Roughly 13 years ago, I was sitting in my family Suburban with sponge curlers secured tight in my hair, breakfast hot-pocket in hand, and an excitement in me that I’m not sure anyone could understand.
My dad hopped in the drivers seat and said “you ready, moviestar?”
I nodded, almost with so much enthusiasm that I slightly lifted from my seat.
My greatest dream at this point in my 11-year-old-life, was to be an actress.
You see, Big Fish casting producers had traveled through Montgomery searching for 5,000 extras to be in the film that was soon to be shot in our town.
I was one of the chosen “few”.
And Y’all, I just KNEW it was going to be my chance to make it big. The scene I was chosen for took place in Millbrook, Alabama.
The Town of Spectre.
Apparently some family in that little farm town allowed the producers to send their crew to build a movie set on their land, or so the story goes.
And that movie set, well at least a few pieces of it, is still standing.
13 years later.
Our beautiful friend, Meredith had recently shot her engagements at this set and I was enamored by its now whimsical mystery and decided to trek my way back to Millbrook.
My sweet Cody Bell had not seen this movie set, so it was only natural for us to make it an exploration of the sorts.
We walked slowly looking intently at all of our surroundings,
marveling at the crooked architecture and barely-standing houses.
It was cloudy and drizzly as we ventured down the one street the holds the “Town of Spectre.”
Noticing movement coming from the little church building, we walked closer to let our eyes adjust…
Y’all, I was dyinggggggg at their cuteness.
They for sure wanted to hang out with us as we explored this abandoned movie set.
We took some of our exploring to ourselves when I noticed Cody sitting on an old stump… and I knew he was thinking.
For anyone who knows Cody, he’s a deep thinker, internal processor, and many other incredible things, but he is one who thinks the best thoughts.
I quickly walked over to him and sat on the stump perfect placed beside him.
I started the conversation (as per usual in all circumstances) and said,
“This place was my dream as a little girl. With life, obviously, I realized Hollywood would not be where I wanted to be, but it was a dream, a big one too. I wonder if there are places in us that are just wasting away in our hearts, with no movement or change. I wonder if there are desires that we have and haven’t asked the Lord for because they seem too far and out of reach. This place, especially with the cloudy skies and drizzle, makes me realize how much we don’t pursue because it could somehow disrupt us to go to uncharted or uncomfortable places.”
Cody looked at me with those hazel eyes that always seem to twinkle a little more than anyone else.
“We can’t grow in our lives if are aren’t willing to get uncomfortable. Growth comes in the uncomfortable and it seems to me that nobody is willing to go that place of discomfort. Do you think that there are places you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable to unveil the dream that you desire?”
in case you aren’t aware, we are deep talkers and I’m often emotional, so this conversation wrecked me.
We both word vomited our craziest ideas and dreams as we continued walking through the town.
Hand in hand we talked and talked, walked and walked, unable to really stop ourselves from blurting out our desires.
And then, before I knew it, Cody was just telling Jesus.
Gripping my hand tightly, he just started telling Jesus his honest truths.
Right there, in the middle of this uncharted place, he told Jesus everything.
In the sweetest way, humbly and boldly, asking the Best Friend of our Hearts to befriend our fears with Perfect Love.
I yelled scripture out and we both awkwardly laughed at the strangeness of it, yet the excitement of our realization.
This place of wasted “stuff” showed us the places of our hearts that we are willingly allowing to waste away.
We realized that we can’t throw away our desires even if the desires of our hearts don’t happen tomorrow.
Because really, those little things that give us an extra heart beat may have actually been placed there on purpose by the One who put your heart in it’s rightful spot.
We pulled up to this place that was once so magical, once so brand new and alive with Tim Burton and his Hollywood wizardry-hair, once a place where an 11-year-old girl from Montgomery, Alabama had a piece of her dream come true.
In just 13 years, this place is now desolate, paint chipped, abandoned and left to rot.
Left for people like me and my husband to go explore, play with random wandering goats, and stare up towards the southern spanish moss hanging so effortlessly with its beauty.
In 30 days of wishful doing, we are doing the simple task of asking Jesus what we have allowed to sit and waste away in our heats.
Praying that He would give it the heartbeat it once had to pursue uncharted territory.
Join us in worshipping in the ghost towns of our hearts, to bring them back to life.