Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy. ~ Proverbs 13:12 (NLT)
"I'm soooooooo excited!"
I grinned a big, ole happy fill-your-face-up smile as I read my friend's words.
After years of working hard to learn the craft of writing, receiving rejections on her books, and being tempted to let go of the dream, it finally happened. She had her first book contract.
]I've experienced this before. The first time was with my friend, Pam. She and I had critiqued each other's projects for a couple of years. I'd watched her grow as a writer, pray her heart out, surrender to God's plans, and secure an agent.
Then it happened. My heart soared with hers and our joy bouncing back in forth in our emails. Every time I saw her book at the Christian bookstore or in Wal-mart my heart leapt again.
Seeing my friends' dreams come true brought us all joy and helped me hang onto my own dreams of that first book sale.
The New Living Translation of the Bible says, in Proverbs 113:12, "when dreams come true there is life and joy." The New International Reader's Version says it this way. "A longing that is met is like a tree of life."
It isn't only writers who dream. If you're a mother, you and I may share a similar "tree of life" experience, the birth of that first child. Even after 17 hours of hard labor, little sleep, and an aching, postpartum body, I was ALIVE—excited, strong, and full of joy. I couldn't wait to show off my little girl and couldn't sleep for looking at her. I clutched her to my heart singing to her. I held her when she slept, when she was awake, and when she nursed.
Perhaps the joy was more pronounced because of the months the dream was deferred. I'll never forget the fear, disappointment, and even anger I felt each time I realized I wasn't pregnant during the season we tried to have a baby. The Message says our verse this way. "Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around."
My husband and I have lived both ends of this verse in the recent startup of his own business. Perhaps you've been through something like this. We sacrificed to buy territories, build them up, and market our product. Before the cash flow started we were beginning to feel heartsick—but, after a few good breaks, when our product began to sell, we rejoiced. Later, problems with the parent company slowed down production and cost us sales and we felt that old heartsick feeling return.
Life is full of both the devastation of "unrelenting disappointment" and the wild joy of dreams coming true. We need to be patient with ourselves in the hard stuff. It's natural to shed tears and cry out to God for mercy. Sometimes we find deep blessing in the disappointments, as we allow them to help us press closer into the arms of our Father, but it's never fun.
Thank God, weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning!** Sometimes the bud of hope we hold onto blossoms into flowers of fulfillment. Other times God gives us different dreams.
In the hard times, it's good to remember there are also seasons of celebration.
Father, comfort me and give me patience and hope in seasons of disappointment. And when the dreams are fulfilled, may I rejoice in You.**(Paraphrase of Psalm 30:5)
A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.