Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's Your Dream?

In the winter of 2009/10, I found myself depressed. I'd spent so much time and energy on everyone and everything except myself that I spiraled into a couple of anxiety attacks.

I'd shared my life with everyone else, and I began to realize I needed to find something I could do for myself. In an unselfish way. I needed a release.

So I prayed. "Lord, what can I do for you?"

It was January of 2010 when I "received my call." God responded audibly for the second time in my life. "Write for Me."

Ooh... It had been forever since I'd written anything more than a journal entry or a blog post. That bubble of excitement emerged deep inside of me and grew until I felt like I might burst.

I researched Christian Writers online. It was then I discovered the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Since it was already February, I took a step of faith and registered for the May conference. I knew no one. I knew almost nothing.

Sure, I'd gone to college and taken a few communications classes, but I'd never gotten into the journalism aspect of the program. What could I do?

I could be obedient.

I started reading books on the craft of writing. I blogged on a more regular basis. I searched online. I joined the conference's Yahoo! group for new attendees. And I packed for my first trip just for me.

Here's what God did as a result of my obedience and stepping out in faith:
- I left the conference with a new best friend, Mary Denman.
- I left the conference with a mentor, Edie Melson, the co-director of the conference.
- I left the conference with the interest of Focus on the Family's Thriving Family magazine editor. I prayed for God to drop an article idea into my heart that I could pitch to her. She loved it. I'd always dreamed of having an article published in one of Focus' magazines. God brought it to pass.
- I left the conference with a request from Christian Devotions to send in the devotion I wrote at the conference, just trying my hand at their format. It ended up published on their website and in a devotional book for families. FAITH & FAMILY
- I left the conference encouraged and soaring on eagles' wings.

In the years since, God has blessed me tremendously as I've networked and created. And walked in OBEDIENCE to His call on my life.

I am now the editor of Inspire a Fire, an online site for those of us who want to see God make a difference in our world. And use us to do so.

I am an associate editor with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I also freelance edit. Which I love to do. It brings me great joy to help other authors recognize their own potential and bring their work to a new level of excellence.

I just finished writing my first novel and am in rewrite mode. My editor is waiting to work on it. My agent, Jonathan Clements, is waiting to receive the finished manuscript. And I am tickled that God would bless me with such incredible people to work with.

I am teaching at a writer's conference for the first time this October. If you're in the area, you won't want to miss CLASS Writer's Conference in Albuquerque, NM this fall.

God is able to do so much when we are willing to heed His call and walk in obedience and faith. I never finished college. I'd gone for four years when they cut off my student loans. For whatever reason, I couldn't get anymore.

What I've learned since then is that it doesn't always take a degree. Sometimes all it takes is the will to be taught by others, to work hard, and to serve one another. Every time, the will of God is enough.

So I ask you. What's your dream? What is that thing you've always wanted to do that dwells deep inside of you and you can't shake? What could you do that would bring you incredible joy? That thing is a God thing. Acknowledge it. Research it. Find out what you would need to do to step into that journey. Because if God is in it, anything is possible.

I know. I'm walking it. Jeff sums up my testimony well:

When we pour out our gifts and talents, we receive abundantly more than we ever provide.

Don't be like the steward who buried his talent. God reaps where He does not sow. Step out in faith and see where He will take you. Don't be afraid to chase your dreams.

Join me again tomorrow, when I'll share about what looks like the end of a journey (but is only the beginning of a new one, I'm sure).

This week, I will be preparing for another journey ... to a new season of life for our family. A new in-between. A new season of waiting and discovering and savoring the ordinary moments in life that lead to the extraordinary events of life. I will leave a post each day, Monday through Friday, for you to enjoy and think upon as I prepare for and make my trip. These posts will lead up to where I find myself today, and I hope that they encourage you to enjoy the wait.
Monday's Post: Get Me Out of Here!
Wednesday's Post: On the Road Again

For more info about Jeff's book, please visit: Jeff has some great giveaways for ordering The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing. You won't want to miss out! (He's also written several posts to give you a taste of the material in his book and what others are saying about it.)
On Saturday, enjoy my review of The In-Between.

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