Being a mom is challenging yet rewarding. Oftentimes, we will put our dreams on hold to do what we think is best for our families. As moms, we are called to love and serve our families. So, we pour most of our time and energy into being a dreamtender, supporting and encouraging our husbands and children to follow their dreams.
But we are also called to be dreamers. Here is how a dreamtender can love and support those around her while also following her dreams.
What is a Dreamtender?
In the song “House of a Thousand Dreams” on Martina McBride’s album Wake Up Laughing, a husband and father thinks he is letting his family down by not providing (because work is scarce) the life of his family’s dreams. After all, “there are cracks in all the walls and all the windows, and the flies find their way in through the screen.”
However, his wife does not dream of a perfect house. Instead, she dreams of a happy family despite their current financial circumstance, so she does what she can to make their house a home. Their son knows his daddy is strong and that he loves the whole family. The boy loves hearing the crickets and feeling the breeze through the cracked windows’ screens and wishing on stars as he lays in the yard at night with his family. They all “pray hope will keep on living in this house of a thousand dreams.”
Each time I sing along, I am struck with the reality that I also live in a house of a thousand dreams. Not only am I a dreamer, but I want my husband and my two teenage boys to dream and dream big. I want to do what I can to be a “dreamtender” for them by encouraging their dreams and helping them make their dreams come true—without getting in God’s way. That has been hard for me to do at times.
It’s so tempting when a new dream or goal is identified to ask too many questions before the dreamer has had a chance to create a vision of their own. At times, I have wondered whether that tendency has actually discouraged the dreamer from sharing more ideas. That is not what I want at all!
Being a Dreamtender
As I learn to trust God is leading and preparing my family and shaping each member’s dreams into the dreams He has for each of them, I find God still has dreams for me that have not yet been realized. I wonder what will happen as I turn some of my attention toward those dreams. Will it become easier to stay out of God’s way as He works out my boys’ and my husband’s dreams? Would pursuing my own dreams more intentionally build my own confidence and trust in God along with His promise to complete the good work He has started in me, in my boys, and in my husband? Please, Lord, give me courage.
This dreamtending thing is scary when a dream pushes me forward into unknown territory or when I see someone I love risking themselves, so their dream may become reality. How will others respond? Will it work?
I don’t want myself or any one of them to forfeit future dreams because they might become paralyzed by failure or negative circumstances and emotions if the risk taken doesn’t bring expected results. The song “Anyway” on the same Martina McBride album encourages dreaming big even though the dream may not come true, building something even though a storm might destroy it, loving another even though you may be rejected, and praying even though it might not turn out the way you think it should—do it all anyway because God is great even when life isn’t. In essence, keep hope alive.
As dreamtender for my home, I need to hold most dearly to the hope that is in Christ Jesus. I need to stand firm in the truth from 1 Peter 1:3 that “in his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.“
Did you catch that? A living hope—one we are to participate in as we seek to pursue the dreams God has for us. This hope is one we see more clearly as we trust and obey, again and again, despite all the circumstances, fear, and doubt that want to keep us from fully experiencing the abundant life God promises. We need to strive to live and work in Christ’s strength (not our own) with the Holy Spirit’s guidance to nurture the dreams and plans He has for each of us and our families to be the unique family He created us to be.
Finding Balance as a Dreamtender and a Dreamer
Like it or not, we moms set an intangible and foundational tone in our homes—for good or bad. Sometimes it feels like it’s all bad, but we must take a deep breath and place our hope in Christ, whether it be the first time or the thousandth time. He died to take on our sins and rose again, conquering sin and death, releasing us from the condemnation of our sin, and freeing us to live eternally with Him, not just when our bodies perish but now in the day-to-day. We have hope in Him, and He has dreams for me and my family and for you and your family.
As we learn to strike a healthy balance between our dreams and our family’s needs and dreams, we must rely on God. We must engage Him and His Spirit in our daily lives so that His perfect dreams for us are not neglected because we are too scared, too busy or distracted, too complacent, or too caught up in others’ expectations or our romanticized perceptions of other families and the comparisons that inevitably follow.
I pray I will no longer neglect the areas of my life (and the dreams therein) that need tending. I will surrender to His best for me even when it is hard or scary, or I just plain don’t want to! I pray I will not hinder His work on my behalf as I continue to dream of and strive for an even stronger, healthier, more loving, and more positively impactful family.
As Martina McBride would say, “I pray hope will go on living in this house of a thousand dreams.”
To all the dreamtenders out there, have a happy Mother’s Day!
To have a healthy balance of taking of ourselves and our families, all moms need time to get away and connect with other women. Join MOMS Connection this fall to take the time to enjoy breakfast, connect with other moms, and listen to wonderful speakers. This time of connection and the wonderful speakers might inspire you to dream big as you find time to get away from the noise.