I'm pleased to welcome novelist and speaker Ann Lee Miller as she shares some thoughts about dreams–our own, and God's dreams for us–based on her new novel, Kicking Eternity. Be sure to read to the bottom of this post for more information about Ann and about Kicking Eternity, including information about a GIVEAWAY.
Kicking Eternity focuses on wrestling with dreams, determining which come from God, what motivates our desires. Some of us desperately want to follow God’s dreams. Others want to follow their own dreams, even in opposition to God. And some have yet to discover their dreams.
Raine, my heroine, has wanted to teach orphans in Africa her whole life. It’s a godly desire, and she is fully committed to Christ. But it’s an unexamined dream. Even when her father opposes her, she does not pause to determine whether this is truly the path God intends for her.
My passion for a career as a novelist is powerful and never flags. I need to be attentive to God, willing to surrender even this consuming drive I believe God planted in me. Obeying God is more important than fulfilling my dream. Raine discovers this in Kicking Eternity.
Part of Raine’s motivation is the desire for escape from a co-dependent relationship with her drug-addict brother. I’ve known missionaries who have been spurred to leave the country to escape dysfunction at home. I don’t see this as a negative. Often when God wants to move us from one place to another, He allows us to become dissatisfied with our present situation. I don’t believe it is somehow purer to follow God’s lead by sacrificing all. Even when God has called me to do difficult things like taking in a troubled teen or moving across the country, He’s given me the want-to.
Another character, Cal, refuses to consult God and pursues his own dreams. Cal’s dreams crash on the rocks and the reader can’t help but think he would have been better off consulting God. Cal traverses an entire second book, The Art of My Life, to come to this conclusion. A lot of people in my life walk this path. I long for them to realize that God loves them deeply and has satisfying things planned for their future.
Rebels aren’t the only ones with incorrect views of God. A godly young woman close to me said recently, “I don’t want to do this, so I think it’s what God wants me to do.” But when we do what we were created to do, we are fulfilled. I want to tell this young lady that something inside her will leap at the thought of doing the thing she was created to do even if it is difficult or requires self-sacrifice. God designed me to write. When I write, my heart sings.
Drew, the hero in my story, plods through life until God taps him on the shoulder. Drew steps through every door God throws open. His life takes on purpose and he gets the dream and the girl God thought up especially for him.
My dream was to live as a hermit writer on the North Carolina coast, a place I’d never seen. But God’s dream for me was a life packed with friends, husband, and children, biological and of the heart, in the desert of Arizona. He knew better than I what would fulfill me. And I write.
Many thanks to Ann for sharing these thoughts with us. What do you think of Ann's notes above regarding dreams and God's will? When you think of following your dreams, what thoughts come to mind? What would you attempt today if you knew you could not fail? Feel free to share your reactions in the comments below. Giveaway: Anyone who leaves a comment with an e-mail address will receive a free e-book copy of Kicking Eternity.
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
Connect with Ann at:
Kicking Eternity, by Ann Lee Miller
First Place, Long Contemporary, 2009 Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, and Love Contest
Fresh from college, Raine scores a teaching job at New Smyrna Beach Surf and Sailing Camp. She’s a plane ticket away from fulfilling her dream of teaching orphans in Africa, so she socks away her camp paychecks and worries about her druggy brother, but a crush on the camp rebel/art teacher threatens to derail her plans. The broody recreation director, Drew, spots her brother's meth addiction and Raine's enabling. Raine believes she is helping her brother–until lives are threatened. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to flee before it’s too late?
Endorsements for Kicking Eternity
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song and Love Amid the Ashes, winner of the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and
The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
“I've lost hours of sleep reading Ann Lee Miller's work due to her uncanny ability to yank me into a story with authentic, lovable, yet challenging characters.”