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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What is Your Writing Dream? by Yvonne Lehman

Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of 50 novels. She directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years, is director of the Blue Ridge “Summer in the Mountains” Novel Retreat held along with the Gideon Media Arts Conference  and “Autumn in the Mountains” Novel Retreat. She and Ann Tatlock co-direct the Honored Authors of the Gideon. She is a mentor for the Christian Writers Guild. Aloha Brides is her latest release, a collection of three historical Hawaii novels, Aloha Love, Picture Bride and Love from Ashes. She is currently working on a series of novels set in Washington DC. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing. Visit Yvonne's website

What is your writing dream? 

Answers to that question vary according to writers’ gifts, experience, God’s leading, expertise, and desires. But as Christian writers, we generally want to make a difference in the lives of readers, glorify God, and use our talents and opportunities for good.

After I was led into writing and attended my first writers conference, my dream became to change the world, accept humbly the inevitable fame and fortune, and cheerfully give God 10%. Okay, I was young and foolish and inexperienced. But that dream motivated me.

After my first book rejection and my wondering what happened to God’s leading, I realized I wasn’t accomplished but only had potential. I returned to school and took every Writing, English, and Literature course available, one at a time.

After my first two books were published, others were rejected. I knew I needed more training and the only conferences were Mt. Hermon in California and the Billy Graham School in Minneapolis. I couldn’t afford annual trips, so for 2 ½ years, I tried to get someone to start a conference in North Carolina. It was for me and to give opportunity to area writers who couldn’t travel far. I didn’t imagine God would choose me to lead the conference when I was the least capable.

I’ve learned he shows his strength in the weakest of us when we are willing to let him lead. It’s easy to praise God and exclaim his goodness when my books are published. But I’ve questioned my dream when there were rejections or no contract.

I’ve learned my faith seems smaller than a grain of mustard seed when things look bleak. But surrendering my dream to God never failed to bring a blessing. I’ve come to realize His dream for me was other than my dream for myself. He has allowed me to be published and for over 25 years has allowed me to be a part of other writers’ lives through my conferences.

Perhaps God’s dream for me is not that every book I write be published. Maybe it’s to learn the lessons that my characters learn. They have problems, conflicts, trials of all kinds. They find answers to the difficulties as laid out in scripture, through the character’s searching, or through a spiritual leader in the story. My characters find answers, or hope, or acceptance.

In writing about their trials I must search the depths of my own Christian faith. Perhaps publication isn’t always God’s dream for me, but that I examine and present the faith I have about life’s trials, and get to know him better. Of course we should have goals and dreams. But in looking back over the years in my writing career, I’m seeing that God’s dream for me was so much bigger and better than I could ever have…dreamed.

Aloha Brides

The Hawaiian Islands have been a ripe place for romance down through history. Jane's visit in 1890 changes all her plans. Mary Ellen goes to find her sister. Amelia has hidden a secret since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Will three men be able to help these women through their fears?


Nicole said...

Lots of truth in here.

Ane Mulligan said...

Thanks, Yvonne, for sharing that. :) And thank you for giving so much back to new writers.

Marti Pieper said...

I love seeing what God does with a surrendered heart. And I love seeing the story behind the story of a wonderful conference. Thanks for your obedience as well as your many gifts to other writers.

Patty said...

Yvonne, I always enjoy hearing your journey into writing and how the Blue Ridge Conference got started. You have used the gifts God gave you with an eye for new writers and a wonderful grace. Thanks for being here today.

Joy said...

What a blessing this post has been to me, Yevonne!
I have a dream - I also believe it to be a God-given dream.
Your message is one more in the several He's had me read in the last two weeks that warn me NOT to run ahead of His plan for me - but to stay as connected to Him and to seek His direction as often as is possible. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your own 'insecurities' with me/us. I sometimes forget multi-published authors still have fears and/or lack self-confidence in their calling. Joyfully watching and listening to those who've gone before me.