I came across this quote from Carl Sandburg, "Nothing happens unless first a dream." It's stuck with me over the last week or so as I contemplated the year's end. I do this every year, usually finding the things I did not accomplish or failed at miserably which seems to feed the January blues. This sometimes extends to February, when the weather here in the northeast is the most dreary, which does nothing to help my mood. But this year, I saw this quote in a different light. My dream of writing had its first seeds sprouting back in 2003, when I read some devotional material and began to think I could do this too. When I approach something, I need to have knowledge enough in it to equip my self confidence to give me that edge to know I will succeed. I could not devote enough time to learning about what was entailed in learning to write. I kind of thought that I could write something, it would be perfect just the way it was, and if I was lucky, it would land in the right hands and it would be published and I would get a big check for doing this. Knowing this isn't how it works, (even though a tiny bit of me still believes it does) was overwhelming enough to stop me in my tracks from trying. I was a stay at home mom dealing with a sometimes difficult child going through the teen years and had enough to deal with between mood swings, tantrums and flat out defiance from both of us. My husband, sometimes not knowing who he was coming home to, smoothed a lot of our angst.
I was more concerned about getting through my days rather than dreaming about writing. I leaned on God heavily during those difficult years, writing about my moods and rage in my journal, yet being ashamed for having such thoughts and never imagining they were something I could ever share. I became convinced that if anyone knew these things about me, it would ruin my witness for Jesus Christ, and I would be outcast, unloved, and considered a sham. Desert times followed for awhile; no refreshment from the Living Water; He left me to stew in my own juices until He knew I was ready to call out to Him.
He put "The Prayer of Jabez" in my path. I took Him at His Word...especially the part about "...Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." (1Chronicles 4:10) I decided then that I was focusing too much on my son; we needed a break from each other. I found a part time job to occupy some of my time and he was left to depend on himself rather than me hovering. The Lord expanded my territory right into a photo lab where my artistic gifts were being used and honed daily. I started to leave the desert; the Lord provided over and over again creative outlets for my energies. My sculpting caught my interest again, only with His vision leading me. As I grew stronger in my faith and closer to Jesus, He put people into my life that helped me see His vision, a little at a time. Oh, I fought Him sometimes, as I had a tendency to do, but the fight wasn't as argumentative, it was more seeking which way He wanted me to act or speak. This was a far cry from the crabby mom I had become! I am still a work in progress, but this past year has been the greatest turn around for me by far.
I had come across an old CLASS flyer from a friend who attended a seminar some years ago. It was terribly out-dated, but I went online and discovered a one day Writer's Express in a nearby state. I felt as though God was setting before me a question, "Do you want to do this thing I have for you or not?"
I felt I could not NOT do it.
I have felt God's hand on me throughout this year; it has been a year of 'firsts', of doing for me rather than doing for others for so long. Hey, I have no problem serving others; someone needs a meal, prayer, a ride or a hand to hold or a hug to comfort, I'm there joyfully. But this is like a sweet secret between God and I, me doing something He needs me to do for Him. I could not have flown for the first time (ever!) or stepped out in faith as much as I have without the dream being planted, germinating over time, (allowing me to go through all the stuff in between) and being allowed to come to fruition in such a tangible way. If I had stopped dreaming the dream, or didn't listen to His Voice, nothing would have happened. I would still be serving Him and doing the prayers and the meals things, but there would be a piece missing. So in looking back over the year, I look forward in anticipation for what He has for me to do next. And I am ready!