Friday, February 6, 2015

Dream with integrity

This was said at church tonight and it really resonates with me. God plants seeds and dreams in us and we are not to doubt them or question them. We are to go forth and live-- to put life and integrity in those dreams. Furthermore, we need to listen to the dream that God is giving to us, planting in us. 

Sometimes we create dreams in our own minds. We have our own plan. This isn't for us to decide. That's where surrender comes in. 

Throughout my life I've had many broken dreams. This is something we can all relate to. As a professional, as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a human. But we must stay the course. God is preparing us to fulfill the dream.

I have a dream of writing a book. This was not something I woke up
and decided to do. This is a seed that was planted in me. Over the years I've questioned it. I've picked it up, I've put it down-- in short, I haven't lived in the integrity of that dream. I, in all of my glorious imperfection have pulled at the threads of that dream and made 
it weak. I have doubted the dream. I have wondered over the course of the years if it's really even mine. Of course now I know it is not. I am merely a vessel. 

Similarly, I have tried to force a dream and goals that were all my great ideas into fruition. It's doesn't work that way. You can't force something that's not natural. It ends up feeling icky. As I said many times throughout the the course of my marraige, "it's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. There's nothing wrong with the peg.... or the hole, but both end up damaged." 

It's a sure fire way to end up with a broken heart. Just as fulfilled dreams can make our hearts soar to places we never imagined-- a broken dream can quite honestly break your spirit. 

We MUST learn to let go. 
It makes me think of a song. No not THAT one-- the one where Garth Brooks says, "sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers." 

We must be grateful for the winters that bring us springs. I know this. My divorce, as hard as it was, it's part of my story. THE story. The one I'm meant to write. This crazy insane heartbreak over David? Had to happen. Period. Had to. THE story couldn't happen without it, because I wouldn't be the me I am without it. 

It's all part of the dream, even when it doesn't feel so "dreamy." 

So go on, steal my sparkly new screensaver for your phone. Remind yourself every time you pick that thing up to infuse your dreams with integrity. In doing so, you will live your life with the integrity that you've been dreaming of. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

The calling

I've never actually thought of myself as a writer per se.   Several years ago, my friend encouraged me to start a blog about what it's like to be an autism mama.  She thought maybe some people might like to hear what I had to say about my journey, my walk, with autism.  And so I did.

I'm an avid reader, but that doesn't make me qualified to write.  I've always loved writing, I was the editor of our yearbook in high school, wrote for the school paper, etc.  Essays were my favorite kind of tests.  I excel with words.  I think it has something to do with talking so much.  But I've never taken a class on writing, on grammar, on where punctuation should go and stuff.  As a substitute teacher I have found myself googling the most basic of grammar questions because I just forgot all of those endless rules.  I always tell the students, "Listen, it's been about 100 years since I was in 4th grade."  And sometimes it feels like just that long.

So who in the sam hell am I to think *I* can write a book?

Well who am I not to?

I have always, always, always known there was a story inside of me.  I have always known "this book" was in me.  I just never knew what it looked like.  And every time I sat down to write it, it was painful.  It was forced, it wasn't natural.  Over the course of the last several years,  I've been really trying to come up with  THE GRAND IDEA. And it seems like the harder I try, the farther away THE GRAND IDEA becomes.

So I gave up.

Like, a whole bunch of times.

You know, some people are into Elizabeth Gilbert not because of her story, but because of her writing.  She is, after all, a "real" bona fide WRITER.  An author.  The real deal.  Like she's been published.  And not only has she been published but she's been crazy successful.  And some people want to know how to get a piece of that.  I'm not really one of those people, but thankfully when I went to meet my bestie, someone asked her about, you know, actually writing.

And I'm grossly paraphrasing but I can tell you that I sat utterly enraptured to hear Liz talk about her process.  It's simple.  She talked about God giving you a gift, and you "just know" when you have it.  You know because it calls you.  Not  - - you call it.  It calls you. This could be writing, singing, dancing, building, creating, operating... whatever your gift happens to be.    She talked about her books being in her veins.  She talked about how to ignore that call is to ignore God.  And that really sat with me.

So I tried again to come up with THE GRAND IDEA.  It's hard not to get discouraged because it seems like the market is inundated by the type of book I want to write.  I got downright CRUSHED when blew up and Carry On, Warrior made it huge.  Excuse me Glennon Doyle, you stole my idea, my life, and my success.  (Not really Glennon, I love you dearly, you are a huge inspiration to me and many)  And thank God for my BFF Renae who reads EVERYTHING and I do mean EVERYTHING and she had the sense to me to say, "Hey you know what, not everyone likes her voice.  Some people might like your voice better."   Best friends are great at stroking egos, right?

So I go back to it.  Where oh where is THE GRAND IDEA? Now I'm getting really serious about finding it.  I read books about writing books.  I read blogs about writing blogs.  I read books that might be kinda sorta like the book I want to write and I make notes of what I like and what I don't like.

I publicly commit, on this very blog to write a chapter by November 1.  I surround myself with people who encourage me daily to JUST WRITE ALREADY.

And nothing comes.

So I gave up.


Guess what I did?  I handed it over to God.  I let it go.  I surrendered it.  I said a prayer that went something really eloquent like this--

"God use me.  Thy will be done.  Not MY will be done.  When it's time, show me.  But please make me ready to see it.  Please God help me get out of my own way.  Help me to let it go.  I trust you.  I trust your plan.  I know you've got this, because I sure as heck don't (I try not to swear when I'm actually talking TO the big G).  When it's time, make me ready."

And then I just put it down.  I actually stopped thinking about it.  I stopped obsessing about it.  I just -- put it down and went on with my life and focused on the things I need to focus on.  I worked on me and I continued to pray (I say that as if it's past tense, I assure you it is not).  I didn't pray about the book ever again.  I said it once.  God heard me.  And besides He already has a master plan anyway so why am I worried about the timing of it?  None of this is up to me.  I need constant reminders of that.
Maybe my book will be titled "Confessions of a control freak."

So what happened when I surrendered?

Something came alive in my veins.  A spark was ignited.  I heard the call.

THE GRAND IDEA had arrived.

Only it wasn't quite like that.  It was more like a seed.

I had to be ready to see the seed for what it was.
Right now I am nurturing the seed in the best ways I know how in order to make it grow and take root.  

But it's calling me.  Day and night, whatever I'm doing, wherever I am, I hear its quiet whisper.  And I'm listening.

And I'm writing. 

Even if I'm not "a writer."

So I'm going to write this book.  It may not be pretty and the punctuation may be all off and there may not be a single person on this earth who ever reads it or even WANTS to read it other than my mom.... but I will answer the call.  Because as Liz says, to NOT answer the call is to not accept a gift that God has given you.  And God has given me an abundance of gifts for which I am thankful.  I know this will be one as well.... even if it's just a gift to me.

Editor's Note: To those people in my life who have encouraged me over and over and over again to just write something, anything... but just write already! I thank you.  It was through writing this blog that the grand idea came, even though I wasn't looking for it, or even trying to find it anymore.  I was just listening, to you.... to your hearts, encouraging me to find my gift. Thank you.  And yes I'll acknowledge each of you by name when my book gets published!  Yes!