Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. . . . And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.
Jeremiah 29:5,7 (NLT)
We were so sure about the call to ministry on our lives even before we got married. It was what connected us as a couple, the thing that took us from one address and assignment to another, and eventually to Germany together. Germany was one of our last stops, the last clear call we heard from God, our last hope to see if something in ministry might actually work out for us in the long haul. But what had once felt like the greatest purpose of our lives — both as individuals and as a couple — started to feel like wearing clothes in the wrong size. We wrestled to make them fit, constantly adjusting and readjusting the way we looked at the future.
After Germany, we moved back to the States, and after another year of full-time ministry, we left it. We stepped into a landscape of wilderness and silence. We began living lives we didn’t imagine we would be living, in a place I never wanted to live in.
We clung to each other as we wrestled through the slow grief of our dreams dying. There were days of melancholy and longing, repeated prayers of pleading to be called back to what was, tearful nights, and quiet, lonely dinners. The days piled up one after another, seemingly void of purpose. The nagging feeling that we were doing something wrong, or that we ourselves were wrong and not good enough to be in ministry, followed me around like an ugly shadow.
I wish I could say it became easier after a few rough months. But the death of anything never comes easy. And for years the grief of those dead dreams kept coming back without invitation. But we tended to the simple things right in front of us. We started noticing the neighbors around us. We moved toward the ones we didn’t choose, the ones chosen for us. These tiny things became our seeds. We watered them with tears of grief, the ache of discontent, and slivers of hope. And over time our tiny, imperfect offering of dreams come undone became a beautiful garden. It was in this garden that I began to learn how to be still and to receive. This unexpected garden began to nourish us.
I see now what I couldn’t see ten years ago: the death of my dream was not the death of God’s dreams for me.
God, this doesn’t look like I thought it would, and it’s breaking my heart. Yet I’m in a place of learning how to be still and how to receive, and my hands are open to Your plan. Nourish me in this unexpected garden and help me see that the death of this dream is not the death of Your dreams for me. Amen.
Written by Tasha Jun, as published in Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay
Our newest devotional, Take Heart: 100 Devotions to Seeing God When Life’s Not Okay, is out today!
It’s full of stories where women share from the depth of their experience, pain, and eventual hope as they struggled through times when life was not okay. Take Heart is now available to purchase and we are so excited for this book to land in your hands!
And to celebrate the launch of Take Heart, we’re giving away FIVE Take Heart gift bundles!
Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win a bundle that includes a copy of Take Heart, a Woman of Courage pendant necklace, a Brave ring, and Courage Prayers to Share!
You’re not alone, friend. Take heart!
*Giveaway open to US residents only and closes at 11:59pm CST on 10/23/2020.
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