Still Dreaming

Can God trust you with a delayed dream? The great American poet, Langston Hughes, asked:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?…1

Scripture states: “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12 KJV). Unfortunately, life circumstances have a way of stripping our dreams and threatening the prophetic words spoken over our lives. Stiff opposition often challenges us to give up and settle for less than God’s best.

At the age of six, I dreamed of being a mommy and a teacher who would open and lead her own school. I wasn’t sure how all of that fit with my princess dreams to marry Mr. Wonderful, have three beautiful children, and live happily ever after (on a cloud of love, of course).

At sixteen, I refined the blueprint for my life and, by age twenty-four, was en route to fulfilling my dreams. Then suddenly, my life was shattered into a million pieces. My dream turned into a nightmare as abandonment, adultery, and divorce sabotaged my identity and sense of purpose. Feelings of rejection and disappointment, plus the struggles of single parenting caused me to question how such distress could be God’s best. I had lived for God all my life—surely my dreams should have been God’s dreams for me as well.

How are we supposed to handle such heartache? What should we do when our dreams have been shattered and do not seem to come to pass? Genesis 37:9 says: “And he [Joseph]dreamed yet another dream…” (KJV).

When I finally released my brokenness and surrendered to God, I understood that He still had a purpose for my life. Once prostrate before Him, I was able to dream again. Worlds of opportunity began to open as I vigorously pursued God’s purpose. He began perfecting and preparing me to reach my God-given dreams—to teach, develop, and make an impact through education.

Thirteen years later, I can see the strategic work of God preserving those dreams: I am now the mom of one incredible teenage son. As an elementary school principal in the Denver metropolitan area, I am “school mom” to 400 diverse students andI serve as a teacher of teachers. Every day, I am honored to teach, nurture, and model the love of Jesus. I acknowledge that my difficult testing was preparation for leading, managing, and developing others.

Perhaps you too are experiencing a delayed dream. It might seem that everything has taken a nosedive, and you are tempted to give up. If so, I encourage you to try these steps:

  • Go to your secret place and surrender your dreams to God. Earnestly seek His purpose with the assurance that His dreams for your life are often beyond your understanding.
  • Change from an inward to an outward perspective. Our selfish, self-centered dreams keep us isolated, aloof, and detached from God’s purpose. Look for ways to bless others and support their dreams. As you surrender your plans and work to fulfill someone else’s dreams, you will begin to see yours come to pass.
  • Take time to develop your spiritual identity and create a plan to develop and hone your gifts and talents. Stay connected to your local church; seek opportunities to serve and exercise your gifts.
  • Submit the results to God and watch your prophetic words unfold.

Whether your dreams seem to have died or are shattered into a million pieces, God has graced you to fulfill the dreams He has placed in you. God is never content to allow destruction and misery to have the last word.You never know what God can do with broken pieces until you give them to Him…so keep dreaming!

Broken Dreams

As children bring their broken toys
with tears for us to mend
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He is my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,

“How can You be so slow?”

“My child,” He said,

“What could I do? You never did let go.”

—Lauretta P. Burns


  1. Langston Hughes, Harlem, Poetry Foundation, May 9, 2014).
  2. Lauretta P. Burns, Broken Dreams, May 9, 2014).


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