says

    Ha!! You’re NOT old even if you remember typewriters…you are only as old as you feel!! I enjoyed this post very much and since it is the second one I am reading about dreaming, I think maybe THIS is the time is my life where I should start dreaming??

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  8. joanie e says

    similar story here, laura, and yes, His plans are always better- His dreams for us far outreach our own. We often question His plans and timing, but in the end- YES !

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  9. gina says

    This is such good stuff to be thinking and talking about. i come from the other end of this spectrum…i can’t say that i ever dreamed of being domesticated in any way. Don’t get me wrong, i figured i would probably get married and have kids, but that just was not something that i thought much about or looked forward to. i was heavily influenced by “liberated” women who gave me the impression that i was gifted to do much more significant things beyond home and family life. i did daydream of being a missionary and/or teaching and facilitating Bible studies and/or helping people.

    And then i got married my senior year in college to a young man also in his senior year in college…that turned out to be the first of three senior years in college, to be followed by three years in grad school! And year by year, decision by decision i found myself convicted, even compelled, to focus my energies on home and family life…by taking whatever job just to pay the bills and stay out of debt vs pursuing a career…by having babies and then accepting responsibility by caring for them at home myself…by feeding these babies whole, real foods which required time and energy in educating myself and then preparing them…and then much to my surprise HOME SCHOOLING them! i was NEVER going to be a home schooling mom of home schooled kids!

    The honest truth is that i have had a few seasons of all-out pouting that THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED…It doesn’t come naturally to me. i’m better at other things! But after whining and arguing with God and myself, i come to the place of KNOWING that THIS IS where God has led us. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the deepest desire of my heart? Yes, it is. And i have become convinced that although this has been the hardest work i’ve ever done, i will NEVER find anything more fulfilling than the honor of learning to be a helper suitable to my man and having a front row seat to seeing three amazing young men grow in wisdom and stature and hopefully in favor with God and man. This has been God’s plan for our lives and His ways are far higher than our ways.

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    Alli Reply:

    Gina, your comment blessed me as well as Laura’s post. I have a similar story. The day I finally realized I needed to let go of my dream of being a singer/songwriter/musician, I was heart broken. But I knew that my new baby needed all of my time and attention. I’ve since had 3 more and, to be honest, I do sometimes longingly dream still of performing again for thousands, but I know this is where God wants me. I need to choose to be content because that’s when I am able to see the joy in even the smallest seemingly insignificant tasks.

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    Heather @ My Kansas Life Reply:

    I’ve definitely felt that “I don’t want this” feeling many times since I had my son and started working from home instead of in the office at the job I loved. Honestly, it’s still a struggle almost every day. I know God wants me where I am now, but I struggle to find the joy in it.

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  10. Jessica Jantz says

    Aaaahh…(that’s a sigh of relief aaahhh, by the way) You have helped me come to realize that I have been looking at my life all wrong or maybe just from a different angle. And I need to change that angle. Your website has been such a great help and source of encouragement for me as I walk through this journey called life. I unfortunately, am not able to homeschool my children, which I so desperately wish I could. But with my husband back in school and working very part time that makes it difficult. Anywho, so that I don’t make this short story a long one. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do everyday on this site. I don’t think you realize how many people’s lives you affect. It’s not just the initial people that read your website, but the others that are connected to those people. By teaching, feeding and providing a healthy, happy and safe environment for our loved ones. Ok, done rambling. Thanks again for everything!

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  11. says

    Oh, gosh, there were so many different dreams when I was younger. I was going to be a singer, a dancer, a writer…a flight attendant and travel the world lol!

    My dreams are different now. I have two wonderful children and a strong and loving husband. I’d never thought of it until reading your post…God gave me new dreams. Dreams of creating a warm and inviting home full of love. I even get to blog (and even if no one reads my words, I’m still writing – so I got to keep one of my original dreams lol!)

    You’re so right. God’s plans for us are the good dreams. Thank you for a great post.

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  12. krystal says

    Thank you for this post, Laura. It blessed me as I too have also aspired many life careers and yet live out my dream as full time mother and wife. This writing reminded me how many things which are achieved in these. God is good to allow us to pursue and live out these desires of our heart. Great perspective and encouragement for many. :)

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  13. Espie says

    Thank you for ministering to me this morning, Laura. I prayed last night before I went to bed for some direction, perspective, something “Lord, whatever you think will help me.” This morning, I came down and saw my computer and your post was up on my screen! I usually shut down my laptop at night and put the screen down; I don’t remember leaving your blog up on my screen. . . Thank you for answered prayers and the reminder that dreams do come true with a little elbow grease and love.

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  14. says

    I am 29 and mother to 6 children. Certainly more and faster than I ever imagined. as a girl! But it is greater than the life I had planned!!!!! I am daily amazed that God has chosen me to nurture, teach, discipline, and love these people who call me mommy!

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  15. says

    It’s amazing how our dreams often “come true” in some form or fashion, just not how we initially envisioned them.
    I really appreciate your focus on working hard—being wise with time, careful with choices, and intentional about relationships. Thank you for the reminder that our dreams are progressively realized as we are faithful with that which is before us.

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  16. Trudi says

    Don’t feel old Laura . . . unless you learned on a MANUAL typewriter like I did!! Manual typewriters, carbon paper and typewriter erasers (no white-out!), Gregg shorthand and mimeograph machines — ah, the good old days! ;) Seriously though, it’s refreshing to read your posts and find other “kindred spirits”, especially when so many women choose careers over having anything else. I’m 49 and I wanted nothing more than to marry right out of high school and be a wife and stay-at-home mom at a time when “women’s rights” was really starting to take hold and “stay-at-home” wasn’t a common phrase. I also had dreams sprinkled in there about somehow being a teacher (homeschooling was just in the grass roots stages and virtually unheard of), baking and cooking anything and everything, and being married to a man who loved the Lord and could fix anything (somehow a construction worker always came to mind). For as long as I can remember I was a back-to-basics person . . . when I was about 9 or 10 I started wishing I had been born in 1863 instead of 1963! So, now I’m married to a wonderful man who works hard, loves the Lord and (surprise!) is in construction. I have a beautiful 8-year old daughter that I have the privilege of homeschooling. I’m a “homesteader wannabe”, growing, canning and making as much as I’m able to do living in town until (Lord willing) our finances allow us to move out to the country. Your post made me realize how the Lord really did fulfill my dreams, and in spite of my “unwise” (translated: dumb) decisions over the years. Life isn’t exactly as I’d pictured it would be growing up, and certainly didn’t happen in the timing I’d imagined, but Psalm 18:30 says “As for God, his way is perfect . . .” Amen! Thanks Laura!

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  17. Lisa says

    All I can think of is how beautiful your post is. It puts words out there that describe how am feeling. I wasted so much time wanting the dream but not working for it. God is so good because He gives us the desires of our hearts (if they are right) and in my case that meant making me learn to work. I won’t tell you how old I am (but older than most of your readers I am sure) but I have figured it is better late than never. Thank you for posting your thoughts.

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  18. says

    Thank you so so much for your gift of perspective today. I’ve been struggling lately with my identity as a stay at home mom. It’s funny how we think we can do so many things, until we realize just how much work each one takes! Sometimes, I feel like my gifts and passions are going to waste, but you reminded me that if I’m investing them into my family and, when possible, others I come into contact with, it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t come with a big paycheck or a fancy title. Being called MOM is the biggest honor there is, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

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  19. Lisa says

    Oh, wow. I needed to read this. Thank you for writing it!

    I have trouble dreaming big because I get overwhelmed by “I don’t know how to do it,” or “It just isn’t practical right now.” Thankfully, God knew I needed a nudge to dream big and gave me a husband who does, and encourages me in my dreams, even ones I haven’t been able to name yet.

    I’m amazed to see how my dreams have grown out of my trials and struggles. I’m a survivor of rape and domestic violence. I struggle with depression. I’m a full-time, work-outside-the-home mom to an infant. Each has been difficult in its own way. And much to my surprise, my dreams have become to minister to other women in those situations – fellow survivors, others who struggle with depression, fellow Christian working moms who feel alone and overwhelmed. I love to write and I love to share my story and encourage others. I’m not sure how God will mold all of this, but I know He will. I just need to heed His call and do the work, trusting that He will equip me. Thank you again for this wonderful reminder.

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  20. Steph says

    Thanks, Laura, for your insights. I’ve been ruminating on this very issue, from a different perspective, and it’s so wonderful to feel that kinship, that knowing that I’m not alone!

    It hasn’t always been a dream, but since I’ve been an adult and worked as a nurse when I graduated from college, I’ve wanted to teach in a school of nursing. I’ve been in graduate school, working on a PhD for the last 8 years. In that time, I’ve met my husband, married, and given birth to two beautiful kids. I’m close to finishing now (took the long road but was able to spend more time with my kids working part time) and have a job at a school of nursing waiting for me–dream fulfilled. It’s crunch time now–I need to finish, and, you’re right, it’s so much work to finish this dissertation to get to that dream! It’s also so much work to provide real food for my family (thanks for your help with this!) and to be a worthy wife for my husband.

    I feel guilty often. I know what an honor and privilege it is to be a full-time mom, but I am leaning on God always, waiting for His direction. I may not always hear a clear calling, but I am at peace with where I am, and I hope he would agitate me if I weren’t in the right place (I feel guilty, but not agitated :))! And I also appreciate your sentiment–dreams fulfilled or not, work and reward are usually tied up in one package, and walking with God is the very most fulfilling work and reward out there.

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  21. says

    Laura: Wow! What an wonderful post!

    I have, for most of my life (and continue now), worked away from my home every week day leaving early and not coming home until almost 6 some nights. I always wanted to be, like you… a stay at home mom, a baker, a writer, a teacher. I always saw those things as something I would never get to do until I read your post. My youngest is a sophomore in college and I had a terrible time thinking that I’d missed all of it; that my window for being the things I dream of – was gone.

    Seeing the end to working is tough for me because all I really wanted to do was stay at home and be Mom, wife, daughter to my family. The other “dreams” of being writer, baker, teacher, were wistful – never-to-be’s.

    You have opened my eyes to the reality that I am all of those things. I have been cheerleading coach/Girl Scout leader/Sunday School teacher, when my girls were little. I worked as a para to special needs children for a while at an elementary school. I make wonderful meals and bake delicious breads and pastry for my loved ones. I sew and crochet and encourage others in these time honored crafts. I also keep a blog and have written a post in my Church newsletter for a while about sustainable living.

    Your very powerful message reminds me of that Christmas song (by Reba McIntire) about Conrad, who thought Jesus was coming to his home. He was visited by all sorts of visitors, none of whom he thought was Jesus when in reality all of them had been. I can now see (even though I still REALLY want to one day be home for my family, even though they are grown up) that I have gotten to be all of those things. And I’m good at them!

    Thank you, Laura, for putting this into perspective for me. You just made a powerful difference in the way I see things.

    You forgot one very special “career” that you do very well and that is Minister or Missionary. You offer a wonderful message that brings me even closer to God. Thank you for that, Laura!

    Blessings.. Gina

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  22. Katherine says

    It is funny how much we have in common. I am the same age and came in third in the typing olympics in high school which I am still very proud of if I do say so! LOL I dreamed of having a large family, sweet husband, cozy home with lots of love and cooking, being a teacher as well. Of course definitely I pictured perfect behavior, perfect decor, perfect everything but I was eleven so I try not to beat myself up for the perfection in the dreams. I now have a super sweet husband, six awesome kids, a cozy house with lots of cooking that I no longer burn, and I get to teach them at home. I still have those bad days, those irritations, those poor me feelings creep in and I have to fight them off and give thanks, I have so much to be thankful for and so many dream that have come true, I just need to keep seeing this and focus on all the blessings. Thanks for such a great reminder.

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  23. Wendy says

    I love this post! I love that God put the dreams in your heart that He knew He’d call you to and gave you the opportunity to walk in it. I recently realized that all I ever dreamed of was to be happily married and a stay at home mom having babies and raising little ones, and lo and behold, here I am with all my dreams fulfilled! I also dreamed of being a teacher and also homeschool now. I just love how God gives us the desires of our hearts (as in puts the desires in our hearts for the things He has for us).

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  24. Barbra says

    Amen, Laura! Thank you for sharing, you were very encouraging and reading some of the comments brought tears to my eyes. God is truly awesome and praise be to him for being in control. Praise be to God for salvation and the privileges which come when we commit our lives to him, obey him, trust and rest in him! A

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  25. Sarah G says

    God is so amazing! These words are EXACTLY what I have been needing to hear. My family and I are battling with a decision to move to a large farm. A farm that we feel God has placed in our future. However, the cost of this farm is expensive. God has always provided for us in so many ways, but this is a HUGE leap of faith.
    However, I understand that we must walk by faith, trust God, and work harder than every for this dream to become a reality. Thank you!

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  26. says

    Thank you, Laura, for this much needed post! I too have many of the same desires you once did, but I am still on the other side of them, waiting for “life to start” in a way, lol! I know that the Lord has a plan for me even at this stage of life, and am working on embracing my singleness and doing God’s will in my day-to-day life. Your post gave me hope that He does listen to our dreams! Thanks again, this was just what I needed today!

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  27. Faith says

    Thank you Laura. As always, God worked out perfect timing for your post. I’m glad to know I am not in this alone and we all struggle with the same things. Thank the Lord that this world is not the end though ,and we can smile and be thankful because the best is yet to come, and we have so much to be thankful for TODAY as well! God bless and I am praying for you and your ministry :)

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  28. Jill says

    Thank you Laura for helping me recognise the subtle way in which I have fufilled my childhood dreams of wanting to be a nurse and live in a fairytale with a happy ending (which was marrying my childhood sweetheart a year and a half ago). I am so looking forward to seeing evidence of my dreams that I am working on just now to appear in the future.

    A child told me last year that she wanted adults to love themselves, love others and with heart and soul believe in who they are. It was so powerful that this is what I have been doing for the last year and its been interesting to say the least, but an incredible learning experience.

    I wanted to share this to help fufill this child’s dream for humanity. She was nine last year. I hope you dont mind me sharing this.

    I am looking forward to reading future posts – they give me so much xx

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