Have you ever had a dream that just wouldn’t let you go … but it didn’t go anywhere, either?

I’m a freelance writer, and long seasons of waiting for dreams to become reality just come with the territory. But sometimes those waiting periods can feel like an eternity. Even if you’re not a writer, I’m guessing you can relate.

About twenty years ago, I had the idea of doing a devotional for people who love fiction. Since I’d been teaching at writers’ conferences for years, I’d connected with authors at all levels, including well-known best sellers. So there were a lot of people I could ask about submitting stories.

Since I’d been a professional freelance editor for several years, I could edit the submissions I chose without losing the authors’ voices. And I’d developed a strong social media presence, so I could get the word out to other writers who might want to be included in the compilation.

I started pitching the idea to the publishers I met at writers’ conferences. Some were excited about the idea, but the proposals never developed into a contract. In spite of numerous rejections, I knew God had a plan for this concept, so I kept pitching it—working on other books (and my editing business) in the meantime.

Finally, BroadStreet Publishing caught the vision I had—and offered me a four-book contract! They created these devotionals as beautiful hardcover gift books, with full-color interior pages, even ribbon page markers. They were so gorgeous, I was actually glad the other publishers turned me down!

I’m glad I didn’t give up on this dream. I know God made sure these books got published in just the right way and at just the right time … according to His plan. He is making sure they get into the hands of the people He had in mind when He called me to do this in the first place.

Have you harbored a dream in your heart for a long time? Have you begun to disparage of it ever becoming a reality? Don’t give up.

Trust God to come through—in His time and in His way.

Kathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and editor/compiler for the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She is a professional freelance editor, director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and co-owner of the Christian Editor Network. You can read her blog on her website.

 

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“Your mother is dying.”

My mind understood the doctor’s words, but my heart refused to believe them. Only a few days prior, my ninety-four-year-old mother had taken a day trip to Reno with my husband. How could she be dying?

Why now, God?

This was supposed to be the weekend I would put the final touches on my novel before sending it to my agent.

Too many circumstances in the past six months had kept me from diligently writing. Moving in with my mom after her stroke. Readying our house for sale. Packing the things of my own I wanted to keep. Thanksgiving, Christmas, visiting with my daughter’s family on their return from overseas. Stomach flu – three times in two months.

And now, this.

I was afraid.

Afraid if I don’t keep writing, my agent will drop me.

Afraid if I don’t finish my next project soon, I’ll never find a publisher.

Afraid if I don’t keep blogging and posting on social media, I will lose the tiny bit of platform I’ve gained.

Afraid to watch my mother die.

Like the song from Christian recording artist, Zach Williams, “Fear, he is a liar.”

God’s word is the truth.

“Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3).

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16: 9).

Though I’m afraid and overwhelmed, God is showering me with His peace as I meditate on His word. I encourage you to “take His yoke upon you” so He can give you rest.

Jane Daly is a banker by day, blogger by night. She makes her home in Northern California with her husband of forty years and two cats. Connect with her and see her published books at www.janeSdaly.com. Check out her blog, The Caregiving Season.

 

 

 

 

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It is all about the heart:

“the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)

David was called “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14)

And we pray with the Psalmist,  “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

A few of the Psalms in my Discovering Hope in the Psalms Bible study captures the kind of heart God is looking for:

God is looking for thirsty hearts.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2)

This word picture is of a deer searching, longing, desperate for living water to quench her/ his dying thirst. To me it is much like the kind of person Jesus talks about in the Sermon on the mount that God wants to bless: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

God is looking for contrite hearts.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

Broken in this verse means to “shatter into tiny pieces”. And contrite is to “crush to bits” I like to picture this as the tiny pieces of stained glass that in the hands of an artist becomes a magnificent work of art, more beautiful and valuable after it has been broken. In my life, many of my mentors have served as the artisans that God has used to put my life back together.

God is looking for grateful hearts

Enter his gates with thanksgiving   and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations
(Psalm 100:4- 5)

People with grateful hearts, seek out spending time with others who want to thank and praise the goodness of God.  All the many mentors of my life have taught me to be grateful, thankful, appreciative of every moment of time someone has shared with me, sacrificed for me, so I could learn to know God better.

Pam Farrel
Heart for God

Maybe today, thank God for drawing your heart to Him, and thank those who helped you along the way to have a heart that is fully God’s.

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books, most recently Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experieince, and she is one very grateful and thankful woman– who prays she will always keep a whole heart for God. www.Love-Wise.com

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God is bigger than any storm

As storm clouds gather, they often cover the sun and a harsh greyness vails the light. This was the place B ill and I found outselves for three long years, as Bill commuted back and forth almost weekly through gridlock Los Angeles traffic to care for his againg parents, all while we worked to keep up with our acre of land, and our Love-Wise ministry of writing, speaking, and travel. While our marriage was weathering the storm, we both we tired of the treadmill that seemed to have now end. A darkness of depression was trying to cover over our hope. One night, at the end of yet another long an rigorous commute, about midnight, I heard Bill’s footsteps, heavy on the stairwell, then say his weary face in the dim light of our bedroom. I whispered,

“Keeping your parents alive is killing you. Something has to change”

He nodded in exhausted agreement.

For Sale Flyer

He worked to remodel our home and place it on the market, while I was writing my portion of

Discovering Hope in the Psalms. We handled these unbelievably long work days and very short nights of sleep by emailing Psalms to each other; sharing Psalms as we ate meals together; as we traveled in the car and as we sorted, packed then moved boxes.  We looked for Psalms to sing praises and we listened to Psalms as musical choruses or being read aloud as we drifted to sleep. The Psalms calmed our hearts, renewed our spirits, and revived our HOPE despite the difficult circumstances

Psalm 43:3-4 gave comfort one day in the middle of the mess of life. Our home wasn’t sold (yet still needed to be kept picture perfect for showings), our parents still needed care, our commute was still long, our ministry needed an infusion of energy and finances that we lacked, and nothing on the horizon in our circumstances was indicating anything would be changing any time soon. We needed to have a verse to hang our heart on to move forward emotionally in this very long wait. So, we prayed Psalm 43:3-4:

“Send out Your light and Your truth. Let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your Holy hill and to Your dwelling. Then I will go to the alter of God, to my God my exceeding joy.  …”

Bible Art by Pam Farrel
Psalm 42 and 43

Instead of looking at our current difficult circumstances, we looked at the end game. God would bring us to a place where we saw the exceeding joy only God could give. And He promised to dispatch His light (the kind of light that pierces the darkness like dawn) and His truth (some translations say, “faithful care” or the trustworthy truth that is backed by God’s caring character of action) And we were most encouraged that the kind of “leading” that the Psalmist is describing is a fluid one that moves forward and back to create the best opportunity!

We hung our hearts on verses like these. for a long five-year journey, but in the end, God brought a church planter to buy our

Bill and Pam on their boat

home at a price that was a win-win for all; God moved us on to our family’s vineyard as an oasis of recovery, then provided the perfect live aboard boat, at a miracle price where I daily now, read a a #sunsetpsalm from the bow of our vessel moored in a sunny southern California marina.  . .  and yes, there is exceeding joy on our tiny home on the water!

 

Pam Farrel doing Bible art from Discovering Hope In the Psalms

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 45 books including  the best seller Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti  and her newest  Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authored with Jean E Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher) Pam, along with her husband, Bill are Co-Directors of Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships through their books, online blogs and videos, and thru live events. When they are not traveling for speaking, you may catch them walking the beach or paddling to lunch near their live aboard boat in southern California.

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In today’s world with frightening headlines blasting the worst possible scenarios into our homes, and the stress of the daily responsibility of providing for ourselves and our families weighing heavy on our hearts, coupled with the unpredictable, unwelcome, unwanted, unbelievably hard or harsh circumstances like floods, fires, relationship strife, death and disease it is very easy to get depressed, discouraged and down-trodden.

But God has a solution for our despairing hearts!

Discovering Hope in the Psalms: Creative Bible Study Experience

While writing my newest book (co-authored with Bible teacher Jean E Jones and artist Karla Dornacher), Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Biblical Experience, Jean, in passing said, “Psalm 71:14 I think could be the theme verse for this study.” Intrigued, I immediately looked up Psalms 71:14:

But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

The word hope is a verb, so it is an action we choose, to wait expectantly for God to move. I like to say, “trust while you tarry” , or to wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God

Psalm 71:14 Bible Art by Pam Farrel

to show up and show off! After doing a word study, to summarize the meaning, this hoping is to be exercised: surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!

My contribution to Discovering Hope in the Psalms is a series of inspirational devotionals that help women apply the psalms to their everyday lives and keep HOPE ALIVE. To help me keep HOPE ALIVE, in my bullet journal, I have pages I write my “God-Sized” hopes and dreams and I wrap them with scripture so I can pray the Word over my life.

Bullet Journal prayer page
from Pam Farrel

The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this same verse, “praise you more and more”. The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in doing this gathering we fuel hope. One way to picture accumulating or gathering praise would be how you might walk through a garden to gather flowers to create a beautiful bouquet or through a mall gathering gifts for family and friends that will bring joy!

So to capture praises to fan the flame on hope, in my bullet journal, I have pages to accumulate praises. One looks like the sun with praises written on each ray. Another is a vase with praises on each flower petal. Accumulated praise could also be drawn as gift bags collected while shopping, presents under a Christmas tree, waves on the ocean, or shells on the beach– use your imagination to personalize your record of praise! 

(Download your Prayer and Praise sheet to keep Hope Alive!)

 

Pam Farrel hopes to help people around the world keep hope alive. She is and her husband Bill are international speakers, authors of 45 books including her newest Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. Stay connected with Pam at www.Love-Wise.com Learn more about Discovering Hope In the Psalms, and find numerous free downloads on creative Bible study at www.DiscoveringHopeinthePsalms.com

Pam Farrel with Kay Arthur

What an incredibly unique and creative Bible study Pam, Jean, and Karla have created! It’s multilayered, dimensional, theologically rich, touching the senses—enlightening the mind, capturing the heart. Well done, beloved Sisters! Thank you for this gift.

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