Last year held such change for our family. As we closed chapters and creaked open new ones, one thing that has remained for me, is this calling to write.
Now, I’ve always written, but I preferred the words to remain safe, tucked inside my nightstand drawer. Four years ago I was not even thinking about releasing them on the World Wide Web to be read publically. So this act of obedience has been hard at times. I have this fear of being misunderstood. The thought that someone could read in-between the lines of what I write and misunderstand my message, scares me every time I hit publish.
It’s been three years since I wrote my first blog post and towards the latter part of last year I began to feel this rumble inside me of something more percolating. Blogging became more than just a way to process and straighten the jumbled up slinky life often throws at me. That is always why I write, but I felt it growing from a hobby into a calling, a ministry to encourage and help others also struggling to sort out this of life.
I described it as giving birth a couple months ago. Before I was more like babysitting words a couple hours every week, but now, this is my baby.
Last week, a fellow blogger, Katie Reid, wrote a post about juggling the responsibilities of 2 callings. I read those words after dropping off my kids off at school. Something I still can’t believe I do. Anyway, in the surreal quiet of my house and my new reality, those words really hit home.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years now, and a homeschooling mom for 7. And I have fully devoted my time and attention to both with-out much extra thought for anything else, especially a job or calling on my part.
My heart swells with thanksgiving for the years spent at home, not having to balance the worry of work with the sleepless nights of an infant. God miraculously provided basketfuls of bread and fish for us during those years we really had crumbs to offer. I love where our family is now as a result of those intentional years.
So as I move into this new chapter, my heart frequently feels the tug-of-war Katie described, as I focus on people and ministries outside the four walls of my house.
I remember the first time I attended a writers group last September. It was during the day and I had to hurry school work and shuffle schedules just to make it work. I felt guilty. I’d gladly do this to accommodate someone else’s needs, but I rarely have to do it for something I want to do.
I remember going into my room and just crying. My son came in and asked what was wrong. I told him, “Why am I doing this? I don’t have time to go to writers group. It would just be easier on everyone if I stayed home.”
I believe God put words in my son’s mouth that day because he said, “You love to write. I like to see you doing something you love. Go, Mom. We’ll be fine.”
I cried more. They will be fine. It’s just that I’m used to always being available. Always being on top of laundry and dishes and dinner and lunch and going here and there. And now I go to fix dinner and find I forgot a key ingredient or failed to plan at all. My attention has become divided and we’ve all had to adjust our expectations accordingly.
The day I read Katie’s post, I went for a walk, surprisingly by myself. It was a beautiful day – sunny and cool and I walked down my favorite road. There’s a picture perfect farm house sitting on the left, surrounded by blue sky and rolling pastures with a friendly dog that greets me with wagging tail every time I pass that way.
I turned around at a telephone pole a little ways from the house and the Warning! sticker on the pole caught my eye. I stopped to read it. I didn’t write down the exact words, but it was warning other construction workers that there is buried cables underground. Before someone does any excavating, they need to call this number and locate exactly where the cables are buried so they don’t accidentally damage them.
I didn’t understand why this warning stuck out to me, so I prayed God would reveal His message to me, for I felt Him knocking on my heart.
What came to mind was Katie’s post, and this warning as I juggle these two callings: As I continue to write and pursue a new calling I hear God leading me to, I have to remember there were cables laid underground first (my family) and that whatever I add to the soil has to go around that, or I can damage the original cables.
I committed to praying and asking the Lord to show me how to do that, because, I also fear failure. But the reality is, I will not do this perfectly. There will be times I will write too much and neglect something in my family. And there will be times I don’t take advantage of some great opportunity in the writing world because I chose to do something else with my family. I’ll never be perfect, or please everyone.
But I do know, that even then there is forgiveness and redemption. There will be another chance.
It will require open, honest communication in our family to balance this well. When my daughter’s face is gloomy and she says, “Mom, you’ve been writing a lot this week,” I need to communicate with her about what I have on my plate and also be able to close the laptop lid and enjoy family time, uninterrupted by notifications.
As I juggle these two callings, I pray my family will be planted in the fertile soil of Mark 4. As my seedlings grow into adolescents and adults, I pray their roots are able to sink deep into His rich soil.
“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew, produced a crop, multiplying 30, 60, or even 100 times.”
So thank you Katie, for your bold words the other day!