I thought quitting would be easier, but it was more painful.

I quit; I sobbed into the phone. I don’t want to do this anymore, I told my husband. The agents and publishers may be right. What if my story doesn’t have the ability to touch anyone’s heart? What if I’m just wasting my time and chasing a dream that will never happen?

I hung up with my husband and went straight to my Zippy and the Stripes of Courage manuscript. Clinging to the pages were so many tears, rejections, and dreams. My hands shook as I flipped through the pages one last time. Tears blurred my vision as I realized I would never see Zippy in any way other than my mind. No one would ever really love or see him but me.

I wanted to quit, didn’t I? Then, why was it so hard to put the manuscript in the back of the drawer and let it go? Just shut the drawer, I screamed. A war raged inside of me. Part of me wanted to quit and let go of the dream. It would be easier. The stress of trying to get published would be gone. But another part, with all of the hope and dreams, felt like something was dying inside of me.

In some ways, I felt like a little girl trying to wear someone else’s clothes and shoes by chasing this dream. It always felt too big for me. Maybe I had misunderstood what God had told me, and writing wasn’t the gift or dream after all. I mean, if God wanted me to write and help people, wouldn’t it be easier?

The day I closed the drawer on my dreams, no one brought casseroles to help me mourn my loss or offered me condolences. While it might seem silly for me to compare it to death, that’s what it felt like in my heart. The hope of being a children’s author died that day. And it was a heartwrenching feeling.

While I stopped writing, mailing manuscripts, and even talking about Zippy, my heart never stopped dreaming. Every night before I went to sleep, I imagined holding my Zippy book in my hands and reading it to the kids. And in those unique places that only belonged to me, Zippy was great. Kids loved him.

Every morning, I woke up to the harsh reality of what giving up feels like. It wasn’t easier. If anything, the pain intensified because I no longer had the power of hope. And the words still swirled in my head and tugged on my heart to write them and share them with others.

It reminded me that we can’t escape God’s plan for us. We can run from the Lord, but we can’t hide. Writing is my gift. Refusing to use the talent God gave me hurt me tremendously. It’s like trying to suppress something that shouldn’t be wasted.

When I agreed to write, regardless of the pain it evoked in me, something wonderful happened. God showed me how to take the pain and use it to help others. That’s when it stopped being just about me, and started being about how I could use it to connect with those hurting and offer them HOPE.

Every time I walk into my office, I see a bookshelf of Zippy books. Each one makes me smile and blesses my heart. Whenever I open my book with a gymnasium full of kids and read to them about Zippy, my heart rejoices because I know how close it all came to being destroyed. The enemy had my sweet little Zippy in the clutches of his hands, but my God stepped in and wouldn’t allow Satan to kill him.

I’m so thankful that God understood my heart’s groaning. While my words said I quit, my heart begged God to please help me.

I know how close I came to allowing the enemy to steal my blessing from me. Satan is a dream killer, talent stealer, and accomplished liar. He can take our struggles and twist them into hopelessness. BUT GOD can take our dreams and turn them into blessings that touch us and those around us.

Don’t give up on your dreams and gifts from the Lord, sweet friends! It’s a pain mixed with so much regret that it lingers in your mind continuously. Every day, I’m so thankful that God didn’t give up on me and didn’t let me give up on myself. You and God can take the dream and build it into something amazing. He has all of the resources. We just have to believe that it’s possible. God’s the one who turns the impossible into possible.

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