Where Did My Dreams Go?: My Prayer on the Coronavirus

Sheltering-in. A new dimension to life. I have not been able to write on my children’s stories at all. I am disjointed, not able to concentrate, jumpy. Feelings of chaos and worry prevail. I want to write. I am a writer. I must have something to say, I tell myself.

And then it happens. I stay up late to bake. I scored some flour and now look for my French Yogurt Cake recipe on my blog, that highlights everything French. I think I have all the ingredients for this. Yes, so in the silence of night, alone in my kitchen, I read and remember. The urge to write my feelings about COVID-19 and my dreams flows easily, as do my tears. I sleep soundly for the first time since sheltering in. Be blessed by my words and prayer:

I feel sad and tears are in my eyes. I had to look up French Yogurt Cake recipe on my blog to bake tonight and while there read all six parts of my trip to France, laughing and remembering the gift of that trip, how I planned to return and marry my promised Francois.

Then the plague. What happens to our dreams you gave us Lord? Were they just for now to give us hope and keep us going in life? What happened to my totally planned tiny house in Washington? My new beginning in Antibes? Having a little girl and a family finally?

And now they say Coronavirus will return. Is this what happens, the world just ends? Will you come on the clouds and take us to Heaven? Will you give us new dreams there?

But then I remember, my dreams would be answered. All of them: You will be my bridegroom and what a marriage feast we will have. You have prepared a new home for me, just waiting. My baby girl, Lynley, is there to finally hold in my arms and be a mother too. Perhaps, I knew this all along, but I didn’t see it clearly until now.

For you are the dream, you tell us many times to put our hope in eternity, and now it may be soon. May I focus on the glory that is too come, and let me be brave in the face of getting there. Amen.

May the God of peace and healing, gather you tenderly in His arms and comfort you during this difficult time.

-Miriam


Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I Want to Write Greeting Cards, How about You?

There are days that are just surprises. When the Lord throws you a curve ball and all you can do is laugh and say Really?   But watch out ,laughter got Sarah in trouble and one year later she had Isaac at 90 years old! (Isaac means laughter by the way) God had told Abraham and Sarah they would have a child in their old age. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6.

“Miriam, I want you to write greeting cards for the Christian market” the Lord whispered to my heart. A loud chuckle slipped out of my mouth. Really, Lord?

I had just returned from Mt.Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in Santa Cruz, California. While there, I took a workshop on How to Write Greeting Cards for XYZ Publishers (not their real name).  One of the largest Christian publishing houses for greeting cards, my critique partner Jenni Brummett had written some ideas for them which I helped edit. They liked what they saw and published a few of her ideas. Secretly I thought, if Jenni can do it, so can I (shh don’t tell her)!

So I found myself before a cracking fire with a group of other wannabes in the workshop, being led by the lovely editors. They explained writing Christian greeting cards is a ministry that serves to bring God glory and healing to hurting hearts through Scripture from the Bible. The editors told us, first, you need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words and inspiration to touch the heart of someone in need. Encouraged to try my hand at a sample, I prayed and diligently started to write. I have a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit, I think I will enjoy writing these.

This week I sat at my computer and began to write the words that flowed out of my soul.
-For the loss of a child….The Lord hears your cry and cares about your loss…He promises to be close to the brokenhearted and a bruised reed He will not break…the card went on. Hmm, that was fairly easy, I’ll try another…
-For a mother sending their child off to school…While our children are apart from us each day, they are in our heart and prayers….WOW, I am enjoying this. Four more flew out of my hands.

I sent them off to Jenni to critique and with her edits and encouragement, I forwarded them to the editor at the publishing house. Usually it takes weeks to hear back from a publisher but to my delight and surprise, there was an email waiting for me when I returned home.

I clicked the mouse on my email and…..Voila!  I found a rejection letter stating my ideas where too similar to other copy they had used for previous cards, but they were well written and please submit again. Ouch. A rejection. Wait.  Stop Miriam. Well written. Submit ideas again.  Encouragement filled my heart. I then began to laugh. Holy Spirit, these were your ideas….you need to come up with something more unique and different now if I am to get published.  I think He laughed too.  I know God has a sense of humor.

I felt a nudge to start writing cards for other publishers, including secular ones with a religious line, to earn some income. Oh no, I thought, you mean like one of those writer’s who is so poor he can’t eat and is waiting for his royalty check to come in the mail?   “Miriam, remember last night I reassured you that I would open doors for your calling?  And that I am calling you to have a wiring ministry?” Yes, Lord, I remember. “Start writing Child and I will meet all your needs as you step out in faith.” Gulp.

So this afternoon, I sat in the air conditioned library at my computer again, praying and asking the Lord to inspire me with words that touch a hurting heart and bring Him glory.  I obey because I love Him and I don’t want to end up like Sarah writing a book one day entitled My Isaac.

Do you have a dream of writing greeting cards?  As a small child I thought it would be a fun job and here I am doing it now!  The Lord promises to give us the desires of our hearts if we delight in Him.  (Psalm 37:4) Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Here are five things you can do to start pursuing your dream:

Pray and ask the Lord if He is calling you to write greeting cards. If you have a ‘yes’ or peace about it, give it a try. Don’t give up after a few rejections.  Rejections are part of the writing game.

Attend a Christian writers conference and take a workshop on writing cards like I did.  You will find them across the country (and world) and are a great way to meet editors and get your foot in the door.  My favorite and most renowned in America is Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference held each spring in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California.  The contacts you make will be immense and you can also find a critique partner there.

Read The Christians Writers Market Guide by Jerry B. Jenkins.  This is the Bible for writers and has a list of all greeting card publishers, including secular ones looking for religious cards.  It lists the writers guidelines, the types of cards they are looking for and what they pay.  You can buy it at amazon.com or online at www.christianwritersguild.com.  They are updated each year. (This is also a great help for book, magazines, and gift ideas publishing.)

Take a writing correspondence course on greeting cards.  You will find a list within the Christian Writers Market Guide listed above.

Join a critique group of other writers who can give you feedback on your writing and might be writing cards as well.  They are a great place to find support, tips and ideas from other writers, who are a unique kind of people!  Google critique or writers groups in your area to find one, or start one like I did.

Happy Dreaming and Writing!

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