When Dreams Come True

The air in the greenhouse was damp and sweet, heavy with the promise of springtime.

I’d stopped by Everett’s Florist in Monroe, GA to buy ferns for the front porch.

I picked out eight of my favorites.

Carrying them two at a time, I walked through the the floral shop and sensed a deep awareness in my soul as if God said,

Listen with your heart, Julie. There’s a message here. 

I’d been coming to Everett’s every April for years. There was a new woman behind the counter, and the shop looked different.

There was something tender in the atmosphere~

Like finding newborn kittens in a barn~

The promise of sweet things to come~

Something that went beyond trinkets~

As if the place had been transformed from a house to a home.

“You’ve rearranged things. I love the wide, open space.”

“Thank you,” she said. “My name’s Laurel. I just bought the business from my parents.”

There was beauty all around me.

I loved the restored door.

The wooden ladder.

The hydrangeas.

“I have a pie safe just like this,” I said.

Oh, and the chalkboard.

I had one when I was a little girl–at my grandmother’s house.

“There’s so much love in this room. It feels like a sanctuary.”

“Thank you. My parents started the business thirty-something years ago and were ready to retire.”

“Wow, and it’s yours now.”

“Yes. My father still brings plants for the greenhouse, but ever since I was a little girl, it’s been my dream to turn the floral shop into a gift shop. My eight-year-old daughter is making custom floral arrangements.”

“Three generations of creativity. That’s amazing.”

Laurel waited a long time for her dream to come true. 

“I’m just wondering…is faith a part of this?” I said. “I sense God’s Presence here.”

Because I have a dream. 

My friends do too. 

Some of us have spent years praying and waiting and wondering

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Absolutely. Faith is a huge part. So much prayer went into this. And if my dream didn’t honor God, I wouldn’t want it to come true.”

Laurel gave me what I was searching for~

Something to share with you~

A precious seed of faith. 

When God-inspired dreams come true, we know Who gets the glory. (click to tweet)

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17  

Lord, help us trust You with our dreams. Your will. Your way. Your timing. (click to tweet). 

P.S. You can follow Everett’s Florist on Facebook: Facebook.com/everett’s florist and on Instagram: Everett’s_Florist

Love,

Julie

 

 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Death of a Vision–Birth of a New One

This past Monday, I shared my secret with a close friend. 

Ten years ago, I had a vision to become a novelist. My motives were pure. I wanted to write stories that were beautiful and real and full of hope. But something happened along the way. My motives got all tangled up.

What started out good became an idol.

I wanted to impress people. Write a bestseller. Be Somebody.

And I believed a lie. I thought I had to earn God’s love. 

After writing four and a half novels (with multiple rewrites–probably a million words), I’d lost my joy. I dreaded climbing the 13 steps to my office.

“It feels like I’m climbing an endless ladder to Nowhere,” I told my friend. “But there’s no way out. I have to make this work.”

She gave me a verse of Scripture I’d memorized as a child but never understood.

Take my yoke upon you, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29. 

Rest? I had work to do.

“Julie, what if you wait on God and see where He leads?”

Wait? I had to hurry up and finish. I couldn’t risk being a failure. 

The next morning, I wrote pages and pages in my prayer journal. Gut-level honest prayers. Another Scripture found me.

“Do you wish great things for yourself? Do not seek them…” Jeremiah 45:5

“Yes, Lord, Yes, yes. Please forgive me. I’ve wished great things for myself.”

Defeated, I climbed the mile-high stairs one more time. 

I didn’t want to touch my desk or my chair, so I knelt in the floor of my office and turned on some praise music. For a long time, I just breathed.

If His love was based on my performance, I’d blown it.

Then the most amazing thing happened. 

While I was kneeling, God showed up. 

He didn’t turn away in disgust. He performed heart surgery and cleaned out all the darkness and lies. When He finished, it seemed He suggested the unthinkable.

Are you willing to let go of your novel? 

I hesitated. One…two…three…four…five long seconds. 

Do you trust me? 

Yes, but how could You ask me to do this? 

There was a long silence.

How could I tell Him no? He’d forgiven me of so much. 

With trembling fingers, I removed all my notes and pictures from my whiteboard–everything I’d thought would make me Somebody.

I put them at the foot of the cross–the one my husband made 40 years ago.

Lord, it’s yours. I’m yours. If You want to resurrect my dream, You can. If not, I trust You. 

I stared at my spotless whiteboard.

A new vision rose up.

My heart felt full and still. Peaceful.

What if I start small? If You’ll show me one person each day to encourage, I’ll do it. 

I didn’t have to wait long. The first encounter happened the next day–the lady behind the deli counter.

I thought my word for 2016–DANCE — meant I’d finally be Somebody. But dancing means living in rhythm with Jesus. 

I don’t know where God’s leading, but wherever it is, I’m following. Click to tweet

Are you experiencing the death of dream? There’s Life on the other side. Click to tweet. 

P.S.  Lauren Daigle helped me let go. If you can’t see the video below, click here

More from Lauren. If you can’t see the video, click here

If you need a little more Grace, there’s plenty to go around. Here’s one from Unspoken. If you can’t see below, click here.

If you have a prayer request, feel free to share it in the comments. My blog-friends pray for each other.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When You Have a Dream and You’re Afraid You’ll Fail

When you have a dream, all sorts of doubts, fears, and negative thoughts hound you.

You can’t do this.

You’re wasting your time. 

Stick with something you know.

When you fail, you’re going to look like a fool.

Forget this silly idea and get on with your life.

A few years ago, I had a dream.

I wanted to become a novelist–which is peculiar because as a child, I never planned to write. My mother was a writer. When I was ten, she made me her Junior Editor–a job I didn’t want.  (Marion Bond West, my mom, is below.)

Writers–people like my mother–were strange.

By the time I reached 40, life had blindsided me.

I’d survived clinical depression, lost a full-term baby boy, and attended Al-Anon. Writing helped me focus and listen to God’s healing voice.

In 2004, I entered the Guideposts writers contest and won!

I became what I never planned to be.

One of those weird writers.

For instance–

A writer can be talking to you and suddenly float away to another world. We don’t mean to be rude–it’s just that our minds get crowded. Right now, my brain looks something like this.

This is where I interview my characters. My people. They’re so real to me that I catch myself asking them what’s for supper. 🙂

Another bizarre thing about writers–

At night we dream answers to our plotting problems and hop out of bed to jot them down. We’ll even do this for a good sentence or just the right word.

I’m still working toward my dream.

As I’m writing this post, I’m packing for a novelists retreat in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. I can’t wait! Next week, I’ll learn new things and have fun, but the best part is–

I’ll get to hang out with people who don’t think my dream is strange. 

When you have a dream, surround yourself with friends who believe in you. Sometimes it only takes one! 

 “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thank you. 

You encourage me every week.

I’m so very, very grateful. 

Do you have a dream? Has someone encouraged you along the way?

P.S. I’m taking Lolly my laptop and will be checking comments. 🙂 I haven’t even left home and I already miss you!

Love,

Julie

 

Having Faith and Dreaming Dreams

I got brave and asked my husband a bold question at our porch party Monday morning. “What hopes and dreams has God answered in your life?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Marrying you.”

My throat got all warm. We rocked for a few minutes without talking. Love is bigger than words, you know.

Two years ago, I was ready to give up on a dream. I was inches from quitting, so close I asked Rick to promise not to let me give up.

He promised.

Thinking and rocking Monday morning, I spotted my old watering cans. I’d almost thrown them away. Sort of like my dream.

Then I saw my friend’s Robin’s post.  (Robin from All Things Heart and Home.)

Inspired by her creativity, I bought some potting soil and a few little plants.

It’s amazing what inspiration and faith can do.

“See those old watering cans?” I said. “They had ferns in them, but they died during the winter. I almost threw them away.”

Like that dream of mine.

When I almost quit writing.

When I was at the bottom.

So low I couldn’t imagine coming up with…

One

More

Word

“Remember when you wouldn’t let me quit?”

He nodded.

“Thanks for encouraging me. You were my springtime that year.”

And then he did the most wonderful thing. He stopped rocking. Bowed his head.

“Lord, keep Julie’s dream alive.”

If you’re wrestling with a dream, I understand. Sometimes all you need is fresh inspiration and prayer.

Want me to pray?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

Love,

Julie