Breathing in New Hope
Posted May 10, 2022 by Sarah Green
Categories: Featured, Sarah, Sister Post
“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”Hans Urs Von Balthasar
Standing on the beach, sea breeze in my face, arms outstretched, I take it all in. The possibilities are endless. At this moment I realize I have a second chance. As I relinquish my story to God, I am a young adult with a new perspective on life. God is clearing away a layer of muck from my eyes.
I remember the little girl with “castle in the air” dreams. What child doesn’t have those dreams? The girl who dreams of being a princess. The valiant boy who is a knight in shining armor. I remember playing dress-up, store, performer—fearlessly standing on a stage. But that isn’t my story. My dreams crumbled into a million pieces after my parent’s divorce. Could I forgive God for this unfair life he handed me?
As I grew, I believed I could be something or someone someday. Yet, the act of doing something or finding a profession is never our first dream. Don’t our first dreams begin with the desire to be seen, wanted, and chosen (like the princess above)? What about the dream of a whole, healthy, unbroken family? Maybe we don’t even know these are dreams. I believe God ingrains those dreams in us the moment of our conception.
I once read that a child often becomes cynical and relinquishes belief around the age of ten. Unless, of course, the child is in an environment where faith, belief, and dreams are cultivated. Are those childhood dreams far-fetched? Or are they our truest reality? The young Sarah (which literally means princess) truly is my reality, but regaining belief, hope, and trust has been a process.
Understandably, when life doesn’t go as planned, we forget who we are and the possibility that those dreams were meant for us. We become “realistic” about reality. A thriving healthy family or “castle in the air” dreams are made for books. Not real life. I presumed that belief until God opened my eyes.
When God picked up the pieces of my heart and slowly knitted them back together with a different dream, I began to heal. It took time to realize I needed to forgive myself as well as God. I needed to forgive myself because I shut the door on belief. God never wronged me. Yet, for much of my younger years, I felt He abandoned me.
Additionally, I needed to forgive God in order to allow Him to create within me new dreams for my life. He reminds me in Psalm 86:5 of His endless love: “For you, Oh Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in mercy to all who call on you.”
When I relinquished my story to God, including my grief and bitterness over broken dreams that culminated in pain, I began to visualize a future. I knew God forgave me for my cynical unbelief. In addition, I knew forgiving God and myself wasn’t a one-time event. Yet over time I recognized the signs of wholeness. I no longer clutched bitterness over “what should have been.” Rather, I began visualizing the life-dreams God was rewriting on my heart. My hardships gave me strength to pursue big, bold, and beautiful dreams. I wasn’t doomed to failure. I released victimhood, which allowed me to live into my true identity, the daughter of a King— princess! Forgiving God and myself grounded me in new hope.
C.S. Lewis states it best. “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
There on the beach, I contemplate how my life didn’t turn-out as I expected. My original dreams did not come true. Hardship was the detriment to belief in my young, vulnerable heart. Thankfully, through forgiveness, God revealed dreams He had for my life, far wider and deeper than I could have imagined.
My feet sink into the sand as I walk along the shore, breathing in the salt water air—breathing in life; breathing in new hope.
Are you hurting, stuck, or tired? Do you feel you’ve been wronged? I’ve been there, too. Have you had to do hard things, such as forgive God, yourself, or others? I’d love to know how God has turned your pain into purpose.