I used to call them, “the lost years.” because that is what I first believed them to be.
They were my called aside years.
In the beginning I couldn’t see any value in them at all.
You see, I had had an important job. A job I loved. I had been serving on the staff of a large church… and I had plans. Big plans. Plans for doing BIG things for God.
Imagine my shock and dismay when God announced that was not His plan. Instead of my great plan, to do GREAT things, God spoke clearly to my heart one night that He simply wanted me to: “Go back.”
Just two little words.
(Oh, but I knew instantly the BIG thing God was asking.)
Hot tears sprang from my eyes.
“Noooooooooooo!” I shouted. (Inside my heart.) “Not that!”
God was sending me back to the place I had said I would never return to. Back to my family. Back, to care for my mother. A mother who had had little use for me as I grew up. A mother I had never understood, and who certainly had never understood me! My mother. Who was always angry. Always difficult. Always ready to bicker and fight at the slightest provocation. Me? The peace-lover? I was the one to care for her?
All I could think was, “Pleeeeeeez LORD. Not this!”
(My heart sunk to my shoes as I contemplated everything “going back” actually meant.)
Let me just say, I believe there is a day like this that comes to all disciples who say they want to follow Jesus. Jesus said, “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for Me, you will save it.” [Matthew 10:39 TLB] Yes, I believe there is a day for all of us, when He asks for all your shining hopes and plans to be laid down. A day when you are called to choose, obedience to Christ, above all else.
I did go back.
Spent ten years caring for my very contrary mother.
Ten years, that in the beginning, seemed to be nothing but wasted and squandered years. (Oh, but they weren’t!) I learned so many things in those seemingly lost years.
I laid my life down. My dreams. The life I had so neatly planned out.
But I found the life God had been planning for me since I was a young girl. I found the dream I had long ago abandoned.
You see, in my lonliness and desperation during those first lost years, I began to journal. Filled pages and pages to start with, with dismal tears, and blind frustrations. But as time went by my writing changed. I changed. Until one day I realized. In my seemingly wasted years… I had found myself.
I discovered her. The woman God had been creating during those wilderness years…
And, a short time after. I wrote my first book manuscript.
I actually became the dream. The dream that was God’s plan for me all along…
I became a writer.