Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to draw but dreamed of being a forest ranger.
When she learned that animals would not, in fact, flock to her like Snow White, she settled on being a baton twirler in a parade. And when she realized that that meant a lot of walking, she decided to draw after all.
It was at the age of 8 I decided to become an animator. I immersed myself in every classic and the new favorites: Robin Hood and The Sword in the Stone. I knew I would make a great sparrow…or squirrel…or fox…or at least I could animate my fantasies into reality with all the bravado and rhythm of the great animators of that day. I studied. I drew. I dreamed. But tucked in the back pocket of my mother – and my Maker’s – hearts, there was another dream.
The children’s book.
I grew up in a Christian home and at age 14 met Jesus for real (a story for another post). As I stumbled and suffered through my teen years I came to know and love and trust Him increasingly. I did, however, inform Him I would do ANYthing as long as it didn’t involve working with children. They terrified me. But there’s an old saying in the church that if you tell God the one thing you won’t do, you better prepare yourself to spend life doing just that.
My first job was as a camp counselor at a summer daycamp.
As years passed Jesus impressed on my heart His incredible love for children. He loves us all of course, but this I knew was the branch of humanity that He had put in me to passionately pursue – the little ones. Now of course I could do that through animation. And I had my plans. Oh boy did I have plans! Jesus I’m gonna rock the world with my skills for YOU!
Well, maybe for me a little bit. But mostly for Jesus.
He touched my heart over and over. Drop your ambitions He whispered. But how could I? Who would I be if I didn’t achieve it all?
Years passed. My ambitions peaked and then were dashed. After my children were born, little sleep and perhaps a touch of post partum blues robbed me of every shred of creative energy. But during that hard season, I met Him. Over and over. He carried me. He gave me joy in the midst of it. I experienced tastes of that abundant life – life with Him in all its ups and downs. Until one day I could honestly say to Him that if I never drew again, it was OK. He, Jesus, was enough. More than enough!
Animation had long fallen by the wayside. But one day as I was praying, a story seemed to write itself in my mind. And in it was a message very dear to me: God is near. When you are afraid. When you feel inadequate. He is always right beside you.
Just ask Sir Bumble.