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Social Distancing: Beginning with the end in mind

Part Two:

Re-birthing the vision: The Bella Project

This week I began my indoor flower garden. After purchasing a kit that contained multiple silver-dollar size discs, and several of my favorite seed packets, I invited my granddaughter over and together we went to work.

I gave her a bowl of warm water and a measuring spoon. Soon she was tossing spoonfuls of water on the tiny pods. It was fun to watch the mystery on her face as each pod began to grow right before her big brown eyes. Within seconds the pods began to swell to well over three times their original size. The water had given birth to the compacted dirt so that we could now plant our flower seeds!

Re-birthing a vision is much like those tiny hard discs of compressed dirt. They need someone to come along and envision what they can be and sprinkle a little time, effort and TLC on them.

The vision

Nearly seven years ago I sat at the edge of a hospital bed set up in the middle of a beautiful sun-room in my friends’ home. This room was encased in windows and anyone who entered could not help but view the masterpiece of outdoor beauty which signified life and her joy of all things living. The stark contrast came as your eyes turned inward where death was hovering. Here, cancer was stealing life, to make way for the inevitable. Death.

During this time my husband and I had been living overseas. I can’t remember the reason now, but we were state-side and had been invited to stay in this beautiful home with our dear friends.

This time gifted me many quiet moments of communing. When I saw her wakefulness, I could sit and talk with her until tiredness, or pain, or both; would sweep over her worn out body and she would gratefully succumb to sleep.

One afternoon, much like many others; we quietly chatted back and forth. Her somberness didn’t surprise me as our short times together were becoming more solemn. We both knew the unspoken truth that her days on this earth were quickly marching down. On this day I became aware that her thoughts were taking her to a deeper sacred place, a need to convey a personal message of importance became apparent to me; and in that moment I leaned in before slumber would engulf her now prominent pain.

Through quiet whispers she relayed her concern that her young grandchildren wouldn’t understand her death, and more importantly they wouldn’t know why Grammy had left them and where she had gone.

We had shared many conversations about heaven. Her smile would broaden when she spoke of her desire to finally meet Jesus face-to-face and in that moment her pain would leave her forever! That afternoon through halted whispers she shared with me her dying wish.

“I want my grandchildren to know that because I love Jesus, I will go to heaven when I die. I will miss being here with them; but in heaven Grammy won’t have any more sickness or pain.”.

My heart was burdened as I heard her speak. As pain gave way to sleep, I let my tears slip.

That afternoon as I watched her sleep, a story began to form and make its way into my heart and mind. A story that would not only accomplish her desire, but also gift her grandchildren with a sweet picture of where Grammy was after she left this earth.

The next day, in a wakeful moment I asked if I could read something to her. She smiled and shook her head. I knew pain and tiredness was a constant companion now, and as I started to read, her eyes slowly closed. I continued to read, thinking my voice had lulled her to sleep; but when I finished, she opened her eyes and smiled. “Perfect!” She whispered. “It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change a single word!” This was the birth of Bella Bunny’s Big Question: Grammy, Is Heaven For Real?

These were some of our last moments together as just a few days later she would grace heaven with her riot of red hair, cheerful disposition and beautiful smile. And here she would meet Jesus face-to-face; and in that instant, nearly thirty years of pain would cease!

Re-birthing a vision takes courage

Courage comes when we step out in faith and face head on that which frightens us. We step into it knowing we are not adequate; but God is. Courage comes when we feel hindered, stuck, stymied and swallowed up by the big shoes of perfection; but we walk on knowing that if God calls us to something, we have the confidence that we can accomplish it in His strength.

In this quest of finishing my Bella project I need courage. I often find that I look over my shoulder at someone else’s work and say, “I could never do this justice!” I feel totally incompetent. Incapable. Inept. You name it, if it sounded like any of those words, I am feeling it right now!

Re-birthing a vision takes confidence

The sweep of the Covid 19 virus caused me to take a backwards glance at the projects that I had packed up when I moved back to the states after living in the Philippines. One project rose to the top as it had been my healing journey after my dear friends’ death to cancer. Bella Bunny’s Big Question: Grammy Is Heaven For Real?

This book has been shouting to be completed; but I always have a million and one excuses as to why it isn’t getting done.

For starters I never-ever published or self-published a book. Sounds overwhelming to me! I’m a writer. I don’t have any idea of how to publish a book.

Sketching the artwork that had popped into my head simultaneously as I had written the story made me want to run and hide. I am not an artist! I’m creative; but I certainly wouldn’t call myself an artist. Not feeling like an artist, I continuously ask myself, “How will I ever get the characters who vividly came to life in my head transported onto paper?”

Lastly, I ruled myself out with; “I have no idea how to watercolor!” For some reason these sketches came to my mind in vivid, sweet watercolors. How was I ever going to be true to this project if I didn’t even have a clue about how to watercolor?

As I looked at my list, it overwhelmed me and was sure to send my ideas packing; but in this moment I took courage. I felt very clearly that God was directing me to write this story. It poured out of me many years ago in response to my friends’ wish. It was like the words were just waiting for someone to breathe life into them.

So, this week as I was in full swing of social distancing, I asked God for courage. My first step was to find a place in my house where I could create-a-space where my soul could breath life once again into Bella. A space where I could spread out and leave up my project until it’s completion.

For me, courage means:

My work won’t look like someone else’s, but I keep at it until it is done; because I was the one meant to breathe life into it.

This project will be unique to me and my style, so I choose not to compare my work with someone else’s. That takes courage!

I believe that this is a task that God has placed in my hands. With this placement He tells me that His grace is enough, I only need to be strong and very courageous. Am I inadequate? Absolutely; but God is the One whom I need to depend on. So, with that in mind I sprinkle on courage to rebirth my dream.

Re-birthing a vision takes commitment

I have already told you that I am a self-proclaimed procrastinator. If there is one word a procrastinator doesn’t like, it is the word commitment. I instantly choke on this word as it makes me feel hemmed in, stuck in a mold and often knocks the wind out of my sail. It feels like a deadline has been placed like a gauntlet over me!

This is where I need to go back to my 15-minute rule and break down the elephant into manageable, bite size goals.

For the past six plus years I have taken these bites to get to where I am today. I have seen God faithfully help me to write the story, get the sketches in my head on to paper; but now, with watercolors in front of me and a paint brush in hand, I feel like I have already failed. I am not a painter! Well…self-taught with many techniques lacking in my toolbox; but despite this fact I need to press on.

Fear strikes at commitment

making you back down and gladly sit this round out!

LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN

I currently am in the battle with commitment. Yes! I want to complete this project. My friends and family have heard me saying this for far too long; but giving in to fear of failure always knocks me out of the ring.

So, with this in mind, I have begun to create a plan for follow-through. It is a slow, methodical plan. I haven’t rushed this far and there is no need to rush now. For me rushing adds pressure that I don’t need and instantly takes the fun out of creating! Like my mom always says; “Slow and steady wins the race!”

Re-birthing a vision takes cheerleaders

I don’t want fear to knock me out of the ring. This is where I need YOU! I am not asking you to assess my work or measure it against someone else’s, but I am asking for a few exuberant cheerleaders who would stand on the side lines as I take this next step in my Bella project and cheer me on.

Right now, we may be in a place of social distancing; but It is my hope that soon this will all be over, and we will return to some sense of normalcy. It will be easy when routine returns, for me to get caught up in the regularity of life and forget my desire for follow through on my Bella project.

If you would like to be a cheerleader on the side, email me and I will send you special updates as to where I am in the Bella project and prayer pleas for continued courage. During this time of social distancing I will post publicly where I am in the process as well.

Maybe you have a vision that needs re-birthed? I encourage you to:

  • Revisit your vision
  • Take courage
  • Have confidence
  • Find Cheerleaders

Together may we allow this time of social distancing to help us to begin with the end in mind.

LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LINDA JANE DINGELDEIN

Creating a personal space for The Bella Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

After twenty-five years as a missionary, Linda Jane is now entering a new ministry role as pastor’s wife; where she will serve alongside of her husband Joel, in Warren, Pennsylvania. The calling to serve Christ remains the same, as does her endeavor to reach women with the gospel message, and to teach them to live authentically out of who God created them to be. Linda's passion is communication through the spoken and written word, photography and illustration. She loves all things cultural, creative and colorful.

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