I snapped this photo in my car a few weeks ago while my older girls were in piano lessons. Me with my laptop, working on my manuscript. I’m not sure if I got much writing done with the younger two in the back, but I probably did some, hence the selfie and the smiling.
If one thing surprised me after I became a stay-at-home mom, it was that I’d feel called to something outside the context of homemaking and ministry. And though I’ve settled into writing over the years, I still feel the underlying tension of needing to figure out what to do with my limited supply of time, energy, and health given the various desires and duties I have.
One thing that’s encouraged me immensely as I’ve navigated motherhood and writing is hearing from other Christian women who are also mothers, and also have been called to create.* Their sharing about self-doubt. Their wondering, “What is this—a hobby? Leisure? Or something else.” (I think it was Jen Pollack Michel who somewhere put words to my own wonderings here.) Their honesty about how making space to create has meant sacrifices and hard choices, and how things don’t always fall into place in neat ways. As they share the way they process these dual callings (mom + writer/artist), I am able to imagine what faith and faithfulness might look like for me.
So I thought I’d also share this in-process photo because I went through a familiar-to-me cycle today. From despairing that I’ll ever have the time or energy or solitude to finish the first draft of a chapter, to having a painful knot in my stomach thinking about all I need to do (including but not limited to writing), to doubling over onto my bed to pray, to having a few surprising hours of writing granted to me, to feeling simultaneously guilty about not engaging more with my children and wishing I had more time alone. Also, to gratitude.
I share because though I’m still in need of wisdom on how to make things work with family, ministry, work, and writing, I’m grateful for the space God gave me to work on a chapter of my manuscript today.
I’m thankful because each time I come out of this despairing to grateful cycle, the inkling that “God provides” grows. Each time, I am a bit more prepared to push back against the panic of “I am never going to have time for this!” when it invariably rises again.
And I’m thankful for many reminders lately that I haven’t ended up here by my own force of will. God has answered so, so many prayers up to this point. He has prepared good work for me that I am walking into. His calling is his equipping and provision. And that is so very heartening.
*Here are some of these women: Jen Pollack Michel, Maile Silva on The Stories Between Us, Phaedra Jean Taylor, and Rebecca K. Reynolds.