The Wednesday Writers: Tezlyn Reardon

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (3)

Gentle Reader,

It’s The Wednesday Writers!

No idea what I’m talking about? Read this.

Today we hear from my new blogging buddy, Tezlyn Reardon.

Open Your Eyes and Dream

When you wake up in the morning, what do you see? Do you see the leftover shards of unfinished projects or unsuccessful relationships? Or, maybe you see goals and dreams of years gone by, hopes that you once had but left far behind because, well, “life” happened. Do you fight opening your eyes because you don’t want to face the reality that the movie that has been playing in your mind for the last 8 hours is not real and it probably never will be?

When we were younger we were always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But why did people stop asking? Is there an age when you are supposed to stop believing that you can be anything you want to be? Over the last fifteen years or so, I stopped dreaming. It wasn’t because I didn’t think I could do anything more than what I had been, it was because I got comfortable with where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing with my life. I replaced my dreams with my son’s dreams, my husband’s dreams. I was comfortable, and I didn’t want to get out of the warm, worn in spot in my proverbial bed and risk turning my world upside down when I already had everything I needed or wanted.

In late 2016, my husband left me. My dream became a nightmare, one that I so desperately wanted to wake up from. I couldn’t sleep for months, much less dream of anything that didn’t involve my husband coming back home and my world miraculously falling back together. I didn’t know if I would ever live again the way I had lived for the duration of my relationship with the only man I had ever fallen in love with. How on earth could I find the strength to dream?

A funny thing happened on the way to my own personal hell. I gave my life back to God and I started over. I learned that my dream wasn’t coming to an end, instead, other dreams that had been hibernating inside of me for many years were coming out of their unending slumber. I have said for almost 20 years that I wanted to write a book. In August of 2017, I sent my completed manuscript to a publisher and that book will be distributed on Amazon in early 2018. I’m not saying that I never would have written the book had I still been married, but it might have taken me much longer while I waited for my perfect life to present the perfect timing.

For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

– Jeremiah 29:11

It might not have been easy to understand and believe, but these very words have kept me moving forward, allowing me to dream loudly and boldly despite the circumstances. Hope and faith have become standard words in my conversations with myself and others, but it shouldn’t have taken a self-described catastrophe to have larger expectations for my life. It’s not selfish to want more, as a matter of fact, it’s selfish to be content with living a mediocre life. We were created to help one another to grow and thrive, but all of that has been lost in the new-age religion of competitiveness, where we vie to take all that we can get, leaving nothing behind for others. There is abundance for all of us, God never planned for us to be poor or homeless, downtrodden and hopeless. Although He never promised life would be easy, He did promise that we would all be taken care of, that all of our needs would be fulfilled. All we have to do is dream and then believe.

I hope that after reading this blog entry you won’t wait until you are on your deathbed or at the end of your rope before you start to check items off your bucket list. Whatever you have in your heart this very moment, what will it take to make that happen and why are you waiting? There is a man who wants to hear all your hopes and dreams and he wants to give you your heart’s desire. All He asks is that you give him a little bit of your time so that He can tell you about the dreams and purpose He has for your life. If you show your faith and trust in Him, He will show you more favor and mercy than you could have ever imagined in your wildest of dreams. Go ahead, try Him. Dreams are for 5-year olds, and 25-year olds, and 55-year olds, there is no age limit and there is no expiration date.

Dream. Eyes open or closed, but damn it, dream.

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TezlynTezlyn Reardon is the author of 40 Years of Practice, her first published work. Working in marketing analytics for over 10 years, she finally took the leap into developing her real passion, sharing her story with others, something she has felt moved to do since college. Everything happens for a reason is the motto for her life and she is living and learning as she moves through this world, helping others along the way. In addition to writing and speaking, Reardon is actively engaged in the Columbus, Ohio community, participating on several non-profit boards and supporting others who have dreams, but don’t know how to plan or execute them. She is also in the process of developing a new coaching program for those who are struggling to find or hone their purpose in life.

Visit her blog to learn more about Tez, her book and stay up to date with other projects she finds herself getting into!

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Bad Reaction

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

They don’t tell you about the book proposal.

Everyone thinks that writing a book is this glamorous thing. That’s about as far as you can get from the truth while remaining on planet Earth. Not for nothing did sportswriter Walter Wellesley “Red” Smith say, “Writing is easy. You just open a vein and bleed.”

Add in some sweat, tears and nausea and you’ve got it.

But then the thing is finally done and you feel like you’ve given birth or created a new civilization from scratch or at the very least endured the lines at Costco without threatening to hit someone. You’d think that would mean celebration, but writers are a strange sort. Completion brings with it the nearly irresistible urge to throw the manuscript in a trashcan and burn it under the light of a full moon.

If you manage to hold on, you’re faced with the fantasticness of a book proposal.

What happened to the good days when you could just send your masterpiece to a publisher? Now it’s all about agents and lists and how many followers you’ve got on social media and don’t you dare think of sending in your book without a special, gold-embossed invitation from The Person In Charge of Making Your Dreams Come True.

You have to do something like this or this. The stuff of nightmares.

When I first saw that outline, I thought, “I can’t do it.” Hot fear welled up inside my chest. Tears stung the corners of my eyes. Nobody in his right mind would read a book proposal from me and want to take on the actual book.

This isn’t actually about a book proposal at all.

My reaction, bad as it was, finds its roots in the minor-key theme of defeat that plays in my mind at all times. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t. Fail. Fail. Fail. I’ll be 32 in a few months and that music has been on repeat for I don’t know how long. So often it drowns out any new melody of hope or strength.

The intensity and immediacy of my response startled me, but not until a couple of days later. Usually takes me that long to figure out what I’m feeling. I deal in delayed understanding. It came with sudden, full-force, punch-in-the-gut, take-your-breath-away pain, the kind you feel in the center of your heart.

When you ask the Lord to shape you into the person He wants you to be, you don’t realize that an integral part of the process will be Him dredging up every nasty, stinking thing that makes its home in the dark and hollow places of your spirit. The places you don’t readily give up to Him. The places where you try to hide the things that you really feel, think and believe. Because surely He can’t see. Surely He doesn’t know.

Fellow human, we are stupid.

God can’t change us without getting rid of the junk. He starts with the big, bad habits, the stuff that everyone knows about. Then He gets a little pickier. And a little pickier. And finally so picky that He’s tearing apart your thoughts, the ones you don’t even quite know that you have. He’s convicting you and comforting you in ways that you never knew you needed to be convicted or comforted.

He’s asking me, “Why do you persist in living in defeat? Why do we come back to this same place over and over again?”

The thing with Jesus is that He’ll wait. He’ll just stand there, on that sore spot, pressing in ever-deeper until you’re finally ready to face whatever it is you need to face. There’s a lot of running that you can do. A lot of twisting and turning and avoiding. He’s still there. Still asking the question.

Why do I believe the can’t and fail instead of the will and the victory that are rightfully mine as a daughter of the living God? I could blame my family of origin or teenage experiences or physiology. And maybe some of that comes into play. But where it really lands? I make a choice. I know what I have to do to keep myself from spiraling down into the pit of despair, but I haven’t been doing it. I’ve been distracted. Worried. Wrapped up in other things.

I’ve let the music play without a fight.

I honestly sometimes wonder why God doesn’t blow me off of the map.

Maybe you’re like me today, hanging out in the By-Path Meadow, chilling with Giant Despair and his wife, Diffidence. (If you’ve not read Pilgrim’s Progress, please do). Your eyes wandered from the narrow path and you got off track. You didn’t mean to. It just sort of happened. Now everything looks dark and bleak. Get up with me, fellow traveler. Get up and let’s make our way back. Let’s sit with God in the questions and remain until the healing answers come.

Defeat is not our destination.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Michael Rosner-Hyman

Further Ponderings

Think

Gentle Reader,

First, thank you. The comments that ya’ll have left on the previous two posts have been a real blessing. Your encouragement means so much to me. Isn’t it cool how the Lord brings strangers (and some not-so-strangers) together when we need each other most?

Second, a question. What are you passionate about?

I’ve been thinking about that for awhile now, and have come up with this so far:

1. Social justice, particularly in the realm of sex trafficking. It makes me SICK to know that little girls are used and abused by grown men who should know far, far better.

2. Spiritual truth. The umbrella of Christian orthodoxy is wide enough to accommodate differing views on certain issues; things like the nature of tongues, the means God will use to heal illness and the great Calvin vs. Arminius debate are all up for consideration. Things like the Triune nature of God, the Incarnation of Christ and the Atonement are not. I realize that some of you will be offended at my next assertion, but I can’t avoid it. Mormons are not Christians. Neither are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Or Moonies. Or so many others. My heart aches for the people trapped within these cults and my soul burns with indignation at the lies.

3. Real equality for women. Call me a feminist if you want. I just can’t grasp the whole completementarian argument with its attendant insistence upon subordination within the Trinity. I don’t see that in Scripture. Nor do I understand why a woman should make less money than a man if they are doing the same job. Yet I don’t stand with what passes for equality today. Women serving lattes at coffee stands while clad in bikinis are just as objectified and belittled as their foremothers. There is no “liberation” in choosing to play the game.

4. Stewardship. I was taught to take care of what I had, even if it was second-hand. While I recognize that it’s easy to get trapped in the “what do people think of me?” hole when it comes to housekeeping and yard work, I do think that it’s important to practice proper stewardship in the home. There are variations of clean, depending on the person, but things like keeping up on the dishes and making the bed are simple, quick tasks that help to create a comfortable, peaceful environment. Everyone functions better when home feels safe.

5. Maturity. My generation seriously lacks it.

These areas cover a lot of potentially controversial ground, which leaves me with the suspicion that, if I could get past the social anxiety, I’d be a lot more confrontational. We’re taught to keep the waters smooth, the sailing peaceful. But maybe sometimes it shouldn’t be. Maybe sometimes the boat needs to rock and we need to be jolted out of our stupor.

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