As we sail toward God-Sized dreams, many of us will face times when moving forward means a detour through what anchors us to the past. Will we let God take the wheel and sail us through the needed healing?
The memory didn’t surface until about 5 years into my marriage. Certain smells and textures brought flickers of images. Images of sunshine through a playhouse window. Of pine walls. Of tan indoor-outdoor carpeting.
Then the dreams. Being in a room with the window too high to see through. Light streaming in mottled patches through the tree outside, light so beautiful I want to reach through the window and touch it. I must be about three, I think to myself as I wake from the warm imagery.
In another of the dreams, I’m taller now. I see out the window into this beautiful back yard. I turn and look away from the window and there’s this sweet little girl, a mess of sunny blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a dimple that punctuates her smile. And those cheeks—little apples that I want to smother in kisses. She looks so much like my youngest daughter.
She must be about three, I think to myself as I wake.
I’m sitting on a city bus years later. It’s a hobby I love—a few hours away from the family I now have, to find perspective and see the world. I crave the sunshine through the large bus windows. Joy fills me, being able to watch landscapes flow by instead of missing them because I’m behind the wheel.
The bus turns down a street lined with trees—tall ones, maybe oak or fir—the sun pours over me in mottled patches through the bus window. And my dreams find each other. She was three years old. She was on the floor and couldn’t get up to see out the window. He’d said, “Stay low. This is our special game and we don’t want anyone to see.”
She was me.
Last weekend, I parked in front of the now-empty dirt lot where my grandparents’ home once stood. But it wasn’t their house I needed to see. I turned down the street—I knew where his house was, even 37 years later.
My mom walked up to me, stood close as the house and I looked at each other. Tears streamed hot down cheeks. Memories filled my mind—the boy, the rough playhouse floor, the words “You like this game. I know you do.”
I feel like maybe this time as I recall the memories—here in this place—I might drown.
Behind the house, the fir tree that had comforted me in moments stolen by that boy, reached high above even where I stood at street level. It seemed to look me in the eye and reassure me, “See, little one? We’ve both survived.”
I stood a little taller as I looked back, and whispered to that magnificent tree, Thank you. Thank you for comforting me as I looked out the playhouse window from the floor where it would happen. Thank you for sharing the sunlight, bird songs, whispered wind reminders that this would not be the end of the story.
That moment connected my then to my now. After years of nighttime dreams that made no sense. After wondering if I was crazy, if it had really happened, and why it was always so hard to let people close. After convincing myself the past didn’t matter and today’s dreams had nothing to do with yesterday’s pain. I finally let God take me there, to the street, to his house. Looking at it I knew it really had been true. The hurt had happened. The wound had changed me, closed part of my soul.
Standing in front of that house, waves of emotion washed over me. Many moments passed.
Then, quietly, imperceptibly, a calm swelled up inside and quieted the storm. As if Jesus restated his words from long ago, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39).
The tears took a new form: my own pain mixed with growing grief over what must have been true in that boy’s life for him to do what he did to a young girl. Compassion pressed in as the Dream Giver stood holding me in the waves.
After years of struggle with this issue, I could admit the extent of my loss and extend forgiveness to him in the same moment. In the exchange, an anchor lifted and I knew the God-Sized dreams that have already unfolded in my life were now free to sail farther.
Did that moment in front of the house wrap the experience up tidy in a bow? Not even close. There will be more to process, I know. I also know our stories aren’t the same—and I would never presume to understand the deep beauty or brokenness of your life.
But, friend, we can’t press boldly into new dreams if a bit of our soul stays anchored in pain. (<====Click to Tweet) We’ve got to be willing to let God steer us where we will be most whole. I pray that as storms from the past rise, we’d each allow God to take the helm, turn us back for a moment, and in so doing, give us power to press stronger into dreams He longs for us to live.
Shared By: Laurie Wallin