My daughter has a big dream: to go to college, become an athletic trainer, get her master’s degree, and then her PhD. She wants to become a sports psychologist. People near and far have tried to discourage her, but she has held strongly to her dream.
For years, she has had her mind-set on going to Texas Tech University (GUNS UP BABY!). After going to a church sponsored youth conference in 2011, she came home to say that she truly believed that Tech wasn’t a good fit for her. She knew she would not be successful there, and started naming off other colleges, including Lubbock Christian. Then a month or so later, she went on a short mission trip with some friends and leaders from church. When she came home she told me that she felt that UNT was where she needed to be. It was financially a better choice, she would have family and her church support system, and she would have a better chance of becoming an athletic trainer because of connections she had. Never once did I suggest that UNT was someplace she should look at, and I was proud at the level of maturity she was showing in making her first “adult” decision (all on her own, I might add).
Then she came home one day (late 2011, early 2012) and said, I want to go to the University of Alabama. The where? I mean, I know where U of A is. You’d have to live under a rock if you don’t know ” RTR” but it has never been a college we’ve talked about, cheered for, nor has anyone in our family attended Uof A. But it was her dream, and it was a big one. That’s all she’s talked about while still working diligently at getting accepted to UNT. While UNT is the practical and logical decision (especially considering the financial and logistical concerns), the University of Alabama is what makes her heart sing.
One night this past fall, we sat down together and made a list of colleges. Top 10, bottom 10, unsure, out-of-state, and dream college. This sounds like a lot, but when you consider the number of colleges in Texas alone with football teams, it was a start. She then weeded them down, all the while UNT and U of A on the top ten / dream school lists. We narrowed the list down some more and began researching application information, admissions requirements, and all that good stuff. She started talking as if she was already admitted to UNT, wearing Mean Green gear everywhere, but you could still see a bit of glimmer in her eyes when Alabama was mentioned.
I’m a big dreamer myself. God has put some big dreams on my heart and I’m fortunate I have a few select people who are cheering me on every step of the way. However, somewhere this winter the adult, practical, logical, worried dream crusher stepped in. I remember telling her that she should concentrate on being a big fish in a little sea instead of a little fish in a big sea. I pretty much told her that her dream was worthless. And that broke my heart.
Then something wonderful happened.
The last two Sunday services really spoke to my heart. They were about dreams (I’ll post the links later). And I felt this tug on my heart and I could feel God saying to me, “Remember when she had that dream to go to Tech…that was her dream, and I showed her something bigger that changed her mind. She showed wisdom and courage and strength. I showed her that was not the path for her, and she listened. Now, she has this HUPER big dream and how do you know I didn’t give it to her? Just think, WHAT IF…but you have closed the door, so we’ll never know.”
So this week, we’ve started working on college applications. Last night, she hit “submit” on her application to UNT. She is working on her application to SMU (mainly because they are driving us crazy), and taking the biggest leap of faith I could muster, we started looking at the University of Alabama. She tried to hide her excitement, but you could see it shine through. I won’t lie, I’m scared to death at letting her go, but more so because I don’t want her dreams to get crushed, or any number of other things that a mother worries about when her daughter leaves home. It nearly makes me hyperventilate.
If I’ve learned one thing it is that if it is meant to be – if it is a God-given dream – it will work out. And even if it doesn’t work out like you had imagined, it doesn’t mean that you didn’t pick up something bigger along the way. So ready, set go! Check back this fall to see what colors the little girl dreamer will be wearing!