Most kids want to be a princess or fireman when they grow up. I was that weird kid who wanted to be a missionary and publish a novel.
There are quite a few childish dreams that haven't come true. For example, another career plan was running a racehorse farm in Kentucky (I was going to be the jockey). That one didn't quite pan out, needless to say.
But, there are a surprising number that have come true.
Last year was a "dream come true" type of year for me. I lived in England and traveled the world as a media missionary, writing stories and taking photos to tell about God's work in countries like Myanmar, Haiti, and Namibia. I had co-founded a fiction publishing house with three other amazing women and published my first novel in May 2015. I started dating a kind, Jesus-loving man who wasn't deterred by dating his girl literally across an ocean.
I rode tricycle taxis around Yangon and chatted with Buddhist monks and hugged on orphaned children. I came face-to-face with lions in a game park in Namibia and rode a camel in the Arabian desert and watched baby rhinos come up to the waterhole at night under the African stars.
It was truly incredible. No doubt about it.
But it wasn't all glamorous adventures. Seeing my dreams come true meant walking to work over 45 minutes each day, working 9-5 (or more) and then coming home to write with my co-author over Skype for 4-6 hours most evenings. It meant 24 hours of travel in planes and airports at the wrong time of the month with Bangkok stomach. It meant 60-hour weeks in Third World countries and at conferences with 4,000 teens and staff. It meant missing my friend and college mentee's funeral when she finally succumbed to brain cancer.
How many 27-year-olds can say they've seen their dreams come true?
I wish I could say, in that moment, I fell on my knees and thanked God. I wish I could say I jumped up and did a happy dance and celebrated all that I'd been able to accomplish through His work in me. But I didn't. I panicked.
What now? I thought, gulping my tea. What do I do with the rest of my life, now that my dreams have come true?
Seeing my dreams come true didn't feel like I expected. It was a bit of a let-down, to be honest. I kept thinking, "What's wrong with me? All my dreams are coming true! Why am I not happy?"
Eventually, I came to realize that accomplishing old dreams just makes creative space for new dreams. (tweet this) I came to peace with the fact that life isn't like the movies. Success isn't what we think. Dreams coming true and hard times and failures all run right alongside each other and tangle together in this messy thing called life.
It can be a scary feeling, when dreams come true. When the driving purpose of your life for the past few years--maybe your whole life--is suddenly gone, you can feel disoriented, like a boat without its mooring line. I certainly did.
But the beauty of the last page is that you get to write another book. Live a new, different story. Go on exciting adventures to places that haven't even entered your dreams yet.
In December 2015, I moved from England back to my native Kansas. Come June, I'll be stepping down from my full-time position with Operation Mobilization to pursue my new dream--my own creative business combining my passions for custom photography, editing novels, and mentoring young writers.
Exciting? Sure. Terrifying? Most definitely!
If you're still waiting for your dreams to come true, keep pressing on. The view will definitely be worth the climb! And if you're in that strange middle ground of trying to pin down your new dream--breathe deep, pick up that notebook, and write the first page of a new chapter in your story.
Check out her novel under the pen name Karis Waters...
by Karis waters & Carrie Lemke
Assassinations rarely follow the plan, even when you’re the demolitions expert for the Ghazi’s top hit squad, the Katiller. Kenan gets caught in
the crossfire when their latest hit goes south. Bleeding out on the cobblestones of Milan, the one person who can help him is the last person he expects.
Just off her shift at a nearby hospital, American surgeon Kris Marshall thought she was done saving lives for the day—until Kenan falls at her
feet half dead. She doesn’t realize saving him will put herself and her friends in the sights of the world’s deadliest terror organization.
Honor demands the Katiller protect Kris and her friends, since she saved one of their own, but the Ghazi call for her elimination. On the run across
the lush Italian countryside and the icy beauty of the Swiss Alps, Kenan discovers that there is always a choice between life and death. A choice
that might cost him everything.
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