20160314-Schumaker-Author

I ached to bring my daughter home from her orphanage halfway across the world. God had moved mountains on our behalf, but 2 ½ years was a long time. A long time to imagine. A long time to dream. Visions of deep conversations, giggles along girly adventures, and cuddles in the rocking chair filled the crevices of my heart.

But dreams have a way of working out differently than we envision.

I can imagine you have been there with me, grappling with the reality of an unmet dream. Desperately flinging its pieces into the air. Fueled by the fear that if you stop for even a moment, you’ve given up and the delicate form of your dream will shatter around you.

But what happens when that vision just isn’t a reality? What if God is saying His vision is much different than yours? Are you willing to embrace the changing of your dreams?

For us, the reality was that our daughter had been so traumatized by her life before us, that her ability to love and attach was not intact. And her medical needs were extensive. There were no deep conversations, girly adventures, or cuddles in the rocking chair.

I look back at the “me” that faced those circumstances. If only I could reach back in time to gently look into those desperate eyes and speak the truth I have learned from the perspective of today.

I’d tell her to lean into Jesus and take His words to heart.

As I’d look into her eyes, I’d tell her that laying down her ideal and embracing her reality is okay, and I’d reassure her that it doesn’t mean she’s giving up. I’d hug her until she wasn’t scared anymore — until she realized embracing the change is what needed to happen next.

You see, I was stuck holding onto the vision of my dream. I was holding it in comparison to a life of ideals. I had ideals of what healthy looked like. What love looked like and what family looked like. I wanted to bring healing and wholeness to my daughter — I think as much for us as for her.

“For the king trusts in the Lord. The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.” {Psalm 21:7, NLT}

I held on to a lot of fear. Fear that came down to trust. Could I admit that I didn’t trust the Lord to write the story?

Inside, I believed that if the plot and conclusion were different than the one I had written it somehow couldn’t be beautiful.

It took me to embrace the change in my reality and to trust the Lord fully. I had to search my heart and ask some tough questions.

Do I trust my Heavenly Father fully? Or do I merely speak the right words while hiding my fears somewhere deep within?

“Those who know your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You.” {Psalm 9:10, NLT}

I admit it took a while, but eventually I got there. Ready to embrace the change. And that is when everything shifted. My heart began filling with the seedlings of peace. God didn’t mold our family according to my ideal, He molded us according to His ideal.

Our story has His plot and it will have His conclusion. My part in the story is to trust and surrender.

Friends, you may be in a situation that doesn’t resemble the dreams you once had. But can I gently reassure you . . . God is still in charge of writing your story. And may I encourage you to entrust Him with writing a beautiful one?

It starts with embracing the change. Embracing the new story He is writing. Then His peace can replace your fear. I promise.

Our story hasn’t turned out as I envisioned; however, I wouldn’t change a moment of it. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I trust the Author of our story. And I trust the conclusion will be written just as beautifully as the plot.

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Lori,
    This is beautiful…I am so touched. Oh, how I cling to my version of what is beautiful…what is happily ever after. My life has taken so many twists and turns that I would have perhaps never purposely written into my version of the story, but God has been faithful to bring beauty, even from the ashes in my story, to write His perfect version for me. Letting go and trusting. We are called to it continually while we’re on this earth. Embracing change…embracing not knowing. But KNOWING that God is good and He is in control. Wonderful reminder this am!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Hi Bev,
      Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. I am so glad God used these words as a gentle reminder for you! Over and over again we see His story of giving us beauty for ashes, but yet, in the midst of the moment, it is so difficult for us to see it for ourselves! When we do, though, it brings us so much peace!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  • LaToya Brown

    Lori, your words speak directly to the truth of me. I am currently grasping desperately to an “ideal” living situation and I don’t understand why things are not lining up. What I desire is not unholy or even selfish, but I also don’t have a vision or even slight picture of what God desires for me. I feel like a child who has not yet learned to read, who waits anxiously for her father to read the next part of the story, but he says, “Time to get some sleep…I’ll read more tomorrow night.” I can only dream what happens next.

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Hi Latoya,
      I love that illustration of a bedtime story! Beautiful! I am stopping right now to pray that peace settles over and through you as you embrace God’s story in your living situation! Thank you so much for sharing a little piece of your story with me today!
      Blessings and smiles,
      Lori

  • A

    Lori, thank you for your beautiful posting. Praise to our Lord that He is not done with our stories. Like you, Bev, and LaToya said; its letting go and trusting that while the old stories are over, He is writing a better new one. I am in the middle of this story that He is writing; trying to trust and not fear, not feel afloat. He is our hope and destination as we seek Him and love Him. Its scary to embrace change and the unknown, but Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and His truth are our compass. Praying that each of us let Him today :)

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Thank you for your beautiful comment and for the prayers. I am stopping in this moment and praying His peace and courage over and for you!!!!!

  • Jenny

    Lori,

    I can’t even begin to say that what you’ve expressed in this beautiful post is exactly what I’ve been struggling and mulling over for the past couple weeks. I’ve been holding onto to a dream that has absolutely not gone as I had envisioned yet I still hold onto the fragmented pieces trying to justify that it’s still mine and those tough questions are exactly the ones I’ve been needing to hear and pray about and journal about. I just never realized it until now. Praise the Lord for his timing! I’m so thankful and blessed by Bev, LaToya and A for your comments as well. We’re all in this together!

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Amen! I love that we can lift each other up and hold each other accountable! I am praying for you right now, friend, that you sense the nudging of the Holy Spirit and with trust walk along with Him right into that different dream!
      Thank you so much for visiting!

  • JLKH

    Lori,
    Thank you for this wonderful reminder to give our life to Christ and let him work out the details. I think as women we all can easily become hooked on the ideal life, family, home etc. Having married a man with three children and become a stepmother, this is definitely not the life I dreamt of or wished for. However, I would not change a single thing. The Lord drew me to this man and his children for a reason and I love our family. It’s not perfect, and at times I struggle with four parents raising our kids instead of two, but the Lord knows best. He made something completely broken into a beautiful dream I could never have envisioned. Trust in the Lord, he holds the owners manual and map and knows what he is doing uniquely for each one of us.

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story! What a testimony to embracing that different dream!!!

  • http://michelemorin.wordpress.com Michele Morin

    Oh . . . trusting God to write our story. This is a hard hurdle in this discipleship journey, and I’m still working and trusting for this. Thanks for sharing how it’s working for you. Blessings!

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Hi Michele,
      I am stopping right now in prayer for that part of your journey, my friend!
      Hugs,
      Lori

  • Melanie Redd

    Wow, Lori! What a great testimony of hope and trust in God’s plans and timing. I love hearing how you have responded to and handles the challenges with your adoption.

    Thank you for this reminder… “Friends, you may be in a situation that doesn’t resemble the dreams you once had. But can I gently reassure you . . . God is still in charge of writing your story. And may I encourage you to entrust Him with writing a beautiful one?”

    You have encouraged me today!
    Thank you~
    Sure am blessed by you,
    Melanie

    • http://www.lorischumaker.com Lori Schumaker

      Melanie,
      I am so thankful I could encourage you today, friend! You are such a blessing!!!
      Hugs,
      Lori

  • http://beautybwb.blogspot.com/ Tricia@ beautybwb.blogspot.com

    Lori, thank you for sharing this. I struggle with similar issues of disappointment. If only my life looked like This, I’d be whole and happy. Oh, how I cling to Jesus for my satisfaction, or I’d be on a wild goose chase for an ideal only present in my head.

  • Cheri Tolliver Johnson

    Amen! Amen! Amen, girl! I’m an adoptive mom of five whom we brought into our home 19 and 16 years ago from orphanages on the other side of the world. Talk about shattered dreams! They were nightmares! But I can tell you, God does have His story to write. We must let go of our expectations–our dreams. I sometimes think His story was more about the changes He wanted to make in me than anything else. My kids are now all grown–our oldest turned 30 yesterday. We have 10 grandkids. I like to say, “Grandkids cover a multitude of sins.” My kids will never be younger versions of me, nonetheless, they are a testimony of God’s grace. Hang on to this lesson you’ve shared. It is necessary. God sees your heart. He sees your work. He is blessed.

  • Beth Williams

    Lori,

    Such wise words! This is so true: “We don’t know what the future holds, but we can trust the Author of our story.” My life has had many twists and turns. I never thought life would turn out this way and I’d be a semi-caretaker for my aging dad. One thing I do know: I can trust the Author of the story. He knows the plans He has for us-to prosper us and not to harm us! He can work miracles and bring beauty out of ashes! He has healed my dad from major medical issues.
    Blessings :)

  • http://www.sunsparkleshine.com sunSPARKLEshine

    Lori, what a beautiful story of hope and it’s not even a story at all — you’re living it everyday. I’m so grateful for your example of trust. I’m glad that God helped you come to this place of contentment in spite of your shattered dreams. Your life is such a testimony that encourages others, including me. May God continue to write your beautiful story, one that is full of hope, faith and grace!

  • Katie Scott Randolph

    Thank you for the encouragement to lean into God and trust him. My story now years later is nothing I would have dreamed. It is hard so often to realize my dreams won’t come true. I have been asking for me to have his help in redefining my dreams and see them with his eyes.

  • http://www.messymarriage.com/ Beth

    So many times I’ve gotten ahead of God on what I dreamt should be and then disappointment set in when it looked different or I had to wait on whatever God’s best really was, Lori. I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability on this subject, my friend! It challenges me to remember this profound truth that God’s dreams are always better than my own. Thanks for sharing and glad to see you guest writing here too!

  • Peggy

    Lori … since I wrote my sentiments over at your opening on your blog … all I have left to say is “WOW … congratulations Lori !!! Woo hoo … being featured at (in) courage that inspired and encouraged you to write as part of your dream … so well done!

    I am inspired and encouraged by the hope in your words.

    From such a test in the adoption of your daughter … you have written a beautiful testimony … from the mess that you face (and we all can relate to the waiting and the fear of the changes) to the perfect message of hope. Now we can all stand together in prayer with and for you, your family and your daughter and believe that God is working this out for good, a miracle of healing, much strength, patience and wisdom to understand with the peace you’ve already found and had along this tough ‘test’ and the truth you hold on to and have given us.

    … May each of us be ready to embrace change and trust God! Thank you Lori! (In the beginning of this year, I joined Kristen Strong and Crystal Stine and many others with a CHANGE CHALLENGE. I believe that this written by you fits in with that and you should have been featured on their Blab Chats too!) So glad to see this dream come full circle and I await to see what else God may still do. Many blessings and much love, Peggy

  • http://www.cordof6.com Valerie

    Lori,
    What a touching testimony of truth! Thank you for the reminder that we can trust God to write the story of our life. When we embrace his story, then peace can replace fear! I love that! Your writing pours forth truth and hope!

  • Louise

    Lori, thank you for this. I’m really struggling with this time in my life – 42 – and thought I would have a husband and family of my own. I don’t know what God’s plan is but maybe I just have to start embracing my life with none of this. That is the part I am finding hard.

  • Angela Howard

    Amen! Trust and surrender bring such peace. I’m finding the ability to approach situations and loved ones with greater calm as I rest in that place of knowing that God is pursuing all of us and drawing us close to Him. Beautiful post Lori!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for the assurance that God is still writing my story–even into retirement! It may not be what I expected, but each chapter will be GOOD, because he’s accomplishing his good purpose for me. Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us, Lori, and better yet, for living it out.

  • Renee Lindsey

    So real! Love this, Lori! It applies to so many of us and our own life dreams/experiences, you are certainly an instrument in Gods’s hands!

  • http://youresewtrendy.blogspot.com Jaime Wiebel

    So beautiful, friend! What a great reminder of sitting in the pretty of God’s plans for us and not into what we have dreamed or planned out in our limited capacities. Thanks for sharing your heart and you persistence to embrace love and the Lord in our realities. Have a wonderful week. I look forward to your posts next week at Sitting Among Friends!