Have you ever been so sure of something, so certain that you can feel it in your bones that welling up, bubbling over conviction that this thing is the right thing? But, the timing is off. Or what would be required of you would take guts- unabashed bravery. And, well, that thing- that sure thing- gets put off, laid on the shelf for some other time, a better time- the “right” time when you gain courage, an empty nest, or minutes to spare.
It is easy for me to hide behind my motherhood. Here is what I mean- Yes, my priority right now is loving and serving my family, giving my time, affection and love to my husband first and then caring for and tending to the needs of my children. I am to be busy at home, and man am I busy. But recently, I have considered and even discussed with some about the possibility of sacrificing my skills, passions, and gifting in order to advance opportunities for my kids. It sounds noble, loving even, but at least for me I feel like I would be losing myself, absorbing my identity in my children so that they can have soft blows through life while I get pelted in exhaustion and depression. I am not going there.
For as long as I can remember, writing was and is my thing. In fourth grade, my class was given an assignment to write an essay about their favorite summer vacation using descriptive language of the five senses. That was my first experience of writing out of pure joy. I wrote about my family’s trip that year to North Carolina when we stayed in a cabin by a lake. I wrote about the smells of bacon in the morning, old pine floors, lakewater, and summer breezes. I shared how we caught hundreds of slippery salamanders and zippy minnows, and dug our eager hands in soft earth. I reminisced the sounds of the lapping lake, creaky wood flooring, and a frying pan at sunrise. I loved that vacation, and when I wrote my essay I got to relive it. The joy was in the writing. I got a surprise one day when my teacher read my essay to my entire fourth grade class. What a thrill! I’ll never forget that day. The affirmation was wonderful, but more than that, a passion was sparked in me to continue writing. I haven’t stopped since. I began to write poetry in fifth grade, songs in eighth grade, and in ninth grade I joined my high school’s literary club. I took a creative writing class three times, not because I couldn’t pass it, but because I was allowed to take the class multiple times as an arts elective. I kept journals of poetry and reflections. I had a few poems published in journals. I see writing as a sweet grace that the Lord used in a somewhat difficult period of adolescence. Isn’t adolescence difficult for us all, though? My early twenties were filled with research papers, essays, a thesis, and then I stepped away from writing for a period until I got married and pursued it again with renewed vigor. I credit my incredible husband, Travis, for encouraging me to write and share words with others.
Writing is my thing. But, as a mom who is a creative I have often felt like I had to choose between being a creative and being a mom. There is a lot of creativity that goes into motherhood everyday, so I am not saying that the two should be compartmentalized. What I mean is that I will often think or say, “Someday I will write that book or Bible study.”…”Someday I will teach God’s Word and speak hope and truth into other women’s lives…” Someday. But I’ve got to thinking, what if someday was today? What am I really waiting for? It is easy for me to hide behind my motherhood, and say, “Well, I can’t. They need me. I am super busy. It just isn’t the right time.” What isn’t the right time? The pendulum can swing either way- idolizing self or idolizing family. The writer of Ecclesiastes says, “For everything there is a season.” For us moms with children in our homes, this is the season for nurture, instruction, presence, and peace. But, it is also a season as is every season to create margin in our lives for rest, beauty, worship, art, and contribution. Moms want to creatively contribute, but they sometimes feel guilty when the objects of their work are not their families. This is the pendulum swing thing inching towards family. The only way I can figure to get any of this right in my mind is when the pendulum is not swinging at all, but my “object” is always Christ. Only then as a mom who is also a creative can I best serve my family and my community. I cannot sacrifice one thing (my children or my writing) for the other thing. On one hand I would be throwing my identity into being a “mom,” or on the other hand in being useful to to the outside community. You cannot serve two masters. When I serve God in both my roles and my passions, and as a worker seeking His approval alone, then I get it right. I think I will probably spend the rest of my life aiming to get it right. Thankfully, Jesus got it right for me, so I don’t have to worry.
So, all this to say, I am writing a book. I was going to start it someday, but I figured if I start today then someday it will be finished and will prayerfully bless, encourage, and inspire others on their faith journey. I am also editing a Bible study I wrote a couple of years ago, and I plan to submit that in the coming months. I will continue to contribute to a few magazines, devotionals, and blogs that I have enjoyed writing for in recent years, but this new venture feels like stepping out into the great unknown. Realistically, publishing anything, if at all, will take years, but I am not focusing on that right now. I am focusing on writing. And laundry, and cooking, lessons, doctors appointments, date nights, etc. Being mindful that I am really serving God with it all as I love my neighbors within and outside.
What is your thing? Are you waiting on someday, or are you ready to begin today? Who can you get to rally around you as you set out, whether it be a cooking club, an art studio, a business, a Bible study, a book, or some other thing? Let me encourage you to begin. Pray it out. Listen to God. Seek Him in His Word. Tell your spouse, or a friend. And begin. The trick for me is to not worry about or dwell on the end- the what ifs and the hows- but to simply begin and let God take care of the journey. Someday may very well be today!