The Loss of a Dream (Day 3 from a untitled collection)

 


In Psalm 23 we are told that the Lord is our Shepherd, but do you know what that means?  The Bible mentions shepherds and their duties over two hundred times. When I was in Israel our guide explained that it was the shepherd’s responsibility to carry the weak lambs in their arms until they were strong enough to stand on their own; Isaiah 40:11 uses God metaphorically in this same manner. The Tanakh is a translation of the scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text states it this way, “. . . He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them in His bosom . . .” It was also the shepherd’s duty to stand guard over the flock by day in the fields and by night in the sheepfold. I believe that’s what God had done for me all that time when I was too weak to stand on my own. In Hebrews 13:5, Jesus, as our Shepherd, said He would never leave us nor forsake us, and He never did.

         Have you ever looked up the word empty in the dictionary? When the word empty is used as an adjective the definition described the way I felt about myself; lacking substance or value, having no purpose or result. No wonder my sister had been so concerned for me, and all the others I knew were praying. I had been that type of person, but not anymore!  The word of God tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 that our adversary, the devil, walks about seeking the kind of person he can consume, or devour. It was their prayers, and my cries to the Lord, that had been keeping him at bay. I knew now that I had to refill myself with who I was in Christ because all battles begin in the mind I started there; 1 Corinthians 2:16 states as a Christian I have the mind of Christ. The Lord had shown me years ago that I was an overcomer and taught me to stand on Revelation 12:11.  When looking through the different translations of the Bible, the text in the Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) jumped out at me, it states “They [meaning Christians] defeated him [referring to the devil] because of the Lamb’s blood [the blood of Christ] and because of the message of their witness.”  My witness had gone silent for way too long and I knew I had to do something about it.  As I grew stronger I shared with a select few how the Lord had given me the reasons the store had closed and how he brought me out of the emptiness I have been feeling for so long. As weeks passed I continued studying his word

 

               I could feel the emptiness leaving and the presence of the Lord returning.  In scripture when the word upright is used to describe an individual it is saying that God approves of their character or behavior. Psalm 140:13 from the CJB says “. . .  the upright will live in your [God’s] presence.”  I was so excited for what God was doing, and I knew He was not finished with me yet. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have in mind for you,’ says Adonai, ‘plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future.’”  I had no idea what his plans for me could be but I was sure of one thing—it was going to have to be His. Oh, I knew He wouldn’t harm me, but the last few years just seemed to go from bad to worse, and I wasn’t ready to put myself out there again.

         The store closed in 2008 and in 2013 we made a major change in our lives. It had been a five-year climb out of my pit of despair and I was ready for a new beginning.  In scripture, the number five is symbolic of God’s grace, and it was only by the grace of God that I had gotten through it. As I entered the next stage of my life I knew in all I did I would acknowledge him and he would direct my path.

          As you read through this story about the loss of a dream perhaps it stirred up something deep within you that you have kept hidden for years, something that still pulls at your heartstrings.  Grief is not limited to the loss of a loved one, which in its self is hard enough, but covers so much more. For years I didn’t understand that, therefore, I never truly recovered from the many losses that life brings; as a result, each loss piled upon another, and then another.  Perhaps, like me, it was the loss of a dream; something you wanted for so long it became a part of you. Perhaps it still remains an unfulfilled dream, and you see time is not on your side to see it ever coming to fruition. Whatever the circumstances there is one that understands your every need, your every hurt, and your deepest desires; and He wants to bring restoration to your life.  It wasn’t until I understood that the store was my desire, my dream for my life, not necessarily Gods that I was able to let it go and begin to work past the grief. He had honored my dream and stood by me while the store was open; many were touched through the ministry that the store provided to the community, but He looked beyond the now to a time when He knew I would be ready for the plan He had for my life, and He is doing that with you right now. There was another level to the grief I was experiencing that perhaps you might be going through; it was the loss of my identity.  Before I became a Christian, I was a wife and mother and I devoted myself to my family, and at the time I found it fulfilling. However, I spent a lot of time alone as the boys grew older and found their own interests. As a Christian my priority was God first, family second and job third; but when I lost the store something changed inside of me and I was unable to hear God’s voice or feel His presence with me; my identity was gone and the emptiness I felt was like nothing I had ever experienced. With the faith I had in myself as a Christian was gone I felt totally alone. If this is where you think you might be headed then I encourage you right now to listen carefully; Isaiah 61:1, when speaking of Jesus says, “. . . He [God] has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and opening of the prison to them that are bound” (NKJV). Child of God it’s time to let the prison doors of grief open wide, Jesus wants to bind up your disappointments at the loss of your dreams and set you free so He can restore your soul, setting you on the path He has prepared for you.  Believe me, it is far greater than you can ever imagine. Just sit back, close your eyes and let's pray together; "Heavenly Father I bring this precious child of God before you who has been hurt and grieving by the loss of their dream that became their heart’s desire. Lord, only you can set them free and heal their broken heart. And, Lord, only you can guide them to the path of life you created for them to follow. Father, may Your dream for their lives become real to them as they let go of their grief and begins a new journey walking beside You. Help them, Lord, to know who they are through Your eyes that their identity will never come into question again.  In Jesus' name, we pray. Now I encourage you to just sit a minute in His presence and let His love cover you once again.

                Now precious child of God spread your wings and fly, there is a whole world of possibilities waiting for you. “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” (NKJV).


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