Everyone has dreams, whether they voice them or not. The question is, do you have the courage to pursue them? Or do you see them as unachievable? God plants dreams in your heart for a reason and purpose! Trust that He will make a way or He will shift that dream until it is in line with His will.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” (NIV).
Continue reading Hope’s journey…and dare to voice your dreams out loud this week!
[A continuation of Chapter 2]
“Hope, honey. Come and meet a dear friend of mine.” Mom’s voice made my confused expression fade.
Turning to Mom, I forced a smile and offered my hand to the woman in front of us. Instead, she gave me a warm embrace.
“It’s so nice to finally meet you, Hope!” The woman exclaimed after releasing me. “Your mom and I have been friends for a long time.” As she spoke, her red hair and brown eyes caught the sunlight.
Any polite response stuck in my throat. I managed a wobbly smile.
“I’m sorry, Hannah,” she directed to Mom. “But I have to go. Daniel and I have a meeting today that we can’t miss. It has been rescheduled four times already!”
Mom nodded. “No worries Mary….”
Her name’s Mary.
“…We’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday, for dinner!”
Mary smiled with excitement. “Yes, Tuesday. I can’t wait to catch up with you more!” She gave a little wave and hurried towards the back of the room.
Mom and I started out of the room, then down the hallway.
“Who’s Daniel?” I questioned.
“Pastor Daniel, is her husband.”
“Wait. You mean she’s married to the pastor?”
“Yes, she is.”
“And they’re coming for dinner on Tuesday?”
Mom laughed. “Yes, what is so confusing about that?”
“Uh nothing. I’m just making sure.” And I want to prepare myself for seeing them. I did not consider myself the best conversationalist.
We weaved around people standing in small clusters in the church lobby, chatting. Thank goodness, no one tried to talk to me. We went out the church door and into the parking lot.
“How do you know Pastor Daniel and Mary anyway, Mom? Did you grow up at this church or something?”
Mom smiled. “Mm hm. And I met Pastor Daniel and Mary, at youth group. I liked them right away.”
I slid into the passenger seat and strapped in my seat belt. “How old were you then? Were Daniel and Mary dating when you met them?”
“I was about sixteen.” She squinted-a habit when she was thinking. “Oh no, they weren’t dating yet.” Mom laughed, looking over her shoulder as she backed out of the parking space.
My mouth dropped open. “Really?! You dated Pastor Daniel?” Imagine that.
She waved her hand, dismissing it. “I don’t think it was actually considered dating because we only went out once, and it was horrible. And I mean horrible! We were both awkward. He was like a brother to me, and when we tried to make it romantic,” she shook her head, “it was weird.”
“Mm, I bet.” Hopefully Pastor Daniel wouldn’t ask me any questions about the sermon when he came over.
I glanced at my wrist watch. Tuesday, 5pm. The Pastor and his wife would be here any minute.
I sighed. I hope it’s not too awkward.
Sitting on my bed with my laptop, I searched for local art contests. In the past, I had been a finalist in art competitions, but never won. It was a joy to participate in them! One of the top results on my computer screen was for high schoolers, rewarded $1,000 to the winner and the theme was of people in your life.
“I could sketch a picture of Mom,” I mumbled with a nod. The submission date was September 19th, which would give me a reasonable amount of time to do it.
The sound of the doorbell reached my ears. They’re here. I sprang up from the bed.
While brushing my hair, happy voices emanated from downstairs. I should get down there before Mom has to call me. I deemed my jeans and t-shirt presentable and hurried downstairs.
Peeking into the living room, I saw the woman, Mary. Beside her stood Pastor Daniel, and someone else…They were taking turns shaking Mom’s hand. I squinted.
It must have been their son standing next to Pastor Daniel. But wait…That curly blonde hair looked familiar.
“There you are, Hope. Come and meet our guests.” Mom gestured for me to come closer.
Running away and hiding sounded very tempting…But I walked forward as both men turned to greet me.
Familiar brown eyes met mine. Stephen.
Surprise and then amusement flashed across his face. He stuck out a hand. “I’m Stephen Crane, nice to meet you—Hope.” His eyes seemed to sparkle with laughter.
I managed to appear pleased and shook his hand. “It’s nice to meet you too.” Great. The pastor’s son caught me staring at him the other day, and I was rude! How embarrassing! I released his hand and offered it to Pastor Daniel.
His smile looked much like Stephen’s. “I’m Daniel, nice to meet you.” He looked me up and down. “Well, I can say one thing for sure. She doesn’t look much like you, Hannah!”
“Daniel!” Mary cried.
Mom chuckled and patted Mary’s arm. “Don’t worry, Mary. I didn’t forget how Daniel teases.” Mom’s eyes turned upon me. “And he is right. Hope doesn’t look much like me. She takes after her father.”
Please don’t remind me. I felt Stephen’s gaze. With everyone staring at me, I might as well have been some kind of exotic bug.
“But she does have your smile.” Mary conceded, and settled on giving my hand a hearty shake.
Heat flooded my face.
“It’s nice to see you again, Hope.” Mary grinned.“And please ignore my husband’s teasing. He acts like a gentleman…sometimes.”
“What was that, dear? I couldn’t hear you very well,” Pastor Daniel said. He had moved a couple paces away, to study a picture on the wall. He quirked an eyebrow.
Mary released my hand and winked. “Ooohhhhhh, nothing. Girl talk.”
My mouth twitched into a grin. I could see why Mary and Mom were friends.
“Hope, why don’t you go show Stephen the library, while we finish preparing dinner. I bet he would like that.” Mom said.
I shook my head. “I don’t think he would be interested Mom…”
“Who says I wouldn’t be interested?” Stephen interrupted. His eyes darted to Mom’s face. “I would enjoy seeing your library, Mrs. Atwood.”
Mom gave me a pointed look. “Great! Hope will enjoy showing it to you.”
Ugh. I forced a smile in Stephen’s parent’s direction. “Excuse us…This way.”
I could feel his gaze wandering over my hair and studying my profile. Boy was he making me more nervous than I would have liked to admit. Stop being ridiculous—you’ve been around handsome boys before.
We passed by family pictures decorating the cream colored hall, and entered our library—my favorite room in the house.
“Well, here we are.” I motioned to the doorway.
My breath stilled as we stood on the threshold. This sight always made my heart do a little flip-flop. It never lost its glow.
My gaze rushed to the white bookshelves lining the walls—just like the first time I had seen this room filled with our furnishings. Each shelf was packed to the brim with all kinds of books— big ones, small ones, and everything in between. The overstuffed floral chairs welcomed their occupants and their cushioned arms invited one to rest against them. The library’s original oak flooring gleamed as sunlight danced through the bay window. The faded antique desk at the end of the room welcomed me. I had read a good many tales on it’s twirling chair.
I loved this room. Here I could get lost in other worlds and avoid my own.
Stephen’s mouth dropped open as his eyes roamed the room. “This is so cool! It just invites its guests to get lost in the pages of an adventure! Lot’s of adventures I might add,” he stated, indicating the bookshelves.
I grinned. “That’s Mom. She is always reading and loves books. She has most of the classics.”
“I haven’t read many of the classics; but I think I might start.” His cheeks dimpled. “I know where I can borrow them.”
I eased back against the door jam. “Feel free. We have them all!”
He strolled over to a shelf and tugged against a thick spine. “I might just accept your kind offer.”
I stepped over to the bay window in the room. Thick creamy cushions lay along its wide sill. It overlooked the backyard, which was covered in grass and yellow daisies.
“I wish I lived here when I was little. Dad and I would have spent the whole day at this window reading and sketching…And things would have been different.”
“Do you like to sketch?”
Had I spoken out loud? His question pulled me back to the present. I looked down. “Sorry, I was daydreaming.”
“There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming.”
“There is when it’s only a fairy tale.”
Stephen opened his mouth as if to speak then closed it again. A resolved expression replaced his smile and his eyes held something else…sadness? “Yeah, you’re right. There is no use in daydreaming. Dreams are too far from our grasps.” His voice broke, and he frowned.
What did I say? Did I offend him? I would have questioned him further if I wasn’t wary of his answer.
“Hope, Stephen! It’s time for dinner!” Mom called.
I shifted. “I’ll show you to the kitchen.”
In the kitchen, salad and french bread graced the table. When we walked in Mom was laughing over something, and Mary carried a bowl of sliced strawberries.
Pastor Daniel rubbed his hands together. “Yum. This all looks good.”
Stephen’s face brightened. “My thoughts exactly.
Mom placed soup on the table. “Then let’s eat.”
We all sat at the table. Pastor Daniel was at the head, Mary and I on his right; and Mom and Stephen on his left. A blessing was said over the food.
I handed the bread basket to Stephen. This looks super good.
“Did you like the library, Stephen?” Mom asked.
Stephen nodded from across the table. “Yes, it was very nice. I was telling Hope that I’ll have to borrow some of your books.”
“That would be good for Stephen. The men in my house don’t read enough in my opinion.” Mary added, elbowing her husband with shining eyes.
“What? Don’t read enough?” Pastor Daniel answered. “For your information, I read every day.” He raised a spoonful of soup to his mouth. .
Mary patted his hand. “I was just teasing, honey.”
“Good.” He smiled at her.
They are cute together. Their smiles were contagious.
Mary addressed me. “So Hope, are you planning on going to college?”
Oh. I swallowed the bite of food in my mouth. “Yes, I am. I don’t know where yet, but I plan to.”
“Good, good. Going to college is a great experience. What do you want to major in, ministry or something?”
My nose scrunched up. “Ministry? Oh no, that is not for me. I don’t want to have anything to do with ministry.”
Both Pastor Daniel and Mary raised their eyebrows.
A little harsh, I know. But I don’t. I forced a pleasant look. “I’ll major in art. I love art!”
Mom gave me a look, but didn’t say a word.
Pastor Daniel cleared his throat. “Our Stephen is going to attend our alma mater, Biola University, in southern California.” He said with cheer.
“Really?” I asked Stephen, full of surprise.
“Yep.” Pastor Daniel asserted.
Stephen has a voice of his own.
Stephen put down his fork, his face becoming flushed. He took a long gulp of water.
Is he irritated?
“He is going to be a pastor too. Well, we are still trying to convince him, but we have full confidence.” Pastor Daniel gave a wink.
Stephen rewarded everyone with a smile, then fastened his attention back on his plate.
I doubted he wanted to be a pastor.
“That sounds wonderful!” Mom said. “It must be fun to have your children take after you.” Mischief gleamed in Mom’s eyes. “I’m afraid Hope won’t be going into nursing. She faints at the tiniest sight of blood.”
Even Mary laughed.
“Hey,” I sputtered. “I don’t faint…”
“Oh, really?” Mom chuckled. “Last week my leg was bleeding, and I saw your face turn as white as a sheet. You had to sit down, then handed me a bandaid while looking at anything but my injury.”
Mom had a point.
“You can’t stand the sight of blood, Hope?” Stephen was annoyingly interested.
I sighed. “No, I can’t. My vision starts getting blurry. It’s one of my weaknesses. I didn’t get any of Mom’s nursing skills.”
Mom tried to smother a smile. “Agreed.”
I faked a frown. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wash my plate.” I moved towards the sink. “At least I can do that.”
They all laughed.
[End of chapter 2]
Can you relate to any of Hope or Stephen’s feelings? I want to hear from you!
Please tell me if you have any questions. I know this reading may have been a little rough!