1619611_10202154319992195_1174648787_nIn December- it seemed that everyone was posting pics of their beautiful Christmas cacti. I had cacti envy. While everyone else was posting beautiful blooms- I was looking at cat chewed leaves and a cactus I didn’t even like. (I never have. I prefer roses and carnations and violets and pansies.) Last Christmas, when I sent my husband for white poinsettias for the table- he bought me a Christmas Cactus.

Actually, I think he bought it for himself. I was just his excuse. His grandmother always had one- and it happened to live in the attic bedroom. The bedroom I shared with it for a year during college. We’ll chalk it up to nostalgia.

I still didn’t like it. My first thought? “If I wait, it will die. Like almost every other plant brought into this house that isn’t made of silk.” Except: it didn’t. It survived. It survived being knocked off the counter by the cat. It survived my neglect. It survived my Kervorkian like skills of plant care. It survived countless kitty nibbles on it’s leaves. (No worries- so did the cat.) It also survived my quiet wish that it would die. Let’s just say: I still wasn’t a fan. They aren’t exactly “pretty.”

In December- though- when people started posting pics of their blooming cacti? I had second thoughts. “The blooms are pretty. Why isn’t MINE blooming? It’s not dead. What am I doing wrong?”

I tried sticking it in the basement for a few days. No dice. I actually watered it. (Apparently plants, even cacti, need water, who knew?) I snapped off the pathetic leaves the cat had chewed like cacti bubblegum, in hopes that a little trim of dying leaves would revitalize it. Nope.

I briefly (Okay- I daily) considered throwing it in the trash. A reminder of your plant failing skills is not the most encouraging thing to see every morning while pouring your coffee. yet, some part of me held onto hope. A part buried so deep I didn’t even know it was there.(I think it was under my detest for that ugly thing.)

Until a few days ago. When I noticed something weird on the end of the leaves. By weird I mean: Buds. Flower buds.

“Maybe they’re tiny zombie alien pods. They can’t actually be flower buds- can they? It’s WAY past Christmas….” I considered taking a machete to it for my families protection. (Too much Walking Dead. Sorry about that. It’s an awful show, I know. I’m a bad example. I don’t pretend not to be.)

Instead, I waited.

Then this happened:

It bloomed!

Just when I’d given up hope. I have to admit- I cried. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’m afraid it’s too late for me to bloom, too. Maybe, because I realized I would have missed something really beautiful if I’d given up too soon. Maybe, because I’d found beauty in something I hadn’t found beautiful before. Maybe because I thought of my time living in my husband’s grandma’s attic bedroom… pretending to be an adult during that first year of college.

Or maybe- late blooms are all the sweeter- because they are most anticipated and appreciated. (Even on an ugly Christmas Cactus.)

This one, sure is.

Dear Lord- When I’m ready to give up hope- help me to wait a little longer. When I’m only seeing cat chewed leaves- help me to wait for the blooms to come. When I feel like it’s too late to bloom- give me hope and courage to stretch and unfold. When I compare myself to others- remind me you have a time schedule just for me, When I only see ugly- help me find beauty- even when I have to wait for it….. I love you Lord- thank you for the reminder that you love me too- late blooms and all. Amen.

She sang and danced her heart out every day after school, in the basement that served as her studio. (Basements= the original auto tune.) 8 track tapes blasted from her parents stereo. (google it, younguns…. think music recorded on something the size of a trashy paperback…really old  school Cd’s) “Delta Dawn” “I will Survive” And loads of Helen Reddy and other angsty belty 70’s music filled her repertoire. She was pretty sure that eventually she’d be discovered for the amazing talent she was… and she’d show everyone just how special she was.

The dance practice and singing went on all through high school. She graduated from 8 tracks to cassette tapes and a “Walkman.” The headphones made her sound even MORE amazing. Besides, now it was all Flashdance and Footloose….80’s music reigned. Someday she’d be: queen.

Except she couldn’t really sing. She wasn’t awful… just more -second -soprano- sing -the -harmony -you’re not really solo material- good. Her dance moves were party ready but, never going to wind up in a music video.

Still, she hoped.

“Someday, I’ll be discovered.”  She waited. She once heard the story of a famous starlet being “discovered” in a soda shop. The there were the stars discovered in music classes and on street corners….. “Someday.” Except: she was dancing in the basement. The only thing she was going to be discovered by was dust bunnies and dirty laundry.

She’s still waiting.

She’s me.

I gave up dreams of music and dance somewhere during my senior year. I just didn’t have “it.”

But, I discovered something I could do…. I could tell and write stories.

My dream shifted….”Maybe someday- I’ll be discovered- as a writer.”

I took classes. I read books. I wrote and submitted articles. I recieved lots of very nice rejection letters.

And then…. things got published. Doors opened. Speaking engagements became part of my norm. I went through (and go through) every door that opens. When I write- I feel like that dancing kid again….. I can do and be anything.

Almost. Kind of. Mostly.

Except for one thing: Be discovered.

I’ve been wondering why… I’ve been praying about it. Kind of whiney, actually. I keep seeing friends online (and off) that I’ve followed and written alongside, get book deals. (I’ve sinned- okay? I’m jealous.) I get good feedback about my writing from professionals. I’ve been encouraged to write more.

But, that’s as far as it goes. I  keep writing…. and waiting. To be discovered.

I set up a blog years ago and love writing here- however, I realize that I set up a virtual soda shop.  That I keep hoping that someday, someone would stop by and “discover” me. I keep hoping to open an email that (for once) wouldn’t be from an Ethiopian Prince wanting to gift me money. But would be from a publisher- or a literary agent. It would ask me to write a book. My book. The one in my heart. At least one of them… (I have a few brewing away.)

Here’s the thing: My longing to be “discovered” isn’t a dream. It’s insecurity veiled in a dream. The truth is- I dream of being “discovered” because I long to be: Affirmed. Chosen. Special. Gifted.

All of which, I already am. Affirmed by God. Chosen by Christ. Specially created to fulfill a purpose (My purpose) on this earth. Gifted- not (just) in writing- but in love and by love, in grace and by grace.

The truth is- I’ve already been “discovered.”  It’s time to stop dancing in the basement. It’s time to stop waiting and get to work- writing.

You have already been discovered too. You are not invisible. You are not relegated to waiting on a soda shop stool hoping to be discovered. God created YOU with a purpose to fulfill. God discovered you, long before you were born. He has chosen you. He affirms YOU. He has gifted you, in love and with love- in grace and with grace. It’s your choice how you use them.

Will you keep singing in the basement, sitting on the soda shop stool waiting to be discovered? Or, will you get to work and do what God has planned for you? This year- I want to leave the soda shop. I want to leave the basement. Because, I just discovered something…. I’ve already been discovered.

Will I ever be a “real” writer? I don’t know. But, it’s not good enough to keep dancing in the basement. No more soda shop waiting. It’s time to find out.

Maybe, I’m not the only one. What about you? Are you waiting to be discovered? Maybe your longing to be discovered is veiled insecurity too….it’s time to rip off the veil. We’ve already been chosen and discovered. Let’s get to work.

“4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2 

Dear Lord… this is either from you or from me… I haven’t got a clue- but you’re words are true regardless.  help me to overcome my insecurity- help me to stop waiting to be discovered- and help me to do the work you’re calling me to do. It’s not about dreams…. it’s about you- I love you lord and pray for courage for every one who reads….. let today be the day we take the first step- off the soda shop stool, out of the basement…. and into your light. amen