In the brief history of my character, Millard, I have shared some of the phases of his life – from his birth as a frumpy, lovable cartoon bear to his ultimate metamorphosis into a human teenager called into the service of an unseen and forgotten King. It has been quite a journey for both Millard and me, a journey that is still far from over.
What I want to share today is not so much about the character of Millard, but about the longevity of the vision. It has been 35 years since I penciled the first sketch of the good-hearted bear. I had no idea what it all meant at the time, but had this nagging feeling inside. This silly little bear meant something more than I could put into words. It was the beginning of a walk of faith, filled with glorious highs and discouraging lows.
In 1982 I was far away from God, but He was right there with me….waiting patiently. I won’t give my full testimony at this point, but will share some relevant points. I received Jesus Christ as my personal savior in February 1975 after returning from a semester at sea (Chapman College’s World Campus Afloat). Given my experiences during those four months at sea, I desperately needed a Savior!
After asking Jesus into my heart, I had no real spiritual guidance. I was not in a local fellowship, had no discipleship training or fellow believers to hold my hand. I went to Young Life meetings, but that was it. I was far too proud to let anyone see the bondage that was crippling me, so my Christian walk was at a standstill. BUT, the seed was in me!
Most importantly, I had not yet repented from my worldly lifestyle. I had a few Christian friends, but continued the “party” lifestyle with my old group of friends. Subsequently, for the next ten years I spiraled out of control. I felt compelled (by God) to move from Richmond, VA to Atlanta, and went to work at a private tennis and health club in Buckhead.
These were the days of happy hour, discos, and an abundance of alcohol and cocaine. I was in my mid-twenties and felt invincible. Looking back, I believe that I must have had an entire battalion of angels assigned to keep me from harm because I was a reckless, hedonistic mess.
It was during these times in Buckhead that Millard was born.
From first hand experience I can tell you that when God downloads a vision into your spirit, that vision will never leave you…even if you are not living a righteous life at the time. I can’t even count the number of times I begged God to kill this “thing” inside of me…this “Millard” character who kept popping up throughout my adult life. He never answered my prayer. Yes, there were seasons when Millard went dormant, particularly while I was raising my daughters and my special needs son, Ian. I just did not have the time, nor the energy to spend on him. Neither did I have the unction (anointing) for it. Trying to work on a project without God’s anointing is like walking through drying cement. You just don’t get anywhere, and you are exhausted from your own physical efforts. A waste of time and energy.
But through it all, nothing or no one could convince me that my vision for Millard was not real, or that one day, it would achieve God’s purpose. Of course nowhere in the deepest recesses of my imagination could I have foreseen relocating to the North Georgia Mountains, being isolated on a mountain with nothing to do but write the book, MILLARD: WARRIOR OF THE KING.
When God gives you a vision, it is for His appointed time…not yours. Be patient. It may tarry, but don’t let that discourage you. Wait for the “unction” to function! During the last ten years I have had brief spurts of writing or illustrating, but I knew that it was not yet time for the birth.
Looking back, I recognize these periods as times of development. I would get an idea for a character, an illustration or a storyline. These were productive times, but they were only shadows of what was to come.
If your vision is to write a book, the day will arrive when your heart becomes fixed on the task. You will go to your computer and the wind will be at your back. You will feel empowered as your story flows onto the screen before your eyes. Day after day after day, you will continue until finally, you reach the end. And after all of that, you will go back and re-write it…again and again and again until you have that inward peace that tells you, “It is finished.”
Don’t get me wrong. Writing a book is not a cake walk. It is a lot of work, especially when you are on your fifth edit. But when the time is right and the unction is upon you, those hours will flow quickly. It will become a joy.
I do not profess to be a writer. I have always had a God-given ability to write, but I do not consider myself an “author” of great literature. I am, however, a visionary and a storyteller. I am utilizing all available medium to birth the vision of MILLARD:WARRIOR OF THE KING. This is the time and the hour for this God-breathed vision to manifest, and I have peace in my heart that it will all come to pass as He has planned.
To those of you waiting for your time, let me encourage you. Never ever, ever give up on your vision…no matter how long it takes; no matter how many times you try to kill it; no matter how stupid you may feel or how much people may be laughing at you for holding on to it. If God gave you the vision, it WILL come to pass if you do your part and don’t give up! All of the pain will vanish once the baby is born!