This was the advice at my commencement ceremony today. Today I "graduated" junior college with my A.S. in general studies. I actually have three classes I have to take this summer before I get my degree but commencement for 2012 graduates was today.
I had dreams... I had many many dreams. My biggest dream as a young girl was to be a mommy. I wanted to be married and have a family. While some children played school, or wedding, I played being pregnant and being a mommy. I babysat since a very young age. My biggest desire was to have a large family and be a mom.
I also had other dreams. I dreamed of graduating college. I left my private high school during the fall of my senior year for many reasons, but I went to college that spring semester. It was 2001. I set my first foot on the North Idaho College Campus as a student 11 years ago.
After that semester I moved to Boise met my husband fell in love and moved across the country. I planned on going back to school where we lived in South Dakota but God changed the plan.
I became a mommy in 2004 but it was nothing like how I had dreamed. I became extremely ill and was diagnosed with lupus during my pregnancy. This resulted in damage to my kidney's, bed-rest, a host of medications, more hospital visits than I could count, and a premature delivery at 33 weeks. It was all worth it though... Christian is AMAZING. I never got a chance to enjoy pregnancy and do all those fun milestones and experiences like belly pics, and breastfeeding. I was a mommy but not how I had dreamed.
The fact I developed lupus nephritis during my pregnancy meant no more babies for me. My dr. said the next time could kill us both. My heart was broken. My dream of being a mom to a home full of children was gone. I had no idea at that time what a journey God had planned for our family. How He dreamed a different dream for us.
Over the course of the next couple years I tried to finish my degree a couple of times. I got sick a couple of those times with a lupus flare and ended up on chemotherapy. I tried school from home but again had too much going on to finish. God decided to throw us another change.
Our adoption journey started with being licensed as foster/adopt parents. We could not afford foreign adoption and wanted to grow our family. Shortly after we became licensed our first placement Chloe came to live with us at six weeks old. Amazing, beautiful, baby girl who blesses our lives every day. With our new little one, the dream of college was tabled yet again.
We have been fostering for five years now. 13 children have lived in our home. We have adopted two. We have done respite for even more. I am a professional parent and have been mommy to house fulls of children.
I went back to school again full time this fall. This time was different. This time I had a goal. I wanted to get my bachelors in social work. Our experience with the foster care system has changed me forever. You see I had dreams before. But God had better dreams. I learned so much from the experiences of the last eleven years. My life looks nothing like I though it would yet I am so incredibly blessed.
You see, I think we dream and then we learn. We learn about ourselves and our "superpowers that God has given us" (the way Christian describes gifts). We learn about God and His plan for our life and what He is going to do with our dreams. He wants us to have the desires of our hearts. It just doesn't always come in the packaging we expect. God creates for us an amazing life and story full of testimonies of His love and provision if only we are willing to let Him lead.
Repeat... I would repeat it all...I wouldn't take back anything. If I had been able to have my dreams the way I planned, I would not be who I am today. 11 years ago I stepped foot on that campus with dreams. Today I graduated.
I am excited to see what God is going to do with my dreams today. I continue to dream of doing things. I am going to finish my bachelors and maybe even my masters degrees. But most of all I am anxious to learn more about the Heavenly Father I serve and leverage my superpowers for Him. I know that He will create another beautiful amazing chapter in my family's life.
And then... it will all repeat again...