Bring Me That Horizon

Four years ago, I was a bright-eyed, nineteen-year-old girl walking out of a writers conference with the word platform pounding in her brain. I still hate that word just as I hated it then, but at the time it sent me to the internet searching for a place to plant my feet and find my audience. And this is what came of it—beyondwaiting.com.

I don’t like to leave things unfinished, and at times that was the only thing pulling me back to this corner of the internet. I started something, so I couldn’t just leave it there with weeks stretching between the words. I had succeeded in finding an audience, and I owed it to them to keep writing.

So I wrote. I wrote and my skill grew, and now I cringe to look back on those earlier posts because I don’t know who wrote them, but I hope it wasn’t really me. Because the girl who wrote those posts had room for a lot of growth.

And I have grown. I’ve changed. My words have taken on a new voice, though my heart has thus far stayed mostly true to her original course.

The winds are shifting now. There are new horizons to pursue.

And maybe the path I am choosing to take seems a detour from the one I have so faithfully paved over these last four years, but, honestly, Beyond Waiting was the detour from everything I really wanted for myself.

Because I’ve known since I was fourteen years old and writing snippets of stories as school assignments that crafting worlds was what made me come alive. I’ve known since my mother first held up that notebook containing pieces of Elena’s story and told me, “Rebekah, this is really, really good,” that I was going to be a novelist.

If this blog has been silent of late, it’s because I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into the first installment of a Young Adult Fantasy series. I’m in the editing phase, trying to make the words sing before I attempt to ship them off to an agent who expressed interest in the idea.

I’ve never been so excited. I’ve never been so horrified. I’ve never had butterflies dance through my tummy as hard as they do when I think about releasing this story into the hands of someone who may or may not love it as much as I do.

I’m focusing all my time and effort on writing novels now because this is the one thing I really want for myself—to be able to tell the stories beating in my heart and share them with the world. I don’t know what that means for beyondwaiting.com. I hope I’ll still find something to share with at least a little bit of consistency, but I’m through guilting myself into penning words for this space when my heart longs to spend those hours stitching stories.

I hope you understand. And I hope you know how very grateful I am for the support I have found here these last four years. I will carry the imprint of this season in my heart forever.

But for now…

Bring me that horizon.

horizon

The Way I Was

About a month ago, my best friend handed me fifteen pages documenting the last year of her life–the year she was diagnosed with primary lymphedema. It was everything I thought a year in the life of Katie should be. I laughed, I cried, and I walked away with a burning to desire to tell the story of a courageous young woman who dared to embrace the life God handed her. She graciously gave me permission to share these words with you…

Strange how I thought I was in control of my life. I thought that I was in control of my dreams. Like when I was ten and knew, in the very depths of me, that I would be married at seventeen. Well, seventeen came and went.

I thought I was in control of my time. But I realized that time is slipping through my fingers. Time reminds me of the sand I would grasp as a child. I tried so hard to hold onto it. But grain by grain it would be stolen away by the wind, the waves, of the desire to let go and build a castle instead.

I thought I was in control of my body. HA! That sneaky little twit proved me wrong with all the grace and quiet of an avalanche.

Most of the time the reality of my situation seems unreal. But there are days when it hits me. When I feel like one more stair to climb is too much to ask. When someone looks at me in disappointment because I have no energy to “come with” or “hang out” or “chill.”

I’m so glad that I haven’t gone off the deep end because trouble came my way. Without God’s grace I would have. I’m so thankful that I turned to Him. So many of my friends aren’t turning to Him in their trouble… no wonder they feel so hopeless.

I hate when people say, “you’re gonna get better.” Are they God? How do they know that? People have this strange idea that you want them to make you FEEL better or FEEL hopeful, when really all you want is for them to stand by you in the suffering. It’s like those parents who make promises to their children when they’re not really sure. They pacify the need while offering no solution to the need. Why? I feel like God is so honest and open. Sure, He is Great and Mysterious but He’s not out to get me by some form of trickery. He is so crystal clear in His love for me. He doesn’t pacify with promises of “I’m going to heal you, Katie.” But He does promise to never leave me or forsake me.

There are times when I get discouraged and start to complain to God saying, “Why God? Why can’t I just feel good? Why can’t I just live like a normal person?” It is in these times that I am hit with the realization that I’m not on this earth so I can live in comfort and be perfectly happy. I am on this earth to bring glory to my God. When contemplating the suffering of the Son of God, I realize I’m not entitled to a life of ease. My Friend laid down His life for me because He loved me. I want to love Him that way.

God brought me to the place where I COULD NOT live without His helping me to live. He brought me so low and took away so much, not because He hated me, but because He wanted my blinded, starry eyes to see the truth. The truth that this, all this that surrounds us, is but a shadow of real living. All this means nothing without Him. I’m thankful for the agony because it brought me to my knees… where I should have been all along. And I don’t want to be healed if it means that I, in my humanness, go back to the way I was. You see, I couldn’t be desperate for Him until I was TRULY desperate for Him. Every day I’m asking for His help. And every day, He is right by my side.

Katie Beth sometimes believes in as many as six impossible things before breakfast, which is perhaps why she is one of Rebekah’s nearest and dearest friends. This past year, God has taken her on a whirlwind of a trip where she is learning to disappear and let Jesus shine through her suffering. The full version of her story includes a dragon, a Brazilian dancer, and Frank Sinatra… but it might also involve a murder if I dared to share those details with all of you.

The Blank Page Before Me

I honestly would have slept right through the welcome of the new year if it hadn’t been for all the people in my house. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a day like any other. I’ve never gotten caught up in the “brand new start” and resolutions that were meant to be broken. Which is interesting, because this year is a new start if I’ve ever had one.

I didn’t mean to quit my job in December; that’s just when it became clear that I couldn’t stay any longer. My decision shocked a lot of people. My friends, co-workers, parents… even myself. You try dreaming of something for twelve years and then realize God is calling you to something much bigger. That the dream you clung to as a child was only a small part of God’s dream for your future.

I know in my heart that the changes happened slowly – that the dreams shifted gradually. Still, it feels as if I woke up one day and found that I was a completely different woman.

Everything is new in 2012. New job, new vision, new possibilities, new challenges. I’m excited and scared all at once. Excited to see these dreams unfolding, but scared that they won’t work out exactly as I planned. Ecstatic that I’ll soon be a published author, but afraid of the new challenges that will come with this responsibility. Thrilled that God will be there to walk me through this process, but nervous that I won’t always be able to interpret His voice.

I stare at the blank page before me and wonder if I’m crazy for even considering pursuing writing full-time. I can relate to Moses when he asked God, “Who am I?” But the same words God spoke to Moses resound in my heart. “I will be with you.”

On that promise, I pick up my pen and begin to write this new chapter.

Into the Darkness

A Voice calls us out,

beyond the well-lit path

into the darkness.

We follow, trembling,

or trembling stay behind.

But whether we heed the call and launch into the dim unknown

or cling to the familiar,

we are changed.

~Penelope Stokes

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It’s been a few years since I first read these words, and I’ve reread them several times since. But they’ve never impacted me quite as deeply as they do now. This time they are more than an inspiring little poem. This time they are the Voice that calls me out. And, yes, I’m trembling.

There’s something soothing in the well-lit path, even though I may not like where the path is leading. At least I can see what’s coming. At least I feel some semblance of control. I can’t say that about the uncertainty of the darkness.

But here the Voice calls me, telling me that I don’t belong on the well-lit path anymore. Telling me it’s time to blaze a new trail. And here I stand, trembling – unsure as to whether I should really launch into the dim unknown or cling to the familiar. But I am certain of one thing: no matter what my choice may be, change is coming.

So I stand here and wonder what awaits me in the darkness. I say that I’m waiting for clear direction. I claim that I’m being wise. But am I? Or am I just so lacking in faith that I won’t take that first step even when I know that I know that God’s calling me? And I wonder if this is really the time to “be wise” or the time to step out of the boat and start walking on water.

Here I am, trembling, praying, and waiting for the courage to take the first step.