It was June 21st – the summer solstice. With my heels still deep in the thick of loss and a longing to put the pain of spring behind me, I had been waiting for this day – for the earth itself to proclaim summer’s arrival, the start of a new season.
So, it just seemed wrong – that a day filled to the brim with the promise of a new beginning would bring a letter bearing the same old news. When I pulled the envelope from the mailbox, I was curious. It was not the usual self-addressed, stamped envelope I include with my manuscripts. This one was the publishing company’s envelope. Did this mean what I hoped? As I breathlessly peeled it open and unfolded the letter, it was clear it did not.I took in the familiar words – “not quite right.” My heart sank.
I’ve dreamed of being a children’s writer since, well, childhood. I have notebooks full of stories and almost stories – full of misspellings, penciled words now faded, and all the unabashed hope of a little girl. I’ve also spent most of my life running from this dream. A high school English teacher once told me that I should be a lawyer or a writer. Ten years later, I chose the former. It just seemed safer. And I don’t mean in the traditional ways, like financially or professionally – I mean emotionally. Pursuing a dream can be scary. My dream scared me so much that, after deciding to attend a college with a noted creative writing program, I dropped out of my creative writing class the first week of freshman year. I never took another one.
In the years that followed, I flirted with the dream, but never made a move. I always found a reason not to – I was too busy, too stressed, too depressed, too unsettled.
But there’s something about dreams. I think God gave them wings. And they can catch us – no matter where, or how fast, we run. Last year, with my white flag of surrender waved high to the heavens, I started writing again. And I started submitting my work to children’s magazines. And I started getting rejection letters. And they just. keep. coming.
Sometimes the dreams God tucks most deeply into our hearts take the longest to come true. Have you noticed this? And when our dreams aren’t fulfilled as quickly as we’d like, it can be confusing, heartbreaking, faith shaking. It can make us feel like pulling away from them, and even Him. But if we do, then we miss the real purpose of dreams – of all things – that they bring us closer to our Father.
I flunked 9th grade Earth Science. It’s true. I spent the summer of 1992 with a very patient tutor. But, I’m pretty good with Wikipedia. And here’s what it says about the summer solstice:
“The summer solstice occurs when the tilt of a planet’s semi-axis…is most inclined toward the star (sun) that it orbits.”
I linger on this awhile. And I think about the One that I orbit. And I pray that the tilt of my heart will always be most inclined toward Him – whose love shines steady and bright over me in every season, no matter what the day brings.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I have so many rejection letters from children’s magazines that I could wallpaper a room. I took classes and submitted so many query letters and manuscripts…all rejected. Fast forward to now. Now I’m writing for a different audience – women. I’m relatively new at this and I have no idea what God has in mind for me, but I’m, like you said, just trying to keep my heart tilted toward His. Praying for you and your “stories for children” dream!
Bev, isn’t it awesome how our dreams take shape over time? How, if we’re open and willing, and patient, they grow into the fullness of what God wants for us? Your obedience and perseverance inspires me!
The dream of my impatient heart… sometimes I think God is trying to teach me a lesson in waiting patiently… but then I remember this is just Him, pure and simple and perfect. His timing is perfect. His blessings are perfect. Everything… I love the imagery of us orbiting Him and always tilting our heart toward Him. Blessings to you today!
Thanks, Vanessa. Yes, even (and maybe especially) in the waiting there are blessings. I read your comment on Kaitlyn’s post today. Praying that you’ll be strong and courageous – and never give up!
Beth Williams says
I, too, have an impatient heart. God is working super hard to teach me patience and the art of waiting!
And boy is it a hard lesson!!!
I love this image…”the tilt of my heart…most inclined toward Him…”
Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Thank you, Marty!
Lauri Morrill says
In Jesus’ Precious and Faithful Name, Amen! And Amen! Love, Lauri
Amen. Thank you, Lauri!
I can relate to this post in so many ways–except instead of writing it was infertility. And I’ve discovered that sometimes God changes the outcome and sometimes He changes us. And both are enough because He is enough. Resting in that with you today…
Oh, this is so true, Holley. And He IS enough (though there was a time in my life when I did not know it) – so thankful for how He’s used my dreams to teach me this. Bless you.
Jen B says
What a beautiful picture you painted in this post. Thank you for sharing. You have made me think about the dreams that I’ve buried deep into my heart and that I need to take my focus off my disappointments and tilt my heart towards Him. Thank you!
Thank you, Jen!
My dream of writing has been suppressed for a long time as well. I went to a writing workshop this summer, and a successful writer/speaker said, “You can call yourself a writer once you get rejection letters, because that’s what a real writer experiences.” I worked in sales for 9 years and I hated it because it wasn’t creative, and also because I heard No much more often than I heard Yes. But I see now that God was preparing me even then to be a writer, BECAUSE of the No’s, not in spite of them. I have to strike a balance between the sensitivity I need to create, and the thick skin I need for the business side. Cheers to you for pursuing your dream even though the rejection letters just. keep. coming.
Sarah, I’ve heard that about rejection letters as well. Although discouraging right out of the envelope, I have a fondness for my rejection letter folder – it’s proof I’m living my dream! I couldn’t say that a couple of years ago.
I love your insight about your previous sales job being preparation for the pursuit of your writing dream. I think the same is true for me in my experience in law school and as an attorney. The No’s aren’t punishment – they’re preparation! Praying God will bless you immeasurably more than you could ask or imagine as you pursue your dream.
Beth Williams says
“And I think about the One that I orbit. And I pray that the tilt of my heart will always be most inclined toward Him – whose love shines steady and bright over me in every season, no matter what the day brings.” I just loved that paragraph.
I believe we all have dreams that we bury deep inside and let no one know about. God knows and He will make them come true in His perfect timing if we keep our hearts inclined toward Him.
Thanks and blessings to you Beth!
I liked this post. I have always wanted to be a writer as well and am just now starting to think seriously about pursuing it. It seems scary and I’m not looking forward to the hard work or rejection and yet it’s a tug in my heart that won’t go away.
Hope I get to see your work soon in a magazine! 🙂
Thank you, Lis! Praying God will give you the courage to say Yes to whatever He asks you to do.
I just popped over to your blog and can I just say your Jul 30 post, Lessons from the eye doctor, is altogether one of the most beautiful and HILARIOUS things I’ve read in a while. I got glasses at age 8 too – they were purple, plastic ones. I rocked them! And you rocked that sweater!!
Blessings to you, friend.
What a beautiful and inspiring post, Amy. God is speaking to me, in fact yelling at me, through you and your beautiful voice. I needed to hear this today.
Many blessings and much love, friend.
Christine Wright says
OH Amy!! This spoke right to my heart! It has been so wild at my house this week w/back to school that even though I had this post on my calendar, I didn’t get here until now…but God had such a purpose in my seeing it today. Your beautiful words were perfectly timed. I am cheering you as your dreams take flight, friend.
Beautifully written, Amy. You are a natural!