This morning when I got up I made a nice cup of coffee and scrolled through my social media. Almost immediately, I noticed a Facebook group that was all about abandoned places – homes, businesses, farms that all had been left behind.

Most in ruins and mess.

Took me one second to click on that link.

I’m pretty captivated by things like this because I like to imagine the stories behind everything, so I started going through the pictures. (Side note: looking for abandoned places is a legit hobby and I might have to join the club.) Pretty soon I had spent way more time than planned going down this rabbit trail looking at places that once held life but were now brought to ruins. Windows broken, animals moved in, grass and trees growing inside and rooms meant for living now destroyed.

Besides having my imagination completely sparked, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the things that people left behind. What could possibly happen so quickly that would cause people to leave and not take anything with them? I’m sure most places had heartbreaking stories connected to the ruins that now stood.

All day I just kept thinking about those places.

And I thought about us, and what we’ve left behind.

Not just old houses, hospitals and barns.

But things we’ve started to build in our lives.

Things that held promise.

Hopes. Dreams. Aspirations.

What have we abandoned? Given up on? Pushed to the back of our minds with the certainty that we will never see those things happen in our life.

A couple weeks ago someone asked me about my dreams and I was caught a little off guard. Deep down I have many things on my list, but in the moment I was only able to sputter out one or two. Some dreams seem too ridiculous to even share with anyone so they stay hidden deep, popping up occasionally just to look me right in the eye and tell me I don’t have what it takes.

I thought about that today as I looked at those houses.

What have I walked away from?

Left behind.

Half-finished and incomplete.

So untouched that layers have grown over top and to dig it all out seems impossible.

Maybe the dreams felt too hard. Perhaps there was rejection.

Fear. Pain. Insecurity. Doubt.

So many scenarios can cause us to walk away from our calling, our purpose, our hopes. Leaving our dreams scattered around and abandoned as we move on and don’t look back.

How many of us have dreams that have been left in piles? 

With each picture I looked at today, I couldn’t help but imagine what could be done with some restoration. I saw potential in the mess. I saw a future that could be made if the past pieces were cleaned up and things pulled together.

It stirred my heart a little.

All these broken down places.

Because there is hope in brokenness.

There is restoration.

Don’t leave your dreams behind.

If you’ve abandoned them, go back and gather them up.

Maybe they need repair, so do the work.

Maybe they need hope, so believe the best.

Maybe your dreams are just waiting to know that you haven’t given up, so don’t walk away.

Even if it hurts and you’re not sure of the outcomes, pursue restoration and believe that the future can be better than the past.

There is always hope in your abandoned places.