At this moment I’m sitting in my bed, propped against pillows and typing this to you. My fingers are here. My brain is here. But mascara tracks my cheeks, and my heart is somewhere in the air between Texas and Vancouver. By this time tomorrow, my heart will be on the other side of the world.
That’s because early this morning, I dropped my daughter off at the airport to travel toward a lifelong dream—to go to China. She’ll spend nearly three weeks there, teaching English to Chinese elementary school teachers. And I’m excited and proud for her, and at the same time it’s really hard on a mama to see one of her chicks fly across the pond, even if it’s temporary.
When I hugged and waved goodbye, I didn’t see a young adult woman. I saw a four-year-old girl sitting cross-legged on the living room floor watching Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat on PBS Kids and saying, “Mommy, I want to go to China one day.” Since then, she’s been my little China doll.
She’s dreamed of this her entire life. And God has a way of making dreams come true.
It reminds me of a dream I had when I was a little girl. You may think it was a silly dream, and it certainly wasn’t as lofty as going to China to teach English. But when I was in elementary school, I remember watching a commercial about a girl being crowned homecoming queen and then going to eat at McDonald’s. And I whispered in my heart, “God, I want to be homecoming queen one day.” Then I promptly forgot about the dream . . . sort of. I didn’t obsess. But every time I saw some lucky girl get crowned with that honor, my heart whispered, “I wish I could be a homecoming queen.”
But I was shy.
I was awkward.
I never knew the right thing to say until about 24 hours too late.
I was a bookworm and a music geek.
I wasn’t one of the popular kids. So that dream wasn’t for me. Was it?
Fast forward to when I was about the same age as my daughter is now. I was a student at a small university. I remember receiving the notice that I’d made the homecoming court. I was shocked, and figured there must’ve been some sort of revenge-of-the-nerds campaign. I felt honored, but I knew I wouldn’t win. I didn’t even buy a new dress. I just wore the nicest dress I had and showed up at the appointed time, expecting to see someone else crowned. When the announcer called my name, I’m pretty sure I looked like one of those hungry-hungry hippos with an unhinged jaw. Not regal at all.
I accepted the crown, and a little voice in my head whispered, “You asked, didn’t you?”
And I knew.
God had heard my quiet prayer, and He remembered. And even though being homecoming queen is a far cry from being a world changer, He smiled at me. He let me have my dream, simply because He loves me, and He knew it would make me happy.
That’s why it’s really no surprise that Charis is on her way to China. God delights in making our dreams become reality, as any parent delights in bringing joy to their child. When we keep Him at the center of our thoughts and the front of our lives, He blesses us. And it’s all because He adores us, and He longs to see us smile.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.