When Your Dreams Fall Apart

“By prayer let your requests be made known to God”

-Philippians 4:6

She’s white and made of stone. She holds her hands clasped in front of her, almost like she’s giving up something. Her head downward-bent as if in prayer. Behind her stretch out wings in all their rocky holiness. I wonder who carved her. I wonder of what she was before she was—a block of nothing turned into something. Humanity chiseled into stone. At her base is a plaque that displays Philippians 4:6, “By prayer let your requests be made known to God.”

I want to ask her, this stone-cold angel, what her requests are. She has never had to balance a dream precariously in her much-too-weak arms and lay them at the feet of the one higher than herself. Requests? I can hand those over. But dreams? The strings that tether me to who I think I am? To gently lay them down, to hand them over, to quietly whisper through delicate breaths, “Lord, please, please be careful,” seems like a difficult task.

“There is pain in giveness, an ache in surrender. To give up what we desperately long for, and hand it over to the One who longs for us.

I would stamp FRAGILE across the side of these dreams I’ve so carefully carved out if I thought it would change the outcome. But the truth of the matter is that these dreams are but clay, and I’m handing them over to a potter—The Potter—who will do what He does best: mold, shape, contour, and shift. 

A block of nothing turned into something. 

Holiness chiseled into a heart of stone. 

There is pain in giveness, an ache in surrender.
To give up what we desperately long for, and hand it over to the One who longs for us.
But He is the Giver of good gifts, the God of gifting the extraordinary, the unexpected.

I think of the gift of the cross. The splintered, stained-in-blood tree that upheld the person of Peace, of Love. I cannot think of something uglier and more broken than innocence nailed to wood.
But from it was birthed our salvation.
Splintered grace.
A mercy pierced.
Our hope came from darkness, our life from death. Our peace came from sweat-and-blood requests laid down before the Lord in the spirit of “Not my will, but Yours.”

“A center of gravity found in our own little kingdoms will eventually fall victim to its own law–it will fall every time. “

But isn’t that what He does–this great Potter?
He takes hopelessness and molds it into something glorious.

I sat in front of that angel and contemplated my blocks of nothing–my requests, my dreams–and I wondered if I was willing to lay them down to be broken down, built up, and reshaped to fit into something bigger than myself. All that I love, all that I depend on, all that I wish and hope to be and become… can I hand it over?
Can I trust that the One who used a bloody, broken, driven-through-by-nails Son to bring forth light, life, and love to take my bloody, broken heartache and use it to bring forth something greater?

I can stand on this side of a difficult season and see the way God worked. I can see how He labored to drag that morning-joy up over the horizon of my sorrow, and I rejoice in the many dawns that have shattered my darkest nights. But it’s harder to see that in the moment, as I make my way through the ruins of a self-made kingdom now fallen.

Dreams that are built in this world are dreams founded on sand.
They will crumble and fall and collapse at the slightest of winds. A center of gravity found in our own little kingdoms will eventually fall victim to its own law–it will fall every time.

Dreams become idols the moment their direction shifts from Him.
Good things become dangerous when they begin to overshadow the One who gives us good things.

“…no matter how many times we break and ache and long for other things, He will always break and ache and long for the hearts of His children. “

But when our dreams come crashing down, He is there with hammer in hand, ready to help us rebuild something founded on the One that will never fall. He gathers up our brokenness because no matter how many times we break and ache and long for other things, He will always break and ache and long for the hearts of His children.

We can hand Him our dreams in all their fragility. We can anchor our hearts in Him. Really, it is only when our hearts are tied to the One who shaped them that we are ever truly anchored. So let your requests–your hopes, dreams, whispered wishes, unspoken wantings–be made known to your Father. And trust Him to carve your heart to curve around His and carve your dreams to curve toward Him. He knows your heart and all its longings. He knows your deepest desires, the outcomes you’re desperately praying to see.

He sees you grieving the life you thought you would have, the love you thought you had earned, the peace you thought you had won.

When your dreams fall apart–when life is all wrong and you feel like you’ve been plunged into a perpetual spiral of unexpected outcomes, and it feels like everything is falling apart and out of place–know that the One who hung on a tree that you might be His is hanging on to you now.
He sees you holding what remains of your heart and hope.

He molds and shapes our hearts–He carves out of stone this holiness undeserved. And we rise on our own, trying to make our way in our own way, stumbling and falling over the piles of heartache–and we fall from our way into The Way, who gathers our heartache and soothes our burning souls.

Sometimes, when it feels like our dreams–our lives–are falling apart, they are really falling into place.

There is a falling apart that leads to a falling in–falling in love with the One who knows even the hidden parts of you and calls you Beloved.
The One who holds you and your heart-carved dreams through every break and detour of plans. The One who holds together when everything else falls apart.
He knows, He sees, and He’s here, even when your dreams fall apart.

-AC.



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