Why Waiting Doesn’t Have to Hurt.

 

I didn’t know how much my heart felt like it was waiting until the tears threatened to blind me on Sunday.

My husband sent me out alone (splendid!) for hours of writing and prep at a nearby restaurant. As I was walking out the door for my solo afternoon, I grabbed my copy of Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways. I ate my lunch in my spacious booth and turned to the pages I’d dog-eared in January. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but I found it on the first page of chapter 9.

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The chapter title stood out from the page: WAIT.

“It is not important who does the planting or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

“Much good happens in the space where nothing is happening.” – Christa Wells

That’s all I read, the quotes before the chapter, and already my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t even realize I was waiting. I glanced at the opposite page, the last paragraph of chapter 8 and read what I had underlined and starred earlier in the year.

“It is possible for us to uncover the art we were born to make and show up to release it into the world only to be met with silence, inability to make progress, and a seemingly impossible artless road ahead. The lack of movement isn’t because of fear or sin or lack of belief. Sometimes it’s simply God asking us to wait. – Emily P. Freeman

I shut my eyes and whispered a short prayer, “Why is it so hard to wait? Why does waiting hurt? Why can’t I trust you to make the seed grow?”

Six months ago I released my art into the world in the form of a book. I didn’t grow up dreaming of writing. I was much more interested in performing on stage. But the more time I spent speaking, the more the words filled my journals and soon my computer pages. The words came and so I wrote them out over three long years. . . loving and hating the process. . . wanting the wait to be over so people would stop asking how it was coming. I wanted the wait to be over because I didn’t know how to answer, I didn’t want to talk about it.

The professional talker didn’t want to talk about the art.

I was passionate about the topic, sure of the message, and yet, so ridiculously terrified to write and then release it to the world.

As the final steps of the publishing process came together, I was in the final months of my first pregnancy. The due date came and went and soon the waiting became frustrating.

NOPE. STILL NO BABY.

NOPE. STILL NO BOOK.

And then, within a period of six weeks – I could hold them both. Everything changed. And nothing changed.

While my roles and resume took a new direction, the person inside of me stayed pretty much me. Life was more full and complicated, but I still felt like  the twenty year-old version of me, so what am I DOING WITH A BABY?

I still wake up every morning and eat breakfast – granted it’s not always when I want to.

I still attempt to keep the house clean and organized. I meal plan, e-mail, shop, check the mail, and occasionally write. I also change diapers, wash tons of laundry, and try to keep up with the demands of an 8 month-old.

But writing a book has brought little to no visible change in my every-day existence. I’ll be honest: sometimes it’s really discouraging. I don’t think I was hoping for fame or notoriety. I didn’t need a post to go viral – but I still have that very human desire to know the art I’m making matters. What should surface as hope tends to overwhelm with fear. The fear pushes me to compare my book and platform with others. The fear demands I measure success in numbers and failure by a lack of response from every avenue I thought was a sure-fire win.

In those moments where I get caught in a whirlwind void of hope, when my waiting is full of fear, I throw my hands up and shout through tears, “It’s YOUR BOOK Lord. I trust You. . . but why in the world aren’t you doing what I think you should?”

“Fear says I’m going the wrong way. Doubt says I won’t find it at all. But hope? Hope says, Wait. It’s just a little farther. You are not alone and this is not just your idea.

My goal is a finished book – I call that my art. Yet there is a deeper work happening. I chase what I think is the art, but really that’s just the evidence. . . The real art is the invisible work happening in the depths of my soul as I uncover, sink, see, listen and wait.

The book is just the souvenir.” – Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

When I’m halfway through my third cup of coffee on my solo Sunday date, I slowly begin to look for the invisible work happening in the depths and the truth coming from those who love me in my worst moments.

David plays the purpose on repeat: If only ONE who needs these words reads them, it will have been worth it.
Carey writes to remind me that Jesus left the 99 for the 1.
My small group calls me to chase the Gospel rather than the idol.
My family members have all become book dealers. Who knew so many seniors in a retirement home would need a copy? Pretty sure my sister has copies in her trunk if you need one.
Friends who have bought, shared and encouraged.
And my Savior, who says the hope, the prize, is Him.

“As you stare at the stone of the hoped-for souvenir, remember the deeper work happening within you, where your life is hidden with Christ in God.” – Emily P. Freeman

Waiting doesn’t have to hurt, because waiting is part of the prize. In the waiting I’m given a window into my heart and all that still needs redemption. Jesus reminds us in Luke 7 that “…he who has been forgiven little loves little.” I know God is using this season to show me the depth of my sin and the abundance of His love through the cross.

The feelings of disappointment are real and powerful, but, as Carey tells me, in the disappointment I am reminded of my appointment. My purpose to share Christ is unchanging. I must remind myself that in the small God sees BIG. The point isn’t for me to see results, it’s to offer my art, my life, and my waiting to Him and trust that He will change me in the process.

We WAIT in HOPE for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Following and learning,
Ginger

Growing Forward in 2014

growth

Usually I am so jazzed to be making lots of lists this time of year, looking back and dreaming forward. I do have pages of notes full of lessons learned in 2013 and thoughts for 2014, but when I saw my friend’s pointed question at the top of my newsfeed, I couldn’t help but reevaluate my lists.

“What are you most excited about in 2014?”

I set my fingers on the keys and considered responding in various ways.

The deeply spiritual: experiencing God’s Grace.

The attempt at humor: showering daily.

The practical: sleep.

But my honest answer?

The first thought that came to mind when I read that question: a night away with my husband… next October.

I love Norah to the moon and back, but baby girl won’t take a bottle, thus making us fairly inseparable.  So call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to getting away, if even only for two days… next fall.

But if I step back and examine the goals I’m laying out for 2014 (here’s my process for creating goals), I can admit to not feeling a ton of excitement. Does that sound awful?

Let me rephrase.

The other night I was working through my goals and I began to feel very, very overwhelmed. Paralyzed, in fact.

The reality of my days has changed so much in the past year. I told my husband through tears that all of this goal-making was important, but it just didn’t seem feasible. I’m lucky if I do much more than keep my daughter and I fed, clean, and out of pajamas by noon. So when I keep seeing tweets and posts about goal-setting and BIG dreams for 2014, I can’t help but start to feel a little discouraged.

Are there seasons where we hang up our dreams for a while?

I don’t believe so. I think there are seasons where we simply need to think about our goals differently.

“Consider the lilies how they grow.” Luke 12:27

The whole point of making goals for the year is to foster growth. Even if a goal is about scaling back, I make that goal in order to grow. So yes, I make the goals and declarations (maybe not a 30 point manifesto or even 10 big hitters) but I claim something for 2014 in order to grow forward, to lean into the gospel.

“God doesn’t want us to give more, God wants us to give the best.” –Margaret Feinberg, Scouting the Divine

How can I give God the best this year?

How can I live out of joy, gratitude, and contentment rather than worry, stress, or anger?

How can I do less and yet experience more of what really matters?

My word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. If I desire to see growth in all sorts of areas: social, family, career, physical, personal development, and spiritual – I must look at even the smallest moments with intentional eyes. Joy will come when I give thanks, when I notice, when I appreciate, when I acknowledge God’s hand each and every day.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I’m excited for the growth that’s coming.

Following,
Ginger

Trust the Chef

During my sophomore year in college, I spent a semester studying in England. When it came time to plan spring break, I had one destination on my mind: Italy. I made plans with my friend Katie for the perfect trip roaming around the Italian countryside. We met in Milan and traveled to Florence, Fiesole, and Venice. We spent hours riding trains, walking in museums, and trying to discern the menus at sidewalk cafes. It was an experience full of terrifying and transcendent moments for two twenty-year-olds trying to act like adults.

On our last evening in Venice, after spending an hour on a gondola ride with a driver who sang only a medley of Beatles classics, we decided to eat a meal to rival Italy itself. Katie’s grandfather had given us 100 Euro with specific instructions that it be spent on one fantastic Italian meal during our trip. We asked several locals for suggestions and ended up at Antica Trattoria PosteVecie, one of the oldest restaurants in Venice. It was to be our final meal before returning to the significantly less fabulous fare offered to us by the United Kingdom. (Sorry, but who puts cottage cheese on a hamburger?)

We made our way to the banquet table in the dimly lit establishment. Our waitress approached and we gave her our only request. Our instructions: “Bring us whatever the chef recommends. We have 100 Euro and we are spending it all tonight.” Five courses and two full stomachs later, we determined that Katie’s grandfather was the greatest person to have ever walked the earth. Italy had offered us extraordinary cuisine before, but this was an entirely new level of fine dining. In retrospect, I realize that our meal would have been amazing even if we had only had 50 Euro. What made our meal so fabulous were the expert selections of our Italian chef.

dish

It’s a simple concept, but one I often forget. I tend to assume that my decisions will make for the most memorable meal. But generally, without the thoughts of an expert, my Italian feast could end up like an appetizer from the Olive Garden. Although I’m fine with the Olive Garden, it just can’t compete with Trattoria PosteVecie.

The chef knows. He knows what pairs well together and what can make an ordinary dinner completely extravagant and delightful. I like to think I’m the expert when it comes to what I need in my life. If there’s one thing I want to get right, it’s my life! I have list after list of things to do before I die. I would probably order all the courses of my life from a menu if it were an option. It seems I want God to sign off on my dreams without ever even asking for His recommendations.

_______ (A selection from chapter 5, Forget the Corsage) _______

 

I’m the first to say, “Dream big dreams!” Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we stop dreaming. I just know that I often want to run ahead to make them happen without consulting the One with the power! Here’s encouragement for us all this weekend. When it comes to dreams, God loves to blow our expectations out of the water!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT

Today is the last day to enter to win the set of Forget the Corsage ebooks. Follow this link and enter today! I will be announcing the winner on Monday. Have a fabulous weekend!

QUESTION: What’s a dream you have for the next decade of your life?

Following,
Ginger

Dreams Awake

dreams

I had the craziest dream last night. I can’t tell you all the details. Maybe if I kept a dream journal I would have more luck retelling my nighttime adventures. I have a few friends that keep those kind of detailed notes. My dreams never seem to convey anything other than fantasy, though. I’ve certainly prayed for dreams that give direction from the Lord, but I don’t think they’ve yet to come my way.

I like telling my husband my dreams, but his eyes tend to glaze over. “…And then I was on a bus with Brian Williams from NBC news when we stopped to go surfing, but there wasn’t any water.”

“That’s great, Babe. Thanks for telling me.”

Dreams while we sleep are entertaining, but the kind of dreams I want to pursue require wide and opened eyes.

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” -Henry David Thoreau

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.” 

Ephesians 5:14

More to come …

Following,
Ginger

Hopes and Dreams

Bibles

 

During my summers in college, I worked as a camp counselor. I spent three months each year ministering to junior high students and added all sorts of skills to my resume: I taught sailing, basketball, drama, and high ropes. I fought off bees, ate my share of corn dogs, and made countless friendship bracelets. I loved almost every second. But some of my favorite moments were spent in the home of my camp director. Each week his wife would host some of the women on the staff for a small group. We sat in the air-conditioned living room, eating popcorn and maturing through the study of God’s Word.

I remember one conversation in particular. We were discussing the dreams we had for our lives when she issued us a challenge …

That’s the start of my post that I’m sharing over at Trochia. I am beyond blessed to be guest posting on their blog and hope you’ll click on the link below and keep reading. Here’s an incentive for you: they are giving away TEN free copies of my book this week. Who doesn’t like free books?

Click here -> Life Starts Now: Trusting God with our Hopes and Dreams 

Hope you win!

Following,

Ginger

Jump In.

I was paging through some old journals yesterday and came across a single sentence on one page. Usually I fill every space of paper within my books, and yet this question was given lots of blank space to surround it.

“Are you living or just existing?”

The question hit me again today, but probably not in the same way as when I wrote it in 2009.

DCIM100SPORTIn 2009 I was considering making another career change, moving to a new state, writing, traveling abroad … you name it, I was considering it. But at the end of the day all of those ideas seemed far-fetched or in poor timing. I wondered if my life had enough adventure in it. I often questioned whether or not I was settling for movies, reality T.V., trips to Starbucks, and long walks when I could actually do something amazing with my life and time on this earth. At that time I was working and thriving  in children’s ministry but still questioning what the next step might look like.

I’ve always been looking for the next step. As a junior in high school I experienced “senoritis.” While my friends were tearing up at college graduation I was ready and eager to go and start something new. I’ve spent my entire life considering what’s “next.”

But all of a sudden I find myself at a place where the next thing looks the same for the forseeable future. I’m still working from home but now I have a kiddo that demands a majority of my time and energy throughout the day. My lists have gone from the macro to the micro. Here’s my list for today: “Laundry, send an e-mail, return a phone call, eat lunch, shower.” I’ll be honest with you, the micro list feels way more overwhelming than the macro list ever did.

Here’s what I’m learning in the midst of this challnge: I still need to make some big goals. I don’t mean that I should rush ahead of the season of life that lies before me. On the contrary, I need to learn to fully embrace it! So yes, traveling will happen one day, but in the meantime I need to travel to my friend Lindsay’s house to continue to build our friendship. (Right now getting out of the house is a BIG goal.) More speaking opportunities are coming in the year, but I should also pick up the phone and speak life into the friendships God has already blessed me with. I will eventually master Photoshop and develop more confidence in photography, but presently I’m going to document life with my daughter on my phone. Instead of waiting, I’m having to learn to just jump headfirst into the life I have right now.

So what about you? Are you waiting for the next season? Are you holding out for the big dreams and forgetting to soak up what’s right in front of your face? Go snag a snowcone with your friend. Dance in your car. Take your Grandma to lunch. Go hike. Wake up and watch the sunrise. Compliment someone. Volunteer. Audition. Get a group together and play sand volleyball. Worship with your hands raised. Open up the Word and soak it in. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the joys all around you.

“Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.”

-Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Time is short. Let’s get to jumping, friends. It doesn’t matter how big the leap, just move …

Following,
Ginger

For days when the dream feels too big.

dreams

 

November 4, 2010 – Journal Entry

Father, I feel all tangled up inside and as disorganized as our bedroom. I am so thankful for this home, for my new husband, but I don’t know what I’m doing.

I keep saying that on Monday I will start writing a book, but I’m doubtful of my drive, my passion, and even my abilities. I see others trusting You in this FOR me – having faith – and it makes me want to at least try.

 

November 12, 2010 – Journal Entry

I am striving to write this book. I can see the end product far down the road but I am hesitant to do the work. I don’t know if I am fearful or lazy. My excuses abound.

 

You have dreams, right? My guess is that we all have some form of hope, goals or dreams for the future. I love listing my goals  for the year rather than making resolutions. I have a huge top 100 things to do in my lifetime list, and another list for travel that my husband and I are still creating. Some of the items on my list are totally manageable and achievable. “Cultivate an herb garden.” Although a bit challenging with Arizona heat, it’s definitely doable. I’ve managed to keep my basil plant alive for the whole summer. This has led me to believe that we can indeed manage the full garden.

But other items on my list feel HUGE. Writing a book was like that. At first the dream was just to have a completed manuscript, but then I realized I wanted it to actually benefit someone else – so it would have to be printed. I wasn’t going to print out copies on my printer and hand it out to friends, so I needed to explore publishing. It felt as though the closer I came to actually making my dream a reality, the more decisions had to be made and the more tasks completed. Some days, actually most days, the dream just felt way too big.

So how do we move from dreaming to action?

November 16, 2010 – Journal Entry

I was reading about Solomon today. He took 7 years to build the temple. One day he just STARTED. He did everything to the highest quality and the best standards. Like his father, he would not give to God that which cost him nothing.

Yes.

We take the first step. We write the first word. We get up early and we stay up late. If you have dreams resting in the back of your mind and on the tip of your tongue, may I challenge you to follow Solomon’s example?

“Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been crowned king in David’s place. Hiram had loved David his whole life. Solomon responded, saying, “You know that David my father was not able to build a temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until God finally put them down. But now God has provided peace all around—no one against us, nothing at odds with us.

Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, ‘Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.’

… Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God.” (1 Kings 5:1-5, 6:1, MSG)

This was an immense project, one that Solomon could have continued to put off. But instead, at the beginning of his reign as king, he simply started.

Don’t let fear keep you from creating and experiencing all that this life and our Father has to offer. The dream will likely always seem big, but keep reminding yourself that God is bigger.

“The foundation for God’s Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv. It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.” (1 Kings 6:37-38, MSG)

Following and learning,

Ginger

Living History Challenge

MAKE A BUCKET LIST
I understand the reasoning behind titling your dream list with the word “bucket – but I also have quite the aversion to it.  And no, it’s not because it references dying, but because “bucket” is an ugly word.  I don’t want to have to keep writing or saying that word when speaking of my innermost hopes and dreams.  So my list is actually called “THE LIST.”  It’s pretty self-explanatory.

I love hearing when others achieve their goals and cross items off of their list.  It’s challenging and, oftentimes, inspiring.  Watching as friends and family chase their dreams, take on the remarkable, and learn life-altering truths has only fueled my own hopes.

GOALS vs. DREAMS
Last week we spent a lot of time talking about expressing our goals and making them happen.  Goals are good.  They are a great way to remain motivated and forward thinking.  Goals keep me away from the TV and out accomplishing.  But dreams require more than just an errand or a little extra effort.  My dreams are the things I whisper in prayer, share carefully, and cultivate in the back of my mind.  In order to make my dream list, the item must require more than I have within me to achieve on most days.  Dreams, at least for me, tend to motivate my everyday thinking and living.  They keep me living wide-awake and looking for opportunity.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE
I would encourage you to think about your own list… be it bucket, goals, dreams, or just “The List”.  Keep adding, keep the list handy, and dream bigger than what you could ask for or imagine.  The satisfaction of crossing off completed missions is enjoyable, but it’s the process, the journey, that makes for the actual living.  Mt. Kilimanjaro… one day you and I WILL meet!

“Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”  2 Samuel 7:3

Living out His story,
Ginger

Defining Adventure

How do you define adventure?

What does it mean to you to live an adventuresome life? (Luci Swindoll)

Adventure:
Out of the ordinary
Unusual
Unexpected
Untraditional

Quite a lot of UNs.  (Let’s think proactively.  Yes!)

An adventure is active, daring, even thrilling.  But could it also be quieting?

For me – to live the adventuresome life means taking steps toward a life less ordinary.  It means not always making the expected or comfortable choice.  I want a bank filled with memories rather than money.  I want new experiences in new places.  I want to risk more than I play it safe.  I want to live for something bigger than myself.

Dictionary.com has this opinion of our word – “ADVENTURE: An unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.”

Now consider this quote by Erwin McManus: “The center of God’s will is not a safe place, but the most dangerous place in the world. God fears nothing and no one. God moves with intentionality and power. To live outside God’s will puts us in danger, but to live in His will makes us dangerous.”

What do you think?  Is following your calling an adventure?  Have you embraced adventure?

How do you define adventure?

Following (and dreaming),
Ginger