dreaming at 10,000 feet

Clouds in the sky with a plane. Thoughts on Influence Conference, dreaming, and motherhood.

I’m typing this on a plane, trying ignore the dips and drops as we hit some of that “unexpected turbulence.” If you ever need to be reminded how small you are, just hop on a plane.

I’m sitting here, buckled in, heading back to my little tribe, signing off from a long weekend away in Indianapolis for the Influence Conference. There’s so much to unpack that I’m not sure I know where to begin.

But there’s something that I can not get off my mind

At one of the (many) thought-provoking sessions, Lara Casey closed her powerful talk with some guided imagery. I’ve done this before, but never in a faith-based way. And you guys, it was really powerful for me. Like, really powerful.

She asked us to visualize our lives in 5-10 ten years.

Where would we be, if our hopes and dreams aligned?

She talked us through, asking us to close our eyes and see the room we’re in. To breathe in the smells. To touch it and to feel it and to be in that space.

And what I saw when I closed my eyes…I don’t know. The whole weekend, I was focused on learning about strategy and aiming to get the most out of my time away from full-time mothering. I wanted to focus on the gifts and talents God has placed inside me and I wanted to chase after those gifts and talents with other like-minded women. And in so many ways, I did. But when I really let myself dream and hope and imagine my life in the future, this is what I saw.

I saw a big, cozy couch, covered with well-loved throw blankets and flattened out pillows. I spotted garland hanging on the stairway banister, tiny white lights framing the frost-covered windows. I smelled cookies baking in the oven and a tree in the old house’s corner. I couldn’t see their faces, but I spied a family playing with an old-fashioned train moving around a shabby Balsam Fir. I felt the patter of tiny feet running over the creaky wooden floors. I heard belly-laughing and fighting over game systems and I felt peace. I felt my husband’s arm, a little older and a little wiser, curl around my shoulder, pulling me close to his warmth with a squeeze that said, this is it. And I breathed in fresh air swirling with cinnamon and it this all-encompassing, deeply-rooted joy just felt so right.

As I lie on that conference room floor, a young stay-at-home mama who so often feels the need to set goals and meet them, I didn’t envision myself at a book signing or speaking to a crowd. I didn’t see myself putting the finishing touches on a magazine or running a board meeting. No, in that moment I was snuggled into a corner of a couch, in a house I didn’t know, watching a family share favorite stories and fight over who got to open his present first. That was my biggest hope, my biggest dream.

Lara told us to imagine the special people in our lives coming toward us. She encouraged us to imagine sharing with them the story of how we got to this place. The story of how it all came to be.

And it just hit me. It hit me. My life is my people.

That being a mother is important.

I don’t think I ever really believed that before.

I saw a family that continued to grow, grafted together through ways I don’t yet know. I saw a beautiful unknown unfurling in my mind and somehow, I got to be a part of it. Somehow, in that space and in that time, God brought us together in His ways to go through this life together.

As I sit on this plane, I watch the wispy clouds float by and I think about the two sweet babies waiting for me at home. I think about how deep my heart dreams for them. I think about how they deplete me and fill me up in all the best ways. I think about my husband who has walked this life with me for six years. I think about the teenagers we were in his rusty red truck and I think about the young family we are now and I think about that Christmastime living room I imagined and now I’m crying in seat 24B.

I don’t know what the future holds. None of us do. And life isn’t always a Norman Rockwell painting, I know that. But what I also know that when I close my eyes and I let my hopes and my dreams fill the canvas, I see brushstrokes forming a beautiful, messy family knitted together with beautiful threads of grace.

When you close your eyes, when you let yourself go there, what do you see? What is holding you back from getting there?


17 thoughts on “dreaming at 10,000 feet

  1. there’s not a nobler calling in this world than being a parent, a family.
    I’ve always had just one dream, one goal. Ever since i was about 20, all I ever wanted was a wife and family. I didn’t care about money, houses, jobs. I worked whatever I could get, went where life took me and always, always chased my dream. I chased it through countless relationships, each one i hoped and often was convinced would be the dream. The harder I chased the dream the further away it go. by the time i was 41 I was so tired of broken hearts and wasted time that I literally gave up. I gave up. And no sooner did I give up chasing that singular desire to part of a family, my OWN family, God dropped it right in my lap.
    Anything I’ve owned or acquired or any job promotions, or money I’ve made, any prestige or awards or accolades, none of it means a damn thing to me. I just wanted to be part of my own family.

  2. I’ve been really grasping the fact that my purpose in life in this season is my family and kids. And that’s it. And that’s OK. It’s more than ok. It’s just hard to remember that all the time! Thanks for reminding me again this morning!

    1. I’m such a big proponent of women being “more” than moms — and it’s true, being a mother doesn’t fully define me. But I’m surprised that when I think of the place that gives me the most joy, the most hope, the most peace, it’s a glimpse into a messy, beautiful family. I still hope that God gives me stories to share + ways to use my gifts and talents, but when it comes down to it, if I don’t have life-giving relationships, I have nothing. I know you get what I’m saying here. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Meg!

    1. Thank you, Barb. My prayer is that God continues to transform me and shape me into the woman He has created me to be! I’m reminded of Romans 12:2. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

  3. You are such a gifted writer, Kayla. I’m so glad you were able to get away, to hit that refresh button, and that now you get to hold your babies close and be with your man. I hope that God says “yes!” to these dreams, these deep desires of your heart. May your heart burst with joy as you continue to stay snuggled in close to Him.

  4. This is beautiful Kayla. I’m praying that a few years from now you see with your own eyes this beautiful vision. So glad you were able to make it to Influence this year with us. xo

  5. I’m new to your blog and this is the first thing I have read. It touched me deeply as a very simple reminder of how important it is “just” being a mom. It was timed perfectly for me as well. I believe I am going to truly enjoy getting to know you Kayla! Thank you for sharing your words. God is doing His work through you!

    1. Mandy, thank you so much for your sweet words + encouragement. I’m thankful we can connect and hope that this space encourages you to live the story God is writing in your life! xo

  6. Shortly after Wyatt was born, we visited my phd adviser at her summer home. sitting around the campfire, holding my 8 month old, we played this game, where we asked each other “what are you most proud of?” when I said, honestly, “my family” she was shocked – she took it to mean I wasn’t proud of my book, of my career, of my accomplishments … that’s not what it meant. I’m proud of those things. But when I was younger, and envisioning the life I wanted to craft, it was, for me, about a partnership based in love and respect (and, later, a family that we created together). I am most proud of my family, of my role in it – and the way that my family life helps create conditions whereby I can value the other contributions I make to the world, too.

    1. “I am most proud of my family, of my role in it – and the way that my family life helps create conditions whereby I can value the other contributions I make to the world, too.” Goosebumps! You provide such a good example for many of us who are watching. Thank you for that + thank you for sharing!

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