The Prince of Dreams

By on August 22, 2013
Anne Hathaway Les Miserables

By Jenny L. Cote –

I had a dream my life would be

So different from this hell I’m living,

So different now from what it seemed…

Now life has killed the dream I dreamed…

(From Les Miserables, “I Dreamed a Dream”)

I lost my mascara when Anne Hathaway sang these words in Les Miserables. I imagine you did, too, if you saw it. It was literally an Oscar winning performance. Our hearts were torn apart by poor Fantine’s desperate plight and painful, unjust predicament.

Could it be our hearts tugged from hearing words about our own childhood dreams? Could it be that you, too, had a dream that your life would be different than it is today? Has life killed your dream?

As with Fantine, our dreams start when we’re young. Our minds and hearts fill with fairy tale dreams of princesses finding their prince charmings, of beating all the odds, and achieving the impossible. As we leave the dreams of childhood we find a much different, harsh reality waiting for us. We don’t look like the perfect princess we imagined we’d be, our prince charming breaks our heart or never shows up, and the odds beat us. If we’re honest, there’s a little Fantine in each of us.

But where I differ from our dear Fantine is how I chose to respond to the lost dreams of childhood. I chose to let my dreams grow up within the hands of a loving Dream-giver. For apart from him, life does indeed become hell. Dreams will fall victim to living in a broken world if we allow them to. In order to realize your dreams, you’ve got to power them with the only One who can make them come true in the first place.

As a little girl I loved Jesus and I loved to write. I wrote stories about talking fruit. I told Phil Vischer that I wrote “Fruity Tales” before he wrote “Veggie Tales.” But he published his stories while I danced around with other dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up: a marine biologist to swim with dolphins, a greeting card designer, a CEO of a major corporation, a wife and mother with a perfect family.

I just couldn’t decide.

I grew up in a happy childhood home but when life threw me some teenage punches, I got mad at God and decided I would figure out my dreams by myself. I still loved Jesus, but I didn’t want him touching my dreams. Like the Prodigal Son, I wanted to go conquer the world on my own.

Twelve years later, I had two marketing degrees, a good job, good husband, nice house, nice car and two Labradors. But I felt hollow inside. Nothing satisfied. At twenty-eight I lost my job—and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I woke up and realized that nothing mattered apart from life with my true Prince charming – Jesus. This prodigal girl ran home and fell into her Father’s arms, tired of doing it all on my own. He welcomed me with his loving embrace and said, “Okay, Jenny, are you ready to watch me work? Are you ready to see what I have dreamed for you?”

I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. It was then I discovered the secret of making dreams come true.

The first thing my Prince did was to reintroduce himself to me: through his word, through prayer, through tangible touches of his love. I discovered that no dream could truly begin without first knowing the Dream-giver. He gave me a love note one day: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).” It became my life mission to discover what that verse meant, and it took ten years to truly figure it out. I discovered that my childhood dream to write was still there. It just needed to grow up. But my Prince was in no hurry to make my dream come true before the time was right—or before I was made right in him.

During this dream discovery process came “Fantine Pain.” Unspeakable heartache in a hopeless, troubled marriage while raising a precious little boy, and trying to work in a job while knowing I was meant to do something else with my skills. I was meant to write. I was gifted to write. I was called to write. But every time I lifted my pen it was knocked out of my hand. I came to realize that the Dream-crusher was out to make me give up my dreams. And he came after every area of my life.

I buried my face in the shoulder blades of my Prince and fought on through every obstacle while he led the way. He kept whispering back over his shoulder, “Trust me. This will get rough, but trust me.” I had to fight for my marriage. I had to fight for my family. I had to fight for my dream to write. I had to be a warrior princess, and things got bloody. “Every great book has been written with the author’s blood” is not just a quote to me. It’s reality.

Turning dreams into reality is not for the faint of heart or the weak of spirit. It is for the determined, the God-fearers and the ones who refuse to give up.

As children we think dreams are pain-free and easy. That’s why we have to grow up, along with our dreams. Dreams are costly because their value is so high. And when your dreams come from the Dream-giver, they are threatening to the Dream-crusher. Expect a battle, but never fight without the Prince.

What happened to my writing dream? It came true. I’m currently writing my fifth novel with two more in the hopper. My books are sold all over the world. We’re even turning the first one into a movie. Not a day passes where I don’t have a reader thank me for writing my books, asking me to, “Please, never stop writing.” My dream books are touching young hearts and minds, and inspiring the next generation of dreamers. I can’t tell you how good a dream come true feels. And I’m blessed to have my husband of twenty-five years as part of that dream.

Has the battle stopped? Of course not! It never will. Dreams are living, breathing things. Keeping them alive is all up to you. As the dream grows, so does the battle.

So armor up, little princess. Don’t let the Dream-crusher kill your dreams. It might take a long time to see them come true. It will require battle with blood, sweat and tears. But the Dream-giver does not give dreams without the ability to make them come true. Allow him to show you how, and the Prince will be with you every step of the way.

Let life kill my dreams? I wouldn’t dream of it.

 

Originally published in the 2013 Summer edition of WHOA Women’s Magazine (www.whoawomen.com).

 

Award winning author, speaker and producer Jenny L. Cote developed an early passion for God, history and young people, and beautifully blends these passions together in her two fantasy fiction series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz® and Epic Order of the Seven®. Likened to C.S. Lewis by book reviewers and bloggers, Jenny L. Cote opens up the world of creative writing for students of all ages and reading levels through fun, highly interactive workshops. Jenny has appeared to over 20,000 students at lower, middle, high school and universities in the US and abroad. You can learn more about Jenny at www.epicorderoftheseven.com.

 

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The Prince of Dreams