All I really need in life is faith, hope, love, and really good cake.
I got every single morsel of it wrapped up in a sunny yellow package last Saturday when my good friend Allison threw me a 40th birthday party. I might have squealed when I saw my name on a banner. I might have closed my eyes when I took the first bite of birthday cake heaven. I might have teared up at the whole fanfare of it all. Because while it’s lovely to have a party thrown in your honor, it’s even lovelier to know someone thinks you’re worth celebrating. And my Allie has a long history of celebrating those closest to her, including me.
Long before a book deal, long before Chasing Blue Skies, long before I did any kind of regular writing, Allison read some words of mine, looked me in the eye and said, “Kristen, you’ll be published one day. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”
At the time I probably rolled my eyes. But every so often, her words would waft through my thoughts, smelling good like warm lemon cake.
You should know I’ve wanted cowboy boots this side of forever. But given I had a good number of tall, leather boots, I couldn’t justify the purchase. They don’t give cowboy boots away, ya know?
On the other hand, my husband wanted to buy them for me years ago. I kept putting him off saying I needed a good reason to spend that much on shoes. As we rehashed this again in the kitchen one day, he grinned and said,
“Fine. I’ll give you your good reason. When you get a book deal, we are buying you cowboy boots.”
I shrugged, tilted my head, and let one corner of my mouth come up in a smile.
Since then, I’ve been able to grin a little bigger. So on an unusually warm spring morning, my husband and I hopped inside his Dodge truck and set out for Boot Barn where I found these new friends:
I must admit, I fell passionately in love with them.
Driving away from the store, I propped my chin on my hand in the open window, one thought whirling around me more comfortably than the new Shyanne boots. Whenever discouragement in all this writing business would make my shoulders sink or my head drop in my hands, David’s arms were my safe harbor and his words an anchor of steady belief in me.
“When it happens, we’ll buy boots.”
He always said when, not if.
David and Allison – and several others – are my when people, those who said when you’re published, not if you’re published. But here’s the thing: their believing in my talent couldn’t guarantee a successful outcome. Regardless, I knew that whether or not a publisher ever believed my words deserved to be bound in a book, my when people did. When I thought about giving up, their words steered me forward. They believed I was a good writer and on the days I didn’t believe it myself, they were the fuel that kept me rolling along. That keep me rolling along.
Here’s the straight up truth: we all need when people in our lives. Because it’s our when people who show us what we will do. Their words and actions are the encouragement linking God’s heart to our own. They are His messengers helping make His plans known as they offer a truer reflection of ourselves in the process.
Whether parenting or teaching or creating or soldiering on in whatever venue, you need those who believe in you and your abilities. When you are in the trenches of a dream and running on pure faith, you need when people as motivation, too. They are the stepping stone between what you want to happen and what happens.
But if on this early summer morning you find your own harvest of when people looking mighty sparse, take heart. God’s heart is for you to have them, so your prayers regarding them hold a special place. But a word of caution: for someone to become your when person – to pray you through your secret and not-so-secret dreams – you’ll have to get a little brave and share those dreams first.
And as you’re considering all of this, pray for God to open your eyes to how you can be someone else’s when person. Everyone needs at least one.
Along with faith, hope, love, and maybe really good cake.
Do you have your own when people? If not, let me know so I can pray you find them, too.