“Re-Altared” Dreams

Autumn is a time of change. Trees stop making the wonderful chlorophyll that gives them all the different shades of green and slowly the leaves begin their transition in color to brilliant oranges, scarlet reds, and sunshine yellows. The deciduous trees hold out their branches as the leaves fall to the ground in preparation for their complete winter transformation.

Most people love this time of year when the new season ushers in cooler temperatures, football games, or that first year of college and a new chapter of life. But, for me, this time of year brings me back to the stark reality of that time when my dreams were totally altered.

As the days become shorter and the wonderful natural light of the sun shines for fewer hours, I find my heart becoming heavier and grief threatening to overwhelm me. Those who are not walking in my shoes will be quick to say, “It’s been long enough now. It’s time for you to stop going back to that time in your life and move on.” But, that is just not possible for me to do no matter how hard I try. So, I embrace those memories and try to override the bad memories with the good and as I look back over them, I look for things to be thankful for that I wasn’t able to notice – the parking spot close to the front door of the hospital; my husband’s friend who came for a week at just the right time to spend the days preparing our home for the coming winter months and evenings and nights staying with Bob so that I could get some rest; the time one of Bob’s sisters volunteered to come from out of state and bring his 84 year old dad to spend some time with him; a meal of chicken soup and rolls from Demos’ that a couple brought to us one evening.

I find it amazing that there are things coming back to me now at almost 6 years past – things that went on during those last 4 months that I was not even aware of because of the grief and fog that I was walking through. I know that those who would come visit him in the hospital probably thought that I was unfriendly or even unkind because I had so little to say in the way of conversation, but truly it was all I could do just to walk through that time with my husband and try to remain positive and keep up his spirits. I had no energy left for anything else.

Last week I heard Chris Fabry make the statement, “Dreams have been dashed and re-altered or re-altared“. That is exactly what happened. My dreams were all dashed and totally re-altered the day my husband met Jesus. Now I must continue to put those dreams on the altar allowing God to do His perfect work making me into this person that He designed me to be in this time of my life. I have to pick them up daily and lay them on that altar not because it is something that I want to do, but it is something that I need to do in order to fully and completely surrender to what God has for my life. This surrendering is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I am stubborn and still cannot understand God’s ways. Yet, I know this is something that I MUST do daily in order to get through my days.

What about you? Have you been able to take your broken dreams and lay them on the altar as an offering of surrender? Do you do like I do from time to time and snatch them back to hold them tightly against your heart wishing life would go back to those days of wonderfulness that you enjoyed with your husband? Or if you had a good childhood, you may even wish to go all the way back to those days where you were loved and carefree. I’ve wished myself back to those times as well.

There is no going backwards, is there.  There is only today and whatever God has for our future. So, today I face my sorrow completely again and lay not only my dreams but my grief on the altar so that they can be “re-altared”.

14 responses

  1. Your posting has touched me very deeply today. There is no going back, no matter how much we long and pray for it. And every day we do have to put our dreams, our life on the alter for God to do as he will. No total surrender is not an easy thing, and it is a choice that we must make every day. But the result of such surrender, is peace, and calm and joy and all the fruits of the spirit. One of the things that has surprised me about this grieving, is how much a trigger the changing of the seasons can be. Never expected that. Life will always surprise us, and sometimes pleasantly. Thank you for your post today, it helps. Prayers for peace and comfort for you.


  2. God is Sovereign. God is Sovereign in our life, our dissapointment, our broken grief. We belong to Him. He makes choices for our good. We often know these things in the head but the heart does not accept until we acknowledge and understand God’s Sovereignty. I am still learning. . .


  3. No going back to what was, yet our minds continually go back in time, instead of seeing what God is doing through those rough trying times. I miss my husband every day, but knowing he is with Jesus gives me peace.

    May you feel God’s love, peace and strength flowing through you and surrounding you each and every day.



  4. Thank you for sharing Candy……the words ‘no going back’ & ‘re-altered dreams’ flash out at me and no matter how we want to go back, we cannot….God has something for you and I……in a coming day it will all make sense but for now we don’t understand. Bless you as you continue on this journey.


    • Hello, Karen. I, too, found that the words “re-altered dreams” to be a flashing neon sign. When Chris Fabry then said that they can become “re-altared” dreams when we lay them at God’s feet, the light went on for me. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Always blesses me.


  5. Beautiful Candy!! I have those same feelings too..I find myself wishing for ten years ago when we were still intact as a family. But as you said, we cannot go backwards. So like you, I cling on to God’s promises every day!! Love you sweet sister you are always in my prayers!!!


  6. Candy, you know how difficult the month of September is for me. The phrase “re-altared dreams” speaks volumes to my soul. I have not laid my dreams on the altar, even after four years, and have kept holding them close to my heart. On most days, I long for what was; however, in my heart I know it will never be again. Thank you for these words, your friendship and your encouragement. I am praying for you during this time. This widowhood is just so hard! Know that you are greatly loved by me and so many others whom you have touched!


  7. YES! It IS SO HARD!! I just started laying my dreams and even my grief on the altar. I just could not do it before now. We each move at our own pace and that’s okay. We both had good marriages and it hurts deeply not to have that relationship of being loved, cherished, taken care of and special to one man. Thank you for saying I am loved…..greatly loved by yourself and others. Those are words of blessing to me. Keep on keeping on, my friend. It will be worth it all one of these days when we see Jesus.


  8. Candy, I needed this. Even after 3 years, I sill wish with ever fiber of my being that somehow God would bring Kevin back to me. I still miss him so bad that it physically hurts. So your post and especially this sentence, “So, today I face my sorrow completely again and lay not only my dreams but my grief on the altar so that they can be “re-altared” really resonates with me. Laying my hurt and grief on the alter of Jesus’s precious love is the only way I can keep going. P.S. It also helps to know I’m not the only one that still struggles even after multiple years have past.


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