When Dreams Get Stripped Away

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All of us dream and make plans in life. But not all of those dreams come to life. As if I need to explain that to you.

Last week, my son asked Daddy, “When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“Well, when I was really little, around 5 years old, I wanted to be a doctor during the week and a preacher on the weekends.” The children thought this was such an awesome idea. My husband went on to say,” And when I got a little older, I wanted to be a magician.” This made everyone at the table smile or giggle a bit. Although I have full confidence that if he were to be a magician, he would be incredible. But the reality is that the most magic my husband has ever made has been his 7 kids. 

I’m a dreamer and always have been. As a child, I not only got lost in books because the characters came to life, but also because I could take the characters other places and make up my own stories. I would dream of flying with Amelia Earhart; Annie Oakley and I went on all sorts of adventures together. I was as good a shot as she was. In my dreams.

Yesterday one of my dreams died.

You see, my Taylor girl has been quite fragile since autumn. Between seizures and her continual loss of skills as the gradual neurological degeneration infiltrates her brain, she has stayed home from school day after day and we do our best to hold on to her mobility. She is still breathing on her own and eating by mouth; for this we are thankful and focus on making the most of each day. But her pace to life is much slower than the rest of the world. I’m learning to appreciate it.

When the diagnosis was issued that Taylor’s projected lifespan would be 10-15 years, I looked down at her little pigtails and I had this dream. The dream that one day she would walk across a platform and receive her high school diploma. Graduation day- isn’t it the pinnacle of the teen years? Doesn’t everyone have this dream for their child? And in spite of disease and in spite of diagnosis, my dream for my girl has been that she would graduate from high school. Not with honors or accolades or scholarships, but just the ability to walk and receive a piece of paper that signifies she lived her life to the fullest for the school years allotted to her. Each day she put one foot in front of the other and took one more step.

Since Taylor hasn’t been well enough to attend school, although she is 18 years old, at this point, we are forced to let a dream die. Due to state regulations and stipulations, today I have to make the choice to disenroll Taylor from school. And we will never see that dream of Taylor receiving a high school diploma. It’s a very hard mama place to be. To be honest, Taylor doesn’t care. She doesn’t know and it does not hurt her feelings because she doesn’t understand. It’s a strange feeling to be thankful that your child doesn’t have enough cognitive ability to know when she’s being deprived of a simple joy.

I really didn’t want to share all this with you, as it is deeply personal for me. But the Lord kept me awake last night because I felt him impressing on me that you too have big dreams and big goals for your life and your children. There’s nothing wrong with those big dreams and plans and goals, except that sometimes they are not a part of his plan. We can’t wrap our heads around it; we don’t understand all the details. But we can hold on to the promises of Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORDFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8&9

isaiah 559

For those of you with children graduating this year, be thankful and enjoy every moment to the fullest. Soak up extra moments on my behalf.

For those of you with dying or dead dreams, he is with you. His promises are true and his plan is always best. God is good and makes all things for our good. His plan is far greater than we could ever dream.

I doubt I’ll have a single thought of high school graduation when we stand before his throne in eternity. In fact, this morning I was thinking about what it will be like to see Taylor in heaven one day, without disease, fully healed and I thought:

Now that’s the ultimate graduation.


 14 Bible Verses for when I can’t understand God’s plan


  1. Susen Cusenbary says:

    Dear Rachel~I have thought and prayed about this post since early this morning. I pray that you see my desire to help in making this suggestion: graduation is a symbol of attaining the first landing of a whole series of life steps. From reading about Taylor, she has surpassed so many expectations that have seemed insurmountable that she certainly has attained her own landing. Would a home graduation for your daughter be a balm for you?

    Blessings. susen

    1. You are so very kind. Thank you, sweet Susen for the idea. I’m thinking and praying on it. xo

  2. Toyin Tope-Adedipe says:

    Waoh! Thank you for sharing. Indeed, in all things, we should give thanks. I have learnt loads of lessons from ur post.
    God bless you and the whole family.

  3. Your obedience and words will touch more souls than you can ever know, As God meant for us to do, I am holding you and your family up in praise and prayer today. May God give you peace beyond all understanding as you continue to follow His path for you. Thank you so much for sharing your story, as with others, it hit home for me in a very personal way.

  4. In Texas, she could go to the Home Bound program so she could still graduate. You might try and check out that idea.

  5. I’m so sorry for this loss of a dream and the burdens you carry for your daughter. Praying for strength, growth and a miracle.

  6. Rachel, my heart is heavy as I write this comment. I have been speaking out and praying upwards for our, children with special health care needs and cognitive challenges. I have been working with the most loving and most loved children for 33 years. No child left behind continues to leave more and more children behind! Knowing that our Jesus is watching over us is our comfort and the vision of their life with Him in heaven, flying as free as a dove on a warm spring morning our confident hope! In faith and trust, I await the day when I am reunited with children still so loved in my heart…we won’t need to show a diploma to enter His Kingdom! Love to you all! May your heart be filled with Peace as you journey in His Love! You and Taylor and your “Wojo clan” are in my prayers each morning! Love, Mary ;God bless!

  7. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post with us. I’ve had this happen with my kids recently, on a much smaller scale. My oldest son always wanted to go to a certain college, and despite graduating with honors, he didn’t get in the one he wanted. Also, today, my 2nd grader tried out for the spelling bee, but got nervous and misspelled a word. I know these don’t compare to yours, but I really appreciate your post, and I think it’s something I really needed to hear.

  8. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to type this post. The loss of a dream for our child is very difficult. I’m so glad you did share, though. The reminder to be grateful for every moment is a beautiful reminder. Every moment matters. Blessings on you and your family and thank you for your tender moment.

  9. Thank you … From a mum with a daughter who also has a disability, who has had to move herself out of her daughters way and let go and let God too many times to count – I hear you and so does my heart. Your sharing has blessed me today and reminded me that yes, Gods ways are higher than my ways, as are His thoughts also.

    Thank you for creating a new dream in me – To dream of “the ultimate graduation” for our children and us. That day in heaven when all of His carers of these precious people will stand arm in arm with our children – All of us – healed and whole – receiving His mark of excellence, His seal of approval – “Well done my good and faithful servant” 🙂

  10. Thank you for sharing your heart – and the pain that it is feeling. I pray that God gives you the sense of all of our hugs and prayers for you tonite. We know God is in control, but the pain that we have can be so difficult and you need to know that others are praying for you – and your daughter.

  11. Hugs, tears, and prayers of comfort for you, my friend. Wish I could be there to offer all three in person. Call if you just need someone to talk to. Love you and love your mama heart.

  12. This is so heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing. I do understand those dreams which die. And although my situation is no where near as dire as yours, it was/is still very painful. My son turned 18 and upon graduation, became a totally different person. We rarely speak to him now. Our text messages and phone calls go unanswered. He now lives several states away so I never know if he is OK. He turns 19 if a few weeks. It’s been a rough year. Trusting the Lord is my source of Peace. I had to accept that the Lord has his own plans for my son’s life. Once I stopped fighting that truth, I have had great peace. Much love and prayers for your daughter and your family.

  13. Thanks for bravely sharing. Your words encouraged me greatly this morning as I wrestle with a dream that seems to be dead and grapple with the knowledge that I’ve spent too many years longing for that dream and not living the life God HAS called me to. So thankful that we do have that ultimate graduation to look forward to!

  14. Thanks for sharing this personal testimony. Praying for you and your family. I am reminded of the scripture in Proverbs 19:21 – the very plan we are reading – Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. And again chapter 16:9 We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.

    Be encouraged.

  15. Thanks for being obedient in posting this and thanks for the perspective reset. Tears and prayers for you :0(

  16. Rachel, that is a powerful message. Thank you for trusting us with your story. You’re right. I have dreams for my daughters, too. You’re story reminds me to be grateful for the time I have with them and to trust in the Lord even when I don’t understand His “why.”

    May I please pray for you?

    Heavenly Father, we praise and adore you. Thank you, Lord, for Taylor. Thank you for her shining light that warms her mother’s heart. Thank you for her 18 years and counting. Those doctors got nothing over you, Lord. Thank you. Now Lord, guide our understanding of your plan for Taylor. Comfort her family. Make them strong when they are weak. Carry them when they are weary. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

  17. Tears streaming down my face. I completely understand so much of this – though not all of course. And I’m learning to appreciate God’s plans. He is good, always. Thinking of you today.

  18. Ann Rider McMains says:

    Rachel, prayers for your family. Miracles do happen, and while this one may not be the one, other miracles can happen for your family. I had tears in my eyes reading your post. You will all be in my thoughts. You are one very strong lady and have been keeping me going with your site. God bless you all.

  19. Thank you that you did decide to share this with us! There is a degree of dreams dying in everyone’s life.
    Praying for you all as you walk through this!

  20. Well, you sure know how to make a girl cry! You are so right! One day that ultimate graduation will put all things in perspective. The earthly things will mean nothing. Keep your chin up and know that many friends and families have you surrounded by many prayers and love. Love you Girl!

  21. My dreams died a little over 2 years ago as I watched cancer steal and kill my husband of 18 years and the father of my 3 precious children. Most days I tell the Lord: I don’t know how this life is supposed to look, I don’t know how to feel much less dream and I don’t know how to love You in this dark night of the soul. I choose to hold on whatever that looks like in the moment. I look forward to a day of no more tears, no more darkness, no more doubts and no more disease. We are one day closer.

  22. Bravely sharing makes a HUGE impact for God! You are indeed brave. Sending prayers your way.

  23. angela Holshouser says:

    Thanks for sharing this, struggling here with some dreams dying and I needed to read this….thanks for listening to the Holy Spirit about sharing your personal struggles, I’ve lifted you in pray this morning and am thankful you do that for your readers!

  24. Gosh, how this made my heart hurt. Praying for you.

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