The Story I’ve Been Dying to Tell

This is the story I’ve dreamed that one day I could tell.

Back in the early 90’s, I attended a Christian conference in Boston. It was there that I met Les Stobbe, a literary agent, who was using my newspaper articles in his writing workshops.

I’d always wanted to write and here I was, meeting an agent who liked my work. It was a dream! We had a short meeting where he explained the hard work required in being a “serious writer”, the dedication, the sacrifice, the commitment, and in fifteen brief minutes, I experienced what writer’s call “conflict.”

Here was my dream and someone who could help me attain it but I had two very small children at home and a husband who worked excessively and traveled extensively. Plus, I knew that because of some issues with my son, we would probably homeschool, at least for a time, and these homeschool tips came in very handy more than once. On one income, there was no money to spare on writing. This family was my dream, too, and I felt God’s call for me was to stay home.

So, I told Les that I would work at writing as much as I could but that, for a time, my family would demand most of my attention. I told God then that I would very much like it if the dream of being an author could be waiting for me for when my children were grown, knowing there are no guarantees when we make choices and trust God with the outcome, except that He will be with us through it all.

Through my years as a homeschool mom, I wrote articles and church plays, letters to the editor, newspaper essays, poems no one ever read, and plans for novels. I took classes with the Christian Writer’s Guild and studied books on writing. Once, I tried starting a novel and sent it to Les who returned it to me with a note that read “This isn’t very good. Stick with non-fiction.” He was always there, though, encouraging me to keep writing. We’d go two years without contact but if I had a magazine article out somewhere, I’d receive from him an email of encouragement.

Many, many times I figured that the writing dream was meant for someone else, especially when my husband developed a rare disease that led to several years of debilitating illness. I packed my notebooks away frequently when the demands of parenting, coping with adversity or local ministry took priority. Writing is in my design though, so I would drag them out again and work on things I wondered if anyone would ever read. In particular, I had dreams for two different novels and one short story. I was terrible at short story writing but I worked on the one story for over ten years.

Sometimes, when being a stay-at-home homeschool mom took a toll on my ego, I would pour my heart out to God. Because I believed in what I was doing, I asked God to give me faith to remain faithful to His call on my life. I told Him how I dreamed that one day, other struggling moms with dreams deferred could look at me and see God’s faithfulness.

This past week, I attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference, my fourth writer’s conference. On Wednesday, I received a call from my daughter, my youngest, just eighteen, to tell me she had completed her final homeschool assignment.

“Mom? Did you hear me? Hey, are you crying?” she asked. And, of course, I was. She’d just informed me that I was now retired as a homeschool mom. She is 18 and her brother is 22. Something huge in my life had just ended.

Thursday night, I attended the awards banquet at the conference. Magically, unbelievably, I was called on stage three times to receive awards for my blog, the short story I worked on for ten years and the novel I began dreaming about when my children were toddlers and sometimes read to them over a campfire.

The evening was everything I had ever dreamed something like that could be. I was awarded a full scholarship to the Novelist Retreat held in October and had a couple of beginning conversations with editors. Les Stobbe was there to share the moment with me. He is now officially my agent, and it was amazing to share the joy with a godly man who has believed in me for years.

Most special for me, though, was that God showed up at all my quiet times at this conference with words of hope and instruction. And He was there with me at the awards banquet whispering in my ear, “You see, I kept that dream safe and it’s been waiting for you for just this time, daughter of mine.”

The next morning, I stood at an elevator with two younger women who congratulated me on my win. I quickly told them this story and how Hannah had finished her work on Wednesday and my writing dream began to come true on Thursday. They looked at each other with tears in their eyes and told me I had no idea what that story meant to each of them. They are home school moms of young children with writing dreams of their own. How perfect is God that He even allowed me the joy of that moment?

Not every story with God goes like this – not even all the subplots of my own life work out with this kind of magical joy – but when He writes a story this beautiful it just has to be told.

I don’t know what will come of my writing next. The story that won is still unfinished. I have much to learn and much hard work ahead. I may no longer be home schooling but there’s mothering left to do, work, ministry, etc.

I will tell you this. The words of this old hymn ring in my heart this week “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives.”

God is faithful. He can keep our dreams safe until their time. And when He authors our dreams, they are always worth the wait. 

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    The Conversation

  1. Reeling with emotion from this post. Your best days are before you

  2. Nobody writes a story like He does, Lori! So happy for you!

  3. Lori,

    It was great to meet you this week at BRMCWC. I so enjoyed our time there. God is clearly leading you.

  4. Great post, Lori : ) Very encouraging…I’m still in the middle of homeschooling, my oldest graduates next year!

  5. Eileen says:

    God is SOOOOO Great and SOOOOO Faithful. I am extremely happy for you Lori.

  6. Anonymous says:

    so very happy for you, Lori! I see you beaming through these words…

  7. Kay Chandler says:

    What a tremendous testimony. Congratulations on your win, Lori, and I’ll eagerly await “the rest of the story.” I know God has great things in store for you.

  8. Tamara says:

    Lori, this brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. God is good. I am so proud of you. Your friendship has been such a blessing to me.

  9. Dorothy P says:

    Lori: Like Tamara this post brought tears to my eyes, tears of happiness for you. You are a wonderful inspiration to us all, both with your writing and your belief in God. Please keep sharing with us.

  10. I had to also get the Kleenex. I am so excited for you. I have read your struggles, related to them, and now, I’m encouraged by your story and the reminder God holds our dreams even when we feel they’re lost. I would love to have been there to hear your name called over and over. I’m glad our paths have crossed online and hope to some day meet you in person, when you are signing books.

  11. WOW!!!! Lori, I am SO very happy for you!!!! Your blog is incredible!!!!!! I have been so blessed by it, and whenever I’ve read it it’s like being privy to hidden treasure just waiting to be unveiled. I knew it was only a matter of time. You have an amazing gift!!!!

    But this testimony is, wow….I have no words. I am SO very excited for you!!! And to think…if I recall correctly, this year started out a little rocky for you, did it not? But look at God!!! I am rejoicing with you, my sweet sister. I look forward to more good news to come!!!! Bless you!

  12. Your comments make me cry again. It’s been a wonderful gift to cry for a few days with joy! This will be a treasure to hold onto when the hard work kicks in tomorrow! I can never thank you all enough for taking the time to comment and support me here.

  13. Jeane` says:

    Every word dripped right into my dry soul, giving refreshment and hope! I wondered how you knew of my thoughts….
    Thank you over and over for the hope of ‘dreams kept’ for the right time!

  14. I’m so, so, so happy for you! How exciting and Les Stobbe! Amazing. I wish you tons and tons and tons of words and plenty of peace and joy to go with them. God bless, Lori. It’s a blessing to hear your story.

  15. Oh, Jeanne, I’m so glad. Your dreams are safe, as well. He loves you deeply. Thanks, Shannon! Keep writing.

  16. WOO HOO! How awesome! Congratulations!

  17. What a fantastic story! I started following your blog, because someone shared it once, and I love your writing. And the message there is that you are just such a good writer. I’ve been waiting for you to say you had a book coming out. This is even more fantastic. I feel like I’m sharing your journey. And Les Stobbe… awesome!
    I didn’t realize you were a fellow CWG member. That may have been the common link. Congrats, and our best to you.
    Blessings on your writing.
    Ron & Jennie Dugan

  18. Lori, what an encouragement to read your story of God’s faithfulness. And just for the record, it made me cry, too! It was such a joy to hear your name called over and over at the Blue Ridge Awards Banquet. You are an amazing writer! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you next!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Awesome blog, lady!
    I’ll keep in touch.
    I am truly inspired when I move closer to God…And you’ve given me a few pushes in that direction since we’ve met. Thanx.
    Donnalynn Davis