Age: A secret! But a clue – born in the 50’s! // Favourite Food: Veggies // Dream Job: What I’m currently doing! // Current Season: Empty nesting but finding my wings! // Met Jesus: 35 years ago! // Favourite Verse: Romans 12:2 // Instagram: @valerymurphy // Blog: www.valerymurphy.com
As the years went by I had achieved so much.
But I didn’t really feel that I had done anything, at all.
Now, with three children all under the age of 12, I was perhaps starting to come up for air… Maybe now was my time.
We were on the Gold Coast, experiencing the joys and excitement of every theme park, never satisfied with the adrenalin rush that came with each day. As you do when you have an excitable husband and three young, adventurous kids.
To bring a little ‘light and shade’ to the days of food, fun and festivities, I’d made a statement which now, at five minutes to midnight, I was beginning to regret.
“Let’s go see the movie Titanic at the launch tonight!”
Perhaps, as a Mum, and an exhausted one at that, I may or may not have been a little too enthused by the ads I’d seen for this blockbuster. But now, realism was beginning to hit me, and, like a punch-drunk boxer who didn’t know when to quit, I was starting to waver and swing at the shadows. Zombie like, with the effect of too few hours of rest and sleep finally catching up, I pulled myself together and gave myself a good talking to. I was doing this for the kids – yep, all going to ‘make memories’… I’d be glad I did this. One day.
As we waited in the seemingly endless queue for tickets, for which we’d driven over the border into New South Wales from the state of Queensland, we finally reached the box office and claimed our seats at the local cinema. People around us thronged and chatted in groups as they waited for the inestimable privilege of securing their seat to the Premiere of premieres! The first screening nationwide of this long awaited portrayal of the famous ship and its passengers’ story promised to be amazing. Leo and Kate! What a combination!
Stuffing way too many Maltesers into my mouth, and washing them down with a strong cup of tea, I settled into my seat. Way too comfy. But I was ready.
We were not five minutes into the movie when it hit me, like the proverbial sledge hammer. I found myself glued to my seat, eyes riveted on the big screen.
It was the scene where Kate and her mother are confronted with the massive vessel upon which they were to spend the next month or months travelling across the Atlantic Ocean to the US of A. Oh my goodness.
And suddenly there was I. Rounding the corner at Southampton, England with my parents. I looked up, squinting in the early morning sunshine, trying to take in the site of a massive ocean liner at the docks. Incredible in her expansiveness, this ship of my dreams loomed before us. Oriana, then, was to be my home for the next month as I journeyed along with Mum, Dad and my brother James, to the land of Australia. Ten years old and embarking upon the high seas for the adventure of a life time. Our emigration journey to our new country.
Sound like a romantic dream? Walter Mitty I was not. But suddenly it was tangible, palpable, my imagination fired by a movie. I was catapulted by this ‘Titanic’ scene into my own new world. I was now captivated by the romance of the ship, and was reminded in no uncertain way of the beautiful journey that I remembered from when I was so young. It had been a journey that was to capture my imagination, to physically change my life, and to emotionally charge me with the memories, to change the lives of others. The dream to write. And to reach many with my own story.
The minute the movie finished, I knew God had spoken to me. Oh…not in that ‘audible’ voice of Hollywood itself, but gently, slowly and sensitively, as the Holy Spirit does a lot.
And just what had He said?
The subject had been brewing, looming, like that enormous structure that floats, effortlessly yet incredibly on the water. I’d been quite happy keeping it at bay, ignoring the ‘prompts’ that God would put into my mind. Until that day.
Now…it was becoming a shout, a loud and piercing suggestion from the heart of He who knows me better than anyone. The suggestion that I could ignore it was untenable, as would be the action to do so.
No….I had to do it. I had to trust Him, and His suggestion.
For the next six years I struggled with my lower than you would perceive self-esteem. I’d heard from the heart of God about a new purpose, a new dream. But it meant I had to trust and to understand that when there is a new spark in your imagination it’s meant to be pursued. And trust all of a sudden becomes real, and a challenge. It ambushes you every day. It is waiting to confront you at every new change of direction.
Because it’s not natural. Trusting what God whispers to us when He asks us to ‘walk on the water’ is not at all natural to us. Nor should it be, because it’s something that He has to teach us. Willing or not!
For the next six years I wrote. And I wrote. And I screwed up the paper that my ‘book’ was printed on. And I wrote some more. Surely this dream was an invention of an over active mind at midnight…not the real thing! Intent upon the prompting that had been inspired by a scene from a movie. I gave up time and time again. But I was encouraged by my brother to continue. So much did he also believe that I had heard from God that he began to edit the fledgling chapters of my little book. Haltingly, sparingly he began to critique and to praise, to coach and to correct. As a Master of Education in English Lit, he was an amazing help. You might say a God-send.
Often we don’t think that we have heard right. It’s not Biblical to gather your inspiration and your direction from something so ‘worldly’, right? But then again, God often ‘speaks’ to us through our everyday lives. He brings us to a point of putting our dream into practice, bringing what we long to do, inside, to our everyday reality. And He will bring alongside us those who will help and guide, because He cares that we learn to trust HIM.
Because if faith is the currency of the Kingdom, then trust is the leap that allows it. If we don’t learn to trust Him, we won’t see our faith become reality.
After six years I finally self-published my book. It was a collection of my stories around my relationship with my Dad. And about my Heavenly Dad. Me and Him and learning to trust. “Dancing With My Daddy” was picked up by a USA publisher a year later and is now available world wide in two languages. I get testimonies from readers of how their lives have been impacted and changed, and their hearts have been touched. It never, ever fails to warm and encourage me. And my trust grows, because learning to trust your dream brings with it a learning to trust in other ways.
Because I bothered to trust that prompting one late night in a cinema with my family, I realized a dream. That my story could help others, just by not keeping it to myself. Because I loved Jesus enough to let go of my own insecurities, he taught me to write and to understand what trusting Him really meant.
Your dream is not impossible. But you will learn trust along the way, not always easy. Hang in…
And Bon Voyage!