I am called to write.
That fact has been both a joy and a torment. A joy when I could be engaged in learning and growing in the craft, writing and expressing the things that were on my heart. But a torment when life intruded on my time to write, distracting me from my focus and rendering me unable to work with words.
Such have been the last few years. I had been steadily writing around the edges of the time given to homemaking and homeschooling, making some progress. God had given me a big vision for a children's Bible study book, and I'd gotten a good start on it. But a few years of huge life issues completely sidelined me. My writing quietly folded itself away.
By last summer, my frustration level was at an all-time high. I was grieving the loss of this dream and looking to the future in despair that I’d ever be able to really write again. I told the Lord more than once that He would do me a favor and just Take.It.Away. I could at least be at peace.
Then last fall, I started feeling some deep stirrings of unexplained hope. Words began to come to me daily, from many different sources—”renew the vision,” “new beginnings,” “resurrection of dead dreams.” I know from experience that this kind of thing is no accident. God was gently stirring the waters and aiming to redirect my negative and non-productive thinking. Lysa TerKeurst calls these “limiting beliefs,” those things that hinder you from moving into all that God has for you.
I’ve been at this place before—the crisis of faith. Years ago, my dreams to have a baby went through the fires of testing. I’d suffered long with a painful physical condition that threatened my ability to conceive, but I also had had a clear promise from the Lord in His Word that I would be the “happy mother of children.” It was a rocky road though; several surgeries, several miscarriages, the last of which was particularly brutal at half-term. Brokenhearted and profoundly disappointed, I was so done with the whole thing. Pregnancy was a mine field and I gave up.
I stayed at that place of deep depression for a year and a half. But one day in my quiet time with the Lord, I felt He was saying, “We have some unfinished business.” He was right. Nothing from His side had changed. I knew I would either have to take hold again by faith, or let it go and know that by so doing, I’d never see my answer. It was terrifying, considering my history. But I believe His grace made me able to re-engage once again. I did, and long story short, our miracle daughter was born “in the fullness of time.” (All glory to His Name!)
So back to the writing. I could see that a similar principle was at work here. If the “gifts and callings of God are without repentance,” (Romans 11:29) meaning He doesn’t take them back, then nothing had changed from His side. I had to get moving, demonstrate my faith in the face of seeming impossibilities (my frozen writer’s brain, time to write), and change my thinking and words.
So instead of, “Why start? I’ll never be able to finish,” or “Forget it, it’s not even reasonable to think I could write a book at this season of my life”—I began to state what I was asking and believing God to do. “I am a prolific writer. The Holy Spirit is quickening my mind, giving me words. He is helping me to use my hours wisely. He is arranging my days so I’ll have slots of time to write. I am doing the will of God, therefore He will give me good success.”
It’s funny. When I began to shake off my “limiting beliefs” and start believing that God was giving this dream back, things began to change. He gave me a whole new, enlarged vision not only for my book but for all of my writing—for His Kingdom work. He is arranging my daily life so that I have actually have chunks of time to brainstorm and redesign and write. It’s glorious! I feel like what Eric Liddel said in Chariots of Fire, “when I run, I feel His pleasure.” When I write, I feel His pleasure.
So I’d like to encourage you today. If you have a dream that has died, but it just doesn’t let go of you, maybe God wants you to be willing to take hold again. To believe that it’s His joy and delight to fulfill in you all that He made you to be and do. Don’t stop short! It might be really hard, that reaching out and taking hold again. But He will help you, as He has me. As Christians, we know that in all things we live by faith. Your faith pleases and honors the Father, and is the means by which you’ll see the “abundantly above and beyond all you can ask or think” come to pass.
In my Bible reading lately, I came across a prayer I used to pray often. I'm not sure why I fell out of the habit, but it is one of those prayers that “covers the waterfront.” I sense my faith engaging with confidence as I pray it over requests and needs for myself and others. In fact, I sometimes change the ‘we’ to ‘I’ and ‘me’—as I’ve written below. It’s found in Colossians 1:9-12.
“Father, today I pray, in the Name of Your Son Jesus…
…that I may be filled with the knowledge of Your will
in all wisdom and
…that I may walk worthy of You,
fully pleasing You;
…that I may be fruitful in every good work;
…that I may increase in the knowledge of You;
…that I may be strengthened with all might,
According to Your glorious power,
With all patience and longsuffering
I thank You for qualifying me to be a partaker
of the inheritance of the saints
in the light.
I believe it,
I receive it by faith,
and now act on the promise
that my prayer is granted.”