Brandon, Heather, Brooklyn, Jaron, Caden & Gavin Meadows are big Disney fans! This fact is no secret to anyone who remotely knows our family. We find it amusing to work lines from Disney movies into our everyday conversation. Just last night, when Jaron, our nine year-old, was off to take his shower after soccer practice, I reminded him to pay attention to certain anatomical locations. He turned around and quoted a line from Timon in Lion King 1 ½, “Mom, I’m not a little kid anymore!” We all burst in laughter! Brandon and I have never outgrown our enjoyment of Disney animation. I remember back to when Toy Story 2 was released in theaters. It was early in our marriage, so we didn’t have children yet. Our schedule must have been pretty packed the Friday and Saturday of its premier; therefore, we resorted, despite our guilt, to skipping Sunday church in order to see it.
We currently see the same interest and excitement in our children. Brooklyn is twelve, and yet still enjoys our Friday night family movie, which almost always is a Disney one. And she is one of the best in the family to incorporate those Disney lines! This makes it even funnier to us, because she’s the least animated of the kids. When she works in a punch line, it’s hysterical, because it’s unexpected.
A couple of weeks ago, Brandon and I were sipping on our coffee while the kids munched on their cinnamon rolls, our normal Sunday morning routine. Brandon asked the kids what were their dreams of becoming when they grew up. He followed it with a passionate quote from Rapunzel in the movie Tangled, “Haven’t you ever had a dream?”
The conversation continued as each child expressed their dream. Brooklyn shared that she wanted to be a veterinarian, out of her deep love for animals. Jaron shared that he wanted to be a mechanic because he loved cars. Caden shared that he wanted to be an engineer because he loved legos. Even Gavin, our four year old, enthusiastically shared that he was going to be Spiderman when he grew up.
In our normal family way, we related this conversation back to Disney. We spoke about Cinderella who believed in her dream. In her song, A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes, she sings, “Have faith in your dreams and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through.
And of course, we acknowledged the man himself, Walt Disney who didn’t give up. He made his greatest contribution to animation with Mickey Mouse only after losing his first successful animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, to another studio.
This may all seem somewhat childish, but the reality is, even adults have dreams. We give them more grown-up descriptions, such as, “goals,” or “visions.” But all in all we still dream. More often than not, we just don’t have the courage to share those dreams or the faith to pursue them. Or perhaps we look at a dream failed when really it was the Lord redirecting.
I had a dream of a vocal career in Contemporary Christian music. Obviously, I’m a neonatal nurse, so you might be inclined to think that I was way off the mark and that the dream was naïve. But I have seen the Lord benefit my life today from my pursuit of that dream. I spent a few years traveling around the state of Oklahoma singing with a group within Oklahoma Kids. That time was undoubtedly the happiest of my childhood and it cultivated my stage presence and confidence. I had an acceptance there that I couldn’t find at school. The foundation during that season of my life led me to singing on my own in competition, in festivals, in churches, and even in my town’s pageant. One thing leads to another, and I found myself in Nashville with my vocal coach at Embassy Music, and later in Estes Park, Colorado at the Christian Music Artists' Seminar.
Again, waste of time because I’m a nurse and not a professional vocalist? Not at all. Those experiences prepared me for something I would have never imagined. Public speaking. More than anything, I gained an invaluable characteristic through discovering my potential in vocal music; I gained a sense of confidence, and that is something we all need to pursue the dreams God stirs within our hearts.
I’m still dreaming today. I have dreams for my kids; that they pursue an education, have a fulfilling career, experience the love of a devoted spouse and the miracle of healthy children. I have dreams for my marriage; including continual professional growth, service in ministry, time to enjoy hobbies together, and maybe some sand and water too. Doesn’t a beach just represent a peaceful side of dreams? I have dreams for my career as a nurse, for more opportunities in speaking, and for the open door to formally write my story.
What will come of these dreams, these visions, these goals? I don’t know. But God does. He placed the dream in my heart to have a husband that would look beyond the scars and desire me as if there were none. Dream came true. He placed a dream in my heart to be able to experience pregnancy, birth and the wonder of motherhood. Dream came true. He placed a dream in my heart of being able to physically minister to patients as a nurse. Dream came true.
I don’t know what it will look like, or how it will happen or when it will transpire, but I do know that God’s plan has been far greater than any I could have ever imagined, and that what He has in store is consistent with what He has accomplished. This is where faith is at work. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT), “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
We walk by faith, not by sight. We don’t wait to see the evidence before we step out. We believe, we work hard, we push on through failed attempts because we have faith in the One who holds the plan.
May we all be courageous to pursue what God has placed in our hearts to dream.
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”- Walt Disney
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