A broken winged bird

Remember this post where I shared about meeting a lady online whose son was living in the same baby house as ours?  

Well she sent me a present!

Scripture, a postcard, and this meaningful bracelet: 

In her note, my friend explained that she was inspired by the ceramic sparrow I was given by another friend, a symbol of God's care for all things.  The package read something like, "Put this bracelet on and make a wish and when it falls off, your wish will come true." 

Not that I'm a big believer in wishes, but mine must be coming true any day now because I put the bracelet on before lunch and when I went to bed that night, it had already fallen off.  Took me three days to find it again between chair cushions; the left wing snapped; three quarters still attached to the bird, the last quarter dangling from the red cord.  

It reminded me of a seminary camp of sorts I went to when I was a teenager (because I rock the cool, you know). One of our daily speakers shared a verse from a poem by Langston Hughes with us.  The verse wove its way into the fabric of our month-long experience and I have no doubt that mine is not the only heart onto which it remains sewn.  The verse came quickly to mind at the sight of my broken bracelet: 

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams.  The broken winged bird on my bracelet gave me pause.  What are my dreams? And am I holding fast to them?

I was 17 when I went to that seminary camp back in 2004 and my dreams then were simple and pure: I wanted to minister, to do the work God had for me.  I wanted to marry a man who sought the face of the Lord.  I wanted to nurture the lives of my (future) childrenI wanted to be someone who lived both gracefully and honestly. Mostly, I wanted to make a difference in the world.  

Something dangerous happens in the passage from college to adulthood though, doesn't it?  The boldness, the passion, and the optimism of college students is brushed off as youthful idealism.  Even in seminary I saw student after student knocked down by (well-meaning) professors who, in the face of "youthful idealism" would give half a smirk and say something like, "Well, you'll see."  

Yes, there are a few many of challenges those early twenty-somethings can't see coming. No, life is not going to be smooth or as simple as they're hoping.  The dreams they have for their lives, for the Church, and for the Kingdom won't be fulfilled as easily and certainly not as quickly as they would like.  


We've got to hold fast to those dreams.  For if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.  

The danger is in moving from dreaming about making a difference, about ministering to those around us, and doing the work the Lord has prepared for us... to dreaming about the greenest grass, the biggest boat, and the longest vacation.  

In my own journey, the danger has been to make motherhood the dream instead of doing the work the Lord prepared for me.  Adoption will fulfill my motherhood dream, but if the motherhood dream is THE dream- well then I'm missing the point.  I've shared before about my struggle to miss out on the early years; I've had to lay my bringing-the-first-baby-home-from-the-hospital dream at the foot of the cross.  That's not the work the Lord has prepared for me.  Now I'm already working to make sure that motherhood doesn't become my dream.  If motherhood is the dream,  the dream becomes about happy kids and perfect homemaking.  It becomes the I-just-want-to-enjoy-this-season-of-life dream, the my-worth-is-in-my-child's-good-behavoir-dream, and the most scary of all: the all-I-want-is-for-my-child-to-be-successful dream. 

When the dream is what the Lord has prepared for me, all these things fade into the background and I am free to live out the my-desire-is-to-be-faithful-to-my-savior dream.  When my dream is the Lord's, I want to take pleasure in obedience, to value my children's holiness over their happiness, and to redefine success in fruit-of-the-spirit-terms instead of by prestige or paycheck.

If we happen upon greener grass or a big boat, or a long vacation, you bet I'll give thanks and enjoy it.  But those things can't be my dreams.  If those things are my dreams, I'm a broken winged bird.  

But when the work the Lord has prepared in advance for me to do- what that's my dream, I am able to face obstacles with the courage and grace he provides.  

I'm tucking my broken winged bracelet into my Bible today to remind me to hold fast to my dreams, to encourage those with "youthful idealism" to hold fast to their dreams too.  With the strength of the Lord we will soar on wings like eagles. 

And fly. 


Thank you to those who participated in the DeVries fundraiser by purchasing a necklace from my etsy shop!  We raised $214 to help bring their little one home.  

For the month of July I will be donating 20% of my sales to the Christian Alliance for Orphans.  John and I will be away on vacation and traveling this month so my shop will be on-and-off in vacation mode.  I will be filling orders quickly upon our return!  


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