Heart Desires in Hard Seasons

The perfect, restful day for me is when I can sit for a few hours uninterrupted with a good book, coffee and some snacks by my side. Now, those days are as rare as my pre-pregnancy stomach, but I still crave well written words and every available opportunity to soak them in.

This was how my childhood flowed, especially in the summertime. Sometimes I ran outside all day with my friends, adventuring around our apartment complex to the soundtrack of 90s R&B and the Lion King. But other days I remained inside, finding refuge in my sunlit room surrounded by whatever books I had just purchased at the Scholastic book fair or the used bookstore down the street. I guess it was my mom’s fault. When I asked her one too many questions that she didn’t want to answer, she would send me to a book to find the answer. I have many vivid memories of not just reading two or three fiction books a day, but also pulling out a thick medical book my father owned, flipping through the pages and learning way too much about things like parasitic worms.

Ahh, those were the days.

Running parallel to my ingestion of text and information was also the desire to release words of my own. My dream wasn’t necessarily to write. I found it to be deeper than that. Not something I intentionally hoped for but an inevitable path that was a part of me. Poetry, prose, song lyrics, fiction stories acted out by my Barbies and sometimes my brother’s GI Joes or Ninja Turtles. As I grew older those words flowed into journal entries, written prayers, Bible Studies, curriculum and grant writing. All the while, I wrote stories that I hoped someone would one day read on their own perfect, restful day.

After a few rejections and focusing my writing within ministry roles, I didn’t pay attention to the stirring within me until a few weeks after I gave birth to my 3rd child. The need to write was as strong as my need for sleep. It wasn’t writing based on outside approval or for work, but because it was my worship. It was how I released back to God what He poured into me. The way I needed to break through the postpartum struggles threatening to overwhelm me. And I needed to give myself the permission to do so, even if no one else did. My first book was birthed out of this.

Fast forward four years, one more baby and a huge overseas transition later. I thought that leaving everything behind meant laying this core desire down too. But God had other plans and made it abundantly clear in ways I will never forget. In March 2020, I released my second book against the backdrop of the uncertainty and fear we all felt. It seemed strange to release a book during that time but what came out of that is what sends ripples of joy through me now.

The pandemic did not seem like the right time for the Lord to present me with some of my core desires. But He has done that and more—solidifying my call to write but also to help others in their own writing journeys. In the shadow of the pandemic, I’ve seen God cultivate gifts in others and allow me to be a part of releasing their books. I’ve gotten to be a sort of book doula, encouraging others through the hard parts that used to discourage me, reminding them of the permission I didn’t think I had. I can use whatever small skills I’ve learned to amplify the voices of women around the globe.

The feeling is a rumble in my belly and warmth that spreads outward into my chest. When I see words layered together into phrases and sentences, formed into content that will turn into a book that someone can hold in their hands, I feel such a sense of joy. Gratitude flows from my lips because God didn’t have to do this now, or even ever. When I sat in the sunny and rainy days of my childhood, I never imagined that this season or this place would be where I’d see the desires of my heart multiply and grow.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

—Psalm 37:4 NLT

How have you seen the Lord bring about the desires of your heart in this season?

In a past blog post, Unafraid to Dream, I asked a few questions about what we would do if we were unafraid. What is one thing you are hoping for, despite the circumstances that may say otherwise?

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

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