My birthday is this weekend, and for the last few years it seems like every birthday gets a little bit harder. They get harder not because of how old I am but because of hopes deferred.
I always thought that by the time I reached my late 30’s I would have been married for a long time and had several children. The people who knew me when I was younger used to tease me that I would be one of those ladies you hear or read about who had 20 children. Not like the Duggars but the ones who have several of their own and who have adopted many children as well.
In my high school journal, I wrote out a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan, and a 15-year plan. The 5-year plan included graduating from college and starting work on my Master’s degree and meeting the man of my dreams and getting married. The 10-year plan included starting my own childcare center and starting a family of my own. By the time, I reached the 15-year mark. I would have been married for close to 10 years and had several children including at least 2 children who I had adopted.
Well, I didn’t stick to my plan.
My senior year of high school was really rough for me. I was ill and couldn’t attend school for more than half of the year. So while everyone else was taking the ACTS and SATS and applying to colleges I was just trying to get through each day. I basically homeschooled myself that year, but college got put off.
I did eventually get my Bachelor of Science degree in child and family development, and I started my Master’s degree in early childhood education. But I haven’t finished it because I discovered somewhere along the way that as much as I love children and as good as I am with them I’m more of a nurturer and caregiver than a teacher.
My dream of marriage and children hasn’t happened for many, many reasons. Some of which I know and understand. Some of which I don’t know.
One thing I have noticed in all these years about these dreams is that at times I would cling to these dreams so much that I would become heart sick. I longed for the day that I would be married and have children, and I planned my life around that. So when year after year passed and I didn’t marry, I buried the disappointment, the sadness and even the anger that came.
I buried them when I should have dealt with them. I should have given them to Christ a long time before I did. I should have given them to Christ a long time before I did.
I lost heart. I placed my focus on my own wants and desires.
There is a verse in Proverbs that says, “A hope deferred makes a heart sick.” (Proverbs 13:12)
I have learned through the years that this is true, but that is because I was placing my hope in the wrong place.
I was placing my hope in my dreams and desires instead of placing them in the Lord.
I wanted the fairy tale. I thought that if I had all my dreams come true then my life would be perfect. I wanted the fantasy.
Instead I needed to place my hope in the Lord. When you place your hope in Him and allow Him to satisfy your needs, then your heart stays well.
Marriage wouldn’t have solved all of my problems. Only Jesus can.
Running the best childcare center in town wouldn’t have solved all of my problems. Only Jesus can.
Getting my Master’s degree won’t solve all of my problems. Only Jesus can.
Only Jesus can take the mess of my life and turn it into a message.
Only Jesus can forgive my sins.
Only Jesus can heal the pain within me.
A hope deferred makes a heart sick only when that hope is placed on something other than Jesus.
What is your hope in?
Now it’s your turn…