Lately I’ve been asked the question, “What are you writing?”  It’s a good question to ask.  One I enjoy hearing.  It tells me that you, my friends who are asking, genuinely care.  It tells me that you would like to know.  Maybe even that you want to read.  And although I enjoy hearing the question, it’s one I often struggle to answer.

I think because the short answer is, “Nothing.”

I’ve been writing nothing.  And yet, I know that isn’t true.

I remember getting into a bit of a rhythm with writing here on the blog during the summer.  And then the school year hit and I’m honestly not quite sure what happened.

Except that… I was able to attend a really great children’s ministry conference in California.  I walked away with tools for myself and our community.

Then, I contracted meningitis and recognized my need for a bit of a slower pace of life.

Then, I went to this amazing writer’s conference (insert plug for and it was truly incredible.  I walked away with one of the speaker’s words ringing in my ears, “If you can commit to writing 500 words a day (that’s one typed page), then you will have written 3 books by the end of a year.”

What?!?!?!  OK.  Challenge accepted.  So, then my focus turned from the blog to that commitment.  I began to finally give my book idea some bones.  It began to take shape.  And although it was far from perfect, I wrote 15,000 words.  Roughly 1/4 of a book.

Then my love of all things Christmas kicked in and I had so much fun with the season.  We were in our new home, approaching the one year mark, and celebrating our first Christmas there!  We decorated.  We chose the perfect tree.  We enjoyed seeing the kids wallow in the magic of it all.  We visited family and friends.  Then a blip of sickness hit (tis the season).  Then my husband had sinus surgery.

And then it was February.  And then I had my wisdom teeth pulled.

“So, what have you been writing?”

“Well, I was consistent for a while.  But, not so much now.”

This is the story.  This is my reality.  And sometimes these are the things I find myself believing about that reality…
1. You are not disciplined
2. You are not committed to see a plan through
3. You have no direction
4. You don’t know what you want
5. You are full of fear

Ick. Ick. Ick.  Lies.

And then a friend said, “You know, no one says you HAVE to write the book now.”  This is true.  There is no timeline.

And then my husband said, “Are you happy?”  To which I said, “Yes.  Most of the time.  Except for the times when I’m not.”  OK.  Then pressure’s off.  No need to set a deadline.

And then I read a blogpost of one of my favorite authors, Emily Freeman.  She said,

I have a project that’s been living in my bones and I would like to complete it.  Several projects, actually.  I can see them all, I know what they are to be, what purpose I think they are made to serve as I listen to my life and the Spirit’s heartbeat.  In the past I would have an idea and fairly soon after that, I get to work.  The vision grows as the work is done.  This time, though, the vision has been growing but the work isn’t done at all.

It can be confusing because so much of the rhetoric around creative work is that if you have an idea but aren’t acting on it, then it means you’re nursing some brand of fear, insecurity, or immaturity. Put your head down, drink more coffee, and get to work!  But what about the work that grows slowly?  What about the ideas that take years to form?  The ministry that needs darkness and time to bury its roots down deep into you?  The book that only wants to drip out of you, one slow word at a time?  The business that requires an un-rushed foundation?  Is the vision strong enough to carry our soul through the foggy right now?  If it’s not, are we willing to listen to the still, small voice and believe it’s telling the truth?  Can we hold on to our faith while we wait?

And I wept as I read.

It resonated so deeply in my soul.

Sure.  Maybe I could benefit from some direction and concrete steps.  I think that is true.

But, I also believe this “dream” I hold is bigger than my
current experience.  I need to continue living, learning and
embracing my “right now life” in order
to see this dream come to pass.

We had a beautiful weekend retreat with our church  community a few weeks ago.  It was so great.  During that time, God gave me a vivid picture of my oldest daughter teaching in an auditorium to many people.  I was there on the stage with her, but she was teaching.  And I heard God say, “You have daughters for a reason.”  Then I heard Him say, “This is a mother-daughter thing.”

Then, later that evening, our friend who came from California to lead our retreat times, walked me through a dream mapping session.  He asked good questions re: my skills, dreams, passions, current realities, structure of daily life, family, friends, vision, mission and culture.  Wow.  It was a powerful time for me!

Two things emerged clearly from that session:
1. A realization that I DO know what I want. (I was able to verbalize it all during our session)

2. A chord was struck deep inside me when a friend said, “Perhaps the picture of your daughter that God gave you earlier in the day is connected to this dream because in order for her own dreams to come to pass, she needs to see you act upon your own.” (Cue the weeping.  Silent weeping.  Unable to talk weeping.  I think it’s safe to say that it struck a chord deeply.)

You see, the challenge for me lies not in KNOWING what the dream and desire is.  I know it.  It is planted within me and I’m confident it is there for a reason.  The challenge lies in when to act and when to simply be.  Rhythms of rest and work.  Pursuit of something bigger than myself with somewhat hazy parameters and pursuit of the beautiful gifts directly in front of me.

Facing what is directly in front of me used to be a challenge.  I am a dreamer and creator by nature.  Day-to-day tasks and the repetitiveness of it all used to feel like a drag!  But, I am so content with it now.  Not even just content, it fills me up SO VERY MUCH.  I love my family.  My kids are growing so quickly.  I relish my days with them and even the more difficult moments are filled with more perspective and grace than ever before.

“So, what have you been writing?”

Well, you see, I’ve been writing lives.

You see those 3 adorable faces at the top of this post?  Yep.  How could you miss them?

I’ve been listening to their dreams.  I’ve been sensitive to their heart beats.

I’ve had some timely conversations with my preteen daughter and watched her embrace the “growing up aspect” of her almost 10- year old self unashamedly and with a bold confidence.  And THAT makes my heart sing!

I’ve been watching our 5 1/2 year old maneuver what life looks like as a middle child and find her sweet little self–complete with her gymnastics, tennis, hockey & wrestling dreams. The ninja turtle-clad superhero mother of many little Baby Alives has big plans and preferences.

I’ve been seeing our 3 year old through the throes of potty-training and 3 year-old self-control.  When words are lacking, sister likes to bite. Yikes.  I’ve watched her love on her baby dolls, and the next minute treat them as a football.  I’ve heard her laugh maniacally on the trampoline, simply over-the-moon happy to just be with her sisters, playing, happy.

I’ve been writing lives.  In my broken, messy, needing-grace-daily self, I have been doing the work of writing lives.  And it’s a beautiful discovery.

Sure, the dreams of being a published author someday are there.  I’m not worried about them going away.  And yes, I’m (in my own pace) taking steps to nurture and steward those dreams well.  But, perhaps the harsh lies I was believing earlier look a bit more like this:

Instead of…
1. You are not disciplined
2. You are not committed to see a plan through
3. You have no direction
4. You don’t know what you want
5. You are full of fear

Maybe it’s more like…
1. You are quite disciplined in not losing faith of your dream in the midst of your reality

2. You are willing to sit with the sometimes awkward feeling of “not yet knowing” in order to sort out the Spirit’s leading and timing of it all

3. (See #2)

4. You know exactly what you want & you are also aware of the fact that MANY things fill you up and provide you with the feeling of a “life well lived.”  This often means, you have to make. a. choice. in regard to WHAT you are pursuing at any given time.

5. OK.  Maybe a little.  This one isn’t an outright full-fledged lie.  Things in which I know the general outcome (daily routines, etc…) are much easier for me to say yes to.  The big dreams in which I lose a bit of control and don’t actually KNOW the outcome are a much more difficult yes.

But, I am becoming brave.

Day by day.  Bit by bit.  And in the meantime, I am doing the good work of writing beautiful lives.

  1. Tami overhauser says:

    This is beautiful my friend! I understand exactly. I have said that ” sometimes I write about parenting, but then sometimes I have to stop and actually go parent.” I’m right there with you. Your girls are beautiful and so are you!

  2. Jayne Bak says:

    with the new ’empty nester’ status less than a month away, I am running out of excuses for leaving my God-imprinted words unwritten – may your commitment to go public (again) as an author inspire the rest of us to do the same…
    because it matters,

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