Sunday, April 17, 2016

If We Do Not Lose Heart

Long, long journey through the darkness
Long, long way to go ... (Enya)

It’s hard to keep going with a dream, year after year, when you see door after door shutting in your face. Hard to keep believing that dreams even matter, in the face of real life and all its brutality.

I’ve written before on why stories matter. God has a way of using them to sneak truth past the barriers of the heart—consider Jesus and His parables, or the way most of Scripture is basically story after story. With all the things I could be doing with my life—and all I have done, aside from story spinning—I’m amazed that the call to Story has remained the strongest constant for me, after the call to be a child of God.

But oh, it’s a hard road at times. Not that God hasn’t graciously given me bits of validation along the way. It’s part of what’s kept me going.

Everyone has doubts, I know this. There are times mine amount to merely flopping around in my insecurity, knowing I need to just put Behind In Chair and Hands On Keyboard and WRITE. There are other times when discouragement fills the air like a dust storm, in every breath I take whether I choose it or not, choking me and making me wonder if it really is time to hang up this silly writing dream and get on with real life. I mean, just how many writer’s conferences can I ask my hardworking husband to spend money on, before I can begin paying that back? How many late nights do I stay up, pounding out words on a page, making me slow and cranky with my family the next morning? And when, like last summer, every drop of my energy and then some goes to intensive care of a loved one, and I know that my efforts are just temporary at best, and then an entire summer’s progress evaporates in a matter of days and I know it’s completely out of my hands ... I wonder if it’s all just an exercise in futility anyway and why should I return to being so driven?

Then, in the aftermath of Mom’s passing, knowing I face the same physical issues she did, I wonder how many more “good” years do I have before the diabetes overtakes me and I too begin to physically crumble? What do I want to spend that time on?

I want to live more intentionally, of course. But what that actually means—? Planning takes time and thought, which looks dangerously like doing nothing to everyone else. But it’s time I must take, regardless.

I also know I don’t want to burn the rest of my years chasing a fickle publishing market. Over and over the past few months I’ve heard, Write your heart! Write the story God gave YOU. Be the you that He made you to be, not an imitation of someone else.

So, if God made me to be a writer, and if I believe He gave me these stories, then ... it only follows that He has a plan. Maybe that plan doesn’t involve publishing—or at least not traditional publishing—but it could. And once again I’ve needed direction, confirmation, that I’m still on the right path.

I mean, there’s waiting on God, and then there’s just waiting. Right?

You see, just after Mom’s passing, I received the news that Sue, my agent of just over a year, would be moving on to something else. Startling, disappointing, but I knew God has His reasons, and a plan. In the meantime, Sue mentioned another agent—twice, even—and though I had my doubts that she’d be a perfect fit, based on what she says she’s looking for, I have a lot of respect for this woman after watching her for years in the industry and following their agency blog, so I took the leap. I also had doubts that the project I was pitching her (something brand new) would really fit with the particular publisher Sue told me to mention, but I mentioned it anyway.

And then I waited some more. The doubts became more intense.

Years ago, the Lord told me that when He opened doors for me in this business, it would be in such a way I’d know it was Him doing so and nothing else. This was no exception. Like most things of this kind, however, it loses so much in the actual telling.

The upshot of it all is that I’ve just signed with a new agent. Tamela is incredibly comfortable and enthusiastic and encouraging so far, and my head is still just spinning with awe when I consider the groundwork that led to this, all things that God set in place, some more than ten years ago.

And as a bonus ... I’m being given free rein to go as "big" with the new story as I like. I'm almost dizzy with the possibilities.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)

The season isn't over, not by a long shot. There are still miles to go on this journey--and make no mistake, I know it's more about the journey than the destination.

But I'd say God has given me a really huge chunk of validation this time, wouldn't you?

Fresh hope is so very sweet.

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