Age 6 – something inside Double Dog Dared me to write a book – and I did. I priced it at 5 cents – but there weren’t any takers. A dream emerged, though, through the writer. Stories, poems, 7th grade Shakespearean Sonnets, school newspapers, lay-out, editing.
I was learning to be a writer – and I planned a life of writing. Dream Plans drawn up are limited by experience and knowledge.
In graduate school, two guys sat across from me, trying to persuade me that the creative writing program wasn’t for me. The graduate school adviser echoed their arguments a few days later.
I looked them straight in the eye, and said, “Charles Dickens had lived a lifetime by my age (24). His life experience wrote his books. I have a lot of living still to do.”
I dared to stand up to a dream nobody else believed in.
In my graduate thesis, I quoted Charles Dickens. Somebody had written him a letter asking him to look over their manuscript, to tell them whether they had any creative ability whatsoever.
Dickens replied, “For all I know, the land is yours by right.”
Dreams are often slide-tackled by others who don’t know the plans for God-Dreams planted inside us before we were born.
God-dreams might crumple in a slide-tackle, but they rise back up. They’re unshakable. God-dreams just won’t seem to let you let go. . . .
(The chairman of the department told me after my thesis defense that the dean of the graduate school said it was the best creative thesis she had read)
“We plan the way we want to live, (Proverbs 16: 9a, The Message)
All those years ago, the graduate student could only put that dream emerging into context of what I knew. There’s a huge difference between what I know – and what God knows – about how God-dreams are used.
Only God could make my dream livable, though. I was learning that. It’s been a lifelong lesson.
3 children later, I dared to give this dream to God – this very dream that I thought had roots only back to 6 years old. I gave it to Him, willing to not pick it back up. I wanted to show Him I loved Him more than a dream. It was the biggest love offering I had to give.
. . . and He gave it back.
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all” (Proverbs 3: 5-7.5)
There wasn’t anything like blogging back in graduate school. Yeah, print Writer’s Markets existed. I wrote for a newspaper – and had a blast doing it. In college, I never dreamed of being a mom to 5 sons, or falling in love with children’s books.
Sitting around my grandmother’s dining room table, my first-born sitting in the high chair beside his great-grandmother – probably one of the last feasts she hosted – she leaned toward my son, 80-year-old green eyes sparkling, she recited to him “Wynken, Blinken and Nod one night sailed off in a wooden shoe, off into a sea of crystal light into a sea of dew. . . .” – and I fell in love with children’s books right there, all grown up, watching the interaction of the two in the lyrics of a book recited from memory.
She must have read that book over and over and over to my mom, my aunts and uncle. . . .
Over the next 27 years, I fell in love with children’s books, like Margaret Wise Brown’s Wait Till the Moon is Full, or Joan Walsh Anglund‘s The Brave Little Cowboy, Ben Schecter’s When Will the Snow Trees Grow – and so many, many more.
In November, two of my stories are being launched, Bicycling with Ava and A Crocodile Under the Bed. Four more follow next year with 3 planned for the year after. Linda Farrington Wilson illustrated them – and that has been a God-gift for this God-dream.
My dream has a dust jacket . . . just. . . .wow. . . thank you, God!
Dare to dream, friends! Dare to God-dream! There’s no telling where God will take you and what that dream will do!
(Stop by Kate’s five-minute Friday – and bring your five minutes of brave to write on the word. . . . Dare. . . . )