• Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Permission to Dream


"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. ” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NIV)

I broke the law this week.  The rebel in me could no longer take the quarantine so I broke my state’s “stay at home” order, packed my bags (along with my hand sanitizer and face mask), and headed for Texas to see my daughter. While I’m certain the authorities would not have considered my visit or the travel essential, I did.  Tentatively, my sweet girl is getting married this summer! All this COVID-19 stuff has put a huge wrench in the planning of the bridal shower, the bachelor/bachelorette parties, and a few other pre-wedding festivities. Still, we are hopeful the wedding itself will happen on the chosen date.  As hopeful and as flexible as we are trying to be, there is still a layer of anxiety I’ve witnessed begin to creep in on everyone involved. Questions of curiosity continuously arise if the wedding is going to happen or if anything has changed. At first, we could let the questions go easily, but after four weeks in quarantine with no direction on what it’s going to look like to re-enter life or when, these questions have become a source of frustration. My daughter and I have spoken at length about this over FaceTime and acknowledge the important thing is that a wedding IS going to happen. While the other stuff is important and significant, all that truly matters is the ceremony itself. And while we do believe this, I saw a different look on her face the last time we talked via video. All the right words were coming out of her mouth, but as a mother, the look on her face said more. She needed her mom. So, off to Texas, I went. It was so good for my soul to see my girl, to hug her, and to assure her that everything was going to work out. Even at age 25, I think it was good for her too. We stayed inside, cooked, and binge-watched a ten-episode Netflix show over the weekend with wedding talk sprinkled throughout all of it. The wedding is to be outside, and with the current social distancing in place, the venue had no one there on Saturday morning so they permitted us to walk the grounds. Outside of photos, I had not yet seen it, and it was incredible! I got to walk the path down the aisle and stand where I will have the privilege of marrying my daughter and future son-in-law. At that moment, I gave myself permission to dream.  In my mind, I was whisked away to the wedding day. I was able to see the white chairs that will be in place, flowers draped everywhere, and the lights swaying under the moonlight over the outdoor dance floor. I could see the dresses on the wedding party and hear their shoes on the gravel path. I could taste the champagne and hear my husband’s voice giving his toast. I could see my newly married daughter dancing in the loving embrace of her new husband. My friends, there is such great power in permitting ourselves to dream in the midst of all that is happening in our world right now. What I realized that day is regardless of what is currently happening in our world, a life-changing event is coming for our family. The lead up to that day may look different than what we expected and changes may need to be made, but the day IS coming and it is ok to permit ourselves to dream about it. This is what the above verses in Habakkuk 3 remind me. Habakkuk wrote during a time just before the complete destruction of Jerusalem. He saw things going from bad to worse and he lived in a time when all of life seemed devastated. Sound familiar? And yet, it was there amidst desolation that he was able to say, “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV). Things may not look the way any of us thought they would right now and very real, important plans of yours may be changed or interrupted. However, it’s ok to permit yourself to dream with God about what life will be like when all of COVID-19 has lifted. So, close your eyes. What do you want to dream with God about? Give yourself permission to go there, knowing that in doing so you are rejoicing in the Lord and his plans for you.

For Your Reflection… How difficult is it for you to “rejoice in the Lord” these days? Regardless of what you see externally, give yourself permission to dream with him, and to rejoice in what life is going to look life in the future.

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