Of Putting Pen to Paper, and Other Uncontrollable Things

When I lived in Scotland, there was this beach I would go to. It was far enough away from my flat that I didn’t really have to share it with anyone, the kind of place that didn’t fill up with tourists every weekend and I could be a regular at the tea shop I loved. It wasn’t the most beautiful place in the world, or the most isolated, but it was mine.

I went there for the last time in April of 2010 and brought with me two pieces of paper, a pen and a pre-stamped envelope. I wrote a letter full of very brave, very vulnerable things and mailed it to Germany, to a person I didn’t think I knew very well anymore, who might have–I imagined–forgotten some very important things.

Two weeks later, I moved back to Germany and opened my mailbox. The letter was there, and I read it. The truth was, I didn’t know myself very well at all and I had, as I’d thought then, forgotten some very important things that desperately bore remembering.

That letter sat on my desk all through my senior year of college. Periodically I’d open it up and read it again. I let myself linger on the pages, and the sand still stuck in the envelope, and the words

Remember that you’ve only ever really wanted three things:

to love God and His people, to travel and to write.

By God’s grace, I’ve been blessed to do all three of those things. Even more incredible is the last year of my life, which has been in every way, a miracle year. I came back with a broken heart, an empty wallet and six journals full of stories. I had all the accolades a writer could want: a healthy, vibrant, faithful group of readers who encouraged and supported me while I was away. More, I knew that I can do nothing else but write.

In two days I’m going to Gainesville, to the headquarters of my missions organization for something called “Project Searchlight.” It’s marketed as a Dreamer’s conference, a place where we can not only fellowship as a squad, but also be paired with a mentor who can help us understand and begin to pursue the dreams that God gave us while we were on the field.

I’ve thought a lot about what I am going to say to my mentor, how to even begin to sum up what I want to do with the rest of my “one wild and precious life.” The truth is that I’ve known it all along. It’s just sometimes too big and scary of an idea to even admit out loud.

So I did what I do most naturally: put it on paper.

Funny though, when I finally got it down, this is what it said:

Remember that you’ve only ever really wanted three things:

to love God and His people, to travel and to write.

Some things don’t change. They get sewn into the most finite pieces of who we are until they are unremoveable and we become unstoppable. I don’t know what fulfilling this dream will even begin to look like, but I promise you, I’m going to find out.

Please begin to pray that the LORD’s hand would be on this week, that doors and opportunities would be flung open and that He would move in such a way that reflects His glory and power. My dreams are only mine because they were first His. Everything now is for the Kingdom.

Love.

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