When Do You Stop Chasing Dreams?

elaina avalos, risk, chasing dreams, taking risks

When do you stop chasing dreams? That is the question for me right now.

This blog – like many decisions I’ve made in the past two years, is about chasing dreams down. It’s about all of those things that make up my greatest life’s dreams – that I’m still in pursuit of. Like this. Or this. Or this.

After hitting the big 4-0 and realizing how much time I’d wasted, I knew it was time to stop wasting time.

Some might say that the long trail to get where you want to be is all part of the journey. That may be the case for some people. Sometimes, we just make really dumb decisions and that’s how we end up so far from the life we imagined.

Everything happens for a reason. But sometimes the reason is that you’re stupid and you make bad decisions.

That’s me. About 15 years after a derailed life, I finally figured out what I needed to figure out. However, the dreams I hold most dear, that require more than just my own determination and pluck, look so very far from possible.

Each time someone I know announces she is pregnant, or my friends experience new milestones with their families, or I hear about how easy it is for some people to meet new dudes & date – it looks more and more impossible.

With each passing day, my age is making very clear that my chances for my greatest dream, are probably in my rear view mirror {giving birth to the baby I’ve prayed and longed for, for so long}. With each passing day, this truth settles in a little deeper.

The dream – the greatest dream is a house full of kids and a marriage to my best friend and truest companion. I’ve prayed for him more years than I can even count – before I was even a teen, really.

Lots of kids – some entering our home through foster care and adoption – a husband who seeks God and leads our home and wants God’s will in his and our lives more than his own – that is the dream.

The dream is our kids bringing home their friends, especially those friends who need it most, our door always open. The dream is adult kids who love to be around their family – us as parents, their siblings, and their kids.

chasing dreams, elaina avalos, parenthood, big family

Have you ever watched the show Parenthood? I know, I know. Not real life. But my favorite things about that show are the chaotic moments when everyone is talking at once and they’re sharing a meal – parents, adult kids, and the grandchildren – all gathered around one table.

The dream is a long legacy of loving the people who come through our door. Maybe they step across our threshold for a meal or a soft place to land when they have nowhere to go. The dream is that my family is part of showing a hurting world around us the love of Jesus that has been so lavished on us.

That’s the dream.

That’s the dream. But it is so far from my reality right now it’s not even funny.

But that’s the dream. That’s the one. It’s also a dream that I don’t think can happen by my own sheer determination. Otherwise, it would have happened by now.

Instead, this is the kind of dream you pray for.

The question is, when is it time to let go? When is it time to believe He has answered that prayer and the answer is no? When is it time to stop chasing dreams?

Friends I come to you today with a heart that is tender and sore in this area. I wonder every day if it’s time to give up on this dream. Especially as the calendar tells me another day has passed by me.

I am not sure there’s an easy answer.

You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him. – St. Teresa of Avila

Wait. There is an easy answer. Pray without ceasing. That is the answer. I know how it looks. It doesn’t look good. If you saw the messages I got on match.com {insert eye roll here} you would know just how impossible this vision and dream, appears.

For reals. It looks impossible. It looks improbable.

That’s probably a good place to be as much as my humanness fights it {about 90% of the time}.

Bob Goff, Elaina Avalos, impossible prayers, chasing dreams, faith

There is simply no way for me to make this happen. I can pray. I can live my life in pursuit of His will and plan. I can trust Him. And I can chase this dream by chasing Him. Otherwise, it’s about as impossible as it could get.

So . . . my friends . . . the answer? The answer is to keep chasing. The answer is to keep praying. The answer is to trust Him to place and remove the dreams and hopes that are on your heart.

The answer is to trust your greatest longing, your deepest hurt, and your wildest dreams to the One who gave them to you in the first place.

Keep dreaming, friend. Keep chasing.

As I pray for my own dreams, what can I pray for, for you?

 

Run & Never Tire

This time I'm speeding with no direction.Without a reason. (1)

Dear Future Husband,

There’s a prayer I’m praying right now. It’s really the same thing over and over. I am praying for you. I’m praying we can somehow get past this wall that appears to be in front of us now.

I pray nothing will stand in our way.

I pray you’ll find me, see me, run and never tire. Desire is one of my favorite Ryan Adams songs. It has been for a handful of years. But somehow it’s a good one for right now.

Two hearts fading, like a flower.
And all this waiting, for the power.
For some answer, to this fire.
Sinking slowly.
The water as higher.
Desire

I am 100% convinced that amazing things are ahead for us and for our patchwork family. But floating around the edges of those days when my faith is strong, are so many moments when the fear is greater.

This weekend, as I miss you and worry I’ll keep right on missing you, the fear and faith have mixed. Equal amounts of both. One minute I’m certain. The next, I’m dreading a life without you in it.

I’m working on a novel. It’s a love story. It’s our love story. The one that hasn’t happened yet. This too, like my prayers for you – and for us, takes more faith than I have some moments.

But the man I know you are (and are becoming) makes the risk worth every moment of fear in the midst of all this waiting.

I’m going to keep praying big prayers, Baby.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20

Dear Future Husband

blue crayon poem, a.r. asher, elaina avalos, love poem

Dear Future Husband,

I have this weird tendency to spill water or coffee down the front of me when I’m drinking. It’s usually at the worst possible time – like when I’m in a meeting, a formal event, or when I’m trying to appear cool. My Grandpa would have said I had a hole in my chin. He knew because he had one too. It’s usually just water. Unless I’m drinking red wine & wearing a white shirt.

I will often do ridiculous and klutzy things. It’s a gift. I outgrew some of the klutz. But not all of it. It comes out when I’m tired or highly distracted – like when a hot guy {you] is around.

I once went to a reception on Capitol Hill after the Trafficking in Persons Act {2000}, was passed. I was out of place and completely fascinated. I went by myself after being invited by International Justice Mission {I would later work for IJM for a bit}. I do many things by myself because . . . why not? Like go on a wine cruise {with a bunch of annoying couples} down the Trent River. Who does that? Me, apparently.I’d rather do them with you, though.

Speaking of things I’d rather do with you, I have a huge long list. I do things by myself because life is too short not to try things you want to try. But wouldn’t it be nice to hop in the car {together} on Friday after work and drive to Asheville because . . . why not?

You should also know that:

  • I snore
  • I get really impatient in traffic. If you could drive us around, especially on the 1st & 15th & when we need to be on Western Blvd, that’d be great.
  • I make up ridiculous nicknames for animals and kids {my dog probably has 10}. I’m sure I will have more than one for you.
  • I am very cheap. We will never buy expensive toilet paper, for instance. This is not a compromise I’m willing to make. Angel Soft is as expensive as I’ll go. Haha. Unless you want to get a second job or we win the lottery. But even then it’s iffy.
  • I am a tremendous fan of kissing.
  • I will never leave you. Unless Don Henley proposed to me. Then possibly. {I KID.}
  • I love jewelry but fail in most other girly things like make-up & doing my hair. If I could just look like me without dark eye circles I’d be cool with that. I hope you don’t need a super high maintenance chick who wears high heels, and does her hair & make-up before she goes anywhere. I will fail you miserably.
  • I sometimes jump up & down and yell during football games. I often pace around the room at the end of a game. I apologize in advance.

For a few years I’ve written “Dear Future Husband” status updates on Facebook. I find myself humorous. I say things like, “Dear Future Husband, When I’m sick, please make me a hot toddy.”

So I say a lot of silly things but here are a few other things you should know about life with me:

  • I have been praying for you, about you, and for our someday family for more years than I can count.
  • I will respect you – probably more than any person I’ve even known. No one will ever wonder or question my support for you and how much I believe in you.
  • I will be your biggest cheerleader and fiercest defender.
  • I really need you around. I can do anything I want to do. And I have done so much on my own. But gosh, I just need you around.
  • Your ability to make me {and others} laugh, will probably be one of my favorite things about you.
  • Your love for kids makes me love you more.
  • I will ask for your opinion because I want to hear it {also see bullet #2}. I will want & need your advice because I respect you and also, I like you.
  • I will call you out when you’re being a turd. I hope you will do the same for me because the likelihood of me being a turd at various points in our life together is high.
  • I will know you like I know myself. When you’re low, I will pull you up. When you’re high, I will rejoice in your wins, brag about you, and look at you with the same stars in my eyes I have now.

There’s plenty more where that comes from, but that’s what my heart needed to write tonight. Why? Because I miss you & wish you were here next to me. I’m not gonna lie, I’m tired of waiting. So let’s get on with the show, Baby.

Mama

foster care, adoption, love makes a family, elaina avalos

I don’t know about you, but for me, there are things I know I am meant to do and be. I am a mama.

I have spent a lifetime looking forward to motherhood and to the family I prayed for, for so long.

My future family & being a mama looks a little different from where I stand now. I never dreamed I’d be here.

I have been on a long path to be a foster and {or} adoptive parent for decades {about three of them}. But I never saw myself embarking on this journey as a single woman.

But here I am.

I started foster parent training last year. I had to put the stops on that but knew it was “temporary.” I’ve kick-started this thing again with a new foster parent agency. They’re a Christian agency & I feel at home there. My training will be complete in December. The remainder of the licensing process will continue on for several months after.

As I’ve jumped in again, I’m even more convinced today than I was a year ago that God has put the pieces of my life together in such a way that I was made for this.

Did I want to do this alone? No. Did I plan it this way? Oh heck no. But here I am. I am a mama. And there are little ones {and not so little ones} who are precious in His sight who need a mama. They desperately long for a home and to be loved and cared for as we all need.

So without all the answers and uncertain about how to juggle singleness and parenting, I’m jumping into the fire again. I’ve been thinking a great deal about the babies or children that will make this their home – for a time – or forever.

I don’t know their stories. But I know that God will take the brokenness that brings them to me and will give me the gift of breathing hope, healing, and love into their lives for a season or forever.

I still have moments of grief over what isn’t or what was lost long ago. But here I am. With four bedrooms, a huge backyard, and a passion for the lives of his most precious ones, I am opening my heart and home.

Waiting & God’s Will

Waiting, God's Will, Worship While Waiting

When I was young, I read a bunch of books by Emilie Barnes. Between her books, my desire to be a mom & adopt, my long standing love of all things homemaking, and entertaining, I was convinced I would be the best wife & mom . . . ever.

In one of Emilie’s books, The Spirit of Loveliness, she writes about how her home often became the center of action for her high-school age kids and their friends. Her son played football and her daughter was a cheerleader. She mentions preparing food with her kids and then feeding 50 football players and cheerleaders.

Her home became a gathering place because of the love, hospitality, openness, and joy her, her husband, and kids exhibited. I thought then {and prayed too} that this is what my house would become someday – full of love, noise, hospitality, and a bit of a revolving door as people came & went.

Waiting, God's Will, Waiting and God's Will

Fast forward to 2017. At 41, my life doesn’t look like that. I get to hang out with some young people. And sometimes I feed them. But, I don’t have kids or a family.  There is still so much of what I’ve prayed for, for so many decades, that remains a distant dream.

Whatever the circumstances might be, waiting when you don’t truly know what’s on the other end, isn’t easy. I wish I could say it was. There’s a tendency in the delays to despair. Or to believe that perhaps it’s just not meant to be.

Maybe it’s not. Maybe the life I always saw for myself won’t ever happen. But in all of the years of praying, I have continued to ask, and the desire is still there. I guess that means I’ll have to trust His timing.

There is purpose in your season of waiting. – Megan Smalley

Since I can’t see the future {that would be a useful skill, no?} and I don’t believe in psychics {eventually they’re gonna guess right}, trust is my only option. I’m not saying I’ve been getting it right all this time.

In fact, even this very week, I’ve struggled. But sometimes the struggle leads to our greatest lessons. And sometimes it means growing to trust God even more. The truth is, I want what is best for me and I want it His way.

So while I wait, I’ll keep looking forward to that vision of what I always wanted my life and family to look like.  In the meantime, I’ll keep writing, trusting, and praying for the hearts of the ones he’s drawing me toward.

Who loved me through my rebel way
Who chose to carry all my shame
Who breaths in me with endless life
The king of glory Jesus Christ

I will stay should the world by me fold
Lift up Your name as the darkness falls
I will wait and hold fast to Your word
Heart on Your heart and my eyes on Yours

Stay & Wait By Joel Houston

Chasing Dreams – Chasing Hope

free amazon download

I am a writer. I have been creating stories and putting them on paper for as long as I can remember. I didn’t call myself a writer, however, until a history professor at Biola University handed me a graded research paper and said, “You know you’re a writer, right?”

Uh . . . yes?

I am a writer. I started writing the novel Chasing Hopein 2005. It was called something else way back then. In fact, the title has changed a few times over the years. It’s the not the first novel I wrote. But it has been through many incarnations over the last twelve years.

What made me decide after all these years to finish this book? Hope. Dreams. Waking up to the reality of turning 41, with countless years “wasted.” I let my dreams wither on the vine while I tended everything but my writing.

But it wasn’t just the writing. It was the dream of being a mom and adopting, too, that languished, too. When I decided to pursue being a foster parent {and independent adoption}, last year, a door opened unintentionally.

I thought I was finally taking a leap in that one area of my life. What I didn’t realize, was that it would change so much. It ignited the hope that had been burning way too low, for way too long. As I started to pursue that one dream, the others came back into view. I started writing again. And as I researched adoption, the cost, though sometimes seemingly daunting, didn’t deter me.

But I needed to find a way to pay for a private/independent adoption, nonetheless. That’s when Kindle Direct’s self-publishing option started to make sense for me. So here I am! My book was live on Kindle June 10th.

Kindle Direct gives authors the option to use a free promotional period so my book is FREE on Kindle until June 15th! FREE! You can click the photo above, or go HERE! If you download Chasing Hope, please leave a review on Good Reads and on Amazon. The downloads and reviews will help me long term as I work towards raising funds for a private adoption.

Overall, this year so far has been about chasing dreams. But more than that, it’s about not letting your calling in life slip through your fingers as you get caught up in day to day adulting. 😉

I know, I know. You’ve got bills to pay. So do I. I know – you have a family that needs and wants your time and attention. Well, I don’t have that, but I do have a demanding job. You have circumstances that get in the way – maybe it’s your health, or maybe it’s people in your life that don’t believe in you.

I get it. I truly do. The time I’ve wasted over the years is evidence of that. But your unique stamp on the world through your writing, art, that business you have always dreamed of starting, etc., won’t write/paint/start itself.

Today is the day. So I’m chasing dreams. I’m chasing hope. I hope you will too!