Is Your Dream in Season?

If you’re like most of the Christians I know, you have a Kindle full of books about simplifying and decluttering your life but you haven’t made time yet to read them.

I get that.

Modern believers are just as susceptible to the pressures of “NOW” as our unbelieving neighbors. We’re out of touch with the notion that life, like New England, has its seasons. In order to embrace summer, we must bid adieu to spring and to relish the autumn, we must release the summer sun. To say “yes” to something, we need to say “no” to others but this action, somehow, requires a supreme output of faith.

Writing has always been my dream but an equally strong dream has been to build a family, one honoring to God. When my youngest child was six, I was presented with a frightening opportunity. While attending a Christian conference in Boston, I met the man who would, eventually, become my agent. Les Stobbe was teaching a workshop about writing for the secular media and he was using some of my work as examples.

I was a stay-at-home, home school mom and committed to it but my writing dream hovered around me. I wrote letters to the editor and personal essays, which were printed in various local papers. Les had seen these and when we met, explained to me the amount of work and dedication it would take to use this gift for the Lord and pursue a writing career.

There are plenty of women I know who are capable of balancing a career and family life but I prayerfully decided I wasn’t one of them. I know my tendency is to pursue a passion full-force when I take it on. For me, during that season, with two young children and a traveling husband, home life had to be my primary focus. I asked God to hold the writing dream for me as I remained faithful to His current call on my life.

kids with spotI homeschooled my children through their high school graduations. I didn’t ignore writing or hide my gift under a bushel but I channeled it into local opportunities – writing plays for church, eulogies and wedding speeches for friends, teaching writing to home school students, writing Bible studies for women and teens, and studying the craft as my children pursued their studies. I published articles in national magazines. Two of my Christmas plays were published. I had one chapter in an e-book on homeschooling. All the time, if someone asked what I did in life, my answer was, “I’m a homeschool mom.”

As my children entered adolescence, I ventured out to my first writing conferences. Finally, 2011, I submitted my first novel to a contest at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. The conference was in May. On Tuesday, my daughter Hannah, my youngest, called to announce to me a surprise. That day, she’d completed her final assignment for her senior year weeks ahead of schedule and so, had officially commenced her high school education. It was a powerful moment as I realized I had suddenly been retired from my full-time job.

The next night, at the awards banquet, I was among the other surprised guests to learn my manuscript had won first place! No one else in the room knew that for me, it was God’s way of affirming that He does, in fact, hold on to dreams and award them in due season.Novel Contest

My life didn’t change overnight. It took another three years to earn a book contract and it wasn’t for the manuscript that won the contest that night.  I have to work a full-time day job to keep food on the table but when someone asks me now what I do with my life, I answer, “I’m a Christian writer.”

I tell you this story for two reasons.

First, because my book is due to release in December and I hope you’ll consider reading it. If it speaks to you, I hope you’ll recommend it to others. It’s the result of seasons of praying, waiting, working, and dreaming and it’s the message I believe God invested years shaping my soul to tell.

Second, I tell this story because I know all of you face choices about how to spend your days and often you must delay one dream in order to tend to another. In this age of people who insist we should have it all “NOW,” that can be faith-stretching at best, disheartening and soul-crushing at its worst.

As a young girl, I took to heart the words of the Psalmist when he wrote: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4 (ESV) My desires were to build a home that honored God and to serve Him with my writing. It didn’t all come at once and it doesn’t all look the way I dreamed or imagined but my heart is aligned with His and so I wait out the seasons. (My family is faulted and broken in its own ways just like everyone else’s. Staying home wasn’t about achieving perfection but about being the mom I felt called to be. My writing career is just as imperfect but, again, my goal isn’t perfection but the pursuit of God in the midst of working out my dreams.)

Cover FinalWhat about you? What dreams are present in your now? What dreams do you prayerfully sense must wait for another day? Can you trust Him through the changing seasons of your life? Are you willing to say no to one dream in order to fully embrace another?

The world says a dream deferred is a dream denied. Dreams should never be shoved in closets or buried for dead but dreams can be placed in the hands of a loving God who can keep them alive until their season.

Sometimes we can do it all but, most often, we must make hard choices. Whatever you do, make the wise choice to delight yourself in the Lord, to trust Him, to do good, and to befriend faithfulness. For the believer, those choices are always in season.

 


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12 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Our dreams align so much! The end of my homeschool days has started to emerge on the horizon. For now it’s just a faint glow but I’m starting to see that it will come. As that life passes, the desire -and the call – to write grows more and more.

  2. mary scro says:

    thank you so much for sharing your heart! Your testimony is very inspiring and I will absolutely be buying your book. I am a writer, and I struggle with the time thing all the time. this great perspective was a word in due season for me. Have a blessed week!!

  3. Wanda Gettys says:

    Thanks Lori for once again reminding me of the sovereignty of God. Our dreams are safe in His loving hands.

  4. Congratulations Lady, you certainly deserve it. Recently my life has been obsessed with circles. Life always seems to end up back where it started. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust. as the saying goes. In the course of many years I have found God will get us where we need to be, when we need to be. Our job is to trust him to get us there. You are a perfect example that he never fails. Looking forward to having you sign my book when I get it. Take care and enjoy the adventure and relish it, just never forget who got you there. I am sure you won’t. Just as I am sure there is one book you always had time for regardless of what life bought you.

    • Amen, Turtle. God loves sending time around on a spiral course for us all. I will treasure this time and I will take to heart your encouragement to remain in His word. mercy and grace, Lori

  5. Bruce Cunningham says:

    Lori you’re the best. How wise for you to embrace your vital role as a Christian mother prior to fully engaging your dream as a writer. How wise to recognize your limitations in that regard instead of trying to juggle too much at once. We do indeed live in a very “now” oriented society. Unfortunately, I was not so wise in my child rearing days as a father. I jumped off into volunteer ministry at the local Church and District, in addition to working full time, generally leaving my poor wife to care for our 6 kids. At the time I thought this is what God wanted of me. I honestly didn’t know better, (and wasn’t taught better!) Thank God I do now, but my children are grown. How much more important is our family than even our ministries. Thank you for reminding us of what’s important. Can’t wait to read “Running From a Crazy Man”!

  6. Sharon Thiel says:

    So often I read your posts, Lori, and struggle with the question, “Is THIS one my favorite, now?”, and ‘Is Your Dream in Season?’ is no exception! You have really touched a couple of nerves, and also made me ruefully ponder some seasons of my life where I insisted I could “do it all” with the predictable result that nothing, in the end, really got done well.

    Thank you for reminding me that God is the ultimate holder of His children’s dreams, so that some of those I thought had rolled away may just have rolled into His waiting hands. Perhaps there they still rest, patiently waiting for Him to toss them back onto the playing field of the remaining innings of my life. I can but pray and hope…..<3