in 2002, I lost one of my older brothers to lung cancer. A few months
after his death, I had the craziest dream about writing.
What’s so crazy about that?
Well, I wasn’t a writer at the
time. Don’t get me wrong, I always wanted to be one, but wanting and
knowing how are two different things.
In my dream I saw a picture of
my brother on the front page of a newspaper. He sat in a white rocker,
to the left of the feature article, and a broad smile lit his face. He
waved his hand high in the air as though motioning me closer. I’d never
seen him look so happy.
I inched my way forward, trying
to catch a better glimpse of the words on the page, and I noticed the
storyline had to do with the war my brother had served in—Vietnam. My
eyes landed on the byline—Deborah Anderson. Nobody
ever addressed me as Deborah unless I got into trouble for something,
which seemed to be a lot in my younger years—during junior and senior
high school for heaven’s sakes.
The dream changed scenes then,
as dreams usually do, and I found myself riding in a car with an old
history teacher from high school.
My eyes shifted to the
dashboard. It turned into a desk with multiple cubbyholes. Each
compartment contained tools writers use. Can you imagine? The craziest
thing of all is I knew that the tools belonged to me.
Talk about taking a ride.
I awoke the following morning,
wrote the dream in a journal, and set it aside. I went about my daily
routine—for two years—until a sudden urge hit me one afternoon. Go
to the library.
So I did.
I checked out multiple novels,
lugged them home, and set them beside my rocking chair.
Later in the evening, after I
tucked my elderly mother in bed, I pored over Redeeming Love
by Francine Rivers. I stayed up most of the night reading. (As a
result, my poor mother’s eggs didn’t turn out so well the following
morning. My mind kept wandering back to the storyline in Ms. Rivers’s
Over the course of the next two
weeks as I read each book, I marveled. I wish I could write
But I had no idea how to do such
finishing all of the novels but one, and many sloppy eggs later, I
picked up my final selection, The Notebook by
Nicholas Sparks. (If you haven’t read Mr. Sparks’s work, I highly
I finished the book, wishing I
could write like this author, too, and out of nowhere the dream I had
written in the journal rushed back to my mind. I drummed my fingers on
the book’s cover. Where did I put the notebook?
I jumped up from my rocker,
searched the house, and recovered the journal. I read the content
written on the pages. Should I? Could I?
My eyes shifted toward heaven. God,
are you trying to tell me something?
slap me and call me
stupid, but I figured He was.
I began writing.
And do you know what happened?
One of the first few stories I
published wound up as a feature article on the cover of a newspaper.
The story had to do with my brothers coming home for Christmas. They
were both serving in the Army, one of them stationed in Vietnam. This
time, though, instead of my brother’s picture, a photograph of me sat
to the left of the article.
Speaking of which, I’ve often
wondered why I saw a picture of my dead brother in the dream. According
to the Scriptures, we’re not to communicate with the dead, which I
didn’t, nor do I want to, but maybe God used the photograph of my
sibling to get my attention. He knows me better than anyone does, and
He can do whatever He wants. He’s God.
Not only that, if God spoke
through a donkey, He could talk to me, couldn’t He?
Okay, wait, it sounds like I
just called myself a donkey, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I’ve had dreams about
this profession ever since. In my dreams I’ve seen storylines,
characters, and the ending of a story before I knew what the beginning
was going to be. I even saw a novel once, sitting on a table in the
corner of a room, and when I walked over to inspect it, I saw the
author’s name—Deborah Anderson. The genre was
supernatural suspense. No way was I ever going to write that.
Did I mention never say never?
I recently completed my first
novel. The genre is supernatural suspense. (I’ll let you know if this
My only regret in all of this
was waiting two years to respond. Who knows what stage my work could
have been in now?
What dreams has God given you?
Do they seem unattainable?
If He has given you any and you
think they’re impossible to accomplish, I’m here to tell you they’re
not. You can do all things through Christ who
strengthens you. I’m living proof of that.
Who would have thought?