For When That Best Part of You Feels Lost

Computer DreamSo I did it! This week on a snowy Tuesday afternoon I sat at my desk and typed the finishing keystrokes of the second draft of my novel. 

Finishing the first draft was a major milestone, but this draft? This milestone? It feels even bigger. I pretty much knew without a doubt I would go to my grave before finishing this draft. It seemed to take for-e-v-e-r. And yet, somehow, I did it. I saw it through. I reached the end.

Finishing this draft has that down hill slope sort of feel to it. It’s like running a race, a long, long race and cresting the next to last hill. I’m not done yet; I’ve got one more to go (publishing…yikes!). But I can see the finish line. I’m almost there.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what’s next. Draft number three? Professional edits? Book proposal, agent, publisher…holding my book in my hands? These are the steps that must fall into place and I have no idea how or when that will happen but there’s one thing I do know. This dream, it’s given me life. 

I recently had a chance to sit with a friend as she shared her vision for ministry. I wish I could convey in words the passion that poured out of her as she spoke about her dream. 

For months she wrestled depression, depression that stole so much. But as she shared her plans for helping women she couldn’t have been more alive. In her words, her movements, her eyes…all signs of depression were gone.

And I know, (oh, I know!) how she feels, her story so much like mine. 

How you feel like you’re losing that part of you. That beautiful, important best part of you and you don’t know how to get it back. How you feel this close to crazy.

And then He comes. There you are in the pit, and He comes and tosses a rope. He tosses you a dream and that dream…it pulls you out.

It pulls you out of the crazy, the dark, the sad, and suddenly you see. You see Him and His kingdom and people and places and this work He needs you to do.

This work only you can do.

I’ve been in that pit and He tossed the rope and I latched my heart to that dream. And now that dream is two drafts closer to reality.

There’s so much about this writing journey I have yet to learn. So much I may never grasp completely. But as I write my story, the writing itself becomes my story. Becomes my lifeline to joy and the person He created me to be.

With two drafts down and the finish line before me perhaps the one thing this journey has taught me the most is this: Sometimes we need the dream just as much as the dream needs us. 

And isn’t it just like Him to know this?  

And to love us like dreams coming true.

Why Now Is the Time to Dream


DreamThis summer my husband and I came extremely close to buying a large chunk of land less than a mile from where he grew up. We were excited; so excited to see these plans come through.

For months we talked and planned and dreamed. We walked the property and checked with the owner time and again working toward a deal.

This dream of owning land, of building a house, of having a place to call our own has been in our hearts since the day we wed almost thirteen years ago. And really it was a dream long before then.

We’ve come close to seeing this dream realized several times throughout our marriage but somehow it always falls through. 

At times this has shattered our hearts to pieces and other times it’s been okay because we knew God had better plans, but even still our hearts continue to dream and hope and long for that day, for that place all our own.

Again, this summer we thought we had it. And again this summer it didn’t work out.

Overall, we were kind of relieved when the deal didn’t go through. Too many red flags kept waving and we walked away from the land with all kinds of peace in our hearts.

I am so thankful for this but still we wonder what’s next. If not this land, this deal, then what? Will our dream ever come true? 

 It’s definitely been a time of trial and drawing close to God. Of choosing again and again to trust Him with our desire, to be open with our hearts, and believe His plans for us are good. To prosper and not to harm us.

And in this time of drawing close I keep hearing Him whisper a special message just for me:

 Now’s the time to dream. 

Having His permission to dream is both freeing and affirming. It inspires me to picture that place I long for so deeply. 

To see in my minds eye (and a Pinterest board or two…okay three) that one part cabin, one part castle, one part cottage home which is so perfectly me.

To picture my bedroom, my girl’s room, my writing nook.

To picture a spacious yard for my girls to play and an apple orchard just for me.

My list of dreams goes on and on filling my heart with light and hope. 

 And it’s not about not being happy where I am now. Indeed it’s being more than okay with waiting to see these dreams come true, but as I wait it’s also okay to imagine, to wonder, to trust. To dream big dreams that spin me around and point me to Him.

As I dream about my someday home I’m reminded that His permission to dream also holds true in other areas of my life where I find myself waiting. 

There’s the dream of another baby… perhaps a little boy.

The dream of spoiling our family and friends with trips, and blessings, and gifts galore.

And the dream of publishing my book.

So I let my mind run wild in the quiet and waiting places. In moments with Him and those Pinterest boards.

And I picture a little boy in cowboy boots who smiles just like his daddy.

I picture my parents on a cruise ship, my family in Germany, my best writing buddy and me in a tricked out glamper doing book signings from coast to coast.

I picture my book, printed on leafy pages, looking right at home on a Barnes and Noble shelf.

Will these dreams ever come true? Lord only knows…

But this I know for sure…

His heart for me is good.

His promises are true.

And now’s the time to dream. 

Absolutely Nothing

Last week I wrote about my love for the movie Becoming Jane which portrays the life of Jane Austen.

One of my favorite scenes in this movie takes place when Lady Gresham comes to call on Jane in an effort to convince the young and unknown writer to accept the marriage proposal of her nephew, Wesley. Feeling pressured and frustrated with the situation Jane is overcome by a sudden impulse.

“Excuse me,” she says as she pulls out her pen and paper and takes a seat on a nearby bench.

Puzzled by Jane’s behavior, Lady Gresham says to her nephew, “What is she doing?”

“Writing,” Wesley replies.

“Can anything be done about it?” Lady Gresham asks confounded.

I love this scene because I see my reflection inside it. Jane’s writing was her passion. It brought her solace, helped her make sense of the world in which she lived, and while her family and many others could not understand why she dared to make a living by her pen, Jane knew her desire to write could not be stopped.

As a writer I am blessed to have a host of family and friends that encourage and believe in me. However, every now and then, I know my writing habits sometimes puzzle and concern those who love me most.

“Are you getting your rest?” My mom will ask when my work keeps me up late or requires that I rise early.

“Be careful not to put too many demands on yourself.” My big sister will say whenever our conversations about writing, homemaking, and homeschooling converge. “You may not be able to keep this pace forever.”

I know my mom and sister, and others who voice similar concerns, love me and want the best for me. I know they are speaking out of a genuine concern for my wellbeing. What I don’t know is if they could ever fully understand how vital to my wellbeing my writing has become.

In short, sleep or no sleep, demands or no demands, nothing can be done about my urge, my desire, my determination to write. Writing isn’t just my dream. It’s who I am. It’s what I must do.

When people wonder about our passions, when God creates us with a design and a purpose…which, by the way…is something He does for ALL of us, when He plants a dream or a calling deep in our hearts, we are faced with a series of choices.

No: 1: The Choice to Embrace or Deny

I was in the third grade, when I first fell in love with words and the art of linking them together. It wasn’t until I was thirty-years-old that I decided to embrace this love and put my time, effort, and focus into becoming the writer God designed me to be.

This decision changed everything for me in terms of my writing and my quality of life in general. It made the difference between wishing, hoping, and waiting for ‘someday’ to arrive, to ‘someday’ become a writer and actually doing what it takes to become a writer, to be the person I was created to be.

If you’re not embracing your dream or God’s purpose for your life you are denying yourself, God and others the chance to see, and know, and experience what He intended and designed when He embraced the dream of you.

No: 2: The Choice to Sacrifice or Settle

As a writer the one thing I find myself sacrificing the most is sleep. Ahh, sleep. That blissful, nourishing thing we all love to do. The thing is: it’s temporary! Whatever sleep I lose these days will pale in comparison to the ‘someday’ joy I will experience when I hold my first book in my hands or find a life was changed because I was faithful to the work God gave me.

When my eyes open first thing in the morning, scratchy and tired from a late night writing session, my heart leaps for joy when I remember why I’m so tired. When I remember how good, and right, and true if felt to spend the wee hours of the morning lost in a whirl of words.

If a dream doesn’t require a sacrifice it’s not a big enough dream. Don’t settle for what’s comfortable, what’s appealing, what’s convenient right now. Find something worth sacrificing for and do that thing! Go find your God-sized dream!

No. 3: The Choice of Good or Great

Every day, in a million ways, we make the choice between the good life and the great life. While the good life leaves us feeling happy, content and comfortable, the great life leaves us feeling satisfied, fulfilled and whole. 

While the great life is guaranteed to take us away from our comfort zones into that which is turn-your-gut terrifying, it is also guaranteed to bring our souls and our hearts to life in a way nothing else can.

God wants this for you. Stop pretending that good is good enough. Don’t trade the great stuff for the good stuff.

So what’s your dream? What’s your God given purpose and design? Whatever it is embrace it, sacrifice for it, and don’t settle for the good when God wants you to have the great.

Some may scratch their heads. Some may call you crazy.

But you? You get the joy. You get the delicious joy of light in your eyes and life in your heart.

You get the joy of knowing that nothing can be done about it.

Absolutely nothing.