What to do when dreams don’t come true.

So, this is going to be kind of a sad writing. But maybe not. I guess you could rename my title- “Inspired goals that have been Smashed.” Or in my son’s modern “Nathan” language- “Awesome Ideas that Weren’t”


Really, who likes broken dreams?

It’s funny how dreams work. When you’re young, it’s about little boys wanting to become policemen and girls being a nurse or maybe a princess. I’ve been a teacher for several years and it almost seemed mean to ask the children to draw a picture about “what they wanted to be when they grew up.” I got to see the cutest pictures of mommies carrying babies, of dog trainers, farmers, race car drivers and nurses, and yes, even Ninjas and pilots of fighter jets. I had to almost laugh at that, being we were in a non-resistant Russian Mennonite school, I wasn’t quite sure how the parents wanted me to handle that sometimes. But it was fun to watch them use their imaginations.

Besides, even my husband said he had dreamed of being a fighter pilot growing up, For reals?? That was a new one to me!

But seeing children dream was kind of sad too, many of the students I have taught over the years came from homes where I knew their dreams would probably never come true. They came from homes where things were hard, abusive, or there was too little money. Homes where the parents didn’t connect with their children. Their dreams were just “in” their young minds, not a reality that could materialize. True, some ideas were a bit far-fetched, but we all have those, but I’m talking about the dreams that could have become real. That could have come true. What about those?

I’m talking about simple dreams like having a happy home. A good marriage. A good church. Good friends. Healing from hurts. For abuse to stop. Friendships that last for always. Having a good role model. Knowing who Jesus really was.

Things we can take for granted.

A picture Cindy took of a beautiful sky at dusk.

I looked at my class at times and wondered if the effort I made to plant seeds of God’s Word in their hearts would be for naught. I had dreams for them too. Dreams of teachers, preachers, missionaries, mommies & daddies… (and yes, why not- Doctors, firemen and pilots??) for happy lives, for radiant smiles. For them to grow up and pass what they learned about what it means to be a follower of Jesus down to their children. I just loved all those little kiddoes. But, like anyone else, I learned that I could only do so much, and then I had to trust the Lord to protect and keep all those lil babies.

…little children are so worth the effort.

My daughter and I discussed things like that a while back. About school and the things we did with our students. We had fun. Cindy was a wonderful teacher. Probably the best I ever worked with. She had a love for children and found amazing ways to teach concepts. She was kind, but gentle and firm, she put a LOT of energy into her class and her projects… From board games to posters with “Angry Birds” she drew herself. She baked cookies and celebrated birthdays and encouraged her students to get along with each other and to be who God wanted them to be.

It was good.

Cindy and I also did a school newspaper one year with features like “Student of the month” and guest articles. We included homeschooling children in that paper, so one day we went to the home of a little boy in the community…

He drew us a picture of his dog, and a truck, and of him being a rancher/cowboy. He told us about his dog and introduced us to him. We enjoyed our visit with this boy because he was happy and very sweet.

He also had cancer.

I think Cindy and I felt the same that day. Sad and happy. It was bittersweet.

He had dreams. It was hard asking him questions about the future, about his dreams, but it didn’t seem fair to not allow him to answer them like anyone else just because we knew he was sick.

He passed away a few years ago.

And he is now living a dream bigger than life itself. “God is no man’s debtor” my husband has often said. It was a lesson to both me and Cindy about the fragility of life and how we are just here for a little while. I think we both appreciated the gift of our time with our students more after that day.


On Cindy’s last day of teaching school, I saw Cindy’s students come out of her classroom  all teary eyed… Later she told me what happened… They had held hands and prayed, it was kind of a sacred solemn time for them all. They had been through so much all year, and now it was time to say good-bye… So they all hugged “Miss Cindy” and then out the door they went to a future yet untouched…

And the children weren’t the only ones crying.

Cindy learned that day about doing “her part” and what “letting go” was all about. Letting go can be hard for teachers. For parents. For pastors. The list goes on.

Cindy’s class

When we fear the future of those we care about, when we have to let go, when things don’t turn out the way we thought….

We may be tempted to try to control the future and worry about things we can’t change.

Or we can hope, help, and pray protection over the people we care about. It may seem hopeless to us, but God can give wings to our dreams and to the dreams of others.

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭ASV‬‬

Blessings! -Susie


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