It was all I could do to catch her. Alyssa, almost 2, was running as fast as she could right to a crowd of boys playing ball. Oblivious to the pig-tailed toddler half their size, the boys continued with their game. In the nick of time it seemed, I was able to swoop in pick her up and bring her back to safety.
My little girl. Her boldness made me proud since I was the one always wanting to play sports with the boys (it kind of comes with the coach’s daughter territory), but being not even two, she took me by surprise. She had no fear. All she wanted to do was play.
The 4-second incident started me thinking that perhaps I can be the same way – even as an adult. I see a goal, I have a desire, and I start sprinting to it only to have my Father swoop in and pick me up before I get hurt.
I can see this most vividly in my life about four years ago. I’ve always had a heart to be in full-time ministry, ever since I was 12. So in 2008 when my husband’s employer decided to close up shop in the area and offer him to transfer to Dallas, I thought this was my chance. It was the perfect opportunity, so I thought. I’d find a church to employ me part-time, and I’d start writing. Soon I would start to get speaking engagements and off I’d go to the discipleship ministry that I’ve had in my heart since I was a girl.
I was ready to pick up and move away from my family, away from Matt’s family, and away from everything I’d ever known to pursue this dream.
Thankfully, as Matt and I took a weekend trip to Dallas to pray about whether we needed to take this opportunity, the Father came in and swooped me back home. I can’t describe how, but we knew we weren’t supposed to make this move. It saddened me that I didn’t get to pursue my dream but I felt content that God was guiding us.
What if I had run for my dream in 2008 and God hadn’t pulled me back? I shudder to think how I would have fallen, how I would have gotten hurt. My heart was in the right place, but God still had (and still has) much more work in me before bringing me to the dream he placed in my heart. (Who knows, he may end up even modifying or changing the dream.)
In hindsight, here’s what likely would have happened:
- I would have seen that all the local churches in the Dallas area probably already had their positions filled and I may have had to go back to secular employment.
- I would have seen that the need for women’s writers and speakers was very low, especially in Priscilla Shirer’s hometown, which was also up the road from the headquarters of Beth Moore and Vicky Courtney!
- I would have met lots of people with the same unfulfilled dream as me and I would have questioned my very calling.
- And probably much more that I still can’t see.
But here’s what I know. I know God placed in me a desire to be in ministry at the age of 12 for a reason, and he will make it clear when and how that will happen. I won’t have to force it or prod him along.
And I’m thankful that when he sees me getting a little too eager, he swoops in to rescue me. He smiles – just like I did at Alyssa – that my heart is in the right place and he knows the right time.
Have you ever had a dream – that God has placed on your heart – go unfulfilled and later realize the timing was not right?